First time Bonsai owner. Some help identifying it?

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First time Bonsai owner. Some help identifying it?

Post  Oakhill on Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:48 pm

Hi guys.
So i acquired my first bonsai almost a week ago. The label tells me it's a Zelkova but for all i know it might as well be a chinese elm.
Since im new to this i've been reading up a whole lot about how to care for my new friend, but i would love some tips and guidance on how to keep it happy and healthy:)

-It's a bit messy but i don't want to prune it too much this early, but i did removed some of the really rebellious branches.
-Fertilizer is ordered online and i believe it might arrive tomorrow or the following day. this is also a reason that i don't want to prune it all that much yet.
-I have had some trouble finding a local store that sell suiting pots, so i think i might have to find one online. recomendations on size and depth would be very much appreciated:)

Front of leaf

Back of leaf

Some scars i believe is from wiring

Here are some moss i acquired from a cactus growing in mud, hopefully it will grow and become a "grassy" field

I would really appreciate some thoughts on how to shape and prune it, and maybe someone knows wheter it's a Chinese Elm or a Zelkova.
Many thanks in advance:)


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Re: First time Bonsai owner. Some help identifying it?

Post  Bob Pressler on Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:31 pm

It is a Chinese elm. The easiest way to learn how to care for it is to join a local club. When I'm not sure what to do with a tree I'll start by taking out things that obviously don't contribute anything to the bonsai. Branches growing straight up off the primary branches can be shortened or removed. Same for branches growing off the bottoms of other branches. Branches that cross over other branches or trunk, or branches that grow into the trunk rather than away from the trunk can be removed. As you go through the tree cleaning it up the design will often reveal itself. Take your time and don't worry too much if you make a mistake elms are pretty forgiving.

Bob Pressler

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Re: First time Bonsai owner. Some help identifying it?

Post  Poink88 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:49 pm


Search/read about bonsai soils and consider replacing the soil later with good draining kind.

I personally would remove the moss but that is just my preference. Note that to keep those happy and green, you might inadvertently over water the tree. I will also remove the first branch growing up then to the left. Clean it up as Bob suggested and go from there. After main reduction and forming (where you are now), I clean mine from trunk out (unless when it is too tight). This way, I don't remove conflicting branch with something that is attached to a main branch that need to go away later (else I might end up without both).

When trimming branches, note that you can either cut and grow or wire. If the branch is still flexible, it is worth considering. When trimming, also note where the last node is pointing. That is where most likely the new strongest growth will come and you want it pointed to the right direction.

Nice tree to start with!


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Re: First time Bonsai owner. Some help identifying it?

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