stroke0f_luck
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 2:38 am
Location: Dallas Tx

Chinese Elm - General ?'s and a Gnat problem

Species/Variety of tree: Chinese Elm
Watering: I have watered it with about a half of cup of water once. That was 2 days ago.
Bonsai Soil: Not sure
Where you are keeping it: Indoors, 68 degrees, right next to a very large window. Been sort of gloomy the past week.
Your geographic location: Dallas, Texas. It's been in the 30's this whole week.
Duration: Owned it 4 days now.
Recent Changes: Brought it home. It was in a greenhouse type environment.
Size of the tree and container: Haven't measure it. I would guess about 8 inches?

[url=https://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b394/dvious187/IMG_3730.jpg][img]https://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b394/dvious187/th_IMG_3730.jpg[/img][/url]
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Hello Eveyone! My name is Troy and I live in Dallas Texas. I purchased two Bonsai trees 4 days ago. One Chinese Elm and one Jade. When I came home last night and my Elm tree had a large amount of gnats flying around it. I had watered it 2 days before but not a lot. I was going to give it a little water since I didn't know when the shopkeeper last watered the tree. Then I was going to give it a few days and test the soil. So I went to Home Depot last night and found some bug spray that you can use on edible fruit trees and such and sprayed my tree down (hence why it looks wet in the pics). I hope I did the correct thing, the bugs are gone for now but I will check it when I get home.

Anyways, I was wondering if that pot is too small for the tree and if so should I replant it now or wait until Spring? It just starting getting freezing here the last couple of weeks. Won't be until March or April that we see Spring type weather. Any other general suggestions would be appreciated also, I have been reading a lot of information on the net this week and feel a little over whelmed trying to decide what is good info and what is not.

Thanks everyone!

User avatar
Gnome
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Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Troy,

Hello and welcome. Thanks for providing the background information up front. I think you have a pretty nice tree there. It has the "traditional/expected" S curved trunk but at least they are curves rather than the extreme bends some have. You tree is reminiscent of one I am working on. Find the thread [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3544]here.[/url]
So I went to Home Depot last night and found some bug spray that you can use on edible fruit trees and such and sprayed my tree down (hence why it looks wet in the pics). I hope I did the correct thing,
You've done something that many of us, myself included, have done in the past. You have acted first and sought information second. In this case it may end up being a problem. Chinese Elms are known to be rather sensitive to some sprays. I think I would cover the soil with a plastic bag and spray/mist the foliage in an attempt to remove any residue.
When I came home last night and my Elm tree had a large amount of gnats flying around it.
The gnats are probably the adult stage of fungus gnats, they thrive in moist, organic soils and can be identified as small larvae. They primarily feed on organic matter that is present in such soils and can damage roots. Allowing the soils to dry somewhat will help keep them in check. Look [url=https://insects.tamu.edu/extension/bulletins/uc/uc-028.html]here[/url] for some information and ideas for control.

I was wondering if that pot is too small for the tree and if so should I replant it now or wait until Spring?
Re-potting would be a method to help with the gnats and replacing the, presumably, organic soil has other benefits. But considering the, possibly, ill-advised spraying I am reluctant to suggest a re-pot right now. Besides, until you do a little research into proper bonsai media there is no point in re-potting with off the shelf potting soil.

There are generally two time a year to re-pot Chinese Elms. If you manage them as temperate trees, allowing them to go dormant, then spring is ideal, this is the method I prefer. If you manage them as indoor trees, as some do, you can allow them to go dormant briefly and them re-pot before bringing them inside. In you area though it may never go truly dormant due to the fairly warm temperatures. I know this all does not really answer your question but sometimes there are no black/white answers.

It is too late to attempt to place it outside this year so you are going to have to muddle through until spring when it should be places outside. More on this later if you wish.
I have watered it with about a half of cup of water once. That was 2 days ago.
Please read the general growing sticky thread located at the top of the forum for tips on watering, this method is inadequate.

[url]https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Ulmus.html[/url]

I'm sure I have overlooked something, please feel free to inquire further and we will try to help.

Norm

alexinoklahoma
Senior Member
Posts: 273
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:21 pm
Location: Central Oklahoma

Hey Tyler :-)

Decent tree there, and Gnome has started you off well, of course. Wait until Spring to repot, IMO, and that should help with the fungus gnats (what spray did you use? pyrethrin/derivatives works well, fwiw) and them gnats can be found wherever lots of plants are 'crowded' together in warmish moist places, just as an fyi. More irritating than troublesome for the most part, too, but hordes can be an issue upon tiny feeder roots.

Keep tree in sunny spot and do not overwater (!); elms like it more dry than more-wet. Chances are some leaves will brown/yellow a bit from the environ change, so don't freak on that, expect it. May not happen, but it'd surprise me a bit if it didn't, no big deal :-) Now is time to learn-up on soil-mixes, too but not time to repot, so you are fortunate there to have some 'learn-time', so to speak...not often *that* happens, LOL... IME, elms like a somewhat gritty soil with little to no 'sogginess', though if it is very hot & windy (as with our locales - I am about two hours North of you) the tree will dry soil daily (usually). Elms simply love the hot sun we get, so do not worry about that aspect, though be sure to let tree acclimate to sun (don't keep inside until July *then* take outside, haha, that would be abuse!)

Another thing that tree is screaming out for is 'ramification', which is developing the outward branches to tighter and more-frequent branchings. It would not harm anything to, after tree has settled (of course! say, a few weeks or so) to cut back some branches you wish to 'tighten-up' and as they regrow outward, you cut them back to 2-4 leaves...example: let a branch vigorously grow out ~4-6", then cut back to 2-3 leaves, and then it will 'backbud', or sprout out new branchings from *those* leaves (say 2 or 3 new branches) then as those grow out, you cut those back the same way. After repeatedly doing this a number of times, the total branching will have gotten *much* denser and a lot more like you would expect it to be. it will help keep leaf size smaller, too, which keeps tree's look more as expected also.

The ramifying is more or less done towards the end of 'development growth', more when overall shape is attained that you want. But it seems that that tree is well on its way to that end, IMO - good find :-) I just thought it mentionable about the ramifying process as it is so close to Springtime when the growth is going to rocket on you ;-) Elms can easily get out of hand, and ramifying is one way to help keep things in check overall.

Fwiw, I have indoor and outdoor elms (indoors were gathered as youngsters last Fall) and they do nicely inside with either sun-through-window, or under strongish fluoro's bright-part of room probably not enough, IMO. If under fluoro, you should have the lights within a few inches of the top of the tree(s) as there is little heat to worry about ;-) Some of my elms actually touch the lights without any prob, fwiw.

On watering: the more vigorous the tree, the faster it will 'suck up' the water, so now is going to be 'slower' than later on; things will change with environ, of course. Keep an eye on soil and only water when it is mostly dry an inch or so down; mal-watering is prolly the #1 reason for dead trees ;-)

HTH,
Alex

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