chinese elm mallsai

Ross

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Hello guys. It's cold outside here in Dallas, so I figured I would come online and post a couple pics of my chinese elm. I bought this thing at Home Depot in a clearance section at half price because it looked such a mess. On this visit they had two large mallsai for sale (one elm, one ficus) that dwarfed the crappy little figs they normally carry. Since I don't have a greenhouse, the ficus stayed and the elm came home with me. I pulled up the glued on rocks, and then repotted it into 100% turface. It grew like crazy last spring and summer, and I wired a basic structure for it from the new shoots. I just separated the top and am trying to root it as a huge cutting, and I trimmed the tree back to show the basic outline I am shooting for. It will have a large scar where the top was removed, but I think I can hide the scar behind the foliage, and I hope it heals over well. Anyway, here are the before and after pics and comments are welcome.
 
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Bonsai Nut

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I had a somewhat similar one that was in better shape that I've had for ten years or so. About a month ago I got tired of looking at its obvious flaws. I am currently airlayering off four branches, and then will reduce the trunk by 50%. When I'm done I'll have five trees :)
 

Ross

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I had a somewhat similar one that was in better shape that I've had for ten years or so. About a month ago I got tired of looking at its obvious flaws. I am currently airlayering off four branches, and then will reduce the trunk by 50%. When I'm done I'll have five trees :)
Hey Bnut, how often do you repot yours? This one is growing so fast I imagine it will need annual repotting for a few years at least. Here's another picture that is probably closer to the eventual front. In my opinion. the obvious flaws on this one are the lack of surface roots and the huge scar. If the scar doesn't heal over how I like, I'll probably carve it out a bit to make it look like a natural hollow. I'll most likely just have to live with the roots though.
 

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RyanFrye

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I'll most likely just have to live with the roots though.
You could always airlayer as low to the base as possible. That way you'll be able to develope a nice nebari.
 

Ross

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You could always airlayer as low to the base as possible. That way you'll be able to develope a nice nebari.
I've thought about appraoach grafting, but I've never done it before and would need a few cuttings to try it. I think it would take forever for the roots to get thick enough to not look too artificial.
 

greerhw

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I had a somewhat similar one that was in better shape that I've had for ten years or so. About a month ago I got tired of looking at its obvious flaws. I am currently airlayering off four branches, and then will reduce the trunk by 50%. When I'm done I'll have five trees :)
No you'll have five Chinese Elms....insert drum roll here :p

Harry
 

Ross

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The other chinese elm mallsai thread inspired me to update this one, so here's a pic from a few days ago. One by one I'm going to bring all the main branches down a little bit, and I hope that the scar continues to heal over.
 

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DaveG

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I've thought about appraoach grafting, but I've never done it before and would need a few cuttings to try it. I think it would take forever for the roots to get thick enough to not look too artificial.
Ross, this may have crossed your mind as well, but thread grafting a few seedlings could also be an option. After they've taken, you could treat it like you're doing a layer and cut the bark all the way around just below the roots you want to keep. That should thicken them up a lot faster. And afterward, you'd have several candidates for sacrifice branches to thicken up the base a little to improve the tree's taper, if you feel like doing that.

If you don't feel like using seedlings, you could try a technique I've used with my own elm, which is to find some lower roots you don't really want and thread them upward through the tree to the soil level. The downside I discovered to this technique is that you're stuck waiting a year or two for the graft to fully take before you can remove anything the grafted root depends on. But it looks convincingly like a natural root above the soil line once it takes, so I guess it's worth it.
 
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That ought to flush out nicely. I'm not a huge fan of Chinese Elm... but I like yours. :)

V
 
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Ross

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Ross, this may have crossed your mind as well, but thread grafting a few seedlings could also be an option. After they've taken, you could treat it like you're doing a layer and cut the bark all the way around just below the roots you want to keep. That should thicken them up a lot faster. And afterward, you'd have several candidates for sacrifice branches to thicken up the base a little to improve the tree's taper, if you feel like doing that.

If you don't feel like using seedlings, you could try a technique I've used with my own elm, which is to find some lower roots you don't really want and thread them upward through the tree to the soil level. The downside I discovered to this technique is that you're stuck waiting a year or two for the graft to fully take before you can remove anything the grafted root depends on. But it looks convincingly like a natural root above the soil line once it takes, so I guess it's worth it.
Thanks Dave. This elm is my fastest grower, so it shouldn't be a problem to get some cuttings rooted, or even branches long enough to thread graft. I really like your second idea also, but some combination of laziness and inexperience is telling me that the nebari is ok for now. I'm also mad at this tree because I wish I had a redo on the potting angle, and also because it has a couple huge scars that I don't know how to carve. Aaaaarrrgh!!! :confused:
 

DaveG

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Thanks Dave. This elm is my fastest grower, so it shouldn't be a problem to get some cuttings rooted, or even branches long enough to thread graft. I really like your second idea also, but some combination of laziness and inexperience is telling me that the nebari is ok for now. I'm also mad at this tree because I wish I had a redo on the potting angle, and also because it has a couple huge scars that I don't know how to carve. Aaaaarrrgh!!! :confused:
Actually, I was going to say, I noticed that you're in the Dallas area. I'm currently sprouting Chinese elm seeds and I'll probably have more than I need, as the seeds are only taking a week to sprout and I won't have the other half of that project for probably 2 or 3 months. My first one sprouted just today, actually. In addition to that, I'll be in the Dallas area at least once within the next 4 weeks. Let me know if you want a few.

Truth be told, with all my talk of grafting, I'm not really very experienced at it yet. I just really want to be. But I thought I'd share some pictures related to those thread grafts I was talking about so you can see what I mean. I warn you though, this is my Frankenstein tree, so it isn't entirely pretty.
 

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Ross

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Actually, I was going to say, I noticed that you're in the Dallas area. I'm currently sprouting Chinese elm seeds and I'll probably have more than I need, as the seeds are only taking a week to sprout and I won't have the other half of that project for probably 2 or 3 months. My first one sprouted just today, actually. In addition to that, I'll be in the Dallas area at least once within the next 4 weeks. Let me know if you want a few.
I honestly don't need any seedlings but I appreciate the offer. If you are in the Dallas area though and want to have a couple beers and talk trees then shoot me a pm at some point.
 

DaveG

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I honestly don't need any seedlings but I appreciate the offer. If you are in the Dallas area though and want to have a couple beers and talk trees then shoot me a pm at some point.
My planned visit to Dallas is to do preparatory work for a likely move to the area, so my offer to give you some seedlings was meant to be an offer to quickly give them to you. Since you don't want any, I'll wait and drop you a line after I move. There will be plenty of time after that.

When I bought those seeds, I bought 100 and got about 250 in the mail for my purchase. The germination rate appears to be very good so far. These things will go bad before I ever use half of them. Maybe I need to try to find a way to parody the concept of mallsai? Is such a thing even possible?
 

Ross

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Hello all, I just wanted to update this old thread with new pictures. As usual, this one is my first to leaf out for the spring. I attached a photo of how it started in 2008 (I think?) because somehow the pics have disappeared from my original post.
 

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fourteener

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Thanks for the before pic. You've done an excellent job of taking average and making something great of it. If the scar doesn't heal over well, I think carving it out just a bit will minimize it's visual impact.
 

berobinson82

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I really like this tree and what you've done to it. Kudos! Good decision to take it back so drastically.

rockm and mcpesq817, doesn't this look like a miniature version of one of the elms at Bob and Todd's?
 
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