Chinese Elm(s)

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Chinese Elm(s)

Post  kmeng on Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:26 pm

Today I was rummaging around a nursery when I came across a nice Chinese Elm. With my very novice eye, it looked like a real candidate. Nice taper, good lines, a bit of reverse taper (but turning it fixes the issue). I want to put it in a larger pot for growth and vigor. Is it okay to get as much of the original soil around the roots off before I repot or should I keep as much as possible and keep the ball tight?

This is the tree that sparked me, it is about 15" tall and has about 2-3" caliper at the base


This is the condition of the pot currently, sorry it's blurred. I need to bring the soil up to the level of the root on the left (up in general) I think it will make for a nice nebari


When I showed my interest in this elm, the owner of the nursery said he had one that I could just have. It has an okay base and nice movement but the top half of the tree is dead. Which is sad because it could have some nice potential otherwise It has new sprouts all along the bottom below the thick branch on the left.


Can I lop the top half off or try to salvage it? The base needs some work but I could see it making a nice sumo. I was thinking about cutting the top off just below the branch on the left. I have cut into the cambian layer to see if there was any green and its all brown and dead


Sorry for such a long post but you know how the itch gets, especially for us new to the art. Now I have to figure out how to explain to my girlfriend I have two new trees...

Thanks for any input and advice
Kurt

kmeng
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Re: Chinese Elm(s)

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:44 pm

Good find.

Billy M. Rhodes
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Re: Chinese Elm(s)

Post  kmeng on Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:50 am

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:Good find.

Thanks Billy!

kmeng
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Re: Chinese Elm(s)

Post  Marty Weiser on Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:21 am

Most elms can be severely root pruned and root washed to repot. However, given that it is fairly well leafed out and your "novice" status I would not suggest it this year. I would put it into a larger diameter/shallower pot or box this year. The bottom of the pot will most likely be a mass of tangled roots - cut them off. I would then loosen the sides of the root mass and pot with good bonsai soil.

The second free elm might be your chance to learn about full repotting and root washing. It has far less foliage so cleaning the roots will be less stressful. In addition, the top die back may have resulted in or from some major root dieback and you will want to get rid of any rotten roots.

Marty Weiser
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Re: Chinese Elm(s)

Post  kmeng on Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:41 pm

Thanks Marty! I will take it easy on the first tree with the repot. I make my own soil w/ turface/mule-mix, chicken grit, and a bit of mushroom compost. And I look forward to working with the 2nd tree. It has some nice lines and good possibilities, maybe I can try my hand at some carving on the deadwood, maybe a raft, who knows? It will be a good "testing tree".

Kurt

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Re: Chinese Elm(s)

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