Bonsia Flyn
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:45 am
Location: Cambridge, UK

Another Bonsai newbie, opinions on trees please...

Hi all,

This is my first post here.

At the weekend I bought my girlfriend a Chinese Elm for her birthday, she loved the gift. We went back to the garden center to get a tray for the pot & we saw another really good-looking but smaller elm so I got it for myself. It was a little overgrown so I had a go & pruned/shaped it as I thought best.

After doing much reading on this site & others I feel I've acquired a basic care knowledge & am looking forward to cultivating the little fellas. I've also got myself & my girlfriend booked into a bonsai class at a very prestigious nursery that exhibits at the Chelsea Flower Show for next weekend.

I must say though I think my bonsai soil is a little too water retentive, it seems very dark & peat like plus it was quite compacted, I can see some sand grains in there plus small stones (gravel). It's pretty much the same on both trees & seems to stay damp for two days, water does pass through easily but it keeps a lot too.

Anyway, I'm gonna have a go at posting a pic of our trees, any & all constructive advice, suggestions etc welcome.

[img]https://i1021.photobucket.com/albums/af332/Bonsai-Flyn/30af1524.jpg[/img] [img]https://i1021.photobucket.com/albums/af332/Bonsai-Flyn/ef16605f.jpg[/img] [img]https://i1021.photobucket.com/albums/af332/Bonsai-Flyn/99b7bce3.jpg[/img]

TomM
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Posts: 749
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:28 pm
Location: Cedarville (SE of Utica) NY, USA

Hey Flyn,
I will be the first to say WELCOME. What a wonderful way to share a new hobby with loved one. Bonsai will grow into a real passion for you both.

My early advice is this - your Chinese elms need an adjustment period to their new home environment. Do not rush into repotting right away. I appreciate your concern (and correctly so) about the current soil mix. But keep in mind that if the tree is healthy now this soil has not killed it. This may not be the best season to replace it.

You are doing the right thing taking a class at the nursery. You will learn much. Patience is the hard thing to learn. Go slow and enjoy the journey.

I see that you are into photography - and that is a wonderful thing. You will be well equipped to document every facet of your bonsai experiences, and share with others. I hope you will be a frequent poster to this forum.

Lastly - VERY COOL TREES to begin with. And great photos. Congrats 8)

Bonsai Flyn
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:56 am
Location: Cambridge

Doh! I'll learn to spell in a minute!

lol! "bonsai Flyn", that'll teach me for signing up to websites on my phone!

Just got home on the computer & noticed I'd spelt Bonsai wrong, how much of a tool do I look now?!? :oops:

Oh well, new profile...

Tom, thank you so much for your warm welcome. I think we've already got the "bonsai" (Bonsai) bug, they are such enchanting plants.

We've had them a few days now & they seem to be doing well, mine (the smaller Elm) has some bright strong new growth, however my girlfriend's tree still has 98% good foliage but is showing a few yellow leaves now. I think its reacting to the move from garden center to home, the leaves are yellow & subtle not brittle. Im not sure if its due to the water retention characteristics of the soil combined with the moss covering hindering evaporation, or the change in light levels - any thoughts?

I think you're right, I'll wait before I do anything & I'll ask the guys at the Bonsai nursery about the soil & repotting as well as training the trees. I have a branch or two on mine that I think would be good to retrain, it would make the overall form of the tree more pleasing.

I'm into photography for sure, its my day job. Though I must admit the shots I posted were just quickly snapped on my phone yesterday, but thank you for your comments no the less. 8)

I think I might see if I can get some nice ones to post up with a proper camera. I hope to be a frequent poster too, as this forum is the best I've seen for community & knowledge.

P.S. glad you like the trees, it took a bit of hunting to find them.

Marsman
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Posts: 650
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:19 pm
Location: Coventry, CT

Great looking trees. I love Chinese elm and I'm [url=https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Chinese%20Elm/DSC_0017.jpg]rooting about a dozen cuttings[/url] off my [url=https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Chinese%20Elm/DSC_0034.jpg]main tree[/url].

Keep us posted and enjoy your class.

Bonsai Flyn
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:56 am
Location: Cambridge

Wow Marsman, nice collection! I'd love to have a bonsai family like that! Looks like they'll keep you busy for awhile.

Thanks for your comments, I just hope we can look after them ok. I think mine is doing ok, but im a little concerned about my girlfriend's tree as the roots seem a little weak, as the tree wobbles if moved & the soil stays very wet, any tips?

Marsman
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Posts: 650
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:19 pm
Location: Coventry, CT

The roots may be rotting! Let it dry a bit, not dry out, but not soaking wet either. Use your finger in the soil, if it's damp, don't water it.

Bonsai Flyn
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:56 am
Location: Cambridge

Marsman wrote:The roots may be rotting! Let it dry a bit, not dry out, but not soaking wet either. Use your finger in the soil, if it's damp, don't water it.
Geez, that doesn't sound too good, we've only had it since Saturday! I'm sure we've not done that! It had a good drink on the day of purchase & a bit of a sip today, is there anything I can do as well as let it dry a little?

I've tried to airate the soil a bit to aid evaporation, after it dries a little would it be wise to drop the pot to check the roots?

Thanks for any advice.

TomM
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Posts: 749
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:28 pm
Location: Cedarville (SE of Utica) NY, USA

Knowing that Chinese elm do not like their feet (roots of course) to be soggy wet, and prefer to "dry out a bit" I am concerned about the covering of moss on the soil of larger tree. Moss tends to promote the retension of moisture in the soil, and reduces the air flow.

I would gently remove it from the surface, perhaps with toothpicks and toothbrush - especially at the base of the trunk. Air circulation is important for the health of your trees.

linlaoboo
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Posts: 469
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 5:15 pm
Location: NJ

don't move it indoors and outdoors all the times, give it some stability, protect it from direct mid day sun. It's normal for a few leaves to go yellow and drop here and there on the chinese elm. Your trees are already trained into shape. They're really good looking. . .nice fat trunks. I'm guessing the large one is at least 8 to 10 years old?!?
ficus, maple, elm, juniper, pine

toy4x4
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:12 am
Location: Jenks, Ok

It will do better outside.

Bonsai Flyn
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:56 am
Location: Cambridge

Guys, thank you all for your great advice. I think I've got some bad news, I've removed the moss with a toothpick & a fair amount of the tree's roots are brown & very soggy, not to mention very brittle & smelt damp. There are still some good strong White-ish roots in there but as you can see from the pics I think this little fella is in need of some urgent help!

Is there any thing I can do to save this little guy's life?

[img]https://i1021.photobucket.com/albums/af332/Bonsai-Flyn/77f53134.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1021.photobucket.com/albums/af332/Bonsai-Flyn/cdc321df.jpg[/img]

TomM
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Posts: 749
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:28 pm
Location: Cedarville (SE of Utica) NY, USA

Don't panic. Be patient. You are doing the right thing. I believe this tree will begin recovering and will soon begin showing some new growth. And if that happens you can consider repotting into a better draining bonsai soil mix. You can find sources at your upcoming class.

No doubt some leaf drop will occur. Expect it. Then watch for new bud swelling. :wink: It's a wonderful thing.

Bonsai Flyn
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:56 am
Location: Cambridge

Hi tom,

Thanks again for your help on this. It's drying out nicely & is looking a little greener & perkier today, hopefully the little guy's on the road to recovery. Has a few more yellow leaves though, as you said.

I think I'll do as you suggest & repot with better soil, I'll most likely do this for both trees as I don't want my one going the same way.

Here's where I'll be taking the class:
https://www.herons.co.uk/index.asp

With any luck it should be a good day out.

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