Ilex Crenata, Ulmus Pervifolia - Newbie Questions

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Ilex Crenata, Ulmus Pervifolia - Newbie Questions

Post  spuker1 on Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:00 am

Hi There! Smile

First of all I want to apologise up front for all my newbie questions. I hope you don't mind helping me trouble shoot the issues I've got with my trees (without sending me to search engines and FAQs Very Happy ) because I need a bit of a guidance to point me in the right direction.

So I wanted to get into Bonsai for ages and then I got one for Christmas (Chinese Elm). It's from nursery stock and it's one of those mass produced wee trees with lots of wire scars and weird shape. So I did my best to make the best of it, re styling it and it looks like it's on it's way to look cool now. I've also re-potted it because I figured that if I put it into a bigger pot it will grow roots quicker and it will grow quicker too, which is what I want at the moment. I know it's not necessarily the case and I know now that I'm quite lucky that the tree still looks alive after all this. Anyway, the only thing that concerns me with it at the moment is the soil it's in right now. I've planted it in a 'Bonsai Compost' from gardening center hoping that it will good for my tree, and obviously it's far from it. It drains slowly and stays wet for ever. So I took it out like 3 weeks after I've potted it and put even layer of little stones with sand at the bottom of the pot and then mixed the compost with the sand too. Well it definitely works a bit better now but it's still far from it. Ideally it should be in Acadama or alike mixed slightly with that compost or bark for water retention.... Is it worth it re-potting it (or rather taking it out of the pot and chaging the soil) 3rd time in 4 weeks?

Another question is about my just bought Ilex Crenata. It's another nursery mass produced stock but I've bought it with much more 'shape' consciousness and how I could possibly make this tree look in time by some pruning/wiring. Anyway, except that I don't know much about Ilex. Yet. I don't know if it's normal but it drops a lot of leafs, especially from lower branches. Some of them are black-ish (that's due crap soil and over watering probably) some of them look absolutely fine, nice green and shiny. I mean if you shake the tree gently you will have plenty of the leafs in the pot and around it. Is it normal? Also the soil it's growing in looks like quite compact compost with some perlite in it. Should I leave it in it for now and re-pot it later or should I whack it in fresh soil straight away. The tree is about 14-15" (about 40cm) tall and it's hard to take it out of the pot with the soil so I can't really tell if it's rootbound yet but there are some roots sticking out of drainage holes and there are apparent on the top layer of the soil. If I decide to put it in different soil, should I attempt wire it this growing season too or should I wait for it for the other time?

The last question is about the location of it. Both those trees are sold as 'indoor bonsai' but everyone knows that they won't be at best health indoors anyway, especially with all the mistakes I make at the moment. I want to put them outside but because I live in a little flat in the attic of an old house I haven't got a constant access to the garden area. In short, the best option for me would be putting the trees outside during the day and bringing them back home in the afternoon. Do you think I can do that or it's not a good thing to move a potted tree around like that?

Thank you so much!

Kindest Regards,

Tom

spuker1
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ilex Crenata, Ulmus Pervifolia - Newbie Questions

Post  JimLewis on Thu Apr 17, 2014 1:46 pm

I'll start with your last question.  Lack of ready access to the outdoors for your trees is NOT an ideal situation for bonsai.  They will not be happy with the daily moving in and out.  MY experience with attic apartments is that they tend to get airless and a bit on the warm side in the summer -- especially.  That is a terrible environment for bonsai.  In all likelihood you will soon have insect problems.  

Then, neither the elm nor the holly is truly an "indoor" plant -- though the elm will put up with that situation for a bit longer than the holly.  In fact, it sounds as if the holly may already be suffering from a lack of sunlight and fresh air (in addition to the soil issues).  

On the elm, you have diddled with the soil and the roots enough for this year.  Don't do any more -- at least until fall, and even then . . .   Water ONLY when the soil is dry.  Keep the stub of a chopstick jammed into the soil.  Remove it daily and feel the dirty end.  If it feels at all damp -- do  not  water.  If it is dry, water.  

The holly sounds like it is root bound.  I'm not sure I understand why it is so hard to take it out to look, but it probably does need repotting with decent, granular, fast-draining bonsai soil.  Despite your aversion to search engines and FAQs, please search this site for articles on what soil in best for bonsai, because that subject can't be covered here (beyond "decent, granular, fast draining).  

But the holly is in bigger trouble than being root bound.  

It has claustrophobia from being inside, probably some kind of a fungus or insect issue, and needs to be kept outdoors.  Don't bother dousing it with chemicals at this point; it's already unhappy enough and if you don't know exactly what fungus or insect, you'll only make it (and probably you up in the attic) worse.

In short, you don't sound to be in an ideal environment for bonsai as a hobby at this point.  Sorry, but I DO refer you to various FAQs (including ours and the references there) and books on bonsai before you do anything else with little trees.

And I wish you luck.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ilex Crenata, Ulmus Pervifolia - Newbie Questions

Post  spuker1 on Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:31 pm

Thanks for your prompt answer!

My flat does get hot during hot summer days but I'd say there's plenty of air in it. I had to stuff shopping bags in various places to stop the constant draft.

Anyway. I think I would put the Holy in ±70% Acadama/Cat litter (don't worry I know which one is the right one, haha) and ±30% of that compost I had. Do you think it will be happy with me bare rooting it now and stuffing it in new soil? I can just put it outside in our common garden. Or I could invest in a fluorescent light for artificial light source if that would help? The Holly just started to open new buds before shooting out. Do you think it's the right time for it? When I've bought it the soil was really really wet and pretty much stayed like that since. Maybe I could get that super fast drying mix in to improve things hopefully?

I'll have a look at the FAQs although I've already read all possible Holly and Elm guides online twice at least... I said that just because I didn't want to get one of those 3-4 word "bugger off to FAQs newb" kind of replies that most of new people showing up from nowhere bombaring you with questions get.

Thank you and don't leave me clueless now haha! Very Happy

spuker1
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ilex Crenata, Ulmus Pervifolia - Newbie Questions

Post  fiona on Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:13 pm

First, would you mind sharing a first name with us, and second, whereabouts in the UK are you? This could be important in how we help you.

Third, your Ulmus should survive well enough in most areas of the UK (unless you are up in the Cairngorms) but I have often found that Ilex crenata does not. A lot of this is how it is imported and then stocked in the UK. What you describe with the blackening leaves is fairly typical.

Have some fun with learning techniques on these trees, but I'd always recommend that you have a good look around at what other UK folk are growing. There are a lot of good native trees that are much more manageable than these cheap imports.

Re your current accommodation issue: do you have a mate or a relative with a garden who would be prepared to "host" any new trees?


btw, a picture or two of your current trees would help. If you haven't already found it, you can see how to do this by clicking HERE

_________________
"Espouse elucidation"
_____________________________________

my website

fiona
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ilex Crenata, Ulmus Pervifolia - Newbie Questions

Post  spuker1 on Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:05 pm

Hi,

Yes of course sorry, my name is Tom Smile

I live in Worcestershire which is midlands so quite damp, moderate climate. Yes I do have a friend that could host my trees in her garden downstairs but then basically she would enjoy the look of them more then I do. Not that I don't want her to have amazing bonsai in her garden but I was hoping I could take some pleasure in it myself too haha.

At the moment I've moved my trees from my Kitchen where all three of them (my Ulmus, Ilex and my wife's little Sagaretia Theezanse) stood between sink and tiny window in the roof into my Office room where there is a huge window. They stand further away from it but I've brought from my work a 3x50W Fluorescent bulb lamp that has been used for photography ages ago and it has been kicked around for past couple of years. I think I'll think about a proper artificial light setup for my room that could work along with that huge window. Also when I open it there's plenty of breeze coming through and around the room as the room itself is seriously small, it's the closes to outdoors I can provide I think.

I'll send some photos of my trees later on today.

Thanks,

Tom

spuker1
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ilex Crenata, Ulmus Pervifolia - Newbie Questions

Post  spuker1 on Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:31 am

Hi again!

I've done some work on my trees over the weekend and I hope it won't make things any worse...

I've taken that Ilex out of the ground and cleared all the soil out of the roots, well as much as I could as it's been seriously compacted. Also there was some roots that went black, which apparently states root rot (something that I was suggested to check for) so I cut everything that looked suspicious. Also the soil it was growing in was really solid and the root ball was very very dense, It was really hard to get it nice and loose again. After then I've potted it in a new soil mix which was 80-90% Tesco cat litter (the one that bonsai4me.co.uk suggested, it works just like Akadama) and 10-20% garden center 'bonsai compost' for water retention. Other then that it has lots of bright green little leaves opening on it's tips but they haven't grew out much since I've got it. I don't think I can notice any growing going on at all. Although I think all those leafs don't drop as much as they did... I'll keep my eye on it and report if anything changes.

I haven't done anything to my Elm except pruning most of the new shoots on the tips of branches to make it grow out inside a bit more (I bet there's a scientific term for everything I'm trying to say now too, haha). I've also, very gently, poked a lot of pencil-width holes around the edge of the pot and wherever I knew there's no roots yet.

Other then that I've decided to take all my trees out of my kitchen window sill and move it to my other room. They don't get as much sunlight there as they did in the kitchen but I've also got a solid light photography lamp with three 50W fluorescent daylight bulbs. I've read that people successfully grow bonsai using fluorescent bulbs so I wanted to give it a go. Also I can open a window wide in that room and have a lot of fresh air roll in all the time. The lamp is on any time I'm at home so usually around 1-2hrs in the morning 1hr during lunch break and then late afternoon until I go to bed which is good 6-7hrs...

Also, I think I might move both of them out if necessary but they would have to be almost on a ground level (on a palette that's on the ground) and it wouldn't been sheltered from any elements except I could strap the pots down to prevent them from flying away on a windy day. They would be in a partial shade for most of the day with couple of hours in full sun. Although they would get all the rain that comes down. Would those conditions be ok for them? Or better then I can provide indoors? I think that I could improve my artificial light setup if I knew it's definitely going to work. The trees look quite smart on my book shelf with lighting like this.

So what do you guys think my best options are now? My main goal at the moment is have my trees go back to full health and find a way of maintaining them in their prime.

Thanks a lot for help,

Tom

spuker1
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ilex Crenata, Ulmus Pervifolia - Newbie Questions

Post  JimLewis on Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:00 pm

Have you read our articles on growing indoors? You can find them in our FAQ section. Fluorescent lights are fine. They should be about 6 inches above the trees and should be on for about 13 hours a day.

I still have doubts that the holly will do at all well indoors; I think I recall Fiona saying they have enough trouble surviving outdoors in the UK.


_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ilex Crenata, Ulmus Pervifolia - Newbie Questions

Post  spuker1 on Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:08 pm

Thanks, I will definitely have a look there.

So what sort of conditions does the Holly need that it doesn't get indoors/outdoors in the UK?

spuker1
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ilex Crenata, Ulmus Pervifolia - Newbie Questions

Post  JimLewis on Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:20 pm

Indoors lacks: Good, UV-filled sunlightlight. Truly fresh air. Balanced insect population. Environmental intangibles.

UK members will have to talk about its UK problems.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ilex Crenata, Ulmus Pervifolia - Newbie Questions

Post  spuker1 on Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:12 pm

JimLewis wrote:Indoors lacks:  Good, UV-filled sunlightlight.  Truly fresh air.  Balanced insect population.  Environmental intangibles.  

UK members will have to talk about its UK problems.

Thanks!

I was just told (on somewhere else) that I should just whack both of them outdoors asap and let all the elements get them. I think I'd go for it just because of simplicity of that solution.

Would you guys agree?

My only worry is that Ilex really as it might not be temperate enough for UK wind and rain + chilly nights we still get around here right now...

spuker1
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ilex Crenata, Ulmus Pervifolia - Newbie Questions

Post  Sponsored content Today at 11:31 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum