Caitlyn_55555
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Chineese elm help! Dropping leaves

Hi, I'm new to these forums and I'm in need of help!
I recieved a Chinese elm bonsai for Christmas, and when I recieved it, it had few yellow leaves.
I had it on my bed side table for a while, next to the window, until I thought it needed more sun. So I put it on my window sill. I water it every second day, allowing water to come out of the drainage holes.
Soon, more and more leaves turned yellow, then brown. Most of the top leaves have fallen off. I put it outside for a day, and now it is in a hot house. I live in australia and it is currently summer.
My questions are:
why are the leaves falling off?
Should I keep it inside?
Is it ok in a hot house?
How long will the leaves fall off for?

Please help me!

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Gnome
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Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Caitlyn,

Hello and welcome to the forum.
why are the leaves falling off?
Could be the frequent change of location, the poor lighting in some of those sites. Could also be improper watering. Rather than guess what the problem is lets try to correct the situation.
Should I keep it inside?
No, and certainly not on your nightstand. Find a spot outside that gets some sun in the morning and filtered sun during the hottest part of the day. Your tree needs good light but avoid harsh sun at first, especially if temperatures are high. I keep mine in full sun but yours has not been exposed to strong sunlight recently and your climate may be harsher than mine. What kind of temperatures are you experiencing?

Don't water on a schedule. Please read [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1479]this[/url] for tips on watering. Give the chopstick method a try, it's useful when starting out to get a feel for how often your tree needs watered. It may need watered every day outside depending on the weather, the soil type and other factors. Regardless, check daily and water as required. What is the soil like? Would you describe it as loose and gritty or dense and peaty?

Once you find a good spot for it and learn how/when to water, just leave it alone. Hopefully it will respond favorably. Oh, and a few pictures would not hurt either.

Norm

Caitlyn_55555
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Hi norm
the hottest part we are coming up to is 30-40 degrees celcuis.
We are around the early 30s at the moment.
There's a place in my back yard that gets sun for a few hours in the morning, then around 9-10am, becomes shade.
Maybe this would be a good place to keep it?
The pot is half filled with small stones. The soil is not tight, but it's not loose.
I am able to dig around lightly without too much trouble or ease.
I will be able to put up pictures within the week.
Thanks for helping me :)

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Gnome
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Caitlyn,
We are around the early 30s at the moment.
So around 90F or so, that's about as warm as we get here on a regular basis. Your tree should be OK provided you don't just put it out in the sun and forget about it. Transition it gradually and keep a close eye on it as the season progresses.
There's a place in my back yard that gets sun for a few hours in the morning, then around 9-10am, becomes shade.
Sounds like a good place to start. Make sure to monitor the soil very carefully at first as it will likely need watered more frequently.
The pot is half filled with small stones.
Small stones would be reasonable way to describe a typical bonsai soil. I use a large percentage of inorganic material such as fired clay or lava rock so that sounds OK. Hopefully there is some percentage of organic material, either bark or shredded Sphagnum Moss. Is the soil uniform throughout, or is there a top dressing?
I will be able to put up pictures within the week.
Please do.
Thanks for helping me :)
Glad to help.

Norm

Ray Ashton
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Chinese Elm . I agree entirely with Gnome . I have my Elms on the S/E side of my house, and they receive Sun from Early morning until 12.30 pm. You say you are into Summer, well so am I. today the temperature is predicted to reach over the 40s+. My largest C/E was in a very bad condition when I acquired it , and I soaked it for several hours in a large plastic dish which contained a satchell of Seasol ( any Bunnings store). (Australia wide). I use this product for all my 50+ Bonsai's. The only time I have my Bonsai's inside is when I entertain. I believe and this is my opinion, there is no such thing as an indoor plant. The plants that can be kept indoors for a short time ( my opinion } are Canopy plants and Figs. As I claim God did not grow plants in houses. Your position you mention sounds ideal, My C/E had yellow leaves and the method I mentioned was very successful. This C/E of mine has won several Ribbons and Trophy's, and is now in a beautiful condition. I keep it outdoors all the time in the same position all the time and water every 2nd day. the temp. has just been announced 1.30 pm as 40' c. ( 104 f )regards. Ray. Mel. Vic AUS.

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Gnome
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Ray,

Thanks for the help with this one. :)

Caitlyn,

In another post Ray mentioned belonging to several bonsai clubs. You have not mentioned where you are in Australia, and I realize it is a big place, but if there is a club near you that would definitely be a good way to learn about tips and techniques that apply to your area.

Norm

Ray Ashton
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Norm Too many Bees at the moment. Will come back later. Ray Melbourne Victoria Australia.

Caitlyn_55555
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I am also in melbourne. It got very hot today so I watered it twice.
Ok so even when it's 40 degrees there's still no need to take it inside?
I have started to notice new growths here and there. I'm so happy!
No leaves are growing on the top yet, but I think I found part of the reason why. Or maybe a big reason...
There was a catepillar on one of the new growths and I noticed a few of the leaves stick together. I pulled them apart and it must have been a cocoon or something there. It was a small oval round thing.

Should I put it into a container now?
How much should the water cover the plant?

Thanks

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Gnome
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Caitlyn,
I am also in melbourne.
Well isn't that a happy coincidence. If Ray has access to several bonsai clubs that means that you do as well. They will be able to offer specific advice about keeping bonsai happy in your climate as well as suggestions for locating your tree and where to get decent soil, etc. You are lucky to have that resource.
It got very hot today so I watered it twice.
If it needs watered twice a day then that is what you must do. Make sure to check the soil below the surface though. The top can seem dry and the bulk of the soil may still be moist.
Ok so even when it's 40 degrees there's still no need to take it inside?
My practice is to keep everything outside during the summer only moving tender species inside as I must. Re-read Ray's comments, if he can keep bonsai outside so can you.
There was a catepillar on one of the new growths and I noticed a few of the leaves stick together. I pulled them apart and it must have been a cocoon or something there. It was a small oval round thing.
I trust that you dispatched the culprit. Keep a close eye out for any of his friends.
Should I put it into a container now?
How much should the water cover the plant?
I'm not sure that I understand. I don't generally water by the immersion method. You can do that from time to time to ensure that the soil is saturated but don't let the tree sit in water for any appreciable length of time. Some growers use what is known as a humidity tray, a shallow tray with pebbles and water, to raise humidity but I have my doubts that they do any good outside.
I have started to notice new growths here and there. I'm so happy!
So you're on the right track then. Once you see a fair amount of growth it is time to start thinking about fertilizer. Probably no rush though as it is just getting started and you don't know when it was fertilized last, something to start thinking about though.

Norm

Ray Ashton
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Location: australia

Caitlyn. No DO NOT place your Elm in a Bonsai pot at this time of the year, this time of the year is deadly for most plants. The best time to pot plants in Melbourne Australia is July>August>early September. The only plants to pot are Figs, Figs can be totaly defoliated this time of year on the Hottest day after Christmas day or January, and Figs CAN be potted now on the hottest day. You then soak your potted fig as well as your Elm in Seasol mix in water, till the bubbles stop rising, then let drain in a shaded position, There are clubs in several suberbs. I.E. Yarraville, a Western suberbs club, I am not a member of Western, meeting falls on same night as another club unfortunatly. Waverley, I am on the committee of Waverly only. Yarra Valley, Mornington Oeninsula, Bonsai Society of Victoria. The last four clubs are all on Email, If you want any Email addresses, let me know. I am waiting for a pest exterminator to dispose of the Bee's. Unfortunatly a Be keeper cannot remove them from my chimney. Please DO NOT pot your elm yet. Regards Ray. Melb. Vic. Aus.

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