Sofiakara
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Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 6:35 am

Help! Chinese elm trouble- seems unwell and unsure why

Hello, I'm hoping and praying that someone can help me. The panic level I have reached about my bonsai are critical!
I received a beautiful Chinese elm bonsai in December.
This tree was doing so well from dec-April. But now it appears to be in dire straits.
The growth of new shoots and leaves has almost ground to a halt, and it is shedding exponentially. The tree now looks very bare. The leaves that remain do appear to be healthy, I've noticed the shed leaves seem to be yellowing.
Can anyone tell me why this may be happening? I've attached some photos.

This is my first ever bonsai and I've been watering it daily and misting it for humidity. I live in the West Midlands,UK. When the weather is dry (rarely) I always put it outside for the day.
Please help save this majestic beauty!
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AnnaIkona
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Posts: 802
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:20 am
Location: Canada zone 8b

Re: Help! Chinese elm trouble- seems unwell and unsure why

First of all, putting it outside and then inside again is very stressful for the tree.
Second, do you use fertilizer on it? I suggest you do that. Fertilizing is essential for any bonsai tree.
And third, does the soil dry out between waterings? The soil must not dry out completely before you water it. The soil must always me moist but not wet.
Zone 8b, Canada

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rainbowgardener
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Help! Chinese elm trouble- seems unwell and unsure why

Hopefully one of our bonsai experts will come by, but in the meantime, I am going to guess over-watered and in bad soil.

For some reason bonsai trees seem to be frequently (usually?) sold in heavy, organic soil that is all wrong for them. I suspect it is because it holds moisture so much longer, the trees can survive being shipped or not well cared for in the store without drying out so much.

Proper bonsai soil is very gritty, mineral, loose, free draining. Here's an article about bonsai soil:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/bonsai/03/soil.html

You need to repot your tree in to good bonsai soil, which can be ordered on line if you can't find it locally.

And bonsai should never be watered on a schedule. They are watered when they need it. How many days that is between waterings varies with season, temperature, how fast they are growing, etc. With the moisture holding soil, daily watering is almost certainly too much. Here's an article about how to water your bonsai:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/bonsai/03/care.html

Use the chopstick method to know how wet/dry your soil is. Water thoroughly when it needs it, until water is running freely out the drain holes and don't water again until it is starting to dry out a bit.

Have you been fertilizing your tree?

Here's a thread with general bonsai care tips. https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... =36&t=1479

If you are serious about wanting to get in to bonsai as a hobby, then you need to do a lot more reading and understand what you are doing.

Welcome to the Forum! :) Keep us posted about how your little tree progresses and whether you are able to save it.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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