American Elm suitability

grog

Shohin
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American Elm are tough trees that grow like mad around here and a potential source of collected material along with mulberry, j. virginiana, and western hackberry(as soon as I find some of the hackberry around here anyways).

I've seen some nice looking ulmus americana over at KoB and was wondering if anyone has any experience/tips/tricks/supersecrethandshakes in working with them. Thanks!
 

Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
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I love American elms when they are mature, but most of them got wiped out by Dutch Elm disease. We had one in front of our old house that dominated the entire yard. Huge tree with weeping branches that I could walk around on the ground and trim the ends of even when the base of the branch was 40' up in the air :) I would consider them a difficult bonsai subject because of the fast growth rate, long internodes, and large leaves. However I have never tried - perhaps they would respond well to dwarfing techniques because they are so healthy.
 
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Don't pass up a good American Elm trunk....or a mulberry
Dale
I quite agree! They withstand the coldest temps in winter and hottest in summer. They bud back well and develop a very nice bark. I have one that was collected years ago and given to me. I layered it and got great results, and am currently carving the deadwood. I highly recommend them.
 

grog

Shohin
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Excellent! I've been making rounds on some of the family's land marking trees for the spring. Elms have been the most interesting, usually those growing on the sides of ravines. Any small'ish elms I will probably grab this spring. Larger ones will have roots chopped and probably tops chopped off then left till next spring. And the mulberries.. probably for a different discussion. Thanks much for the feedback!
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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Excellent! I've been making rounds on some of the family's land marking trees for the spring. Elms have been the most interesting, usually those growing on the sides of ravines. Any small'ish elms I will probably grab this spring. Larger ones will have roots chopped and probably tops chopped off then left till next spring. And the mulberries.. probably for a different discussion. Thanks much for the feedback!
How are they?

Sorce
 

miker

Chumono
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I would also like to hear some thoughts about American Elm as a bonsai subject. I have seen a few pre-bonsai for sale online recently, but would really like to find one in a forest locally.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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I would also like to hear some thoughts about American Elm as a bonsai subject. I have seen a few pre-bonsai for sale online recently, but would really like to find one in a forest locally.
Anything local is almost impossible to kill.

The only way I can kill them is with a lot of sphagnum in the roots over winter...
It just rots the roots....
But I can't help being wet all winter.
It doesn't have to be a death sentence with better control.

I know I have some American Elms..
Straight American.
Some Siberian.
Maybe Chinese...
Maybe hybrids.

The leaf size is notably bigger on American Elms.
But with fast growth, and reduction possible....they are still excellent IMO.

Florida Elm...
Water Elm...
Winged Elm...
Cedar? Humidity too high?

I know a guy in Florida who has some 80-100 seedlings right now!

Sorce
 

M. Frary

Bonsai Godzilla
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You can only reduce American Elm leaves down to about a 1/4". Pretty small. No need for defoliation. Ramification techniques produce fine twigging. The finer the twig the smaller the leaf. They get short internodes with regular cutting back. They take brutal root reductions.
They are just about perfect.
 

pweifan

Shohin
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I've been late in repotting my elms. Think they're hardy enough to be repotted a bit late (zone 6a)? The leaves haven't completely broken yet, but the buds are rather long.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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I've been late in repotting my elms. Think they're hardy enough to be repotted a bit late (zone 6a)? The leaves haven't completely broken yet, but the buds are rather long.
Either way sounds good to me.

Sorce
 
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