Sick Chinese Elm--newbie needs some advice.

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Sick Chinese Elm--newbie needs some advice.

Post  Wikkan on Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:20 pm

Forgive me if I ramble but I like to give a back story.  I'm in Milwaukee, WI, so my tree going outside is out of the question most of the year, and live in an apartment building with nowhere to put it outside.  

I bought a five-year-old Chinese Elm in November.  It had spider mites like crazy, but the company wouldn't take it back, I treated with soapy water sprays daily and they seemed to go away, especially after every leaf on the darn thing fell off of it.  

The leaves began to grow back soon after, bright green and happy but appeared to have tiny black dots on them and aphids (tiny white bugs that look like I think an aphid looks from internet research).  I again used soapy water sprays repeatedly.  The black dots have retreated somewhat, the aphids appear to be gone for the most part.  I can't always tell, even with a magnifier as my eyesight is poor but my friend tells me it looks better.  Leaves grow like crazy now but then turn yellow and brown and fall off quickly.  I used a 1/2 teaspoon of fertilizer in January.  

I water twice per week from the top after the soil became soaked and fungus began to grow on the trunk from the daily watering the bonsai company recommended (8-10 oz daily).  I keep the humidity tray below full and it appears to pull water from that into the clay pot and the soil is always damp, but not saturated.

It lives at my office on my desk in a fairly dry environment under a desk light (tried a grow light and it hated it!).  The light is on for about 9-10 hours per day and all the time on the weekends.  It shares the desk and that lamp with a shamrock plant, but the shamrock has a separate grow light during the week.  I don't have natural lighting available at work and am afraid if I take it home, the cats will eat it.  I didn't realize when I bought it that it wouldn't do well inside.  

Any advice how I can make it a little happier?  I know I'm not doing well by it, but am not sure what to do next.  It obviously has pests, but I can't treat with pesticides at work.

I've included some pictures but am not sure exactly what to capture so just got some general pics. Sorry, but I think they are sideways...not sure how to fix that!  

Thank you for reading this far!  Very Happy



Wikkan
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Re: Sick Chinese Elm--newbie needs some advice.

Post  M. Frary on Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:39 am

The one thing you can do to make it happy immediately is to put it outsude. For most of the year. Then adequate winter protection. These are temperate outdoor trees.
Not houseplants.

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Re: Sick Chinese Elm--newbie needs some advice.

Post  Wikkan on Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:49 pm

I wish I could, but live in an apartment building with no outside access, nor a balcony. It simply is not an option.

I sincerely appreciate your advice, however!

Wikkan
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Re: Sick Chinese Elm--newbie needs some advice.

Post  Zach Smith on Sun Apr 03, 2016 2:15 pm

If the tree can't go outside, your only other option is to repot with suitable bonsai soil. It appears your tree is potted in standard potting soil, which is death for bonsai. Buy some good quality bonsai soil and then repot, removing all of the bad soil. Mind you, the odds are way against you but this may help.

Zach

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Re: Sick Chinese Elm--newbie needs some advice.

Post  Wikkan on Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:20 pm

That I can do! Thanks much!

Very Happy

Wikkan
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Re: Sick Chinese Elm--newbie needs some advice.

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:46 pm

hey wikkan !

i am in milwaukee too... and yes, the advice you have rcvd is what i would suggest too...

however if you are free tomorrow night, the MBS (milwaukee bonsai society) has their monthly meeting which is open to the public at boerner botanical gardens in whitnal park... http://www.milwaukeebonsai.org/bonsai_schedule.html

and seeing guest artist peter tea in action would be worth the price of (free) admission !

you could bring the tree with you and get some direct eye-ball advice, along with picking up some proper soil, along with systemic insecticide and fungicide (ok to use at work as it is just tiny pellets applied to the soil...)

but that will still not address your light concern, which is a big one...
possibly addressable with lights that may not be acceptable at work, which brings it back home and to the cats...

an outdoor tree like that may not be the best choice for you...
but there are other species that might be more suitable to your available conditions...

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Re: Sick Chinese Elm--newbie needs some advice.

Post  Bonsai Jay on Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:21 pm

affraid
I have some of the same symptoms with my Chinese Elm!
I have not seen any mites of any parasitic activity at all, but the drying out leaves and wilting are exactly alike. Confused
Also - Im not sure how many of the parasite species are habitable in Scotland, obviously mites, Weevil etc.. are

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Re: Sick Chinese Elm--newbie needs some advice.

Post  M. Frary on Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:47 am

Bonsai Jay wrote:affraid
I have some of the same symptoms with my Chinese Elm!
I have not seen any mites of any parasitic activity at all, but the drying out leaves and wilting are exactly alike. Confused
Also - Im not sure how many of the parasite species are habitable in Scotland, obviously mites, Weevil etc.. are
Is it inside too? That's the problem with this tree.

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Re: Sick Chinese Elm--newbie needs some advice.

Post  Bonsai Jay on Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:47 am

Well, at least I maybe a candidate for the  What a Face "IBC Alternate Logical Genius'' booby-prize trophy Laughing
My truest than you on your help X

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Re: Sick Chinese Elm--newbie needs some advice.

Post  fiona on Wed Apr 06, 2016 10:23 am

Hahahahaha. I think we will offer that one up as an annual award, Jay.

With regard to pests on a Chinese Elm being grown indoors in Scotland, your most likely "murderers" will be good old-fashioned greenfly. If it can be resident at a mate's garden over the summer, then that would be a plan. If nothing else you can always blame the mate if it goes toes up. LOL

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Re: Sick Chinese Elm--newbie needs some advice.

Post  M. Frary on Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:38 pm

I'm sorry for that. Kind of.

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Re: Sick Chinese Elm--newbie needs some advice.

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