Chinese Elm Restyle ideas please

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Chinese Elm Restyle ideas please

Post  shane martin on Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:18 pm

I've had this tree for around 25 years and nearly lost it 2 years ago when out of the blue branches started dying all over the tree. It was a heavily domed look with great ramification, (sorry can't find any old pics) and now this is it's current state. After nursing it back to health, I feel this needs a lot of work to make a good looking bonsai again.
Ideas please......

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Re: Chinese Elm Restyle ideas please

Post  JimLewis on Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:23 pm

To my eye (others undoubtedly will differ) the tree is too tall and those two lower branches are MUCH too heavy.

At (I) I think I'd chop (or air layer; it might make a lovely shohin).

At (II) I'd wire one of those two branches up and create a new leader.

And at (III) I'd chop both branches, (leaving a stub).

Then, it'll look like nothing much, but fertilize heavily and let it be for a good while to see what new sprouts -- and it should sprout liberally.


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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Chinese Elm Restyle ideas please

Post  coh on Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:33 pm

Hmm, the problem I see with Jim's approach is that long, straight, non-tapered trunk segment between his chop at (I) and the lowest branches at (III). I'd be tempted to cut back even further, perhaps halfway between the lower branch at position (II) and (III), near where that branch comes off to the left. I would definitely air layer the top, agree with Jim about that making a nice small tree.

I'd also be a bit concerned about what caused all the branch die back - was it a tough winter? Or is there a soil/root problem? Did you repot it after all the die back? Did it grow vigorously this year, or is it kind of limping along? There still look to be a number of dead twigs in there.

Chris

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Re: Chinese Elm Restyle ideas please

Post  drgonzo on Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:39 pm

Rather than try to take away from the tree, what I would do if it were mine would be to take it out of the bonsai pot, and pot it up in a 5 gallon and let it grow wild for a year or two to truly fill in, then revisit the tree and re-style. But I like "Far view" trees so to me the tall narrow look is pleasing, but not everyone likes that style of Bonsai.

I am also curious If you figured out what caused your die back.
-Jay

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Re: Chinese Elm Restyle ideas please

Post  marcus watts on Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:17 pm

no chopping for me either.

after 25 years something must have changed drastically - pot, soil, feed or water? as long as you revert to the first 23 years care it will regrow to its former glory very quickly - as Jay says, out of the bonsai pot, into a big pot and let loose with feed - 2 seasons to regain vigour and a hard root prune, back into a bonsai pot and keep feeding - slow release pellets and liquid as well - soon it will be domed all over ! Very Happy

regards Marcus

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Re: Chinese Elm Restyle ideas please

Post  shane martin on Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:55 am

Thanks guys for your thoughts and suggestions. I did give the layering and chop idea much thought over the past winter, and unfortunately due to work commitments just didn't get the necessary time to devote to this tree, and have missed it's ideal repot time. We're just coming to the end of a very warm Spring down here, and this is all the growth the tree has put on, so something is definitely not right with this tree. Do you think I should 5 gallon it now or wait?
Not sure exactly what caused it's dieback, but a few years ago we lost the best part of our entire collection.... 20 or so trees, some of my oldest and best, which all died a very slow death over a 2 to 6 year period depending on the species. These trees were older than my children, and are still sadly missed. 40yr old cedars, junipers, maples, and my entire Mame collection.
We were stumped for years as to why these trees which had been with us for over 25yrs, moving through 3 states, a wide range of climates all survived until we moved here. A wonderful sub tropical climate perfect for bonsai we thought.
What we didn't know, was a particular tree which was growing about 20 feet from the bonsai area, was 'seasonly' raining a deadly mist down on our trees, helped by regular light southerly winds.
It was a beautiful tree, some 50ft high, amazingly beautiful bark, incredible ramification..... wonderful looking tree.....
however this deadly mist was slowly but surely suffocating our trees. Totally clueless that this was the cause, when a tree died on that end of the bench, I would innocently replace it with another, and over time it would get sick also.
Ironically, it was a friend of mine who one day bought over her sick Japanese Maple for me to rescue, when she noticed the culprit for the first time and said loudly...."Is that a Cadagi Tree????" and pointed to the Australian native. I said 'I had no idea what it was.... isn't it beautiful???'. She informed me that it was a horribly noxious tree, and had one at her place, and said that everything that she planted under or near this tree died!
http://www.zabel.com.au/cadgai-tree.html for your interest.
We've since had the tree removed and to date have not had any further fatalities.
This Elm may well have been the only surviving tree, being positioned the furtherest from the Cadagi and under shadecloth. I really cannot say, but on last inspection, the pot was full of what looked to be very healthy roots. The soil had no unusual odour, and is still free draining.

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Re: Chinese Elm Restyle ideas please

Post  drgonzo on Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:08 pm

I'd say pot it up now, just keep it watered.
-Jay

Ps VERY interesting story about that Cadgai tree. The "Death" tree.

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Re: Chinese Elm Restyle ideas please

Post  coh on Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:29 pm

That's a really sad story! Losing a collection like that is hard to imagine. I'm glad you finally figured out the cause and that you should be able to save this elm. Sounds like the resin from those trees cause big problems for some of the local bee population as well.

Good luck and keep us posted. I would work on getting the tree back to full health before considering any significant changes, such as chopping.

Chris

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Chinese Elm

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:31 am

Remember that the canopy in nature is as round as a lollipop.
Iris

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Re: Chinese Elm Restyle ideas please

Post  JimLewis on Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:44 am

bonsaisr wrote:Remember that the canopy in nature is as round as a lollipop.
Iris


YES!

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Chinese Elm Restyle ideas please

Post  Guest on Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:02 am

JimLewis wrote:
bonsaisr wrote:Remember that the canopy in nature is as round as a lollipop.
Iris


YES!

Yup. It is not a pine tree. or should look something like a deciduous tree.

..and I think this thread should be in the bonsai section.

regards,
jun Smile

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Re: Chinese Elm Restyle ideas please

Post  shane martin on Thu Nov 24, 2011 2:00 pm

jun wrote:
JimLewis wrote:
bonsaisr wrote:Remember that the canopy in nature is as round as a lollipop.
Iris


YES!

Yup. It is not a pine tree. or should look something like a deciduous tree.

..and I think this thread should be in the bonsai section.

regards,
jun Smile

I agree about the canopy completely.... before its setback it had exactly that... a broad round top about 2/3 the spread of the first 2 branches and full of ramification. This apex is purely accidental and only the result of carefree pruning. Just wanted to slowly regain the trees health more than anything.

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Re: Chinese Elm Restyle ideas please

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