gracesadye
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Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2005 2:18 am

HELP! FRIEND'S PRECIOUS BONSAI ELM IS DYING!!

Someone please tell me what I am doing wrong. My famous actress friend left me her dead grandmother's elm bonsai, a cherished object. I was a little nervous then and am more now. She lives in West Hollywood, where the tree is under a vined pergola. I live in cooler, foggier Santa Monica. At first I kept the tree in my bathroom under a skylight where I would remember to water it. It started growing very large leaves. So I put it outside, and we were having foggy days, and it got VERY unhappy. Now we are having a heatwave and I am afraid it may die. It has lost a lot of leaves, they crumpled brown and fell off. It also has little moldy/mildewy spots on its leaves. What can I do? She isn't coming back for another week and I am afraid, deeply afraid. Please help!

The Helpful Gardener
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Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

The moist foggy conditions have probably started a case of sooty mildew; pretty common really. The affected leaves have died and fallen off; this is the plant protecting itself from further infection. I'd treat it with neem oil and keep it in the shade; that bathroom might actually work. A good deep watering would help; follow the directions for a soaking in the watering instructions I will post a link to. Remove JUST the leaf on any large sized leaves that appear, and in the immortal words of one of my favorite authors (Doug Adams), DON'T PANIC! This is pretty common in elms and it will survive with treatment...

[url]https://www.helpfulgardener.com/bonsai/03/care.html[/url]


Good luck

Scott

gracesadye
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Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2005 2:18 am

Scott-
thank you for that. I have deep watered it and moved it back to the bathroom, and actually wiped the mildew off the leaves by hand. Fingers crossed!!

The Helpful Gardener
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Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Sounds good but I'd still try the neem oil (or other biological, orgtanic fungus control, even canola or olive oil will prevent sporing); the mildew will eventually start up again otherwise...

HG

gracesadye
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Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2005 2:18 am

Scott-
Will that burn the leaves if it is in strong sun? Should I leave it in the bathroom for a while after I spray it?
Thanks!
Grace

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Yes. Neem is an oil and they all can burn in strong sun. Shade for the duration of treatment and ease it back into the sun gradually after...

Scott

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