amazing bark! what is it??

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i collected a few of these. the bark is unbeleivable and for some reason i think it may be an elm. can anyone identify it? it appears also to have a disease.. will this kill the tree?? i don't know where to begin... plz help!
 

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rockm

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It is a winged elm, or wahoo elm. It doesn't make very good bonsai, especially if you're working with a smaller tree like this one. The twigs also put on those corky ridges which makes them difficult to work with and rather odd looking overall...

I have one that I'm growing out in the ground to get a decent trunk--like over six inches.

I have also noticed with this species there is a tendency towards (sometimes extreme) inverse taper where the trunk meets the soil. The cork bark is sometimes suppressed by the surrounding soil and the lower trunk looks like it's been "choked" .
 
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It may be a winged elm (ulmus alata). The leaves look right, but I don't see any corky growth on the twigs. That's a variable characteristic, however. The growths on the leaves are leaf galls, probably the result of mites. They won't severly damage your tree, but are unsightly. I had them on my elm this Spring, too. Just cut off the affected leaves and destroy them.
Oliver
 

rockm

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The corky wings on twigs start in rough patches like the patches on the twigs here and expand as the branch grows. New growth is smooth, but "roughens up" as the twig lignifies. In a few growing seasons (or as few as one), twigs can have 1/2 inch tall ridges all along them.

FWIW, although the corky growth is most prominent in Ulmus Alata, it can also appear on other elm species. I've had corky growth on my cedar elm for years, although it's never very pronounced and can be easly dealt with (or even ignored, if the tree is big enough)
 
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thanks rockm and oliver.

i thought that the "corky" growth was a good thing. thats what attracted me to the plant initially. its true there is a bit of choking inverse taper hapening at the very base. I suppose i will try my luck anyway and see what happens. maybe i'll have to look for a larger one. the soil was so rocky when i dug these all i used was a screwdriver and a tiny saw.

I'm gonna research winged elm.
 

rockm

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FWIW, I have seen some pretty dramatic trunks on these in the woods around here. The best trunks tend to be 10-15 inches in diameter and could be chopped into very large bonsai (if I had the energy to dig the darn things). Using large to extremely large stock minimizes the weird factor on the twigging and looks to mostly eliminate the "necking" at soil level.

However, it doesn't minimize the difficulties of wiring those corky branches effectively or without damaging the cork. I have heard some people cut the ridges off of limbs or pare it down using x-acto knives (which sound exhausting just writing about it).

I am hopeful the one I replanted will grow large enough to work on in a few years. Like most elms, they are vigorous growers and pretty tough when it comes to trunk chops and root reduction.
 

treebeard55

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Yes, the "bumps" on the leaves are galls, and are actually the plant's reaction to some irritant. As Oliver said, they're unsightly but rarely injurious.

But I'm not sure what to think of the brown spots.
 

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