Chinese Elm - Lost a quite a lot of leaves.

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Chinese Elm - Lost a quite a lot of leaves.

Post  spuker1 on Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:29 pm

Hi,

I'm a bit worried about my Chinese Elm. It was growing really strong throughout all the summer and is by far the most vigorous and healthy tree I own. I've made a deal with my neighbour who owns a garden to keep an eye on couple of my trees for me and I'll pop in every couple of days to check on them.

She's a keen agricultural amateur and her boyfriend works as a gardener so they know what they're doing so there's definitely no blame what so ever.

So this is how the tree looked like a month ago:



This is how it looked two weeks ago:





And this is how it looked today:



and after a trim:



So the leaves aren't really drying out or changing colour they just come off easily I think and it was quite windy for past couple of days so I think a lot of the foliage that has been lost have been blown off. Also it's probably too early for it to drop the leaves for it's dormancy (plus they would go yellow and red before they'd drop anyway)

Any clues what's going on? I'm really worried about this tree as it's my favourite one (yes, I know it's ugly lol)

Thanks,

Tom

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Re: Chinese Elm - Lost a quite a lot of leaves.

Post  DreadyKGB on Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:14 pm

Hi Tom,
Well looking at the pictures my initial guess would be over watering. It looks as though the tree is in a very organic mix and there may even be some algae growing on the top of the soil. If this is the case I would cut back on the watering a bit. Elms can be finicky and drop leaves (mine do). If you have some experience you can do a fall repot or wait until spring, but I would try to get it into a more free draining mix.

Todd

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Re: Chinese Elm - Lost a quite a lot of leaves.

Post  spuker1 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:48 am

Over watering was my first guess too...

Repotting into something more free draining was always the intention. Considering it has been repotted Spring 2014 when is the soonest I can safely repot it again? I won't have to disturb the roots at all probably (I've transfered entire rootball with the roots untouched and original soil as it was last time).

Although it's a bit weird because it has been in this soil for at least 5months now and it was nothing but super happy so far...

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Re: Chinese Elm - Lost a quite a lot of leaves.

Post  DreadyKGB on Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:45 pm

Well, if the last time you repotted it was in the spring but you didn't disturb the roots or change the soil it can be repotted in the fall or spring. Is this the original soil from when you acquired it? Soil has a tendency to compress and clump together, particularly if the mix has more organic components. You could just lift it from the pot and removed much of the old soil without cutting any roots and replaced it with a better soil mix. Elms are pretty tough, it just depends on your experience/ comfort and the aftercare you give it.

Todd

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Re: Chinese Elm - Lost a quite a lot of leaves.

Post  spuker1 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:10 am

The soil it was originally growing in was similar to what I've repotted it into but the original one had much more thick sand in the mix. The tree was quite rootbound and also I was hoping to grow bigger root system to get the tree growing out quicker so I moved it to this hugely oversized pot for this tree (probably about 6-8 times the size of what it was potted in before). I just untangled some of the roots that where outside the rootball and just planted it with all the soil and roots as they were and surrounded that with my soil mix that I've filled the rest of the pot with. The problem was that I've used only the bonsai compost stuff I've bought from the garden center. I was really clueless then and it said 'perfect for bonsai, fast draining soil' on the packaging so I thought that has to be true. It wasn't so after a week from repotting I took it out again, put a lot of ±1cm3 stones on the bottom of the pot and mixed that compost with some sand and finer stones. I've put the tree with it's rootball completeley untouched this time back in the pot and filled it up with the new soil mix. So it's much more draining than it was but it's still not what I was hoping to have my tree growing in. There are two factors that work in it's favour though. 1 - The soil it was originally in wasn't that compressed and it drains quick and 2 - the rootball is right next to that rock that I've planted that Elm next to so there is a lot of air going on there all the time as the rock moves about a bit and also water goes right down to the bottom along the stone surface so there's definitely a good air and water flow there.

Next time I'll repot it I'll probably mix a Tesco cat litter (cheaper and apparently better akadama substitute) with a bit of that compost and plant it in that. I've planted my Ilex Crenata in 90% cat litter 10% bonsai compost mix and it's super happy now. It was almost dead when I got it because it was growing in pretty much solid clay that was really wet all the time and also it stood about a week indoors in a garden center. Now it's growing strong and has 1/3 more foliage and lots of new little branches coming in....

So what you recon then? Autumn (October/November) or should I wait until spring. I intend to leave that Elm outside for entire winter (not sure if on it's own or in one of those small shelter/greenhouses yet).

Thanks! Smile

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Re: Chinese Elm - Lost a quite a lot of leaves.

Post  fiona on Wed Aug 13, 2014 11:58 am

Whereabouts in the UK are you?

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Re: Chinese Elm - Lost a quite a lot of leaves.

Post  spuker1 on Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:02 am

fiona wrote:Whereabouts in the UK are you?

Worcestershire

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