Please help.

leemartinezJuly 21, 2014

Hello everyone, My name is Lee and i am new to bonsai, i have a chinese elm which i dont think quite has the ideal bonsai look. I have included pictures and would really appreciate any advice on how you would prune this plant to help it grow a more tree like appearance. Or any advice on what you personally would do with this tree. Thank you for taking the time to help me out.

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Elm is a temperate climate plant. Should be outside.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 8:30AM
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bononnie(z6 CT,US)

Hi -- several things to say:
1. be careful about well-meant but incorrect advice.
2. find a local bonsai club and join it.
3. read bonsai books -- I especially recommend authors Paul Lesniewicz, Colin Lewis & Stan Gustafson for beginners; also look for anything with pictures (inspiration).
4. bonsai seems to be a trial & error thing -- learn by doing. Sorry, but some trees die. Don't be discouraged.
5. your tree: I like Chinese elm for a beginner because it grows fast (makes you give it attention) and gives quick satisfaction. It is deciduous & while I don't know weather in England, here in Connecticut, US, it is marginally winter hardy (ie: winter in an unheated garage or basement unless you know).
6. your tree: soil does not look like usual bonsai soil & may be wet. Suggest you repot (with root trim if necessary) using traditional soil -- ask at the club, else find a mail order place -- should be gritty stuff. (Is a bit expensive.) I water daily till it runs out bottom. (My trees live outside all year; only some come inside Dec to March).
7. your tree: nice if common trunk shape but way too little foliage -- let it fill in: Usually, let branches grow to 6 or 8 leaves (more at first) then cut back to 2 -- always use clean, sharp tools. In your case, maybe let them grow longer, to thicken, then trim short to make side branches.
8. your tree long view: classic triangle shape is started -- I suggest trim to that outline. Some straight branches there are candidates for wiring. Good down-bent branch & back branch with clear front to show off trunk. Top has potential, too.
9. enjoy!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 3:34PM
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Thank you very much for taking the time to help me out bononnie. You have been more than helpful. Take care :)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 5:19PM
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