Chinese Elm Lacebark & japanese larch

digger714

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Hello, i just picked up a new Chinese lacebark elm & a japanese larch. The elm is on the left, and the larch on right. I am wondering if i should cut down the long side of the elm, because of the long "whip" of the branch? or should it stay to get the trunk larger, and chop it later? as far as the larch, im wondering if i should shorten the branches toward the top to slow the growth, and let the bottom branches get larger, and the trunk larger, or just let it grow to get larger and worry about later? Being a deciduous conifer, do new branches grow back if you chop, or do you have to use a branch as a new leader. Thanks for any help with my new friends.

Brad
 

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Jason

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Ratios

Do you want an older looking tree or something that appears to be a sapling? There are ratios used in bonsai to create the illusion of age. How tall do you want your bonsai to be? How deep do you want your container to be? If you have a one inch trunk then you may only want a 1-2 inch container depth. If you have a one inch trunk then perhaps you only want a 6 inch tree? What are your aspirations? Growing a tree out in the ground or a larger container prior to a trunk chop usually nets quicker results then growing the same tree in a bonsai pot. Once you know your goals then you can choose your method. Reasonable?:D
 

digger714

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i want the trees to get much larger trunks. I am thinking the finished trees around 18" tall or so. I know they need to be in the ground, and i have a place to put them come spring. I am wanting to make sure i am giving them the best start before doing anything. I have grasped the fact that like a trident maple, you can just let it grow until it reaches the size trunk, then chop the tree, and start growing new branches to train. Is this the case with chinese elms? or should you prune it at first to get a more uniform tree before planting in the ground. I have several larger trees that i am learning about pruning, and upkeep, and i understand that after going into a small pot, they will not be getting much larger, well, not anytime soon. I want to let these trees grow over time to see the development. As far as the larch. I want to get it larger also, but not sure to treat it more like a conifer, or a deciduous tree? These are just in the small pots now until i learn what to do. Ill put them in 1 gallon pots tonight, and wait until spring to plant. Is this the typical process? I built raised beds on my property this past fall to plant trees in for future development. I am still relatively young - 31, and want to learn every aspect of growing trees for bonsai. I would like most of my trees to get larger before putting in a real pot.

Brad
 
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rockm

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Plant them out. LEAVE THEM ALONE (no pruning, chopping) for at least THREE YEARS, preferably five. Trees will not benefit from being in ground before then. Mostly they spend the first three years getting their roots going.

Elms are tougher and more adaptable than trident maple. You can do the same things with elms as you can with Tridents, for the most part.

Raised beds are mostly unnecessary for bonsai. Simple in-ground planting is a better option and can result in quicker results (all this is pretty variable however. Some get good results from raised beds. I've not experienced that). In raising beds out of the ground, you limit root run, expose roots to more temperate variables and there is also some risk for drying out in drier periods of the year.
 

Jason

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Ditto to what rockm said. Sometimes I think you have to step in a bit early if you have too many branches in one area of the trunk otherwise you can get knob formation and reverse taper that is hard to correct. You have to remember that almost all of the branches that you grow in the first few years in the ground will be too thick and out of balance and thus will be removed anyway. It's fun to watch them take off after the first couple years. Have fun!
 

digger714

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Cool, thanks for all the great info. This is such an awesome hobby. I am just trying to understand which type of trees you can cut all the way down. What about Japanese Larch trees. Do you treat them like conifers, or deciduous? Or are they a whole different subject? Thanks again for the great links, and comments.

Brad
 

Jason

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I feel comfortable talking about maples, elms, etc. I'll defer on the larches to someone with more experience. I know they're deciduous but haven't worked with them as much. When I have they've been a bit less vigorous. Anyone?
 
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