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Pruning and wiring: beginner needs help and suggestions

I have a potentially nice Elm tree, some months ago I've repotted it and it has already produced new leaves a couple of times.

It's all messy right now and I was thinking to prune it (and maybe wire it too) and try to have a nice shape, but I'm afraid I will kill it.

Can you please help me suggesting what to do and how to start?

I attach the pictures of it (let me know if you need more).

Thanks a lot!


Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: Pruning and wiring: beginner needs help and suggestions

Top pruning is served best in small attacks. I'd rather you cut your newly growing branches down to a fixed number of "new" leaves. Lets say five new leaves per branch.

Next spring try three leaves.

This and possibly leaf cutting (another topic for another thread and another year) will forse back-budding and a tighter set of smaller leaves.

I'd wait till leaf fall in autumn before wiring. You'll be able to see whatcher doin' better.

Keep the exposed root tops thinly covered, they'll fatten up better if they are.

From May till October at least elms should be outdoors.

Part of whats theraputic (for me) about a bonsai is the picking up of, and general fiddling with, a tree baby needs.
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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Pruning and wiring: beginner needs help and suggestions

As the OP says, his tree is a bit messy looking. Besides shortening the branches, would you prune out a few of them?

Most of the elm bonsais I see, especially ones with a similar character to his (slender curving trunks) have branches arranged in pads:

Image ... se-Elm.jpg

Image ... SY300_.jpg

Is it too soon for him to start working towards an effect like that?
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