goldencap
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Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:53 pm
Location: Skopje, Macedonia

My new Chinese Elm questions and concerns!

First of all I would like to express how grateful i am for finding this forum. It seems like its absolutely bursting with knowledgeable individuals that are willing to help.
Secondly, i have been gathering information about bonsai for almost an year now. I still consider myself a newb of course but i am more then willing to learn as much as i can from anyone. I have one prospering Benjamin Bonsai and one dead Serrissa under my belt. This is my latest addition which i bought as a Zelkova but in the course of browsing this forum i have come to suspect that it is in fact a Chinese Elm, is my suspicion correct. I hope these pics will help in clarifying.

[img]https://i1196.photobucket.com/albums/aa407/goldencap86/DSC03248.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1196.photobucket.com/albums/aa407/goldencap86/DSC03247.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i1196.photobucket.com/albums/aa407/goldencap86/DSC03249.jpg[/img]

I live in a temperate climate zone. The temperature now does not drop lower than 3-5 C and it doesn't get higher than 15. In the summer it will be quite hot though. I keep my plant on a balcony, it gets several hours of direct sunshine and afterwards it is in light but not in a direct one. I am concerned about the best soil mixture for this type of plant, maybe a precise formula or something. I do not plan on reporting until next spring unless i notice a problem.
I am curious to know what u think of this tree and maybe some advice. I think it has nice potential as far as commercial bonsai trees go. What about pruning and wiring, how does this tree react when should it be done. Im especially interested in the pruning part since i don't see a need for any wiring yet ( i might be wrong)
Well i plan to be more active in this section of the forum and I am anxious to hear your opinions and discussions.

Best Regards,
goldencap

:) :)

goldencap
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:53 pm
Location: Skopje, Macedonia

I can not for the life of me figure out why the pics wont show up. Here is a link to my photo bucket album.

https://s1196.photobucket.com/albums/aa407/goldencap86/?action=view&current=DSC03249.jpg#!oZZ3QQcurrentZZhttp%3A%2F%2Fs1196.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Faa407%2Fgoldencap86%2F%3Faction%3Dview%26current%3DDSC03249.jpg

I apologize for the inconvenience.

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Gnome
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Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

goldencap,

Hello and welcome to the forum. I took the liberty of correcting your links, you can now delete the link to your album if you wish. In the future, to post photos, simply copy and pasts the IMG code. This is the fourth link on the list.

I agree with your assessment that the tree is a Chinese Elm, nearly every 'Zelkova' I've seen from Europe ends up being a Chinese Elm.

Your tree seems fine so your research and previous experience are serving you well. The soil is going to be a challenge for you I suspect. How does it compare to the other trees you've purchased? This type of heave soil is harder to wet properly but will retain water longer than a modern bonsai substrate. Obviously it can be managed in this type of soil since the tree seems fine but be aware of the potential for problems.

I also agree no need for wiring or pruning now although you will need to shorten new shoots later in the season. Don't be too hasty to shorten them, they can be allowed to extend three or four inches perhaps before cutting them back to within one or two leaves of the previous growth.

Don't feel too bad about the Serissa, a lot of growers have trouble with them.

Norm

goldencap
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Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:53 pm
Location: Skopje, Macedonia

Thanks for the fast reply and correctly editing my post Gnome (love your nick),

Well actually this is the first one I purchased myself, the Serissa was a present and she died within 8 months so i didn't have time to depot and examine the soil. The Benjamin is one that is still in a larger pot despite it being 30+ years old, I inherited it from my dad and I'm not sure in my reporting skills to meddle with it just yet. I'm certain that the Benjamin is planted in a mostly compost soil but I'm gonna change the composition when i eventually move it to a smaller/shallower pot.

About the pruning, so you just cut the new shoot and leave behind a couple of leaves? Also, in this period of early spring how often should i use fertilizer in the water i feed it? I have come across conflicting answers on the net so apologies if this has been previously explained, i could not find it.

User avatar
Gnome
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Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

goldencap,
About the pruning, so you just cut the new shoot and leave behind a couple of leaves?
Yes, after the new shoot extends cut it back leaving one or perhaps two of the new leaves. With this type of maintenance pruning you don't cut into the old wood. Cut leaving a leaf that point in the direction that you wish new growth to continue. A new shoot will form where the leaf is attached to the shoot.
Also, in this period of early spring how often should i use fertilizer in the water i feed it?
Once it is settled in and you see some new growth it will be time to start fertilizing. I try to fertilize about every 10 days to 2 weeks during the growing season but my soils drain much quicker that I suspect yours will. A fast draining medium requires watering more often than a dense one will. Watering this often means that nutrients are leached out quicker, this in turn necessitates more frequent fertilization. All a long winded way of saying that you may not need to fertilize as often as I do.

I'm not surprised you are seeing differing ideas on fertilization as there are a lot of variables involved of which I don't pretend to understand every scenario. For instance, in addition to the differences in soil I mentioned above, there are differences in species, level of development the tree is at, type of fertilizer used, just to name a few. That's something you will need to learn over time. For now, you will do more harm over fertilizing than under fertilizing, so moderation for now I feel is best.

Norm

TomM
Greener Thumb
Posts: 749
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:28 am
Location: Cedarville (SE of Utica) NY, USA

Goldencap,

Thanks for showing us such good photos of your Chinese elm. I see from both the profile shots and the close-up of the top that the top area appears very full, lush, robust and deeper green in color than the lower branches do. This is common due to the fact than the top is not competing for light as are the lower areas.

In time you will want to correct this or you will end up with a very top heavy 'ball' and skimpy bottom.

At some point you can begin shortening the apex and thinning it out. This will do two things. It will allow more light to penetrate the mass and reach lower branches. Secondly it will redirect the plants energy from the strong growth areas to the weaker ones. Mid and lower branches will use this additional energy to grow out more and bring more balance to the design.

I like your tree. I hope this helps.

Tom

goldencap
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Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:53 pm
Location: Skopje, Macedonia

@ Norm,

I hope i understand all of what you are saying, being a non native English speaker and all. I agree and will follow your advice and hold back on the fertilizer for at least 2 more weeks by then we will be well in to spring and hopefully my tree will be full of new growth.

Talking about new growth, i notice a lot of shoots here and there so i will let them form for a while longer and then I will prune the way you said (when that happens I might ask for assistance again as i am very unsure of the correct way to prune, i aim for the spot right above the node of the small new branches where new leafs can later appear, right?)

And again, thank you for your appreciated insights. :D (lovin this community)

@TomM

You, sir, present a very fine point, and one that i haven't even considered up until now. Even though i am preoccupied with mastering more basic concepts i am grateful that you took your time and shared a pro advice with me. Right now i try to rotate my tree every coupe of hours so that it gets close to equal sun everywhere.
Your compliments for my tree mean a lot to me and are very encouraging.

Btw do any of you have a guess at how old this tree might be, I'm only asking because for certain aspects of care i come across different methods for different ages of Chinese Elm, my dealer did not provide that info sadly.

Once again thank you all for this support, it was more than i had hoped for. I will keep you posted on my progress.

Best regards,
G

TomM
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Posts: 749
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:28 am
Location: Cedarville (SE of Utica) NY, USA

It's quite difficult to estimate the age of a tree from photographs. Could you tell us more about its size? (height, width, and thickness of the trunk at the base - caliper). I can see it placed in your chair. That gives a little scale but not really enough. I'm guessing it might be 16 in. high or more, and less than 2 inches thick.

I admit to knowing little about your country - you likely use metric measurements. We can make the conversion if needed.

Let me offer this - it is probably a teenager or young adult - not more than 25 -30 yrs old. But I am only going by trees I've worked with, and I'm not a pro.

goldencap
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:53 pm
Location: Skopje, Macedonia

Dear TomM,

Yeah i know guessing the age is a bit difficult to guess from a picture even for seasoned bonsai veterans.

The measurements are as follows:
-height: 10.2 inches
-width of branches at widest point: 9.05 inches
-caliper: 3.14 inches

Anyways, by the price i paid for it I would have never guessed that this tree is any older then 15-20 years old. Of course price is no indicator so I am not certain of this, your estimate sounds about right. :D

P.S. if i post anything more and say that its not urgent, please feel free to take longer with your responses. I'm so excited with this tree but i don't want to bore you guys, if i had it my way I would talk about my Elm for hours. :D

Thanks for everything so far



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