American elm

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American elm

Post  Mr. Carter on Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:38 pm

Has anyone used or seen these made into good bonsai? Reason I'm asking is, my dads friend has a tree nursery that we visited today. They had elms, there and I'm not sure what variety they were, but underneath the big trees were hundreds of smaller ones growing. Some had been run over with trucks and lawnmowers. The guy said we were more than welcome to take as many of the small ones as we wanted.

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Elms

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:51 pm

American elms make very good bonsai, but I doubt that's what these are. Ulmus americana is not sold commercially because of Dutch elm disease. The new hybrid disease resistant elms are still few & far between. Try to find out what species they are. A good field guide may help you, because most of the popular foreign species are naturalized.
Most elms make good bonsai. I am not familiar with what is sold in the South, but if I had to guess, I would say those are Siberian elm, Ulmus pumila, which makes fairly good bonsai. In picking out the seedlings, look for the thickest trunks.
Iris

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Re: American elm

Post  Mr. Carter on Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:35 am

Thanks Iris! I will get my dad to ask next time he sees his friend. We grabbed a lot if these little trees. We didn't realize how many we actually had until we got back home and started to put then in pots. We got over forty of these things! I think our eyes may have been a little bit bigger than our stomachs today.

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American Elm

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:45 am

I doubt if those are ready to go in a pot. What is the caliper of the trunk near the bottom? If it is less than one inch, put them in the ground to beef up.

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Re: American elm

Post  Mr. Carter on Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:22 am

Oh yeah, I know that they aren't ready for pots yet. We just needed to get them into something for the time being. I just got into bonsai, so I don't have a planting bed built or boxes built or anything really. We just put them into one gallon and up nursery pots for now. Me and my dad plan on building a few beds, in the next week or two. So we plan on putting some in a bed, somebin the ground, and I'm guessing some will have to stay in pots, since we have so many. Maybe if I join a club or something, somebody will take some of these off my hands.

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Re: American elm

Post  Mr. Carter on Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:28 am

Oh and the ones with the thickest trunks are probably half an inch to three quarters of an inch...so they definitely have some growing up to do.

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Re: American elm

Post  Marty Weiser on Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:39 am

Growing in pots can be good. It gives you lots of control of the roots and branches. Elms will generally fill the pot with roots fairly quickly if you did not over pot which allows you to trim the roots every year or two and develop a very nice nebari. They won't be the most massive bonsai, but a great root flare looks very good in my book.

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Re: American elm

Post  Mr. Carter on Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:46 am

We really just went with what we had at the moment, mostly 1 gallon pots, some of the larger plants went into three gallon pots. Some went into to smaller clay pots (maybe half gallon?) but that was all we had at the time. For the ones that we end up keeping in pots (after we run out of room to plant in the ground), what size is good for training? My guess was three gallon.

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Re: American elm

Post  Marty Weiser on Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:22 am

I like to grow deciduous stock in shallow pots. My most common for stock with 3/4" (2 cm) or so trunks are 10 - 12" (25 - 30 cm) diameter plastic saucers that are sold to place under larger plants. They are 1.5 - 2" deep (4 - 5 cm) and I put several 1" (2.5 cm) diameter drainage holes in the bottom. The trees grow nice strong nebari this way. I have taken some into display pots for further refinement and others into the ground for further trunk and nebari thickening.

Marty

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Re: American elm

Post  Mr. Carter on Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:30 am

I'll definitely have to try that. I have plenty of plants to try a little bit of everything with. So the way you're talking about is more of a refinement thing, for the branches and the nebari? So if I'm wanting to develop trunks, I know should grow in the ground, and I plan to do so, but we probably won't have enough room to put all these in the ground. So what would you suggest I do with the trees I have left, to develop the trunks?

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Re: American elm

Post  Marty Weiser on Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:12 pm

Increasing the pot size as the roots fill the previous one is the way to grow bigger trunks in pots. This is what is done in commercial nurseries. The best growth seems to be when the roots can colonize the soil in the pot in a year or two. If the pot is too large it ends up with wet areas that promote rot. I like to use wood boxes with wire mesh bottoms for growing on trees in pots. They are both moderately shallow and very free draining so I can fertilize fairly heavily. Even if I am doing a minimal repot, I still get rid of the circling roots and loosen up the outer portions of the rootball. I have gotten more than one nursery tree where the roots were not worked at all and I can find each and every pot size that was used along the way.

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Re: American elm

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