Derek6767
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Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2010 4:36 pm
Location: Palatine, Illinois

What am I?!

Recently, I talked about buying a bonsai tree and my parents just happened to show up with this one for me 2 days ago. The guy told them what is was but then they forgot of course. So can anyone help give a little info on the tree? This is probably a dumb question as well but it is an outdoor tree right?


[img]https://i877.photobucket.com/albums/ab333/Derek_T/IMG_0073.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i877.photobucket.com/albums/ab333/Derek_T/IMG_0071.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i877.photobucket.com/albums/ab333/Derek_T/IMG_0069.jpg[/img]

Thanks

Derek[/img]

TomM
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Derek,

I believe you have a fukien tea - Carmona microphylla in a very deep training pot or nursery pot.

GOOGLE it and you will learn that fukien tea is a tropical plant native to southeast Asia. Therefore, in southern China it would be an outdoor plant, but in Minnesota (or northern wherever) it would be an indoor plant, or it would freeze. Depends where you are. Where is Palatine?

Hope I helped.

PS - read lots of threads on fukien tea.

josh1812@live.com
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Location: Florida

That is not a Fukien tea but rather a Zeklova a deciduous tree perfect for your climate meaning Fukien tea care should not be applied to this one.

Thats A very nice tree you have there, and good guessing it is an outdoor tree.
HI

Derek6767
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Location: Palatine, Illinois

Thank you to both of your replies so quickly and thanks for the compliment. I googled Zelkova and it seems like that is my tree over the Fukien Tea. I am really hoping this tree is a good beginner bonsai because I am so confused on even the basics.
Derek

TomM
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Sorry if I misled you with the identification. But if your tree is zelkova you will find plenty of info online. One place to look is the bonsai4me.com site which will take you here - https://bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Zelkova.html

It would be a good idea to pick up a couple books on bonsai basics, and try to locate a bonsai club in your area. There's nothing like hooking up with other bonsai enthusiasts who have more experience and will guide you along as you explore your new hobby.

I would suggest that you remove the stones that cover the bonsai soil so that you can see the soil and better determine when the tree needs water, how quickly the soil is draining.

Go over to the general bonsai forum (found when you click the "GARDEN FORUM" bar above. You will learn much more there than here in the ID area. There are plenty of posts about zelkova and its cousins - the elms.

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Derek,

And just to muddy the waters a bit further, I think your tree is actually a Chinese Elm or Ulmus parvifolia. This species can be confused with Zelkova but has much smaller leaves. Have a look at this post.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=111174#111174

Norm

josh1812@live.com
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Im sorry to confuse you even more but I think the leaves are too small and squat to be chinese elm Im a good 90% sure but yet again I am thought to be wrong most of the time :oops:
HI

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Josh,

Chinese Elms can exhibit some variability in their leaf size and shape. Perhaps you are familiar with another variety. Also, it looks like this tree just had a good pruning and I'm betting the leaves won't stay quite this small.

I used to have a four way comparison of different Chinese Elm leaves but my image host seems to have lost it and I'm on a secondary computer after a crash so I can't post it again right now. Did you check my picture at the link I posted above? Zelkova leaves are much larger than Chinese Elm.

Derek,

Yes, this is a good species for new growers but will do much better if you are able to keep it outside. Inside you should consider supplemental lighting, such as simple fluorescent tubes or CFL's. Humidity in our homes is very low as well and a humidity tray will help.

I keep mine outside (goes double for Zelkova, BTW) although some do keep them indoors. Chinese Elms are sub-tropicals and don't have the same strong dormancy requirements as temperate species, although most knowledgeable growers seem to agree that at least a brief dormancy is beneficial.

I have never tried to keep one inside full time. Last year I did bring one inside aroung Christmas after it had a short rest period and it leafed out fine. It is now outside with my others and I'm not sure I'll take the same approach this year. I might just leave it out (in an unheated garage) all winter.

Search the forum, you'll find many threads concerning this species.

Norm

Derek6767
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Once again thank you for all the responses and I am taking everything you guys say valuably. I have one question though since this thread is already open. I was just wondering if I should move the Elm out of its current soil and into something more suitable. It is currently in normal potting soil. In saying that, I know the soil is supposed to be able to drain much better which is why I think I should switch over to a less compact soil. Am I right in thinking so or should I wait till spring when all the books and websites are telling me is the correct time to replant.

Thanks

Derek

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Derek,

Yes, it should be repotted using a more free draining mixture, the question is when. I have repotted my small Chinese Elm (the one I mentioned earlier) in the middle of summer but I was taking a chance in doing so. By far the safest approach is to do it just as it is breaking dormancy. This of course assumes that you are going to manage as a temperate tree and allow dormancy. What are your thoughts on the indoor Vs. outdoor issue?

Next spring would be the optimum with a mid-winter repotting the next best bet. This would be after allowing a brief dormancy, it would then be brought into your home to leaf out. Only consider this approach if you are willing to go the extra mile WRT lighting and humidity. You could just as easily keep it dormant all winter as temperate trees are managed.

Either way you have some time to do a little research and to acquire some decent soil. In the meantime, manage the moisture in the soil carefully. While it is nearly impossible to water a bonsai in a proper mix too often, you can easily water too often if it is in a heavy, more water retentive soil. Try using the chopstick method outlined [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1479]here.[/url]

Norm

Derek6767
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Norm- Currently I am leaning towards an outside tree. After reading much of the forum and quite a few other sites it seems that that is the way to go with a dormacy period.
My real question is I know the soil is supposed to be easily drainable, but what are the components and exactly how much of each component is supposed to go into the mixture? Currently I have read about akadama or turface and pine bark. I have also heard of simply doing just diatomaceus earth sold from NAPA auto parts.
Is anyone willing to give up their mixture for bonsai soil?! lol

Derek
Derek

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Derek,

Please read [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3422]this[/url] to get some background information. Bonsai soils can be difficult to understand at first and finding the proper components is not always easy either. My first proper bonsai soil that I made myself was basically just Turface MVP (Turface is fired clay, MVP is thier coarsest grade) and Pine bark. Then I found a local source for Haydite or fired Shale. After that source died I recently tried D.E. (NAPA oil-dri) They all work to one degree or another but they are all a little different. In recent years I have been including more lava rock and am pleased with that choice.

The ratio wil vary according to species, your region and ability to water as needed. The point is that there is no one mix that is right for all applications. If all of this is too much for you now, it is not necessary for you to mix your own soil, it can be purchased ready made online. I would not suggest this approach for a lot of trees but if you just need enough for one tree it is much easier than mixing your own.

Norm

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