What to do with a lacebark elm?

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What to do with a lacebark elm?

Post  Curdog1960 on Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:59 pm

I'm 57 years old, live in central Indiana, and weather is getting cool. A couple of years ago, I bought some lacebark elm seedlings from the Arbor Day Foundation to work with. Elms were chosen since the grow fast, and knowing that I'm starting this hobby late, fast might be a good thing Smile

In spring, I saw one trunk with a caliper of 2 inches, so I chopped it at 4 inches high after the leaves hardened off. Then unfortunately I had some chest pains, ended up in a hospital where I had cardiac bypass surgery and was unable to do anything with the tree.

In the short period of time when I was rehabilitating, the tree grew from the 4 inch trunk chop to about 7 feet! Yup, they do grow fast lol. Anyway, my situation is what to do next and when? Do I chop the trunk at 8 inches and leave in the ground, do I chop and move to a pot, or something else? And... should I do it now before it's cold, wait until next spring at bud break, wait till the leaves harden off?

Any advice would be most appreciated.

Curdog1960
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Re: What to do with a lacebark elm?

Post  JudyB on Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:16 pm

Best to wait till spring to do the work, as root work can be dangerous this time of year if you cannot give the proper overwintering conditions. As to what you should do, depends on what you envision for the final tree. If you want a trunk with larger proportions, then you'll be in the ground for another year or more depending on how large you want. I would begin to work on the nebari even in the ground, as in placing over a tile to get that sideways instead of downward roots developing. That means digging in spring working the roots and replanting. Pots will slow your tree down so you would wait until you have the basic trunk you are after.

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Re: What to do with a lacebark elm?

Post  Curdog1960 on Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:57 am

Thanks for the reply. The original plan was to grow the tree until it reached 2 inch caliper, then using the general rule of 6:1 for a 12 inch tall tree, chop at 4 inches and pick a new leader. Let the leader grow until it's half of the caliper of the base, then chop again. I don't recall where I picked up that proportion but it seemed to make sense. Over the summer, even after the initial trunk chop, the base grew another half inch. I think what I'll do is dig up in spring and look at the root flare. I'm inclined to move to a training pot at its current dimensions, if the roots look good otherwise, back in the ground it will go.

Thanks again- have a good evening Smile

Joe

Curdog1960
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Re: What to do with a lacebark elm?

Post  Marty Weiser on Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:43 pm

My experience with fast growing deciduous trees in the ground is that one or two roots dominate and it is difficult to get a good nebari. Even with root pruning the root growth tends to be uneven. Putting it in a training box for a year or two can help even out the roots since the overall growth rate is more controlled. I have then put them back in the ground over a plate for some more thickening. Just my experience since I imagine that commercial prebonsai growers manage to get the good nebari strictly in the ground.

Marty Weiser
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Re: What to do with a lacebark elm?

Post  augustine on Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:57 pm

If the new section provides taper use it. Also do your research or join a club so that you learn how to do everything at the right time.

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