A little advice and help please..? πŸ™‚

Lottie

Seedling
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#1
Okay so this is Frank...I've had for a week and a half. When he arrived he had green leaves with little black dots on, now since then, some leaves have been going yellow and they still continue to have a few black spots on some of them. Also they keep falling off occasionally. And some of the leaves are a bit holey. Any clues as to why and any advice on what to do? I don't want Frank to die this soon!! I have added a few pics to show you. Any help be gratefully received πŸ™‚
 

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#2
Frank is a Chinese Elm I believe. My elms get yellow leaves and drop every once in awhile. I see some new leaves on Frank and his general appearance looks healthy. Overall, I think he is healthy. You might want to think about replacing his soil. I am not familiar with re-potting schedules in the UK, maybe someone else will chime in and give you an idea if now is a good time to do that. Good luck with Frank and welcome to bnut!
 

Lottie

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#3
Frank is a Chinese Elm I believe. My elms get yellow leaves and drop every once in awhile. I see some new leaves on Frank and his general appearance looks healthy. Overall, I think he is healthy. You might want to think about replacing his soil. I am not familiar with re-potting schedules in the UK, maybe someone else will chime in and give you an idea if now is a good time to do that. Good luck with Frank and welcome to bnut!
Yes he is a Chinese Elm πŸ™‚ Okay thanks for the advice. I think it's some of the newer leaves that are going yellow, not 100% sure though. Can I just ask why do you think I'd need to replace the soil? Also what type of soil would you recommend to use for a Chinese Elm?
 
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#4
The newer leaves will be a little paler in color before they completely mature and turn that dark green color. The ones that are yellow are older leaves it looks like to me. Soil....you are going to get me in trouble here! Bonsai soil is a contentious topic around here. Everyone has their preferences, which makes sense since we all live in different zones. In general, bonsai soil needs to be well draining and allow for fine root development. My soil includes things that are going to retain water a bit (akadama/DE) but still allow the water to flow out rather quickly. I suspect your mix in the UK would be totally different. With that being said, are there any fellow UK bonsai folks who would be willing to give Lottie a bit of a hand with soil composition in the UK?
 
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#5
I think it's some of the newer leaves that are going yellow, not 100% sure though. Can I just ask why do you think I'd need to replace the soil?
Elms and all plants in pots will get yellowing or drop some leaves sometimes, it's normal. My Elms hate when I move them around, and they show it by yellowing its leaves.
As for the soil; maybe a more aerated soil (looser, more inorganic particles, free draining) could help you water the Elm with no risk of overwatering. And, they usually like a mostly non organic soil, if you provide the fertilizer.
 

rockm

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#7
You are finding out why it is not good to keep elms indoors. The soil in this pot is too heavy and won't drain. The leaves are dropping because the roots underneath are rotting from being kept too wet and the tree is not getting nearly enough light or air circulation. Elms --and all other plants-- don't like to be indoors. They can tolerate it if they get the correct care, but that care is learned over a period of time. Keeping indoor bonsai is the most difficult way to get into the hobby because you're complicating the care and have to make informed adjustments about what to do. "Outdoor" bonsai are much more forgiving...

. If I were you, I'd get the tree into new bonsai soil (which fools beginners because it doesn't really look like soil, more like gravel) from Herons? where you got this.

Then, I'd get it outside in full sun and learn how to water (another difficult task that becomes even more so inside).
 
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#8
You need to repot immediately, that soil is holding too much water.
No need for panic.
IF the organic soil it's been growing in ( it's alive, isn't it?) is holding up a lot of moisture, water the tree less for the moment.
There are many examples of centuries old bonsai thriving in "not modern" soil.
When the time is right in the season and the tree is healthy, yes, repot it in less organic soil.
 
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#9
No need for panic.
IF the organic soil it's been growing in ( it's alive, isn't it?) is holding up a lot of moisture, water the tree less for the moment.
There are many examples of centuries old bonsai thriving in "not modern" soil.
When the time is right in the season and the tree is healthy, yes, repot it in less organic soil.
Agree!
 

Lottie

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#10
Hello.
You need to repot immediately, that soil is holding too much water.
Why would it be holding too much water? When I water it, it leaks straight through into the drip tray, also I put my finger like a inch or so down into the soil before I water, and most of the time it is dry. So surely it's not holding water badly??
 

Lottie

Seedling
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#11
You are finding out why it is not good to keep elms indoors. The soil in this pot is too heavy and won't drain. The leaves are dropping because the roots underneath are rotting from being kept too wet and the tree is not getting nearly enough light or air circulation. Elms --and all other plants-- don't like to be indoors. They can tolerate it if they get the correct care, but that care is learned over a period of time. Keeping indoor bonsai is the most difficult way to get into the hobby because you're complicating the care and have to make informed adjustments about what to do. "Outdoor" bonsai are much more forgiving...

. If I were you, I'd get the tree into new bonsai soil (which fools beginners because it doesn't really look like soil, more like gravel) from Herons? where you got this.

Then, I'd get it outside in full sun and learn how to water (another difficult task that becomes even more so inside).
Hello, Thanks very much for the advice you have given me. Just a few things -
I don't believe the soil is holding water, as when I water my bonsai the water leaks straight through to the drip tray, and also before I water I put my finger inch or so into the soil and most of the time it's pretty dry. So surely these are signs it's not holding the water?

Lol also full sun isn't always possible in England, it's been miserable weather for 2 weeks here. - I do open the window where I've placed it indoors, so it has been getting air
 

Lottie

Seedling
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#12
No need for panic.
IF the organic soil it's been growing in ( it's alive, isn't it?) is holding up a lot of moisture, water the tree less for the moment.
There are many examples of centuries old bonsai thriving in "not modern" soil.
When the time is right in the season and the tree is healthy, yes, repot it in less organic soil.
No need for panic.
IF the organic soil it's been growing in ( it's alive, isn't it?) is holding up a lot of moisture, water the tree less for the moment.
There are many examples of centuries old bonsai thriving in "not modern" soil.
When the time is right in the season and the tree is healthy, yes, repot it in less organic soil.
Thankyou! I did start to panic haha.
I have only been watering it when the soil underneath the top layer is dry anyway πŸ™‚ Thanks for your advice
 

petegreg

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#14
We do not know if the tree was allowed to go dormant in the winter. They can survive without dormancy for two-three years and then they slowly decline. Old leaves turn from yellow to grey/brown... Be ready this will happen after new growth is pushed. Otherwise check for spider mites.
 
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#15
Hello, Thanks very much for the advice you have given me. Just a few things -
I don't believe the soil is holding water, as when I water my bonsai the water leaks straight through to the drip tray, and also before I water I put my finger inch or so into the soil and most of the time it's pretty dry. So surely these are signs it's not holding the water?

Lol also full sun isn't always possible in England, it's been miserable weather for 2 weeks here. - I do open the window where I've placed it indoors, so it has been getting air
it is not just about how much water it holds. That soil does not allow for oxygen/air circulation in the root ball, which, along with humidity, leads to poor root health. Conversely, even if not sunny out your tree will get much more light (much, much, much more light) outside than inside, especially the kind of light we cannot see. Trees are meant to be outside. They do not last long indoors. Better soild and living outdoors will make your tree a much happier tree.
Check bonsai4me guide to Chinese elms, the advice is geared towards the UK
 

rockm

Imperial Masterpiece
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#16
Hello, Thanks very much for the advice you have given me. Just a few things -
I don't believe the soil is holding water, as when I water my bonsai the water leaks straight through to the drip tray, and also before I water I put my finger inch or so into the soil and most of the time it's pretty dry. So surely these are signs it's not holding the water?

Lol also full sun isn't always possible in England, it's been miserable weather for 2 weeks here. - I do open the window where I've placed it indoors, so it has been getting air
The soil is a problem. It is muck, not soil. It looks like it's either dried through and is so dense it cannot be re-wet, shedding water, or becomes mud when water (even mud will drain slightly) The light is a significant problem. Even next to a window, inside the plant will not get significant sunlight. You're asking it to thrive in a cave, basically in a climate that is already cloudy and rainy outside...The low light and water deficiencies (over or under watering--both cause the same symptoms) will cause the yellowing and dropping of leaves, until the tree has none.

There is no easy way to keep Chinese elm inside. Simple as that. It can only tolerate the conditions (unless you invest significantly on high output lighting supplements, humidifiers and fans). If you must have indoor trees, trees of tropical origin--ficus, schefflera--are better candidates.
 
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#17
Hi welcome to the forum! Where in the UK are you?

Your tree looks like it has a few new shoots popping out now, so you could probably get away with re-potting it now. As mentioned by all above I would move it outside asap, these chinese elms are sold as indoor starter bonsai kits but they're really not indoor trees.
As for soil, if you don't want to start buying separate aggregates and mixing your own stuff I just buy pre-mixed universal soil from kaizen bonsai in the UK because I'm lazy and as yet have not spent enough time doing the reading into how to select the appropriate soils for different species etc.
I bought myself a load of this last year and have been using it for all my trees as none are actually in bonsai pots yet, but it should be fine for your tree as well. https://www.kaizenbonsai.com/premium-bonsai-compost-no2-new-improved-formula
 

Lottie

Seedling
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#18
Hi welcome to the forum! Where in the UK are you?

Your tree looks like it has a few new shoots popping out now, so you could probably get away with re-potting it now. As mentioned by all above I would move it outside asap, these chinese elms are sold as indoor starter bonsai kits but they're really not indoor trees.
As for soil, if you don't want to start buying separate aggregates and mixing your own stuff I just buy pre-mixed universal soil from kaizen bonsai in the UK because I'm lazy and as yet have not spent enough time doing the reading into how to select the appropriate soils for different species etc.
I bought myself a load of this last year and have been using it for all my trees as none are actually in bonsai pots yet, but it should be fine for your tree as well. https://www.kaizenbonsai.com/premium-bonsai-compost-no2-new-improved-formula
Hey, thanks. I live in Norfolk, you also from UK I would assume, where abouts? Oh brilliant, thanks for the helpful info and sharing the link with me, will think about getting some of that soil asap πŸ™‚
 
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#19
I'm down in Bristol. Just saw your other thread, I wouldn't worry about frosts even if you aren't completely out the clear up in your neck of the woods yet... it's been a weird end of winter into spring here this year hasn't it!
Elms can take a frost but if you have a shed or a garage then I'd pop it in there overnight as someone suggested. I left all my trees outside even when we had the 2 snowy weekends not long ago and they're all fine. I did put a couple of the shallower pots in my shed but the door never shuts so they got cold, just not snow covered.
 

Lottie

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#20
I'm down in Bristol. Just saw your other thread, I wouldn't worry about frosts even if you aren't completely out the clear up in your neck of the woods yet... it's been a weird end of winter into spring here this year hasn't it!
Elms can take a frost but if you have a shed or a garage then I'd pop it in there overnight as someone suggested. I left all my trees outside even when we had the 2 snowy weekends not long ago and they're all fine. I did put a couple of the shallower pots in my shed but the door never shuts so they got cold, just not snow covered.
Ahh cool, yeah I live in Norwich.

And yeah, very weird end to winter, felt as if it was never going to end!!

Oh right, well that's handy to know, they seem like such fragile things, especially when it comes to the horrible weather here this 'Spring'. Definitely will take your advice. πŸ˜ƒ
 

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