Chinese elm is dying, need help!

sergeyka

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Hello,

This plant had drop its leaves a couple of months ago.
Since then, new leaves are growing but dry out even before growing to their normal size (can be seen on the second picture).

I have tried making different conditions for the tree to recover: more natural light, more/less watering, warmer places, etc.. but with no success.

Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated!
 

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River's Edge

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Are you trying to keep this tree inside? What is your location ( for climate) How long have you had the plant? What type of substrate do you have it in? When was it last repotted?
This information will help with your inquiry.
 

sergeyka

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Thanks for your reply!
Yes, i keep this tree indoors. Its Quebec, Canada.
I keep this tree for 5 years and never repotted it.
The substrate is a thin layer of small stones, and normal soil underneath (as far as i understand).
 
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River's Edge

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Thanks for your answer!
Yes, i keep this tree indoors. Its Quebec, Canada.
I keep this tree for 5 years and never repotted it.
The substrate is a thin layer of small stones, and normal soil underneath (as far as i understand).
I suspect the tree has gradually weakened being kept indoors and not having been repotted for quite some time. During the winter homes can get very dry indoors.
I would give it as much light as possible , keep damp and humid until it can be moved outdoors. If it leafs out then i would do an emergency repot and keep it in higher humidity until it recovers. Using a cover or bag will help with humidity if your home is very dry.
Try setting the pot in a bowl of water for 10 or 15 minutes to be sure that the rootball is fully watered, then drain all excess water. Water regularily so the soil does not dry out. Instead of the rocks on top it would be advisable to put some shredded sphagnum moss on top to help retain moisture.
 
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Submerge it in a bucket of water for at least 10 minutes. If it's currently green it should recover. Repot in spring or slip pot it into a bigger pot. You must keep it in a sunny room and move it outside when it warms up a bit.
 

Zach Smith

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First of all, good job keeping this tree alive inside for 5 years. Now to the rescue. The tree desperately needs fresh, free-draining soil and some outside time. Shady spot at first, the when it shows signs of new growth reintroduce to more sun.

With all due respect to the above commenter, please don't submerge in a bucket of water. The roots are in no condition for this type of treatment. The tree needs fresh soil, some sun and fresh air.
 
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After a healthy watering I would place it outside during the days, and bring it close to the house at nights. Chinese elms are TANKS! So this one should survive if it's placed outside where it belongs
 

Oleg

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Wait until the weather warms up before you put it outside, don't let it freeze (night temps) this year. Once outside, leave it outside and winter it outside if you can. If you put the pot, or just the tree in the ground in a nice dry place like under the eaves next to the house you should be good to about -30C
 

sergeyka

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Thanks for your recommendations everyone! I am trying to follow them.

Update: the tree had been (brutally) cut in a flower shop and repotted into the same pot with a fresh soil.
I sprayed insecticide and fungicide on it to eliminate any insects or infection that might cause the problem.
Keeping it dump, giving natural light, and will place outside during daytime when the temperature will be above 0 C.

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Lazorik

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Those pebbles on top are not letting the soil breathe and are probably keeping it too damp, I would take them away.
 

sergeyka

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yeah, get rid of the rocks. Did it just get potted back in potting soil or something resembling a bonsai mix?
Ok, removed the rocks, thanks.
It a regular potting soil that doesn't allow water to drain well.
I guess i will need to repot it again later to solve this.
 

Forsoothe!

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After a healthy watering I would place it outside during the days, and bring it close to the house at nights. Chinese elms are TANKS! So this one should survive if it's placed outside where it belongs
Not in Quebec. The warmest parts are 4a, and that's just a skinny strip along the St. Lawrence River. Brrr r r.... The plant hasn't been trimmed regularly either, so the newest wood is way out on a skinny twig. Not good. Wood is not forever, and plants need to keep renewing their growing parts and excising old wood, that's the owners job. It seems you wanted an indoor plant. You need to buy one that is an easy tropical, like a Fig or Arboricola, and giving the plant as much summer outdoors as possible to allow the plant to recover some of the vigor lost by living in the low light conditions 2,000 miles north of its most northerly range. The amount of sunshine that a plant needs to have to live a normal life in a Fig's native range is difficult to compare to Quebec. Think about this: the sun's intensity is higher, and photoperiod is longer on the shortest day in a Fig's most northerly range than it is on the longest day summer day in Quebec. That is to say that in the fig's native range, every day is much longer than the single longest day in Quebec on June 21st. You need to shop for trees that are rugged and not fall in love with something that would challenge an expert.
 

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