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Thread: Hokkaido Elm

  1. #1
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    Hokkaido Elm

    I thought people might enjoy photos of this truly impressive Hokkaido Elm pre-bonsai I saw today at one of my local nurseries. It is the largest I have ever seen. Its price was also impressive I wish I had been able to take better photos, but it was chained to the table and I couldn't get enough distance to get the entire tree in the right perspective. (My daughter is the grumpy model)






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    B-nut,

    You are right, that is one impressive Hokkiado elm. I too have never seen one that large. I also like the hi-tech security system this nursery uses. I assume from the chains that they have a problem with after hour visitors.

    I tried to grow Hokkiado elms here in Northeast Florida for 10 years with no success. I bought a small one in 1995 and started some cuttings the next year. They would grow great for a year or two then unexpectedly die. Each year I would start a few more cuttings to make up for the yearly losses. This cycle continued until a few years ago when I finally gave up on them. The trees would normally die in the spring after our short winter. I believe my losses were mainly caused by root rot due to our wet conditions.

    I also grow Seiju elm and have had a little more success with them. At least the entire tree does not normally die. The major problem with the Seiju has been die back of the fine twigs and branches. Again, this occurs is the spring after our short winter season. The trees will usually go into dormancy after the first freeze (normally early December) and drop their leaves. In the spring, (normally mid February) they will come out of dormancy. However, the fine twigs and branches just shrivel up and die. This has sure put a crimp in the development of my trees. Anyone have any ideas on this?

    Regards,
    Paul

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    I've wondered the same thing due to the exact same problem. Some years I get quite a bit die back. Doesn't seem to matter how cold it gets or doesn't get. Last year, my area (zone 9) hardly had any frost at all and had a lot of die back on both varieties. I moved plants under cover and covered them on frosty nights. Still had lots of die back. Why?
    Since Hokkaido/Seiju's are so prone to die back, how did this one get so big?
    M.B.

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    I also get a fair amount of die-back of small inner branches on Hokkaidos and Seijus in the Spring. I think it is due to wetness before the new growth has had a chance to harden. Perhaps a good anti-fungal treatment in the spring? I do not seem to have the same problem with new growth that pops mid-summer - even stuff that is very small and close to the trunk and shaded.

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    B-nut

    I was not refering to the die back of the new spring growth, I was refering to the die back of the previous seasons growth. My experience has been that the fine twigs and branches formed in the previous growing season have a tendancy to shrive up starting at the tips and die as the tree is coming out of winter dormancy. Sometimes the die back will even extend into two year old grow. On rare occasions, an entire branch will die and twice I have had what seemed to be well established trees just never come out of winter dormancy.

    This problem seemed to plague the Hokkiado elm more severly than the Seiju elm here in my area. That's why I finally gave up on them. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any partiuclar pattern to this die back. Some years, none of my Seiju's are affected. Some years, only a few are affected. Some years, they are all affected. As M.B. pointed out, it does not seem to be a temperature (too cold) problem that would kill the twigs. I have taken similar steps as M.B. during colder weather in my attempts to figure this one out. Results have been hit and miss.

    At this point, as I stated earlier, I am leaning towards some form root rot or other problem associated with cold and wet conditions around the roots when the tree is dormant. However, it is hard to determine exactly due to the timing. The normal soil conditions (bad smell and dead slimy roots) associated with severe root rot do not seem to be present when I pull the trees from their pots.

    It has been very frustrating to say the least.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Regards,
    Paul

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    I have similar problems with Hokkaido Elm. Finally, in order to revitalize the tree, I planted it in the ground this year. But it is very slow to recover, there is little growth this year. I am not sure whether or not it will make it through this season. When transplanting in the ground, I noticed that there were very few healthy roots left, although the the tree was growing in instant-draining, mostly inorganic medium. It is definitely prone to root rot.

    The seiju is also in the ground, and doing much better. However, the "regular" chinese elms (cork-bark) growing right next to the seiju are much more vigorous and have three times more growth.

    So, both the Hokkaido and Seiju seem to require special growing conditions, compared to most of the rest of the crowd.

    I wonder why, and what exactly are those conditions? Does anybody know any literature that addresses these problems?
    Last edited by Attila Soos; July 25th, 2008 at 02:29 PM.

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    Attila,

    I never had any luck growing the Seiju or the Hokkiado elms in the ground here in Northeast Florida. Never could figure out why. Once planted in the ground, they basically stopped growing. I got much better results planting them in larger growing containers during the developmental stages.

    Unfortunately, I have never come across any literature that addresses growing these types of elms successfully in small containers. That would be very useful information.

    Regards,
    Paul

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    I am rather heappy with my hokkaido elms. They do have more problems than other trees, like die back of branchlets, loss of whole branches. But by and large they do well. This seems to be a weak variety which probably could not survive in nature.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    The name "Hokkaido" suggests that this is a plant from a rather cool climate, so it may be that So. California and Florida are not the best places to grow them, unless they are grown with extreme care. The Seiju is a sport of Hokkaido, so it may require similar conditions.

    Hokkaido is the northermost island in Japan, hosted the winter olympics long time ago.

  10. #10
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    Well that sounds reasonable, but Walter is in a much cooler zone and still has die back. I think he might be right and they are just weaker.
    I will treat them like I do my Japanese white pine and ezo spruce, which also don't seem to appreciate the heat. I move them to only early morning sun once the weather starts to heat up (usually May or June). Placed on the ground and block the wind with some bigger plants. The wind can be like a blast furnace sometimes around here during our summers. Move them back to more sun once it cools down. Maybe not baby them so much in the winter and wait and see what happens.
    Hey, I was wondering when you repot your Hokkaidos. When fully dormant and no leaves breaking yet, or after leaves have started to break. I have two I need to move to training pots this coming spring.
    And I'd like to say "Thank you gentleman" for discussing a subject I for one have been wondering about for awhile.
    Mary B.

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