kmw07
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Bonsai Beginner

Hello everyone!

I'm brand new to bonsai via an unexpected birthday gift. I received 2 different trees. One is a blue star juniper and the other a zelcova. I was given these with little instructions for their care so any tips for beginners would be appreciated. Also, I've been reading some conflicting information about growing these strictly indoors. Is it possible or do they need to be outdoors? I live in Omaha and it's VERY cold right now. If they have to be outdoors, when would be the best time to move them out there? Can they really survive the harsh winds and snow here? Especially the juniper which is teeny?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give!
[img]https://i68.servimg.com/u/f68/14/88/51/42/02120012.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i68.servimg.com/u/f68/14/88/51/42/02170011.jpg[/img][/img]

Marsman
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The juniper needs to be outside, but you need to take care. If it's been inside for a while, putting it directly outside will shock and kill it. Do you know where it came from, or can you ask the gift giver where they got it? You need to know it's history. As for them surviving outside, not to worry. They are perfectly equiped to handle the cold. In fact, they need a dormancy period each winter or they will weaken and die off. (Imagine what you would be like if you didn't get a good night's rest. It's similar to that.) [url=https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Display%20Bench/f818a3f1.jpg]My junipers are outside[/url] and doing just fine. We just got another 6 inches of snow and they are burried. Do you have an enclosed, unheated porch or a garage with a window you can place it in?

As for the zelcova, I don't have much experiance with them. I'm sure some others will post some tips for you.

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djlen
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I agree 100% with Marsman's assessment of your Juniper. Find out what it's environment was before you bought it. That will determine your course of action in getting it back outside where it belongs. Please don't wait on this. Junipers do terribly if kept inside.
I believe your "Zelkova" is a Ulmus parvifolia or Chines Elm. A very nice tree for Bonsai but a bit different than Zelkova.
Your Elm can be kept inside until Spring when it should be placed outside for the summer to be at it's happiest. In the Fall it should have a period of dormancy, and then be brought back into the house for an early 'Spring'. IMO, handling it this way is the way to keep it at it's best in the long term.
[url=https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Ulmus.html]Elm Care[/url]
[url=https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Juniperus.html]Juniper Care[/url]

If you have further questions we would be happy to help if we can.
BTW, welcome to the site and good luck with your new trees!!!
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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Marsman
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If it is indeed a Chinese Elm, I do have one of those out in the snow as well. It's [url=https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Chinese%20Elm/85a1da31.jpg]in the ground[/url] at my teacher's garden until I can work on it in the Spring.

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djlen
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Hey Mars,
That's gonna be a beauty!!! Good luck with it.

Zelkova's leaves are more elongated and pointy on the ends whereas the Ulmus are shorter, and rounder. His appears to be an Elm. The care for both is very similar.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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Marsman
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Thanks, Len. I plan on air-layering off most of the top and then drastically chopping it down. I should get two or three trees out of the deal. Here are [url=https://s956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Chinese%20Elm/]more shots of the tree[/url].

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djlen
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Very, very nice tree in the making.
I saw the other pictures and wondered how I could have missed the pot in the first one you posted. Now I see it was in the ground. Did you re-pot it?

You know, maybe I've been looking in the wrong nurseries but I've never seen an Elm that size down here. I'm telling you, I'm going to have to come to Connecticut. Used to spend a lot of time up there. My mother was from East Hartford. :)

Have to apologize to kmw07 for this HiJacking of his thread. :roll:
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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Marsman
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My tree has never been in a real pot, what you see in the pictures is a plastic nursery pot. I picked it up in the late Fall and Todd planted it in his garden for the Winter.

kmw07
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RE

My problem is that I live in an apartment and the only place they could live would be on the balcony. That is why I'm trying to figure out if I can keep at least the elm inside on a permanent basis? I've read 20 different things that all contradict themselves. Even the people on the couple bonsai forums I'm on disagree. I really just want a solid answer.

Also, the juniper was inside a heated greenhouse in the "indoor growing" section. How do I acclimate him to the way-below-zero temperatures here right now?

Rosaelyn
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There really is not a concrete, black and white answer to your question about elms. Elms can be tropical and keep leaves all year OR they can be deciduous and lose their leaves annually. However, the fact remains - elms allowed a yearly dormancy are more vigorous.

Junipers, on the other hand, will not survive as an indoor tree. Even if you bought the tree from a heated greenhouse, it is likely it was not there long. It was probably grown outside and either shipped to the place you bought it or brought inside to sell.

I am not sure what vendors have to gain from telling customers that junipers are or can be indoor trees. But because junipers take a while to show outward signs of stress, they tend to look healthy long enough that a new owner assumes they did something wrong, when in fact, the tree may have already been in distress before purchase.
Rosaelyn @}>---'---,---

If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees. ~ Hal Borland

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djlen
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You need to figure out a way to acclimate the Juniper to cooler and then colder temperatures in order to get it comfortable to be outside where it will do much better.
Do you have access to someone who has an unheated cool or cold room in their house, or an attached shed with a window to start with? Then, after a couple of weeks it could be moved to a garage with a window and finally outside where it needs to be to flourish.
If you leave it inside it will probably die.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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kmw07
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Well I will be going home in a couple weeks and my parents do have an attached garage. It definitely gets cold in there. Would that be too drastic for a first step? Could I maybe use the refrigerator as a first step? Or is that ridiculous? :)

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