Chinese elm bonsai in dire need.

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Chinese elm bonsai in dire need.

Post  Viorel Tileaga on Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:05 pm

Hello to all,
I own a chines elm for 8 month now.
When I've bought it it had a rich crown and a healthy general look.
Around 5 Mont ago I had the dumb idea to use some fertilizer.
I have bought some special bonsai fertilizer from commerce and I have used it exactly as specified.
One cap for 2 litters bottle which I have used it for a week.
After a few weeks after this the leafs start to turn yellow and fell of . A few small branches from the top have also died.
I could not do anything else for this situation but to change the soil which I did.
I have bought special soil for bonsai and replace it .
After a month I could see now shoots and new leafs . Everything was ok until this new growth started to wither and fall of.
I have no idea what to do next to stop it die or why this is happening.
The soil does not retain much water . It has enough lite and warmth .
Can you help me with any advice?

Viorel Tileaga

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Re: Chinese elm bonsai in dire need.

Post  Thomas Urban on Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:07 am

Hi Viorel,

I am really sorry to hear your troubles with your Elm.

Some pictures would help but in general a really great way to cure any problem is the management of watering. Balance of water and oxygen.
It sounds like your tree is trying and wanting to live so that's a good sign. Don't fertilize at all and water when you see or feel that the soil is close to dry but not bone dry then water thoroughly again and wait until it's closer to being dry again but not bone dry.

In general, you don't need any special fertilizers, that is just marketing and anything will work.

I'm guessing you got or bought a tree that was sold as in "indoor" tree which Chinese elms can be but they can also be temperate as well. If it's been treated like a tropical though I would stick to that temperature range. Another point is, that these trees usually come with their original field soil and have some random Akadama thrown on top of them just to look good. These trees need to be re-potted into new substrate such as Akadama, pumice, lava, etc. and everything should be the same particle size so that you maintain a good balance of water and oxygen.

My little "indoor" elms have come inside now for about a month and many of them have dropped leaves due to the change in temperature, ideal outdoor conditions and amount of sunlight but they are now growing new leaves. It's always a struggle when they're indoors for about 6 months and not receiving that "tropical" amount of sun. I usually water these thoroughly about every 3 days. I now believe I have FINALLY figured out how to cultivate this species and it really comes down to giving them as much sun over the winter as possible and maintaining that balance.

So, just maintaining the balance of water and oxygen in your substrate, will do wonders and is the only thing you can really do.

I wish you luck and mainly, don't feel down or bad if the tree doesn't make it. This isn't the easiest species for someone who has just started and should not keep you from trying again with this hobby. A ficus on the other hand, is a great way to learn and start with this hobby.
Thomas Urban

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