What's up Doc?

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What's up Doc?

Post  Oleg6 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 5:07 pm

Hi I have just got a new Chinese Elm from a wholesaler who gets them from Florida (hot and humid) he tells me they get them from China. So they are staged a few months in Florida then here for three months before I bought it. The greenhouse I bought it from was very humid and I am taking it to a house, very dry, so there is quite a shock in the move, I have lost a lot of leaves. The soil is bark and maybe coconut husk or something like that, when I water it the soil absorbs almost nothing and the leaves turn yellow in the night and fall off the next day, when the tree needs watering again.  I found there was slow release fertilizer on the soil and wondered if the change in watering habits had over fertilized the soil so I got them out of the pot and flushed the soil with lots of water, now it is finally warm enough to put it outside which I did two weeks ago and I am still loosing leaves and there is no new growth.  They look different now though the night temp. has dropped to 10C 50F I am now bringing it in at night, has it trigger dormancy at this temp?  How can a deciduous tree need so little water, I find the soil unsettling, I worry that in this climate if the tree recovers it's needs will increase and I will have to water three times a day, which I can't do and I can't change it now can I. Is there a easier way to make the transition from Florida to Canada, It is really sparse now I could hardly see wood when I bought this 1 month ago.

Thanks Chris

     

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Re: What's up Doc?

Post  KennedyMarx on Sun Jun 01, 2014 7:33 pm

Don't bring it in at night. Those nighttime temperatures are fine and aren't going to spark dormancy. Fill a bowl or bucket with water and out the plant into it. Let it sit for five or ten minutes to make sure the water really soaks into that soil. Then leave it outside, watering when the soil starts to get dry. It should recover. They're tough trees. I have one I thought I killed from poor winter protection, but it finally sent out a flush of leaves. Just be patient.

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Re: What's up Doc?

Post  Oleg6 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 7:52 pm

Thank you, I've been worried over this one. As far as changing the soil would you? when? and to what?
Chris

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Re: What's up Doc?

Post  KennedyMarx on Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:00 am

The most common soil mixes seem to be turface/bark/lava rock and akadama/pumice/lava rock. It really depends on what you can get in your area and how frequently you can water. I have my trees planted in various experimental combinations of those ingredients. One of my chinese elms is in equal parts akadama, lava, and pumice. The other is in that same mix but also one part turface.

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Re: What's up Doc?

Post  Oleg6 on Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:31 pm

Thanks again

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Re: What's up Doc?

Post  beer city snake on Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:08 pm

one thing to keep in mind, that i learned with my chinese elm is that they can go either way re: going dormant or not depending on where they are from...

when i got my first ch. elm i was told it had come from "down south" and so it probably didnt have a dormancy period as we northerners know it... so i kept it inside over the winter, plenty of light, didnt feed it and reduced watering some... it slowly lost ALOT of leaves, then by early spring almost ALL the leaves... but now its been outside for about a month or better and it is in full flush again...

so, not sure if i did that correctly, but i would say dont panic yet.

re: the soil - if it had peat moss as a component that was allowed to COMPLETELY dry out, that could be part of the problem as that stuff has trouble re-wetting once COMPLETELY drying out (i learned that yesterday)...

kevin

this is him last summer right before a haircut
(in the square pot)


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Re: What's up Doc?

Post  Oleg6 on Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:49 pm

Thanks for your reply Kevin, while the watering and soil mix is good advice, the end of the first post was about how different the two places are. I wonder if it has ever seen any leaf drop/dormancy at all. I bought this in the spring so if this constitutes a rest it is completely out of sync with our seasons. Further the humidity level it was in @ the greenhouse was incredible no wonder it didn't need watering, I was thinking it ideally wants to live off humidity, which makes me wonder if leaves grown under those circumstances are capable of transpiration at all. It seems to have a very slow metabolism, then I throw into an environment that is dry, add a breeze and the soil dries out every day and daily watering means daily fertilizing with the slow release on top, which made me want to get it out of that soil as soon as I can. I am now thinking that while there is bound to be a reaction to such a move if you shouldn't plan on changing everything, soil, fertilizer even expect the tree to lose the leaves grown in that climate for that climate. I have now soaked it for ten min. and it's much heavier than top watering, I'll wait and see if it's better outside.

Chris

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Re: What's up Doc?

Post  beer city snake on Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:05 pm

right... mine came from hot and humid (brussells bonsai) to wisconsin (cool and dry when i bought him)...
so like yours, big change, but maybe not as drastic as yours...

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Re: What's up Doc?

Post  Zach Smith on Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:35 am

Chinese elms can be touchy when something changes, e.g., their location or watering habits. Usually after a round of yellowing leaves and leaf drop they sprout back out. Interesting example on my end: after weeks of drought we got into a rainy spell of rain every day for going on two weeks now. I have a large landscape Chinese elm that yellowed and dropped a lot of leaves after it had rained for a week. But it'll recover.

You should keep your elm outdoors throughout the growing season, and if possible during dormancy (cold frame or similar to protect the roots). It takes a LOT of skill to grow bonsai indoors.

Good luck!

Zach

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Re: What's up Doc?

Post  Oleg6 on Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:36 pm

Thanks for the advise the crisis may be over, it seems to have stopped losing leaves, and I have some buds starting now! What would you say about changing the soil, should it wait until next spring?

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Re: What's up Doc?

Post  Zach Smith on Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:11 am

As long as the soil drains well when you water the tree, I'd leave it till next year and then repot using a good, well-draining soil. You can inspect and trim (if needed) the roots at that time.

Zach

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Re: What's up Doc?

Post  Oleg6 on Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:37 am

Thanks will do Zach.

Chris

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Re: What's up Doc?

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