American Elm Problem

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American Elm Problem

Post  Jake16 on Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:26 pm

So my american elm was very late to wake up this year and after a trunk chop it only grew to small branches each with four to five leaves. After first extending they seemed to stop growing and then died off. Then more buds and more growth but they are doing to same thing. Any ideas?

Jake16
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Re: American Elm Problem

Post  coh on Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:53 pm

More info needed. Is the tree in a pot or the ground? If it is potted, when was the last repot (or when was it collected) and what kind of soil is it in? How did it do last season? What kind of winter storage did you provide? Did you do the chop before or after it started growing this season?

My best guess based on what you provided is that the root system is gone or very weak and cannot support the new growth. Please post a photo showing what is happening to the new growth.

coh
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Re: American Elm Problem

Post  Jake16 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 12:53 am

It is potted. It did great last year and this is only its second year in that pot . Its in s 60/30 mix 60 being soil, 30 being aggregate. The chop was right before the buds started to swell. The levees have fallen off bit the grew out and stayed the size of a Chinese elm. Last year they were three to four inches long.

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Re: American Elm Problem

Post  Jake16 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 12:55 am

Winter care was on a porch behind some chairs to deflect wind and next to a heated house. My other elm is doing fine.

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Re: American Elm Problem

Post  JudyB on Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:34 pm

Given your soil mix, it could be overwatering and root rot. Is it draining well when you water?

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Re: American Elm Problem

Post  Norma on Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:49 pm

Hi Jake, I've been training a small leaf Siberian elm for 20 yrs. I use a soil mix that would be 20% organic (pine bark) and the rest aggregate! Your soil mix probably holds too much water. Once the roots start growing in the spring sending shoots, it's time to repot but if I knew my tree was in trouble I would check the roots and change the potting mix.

My elm is considered a weed in Minnesota , it may be quite different than an American elm. I don't think many growers like the American elm because of it's huge leaves and may not take to the pot. It would be interesting to hear from successful American elm bonsai growers.

Good luck ,
Norma

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Re: American Elm Problem

Post  Jake16 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:47 pm

Thanks everyone for the replies. I guess I'll just do an emergency repot on the elm. I originally put it in 60/30 because the soil where it was collected was wet all the time so I assumed that I liked a wetter soil mixture.

Norma,

The funny thing is that I can only assume that it is an american elm. The elms around my house have cross bred with each other it is hard to tell what they are, but its characteristics are closer to an american elm.

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Re: American Elm Problem

Post  Jake16 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:23 am

It was the roots. It's reported now, do I set it in the shade, part sun or full sun?

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Re: American Elm Problem

Post  coh on Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:29 am

Again, more info needed. How bad were the roots? Does it have foliage right now? If so, I'd probably give it some limited morning sun for a week or two and see how it responds. Also keep it out of the wind. If there is no foliage right now...I'd give it a lot more sun.

Photos would really help...

coh
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Re: American Elm Problem

Post  Jake16 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:43 am

Sorry:) I thought yall could read minds. The roots were pretty bad I saw no new growth. The tree has no foliage what so ever.

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Re: American Elm Problem

Post  M. Frary on Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:47 am

I have all three kinds. American,Siberian and their intermixed baby I call the Simerican elm. I would post a picture of each but can't on this forum with my phone. So I will give a description of each. For flat out growth the pure Siberian is the hands down winner. It has bright green leaves about the same size as Chinese elm(got a few of those too). They also are prolific root growers. It also has a craggy bark with vertical fissures.
The American elm grows fast but not nearly as much as the Siberian elm. It does have larger leaves that are about the same color as Siberian elm and Chinese elm a nice green. They also grow roots well. The leaves can be reduced to less than 1/2" in length if you keep on them. Their bark is also craggy but more plate like. Kind of like my corkbark Chinese elms.
Now for the hybrid Simerican elm. Grows almost as fast as Siberian. Bark more like American elm. Leaves same size as Siberian. Color is the easiest way to tell them apart from all other elms. The leaves are almost blue. These also grow roots like mad. I've got them all on pots in a mixture of 90% Napa floor dry and 10% turkey grit. They all like moist well draining soil. I water every day except on Wednesday and Sunday they get fertilized. Miracle gro at twice the recommended strength. They love it. 5to6 feet of growth in a year on Siberian and Simerican. A little over 4 feet on American elm. They all blow the Chinese elms out of the water at just over 3 feet in a year.
I have to repot all elms every year because they grow so many roots they will push up out of the pot if I don't.
I'm not sure what your 60% soil is. I hope not potting soil or any organic for that matter. It just isn't needed. It holds water which leads to root rot. Especially on elms.
Were your roots dark or white? Did they smell? And like everyone says a picture is worth a thousand words. It sounds like a root problem of some kind.
These things are the easiest trees to collect out of all of the trees I've dug up. Sometimes I only keep 2 to 4 roots after cutting off the tap root. So if this doesn't make it don't take it as a loss. Go dig up a larger one and give it a good chop. I have 6 of each. Plus various kinds of Chinese elm.

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Re: American Elm Problem

Post  Jake16 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:40 pm

The roots were dark. No smell. I had a juniper so the same thing and it bounced back after I put a day draining mixture in it. I use soil but I sift it until its mostly pine bark

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Re: American Elm Problem

Post  M. Frary on Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:52 pm

I quit using pine bark. It turns gooey after a while and retains too much moisture. I had root rot on a seiju elm and repotted it in my current mixture. It pulled through and is going stronger than ever.

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Re: American Elm Problem

Post  coh on Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:13 pm

So, to review - no growing root tips and no leaves at all, right? Probably not coming back. If you scratch under the bark, is it still green? If so, there may still be life in it.

When you say the roots were brown, were they soft/squishy and easily broken, or pretty solid? Roots can be brown and perfectly healthy.

Anyway, based on everything you've written I'm guessing the tree isn't coming back. I'd just set it someplace where it gets at least morning sun (amount of sun really shouldn't matter since there are no leaves), water sparingly, and hope. When I encounter trees with root problems, I'll repot in a medium that has minimal organic content. Stuff like perlite or especially pumice is very good and is often used for recently collected trees that need to establish new root systems.

Good luck! Let us know what happens.

Chris

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Re: American Elm Problem

Post  Jake16 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:23 pm

They were brown and parts were soft but not all. It is still green under the bark

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Re: American Elm Problem

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