Chinese Elm Root cutting

KleinM

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Hi guys!

I've only been doing Bonsai for a year and have never done something like this before. I planted a root cutting from my Chinese Elm when I potted it into a bonsai pot this December. Now it has a little branch and a couple of leaves! 😁
IMG_20210113_102002.jpg

My question is, do I plant the whole root into the ground or leave it as is? Will the root above the soil turn into the trunk?

Thanks!
 

Rivian

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I dont know why you let it stick out this much in the first place lol. I would say bury it up to the highest side-rootlette you can see, then let it grow freely for 2 years and then start working on the roots, using the section that is closest to having radial roots as the basis for the nabari, prefering higher sections if multiple show promise.
 

Shibui

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The part above ground will definitely become a trunk. It will grow bark just like the rest of the parts above ground and soon it will be hard to tell which parts are which. One of the good things about root cuttings is they already have a thicker trunk and the new section will be thinner so the tree will have good taper from the start.

Plant it at whatever level is most pleasing. I usually plant where the best roots are at ground level and remove any that are too high or too deep. You can tilt the trunk if that suits your design aspirations better or keep it upright. At this stage almost anything is possible with such a small tree.
 

leatherback

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Great work. Congratulations on this success.

Shibui gave you all you need to know. Not the advice given to look for side-roots that are on one level. I would like to add: And when planting spread these out radially from the trunk. Any cross-over between roots will become an issue in a few years time. Take the 2 minutes to organize the roots well, next time you plant.
 

KleinM

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Should I plant it out into it's own little growing container or let it grow until winter then planting it a bit deeper and into it's own container?
 

Rivian

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Dont mess with it at this stage except for putting some extra soil around it if you want.
 

Shibui

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Should I plant it out into it's own little growing container or let it grow until winter then planting it a bit deeper and into it's own container?
There are many ways to achieve the same outcome.
Planting in a small container will definitely restrict growth and development but if you are prepared to spend the extra years results are usually better than fast growing. This tends to be too slow for most of us.

Larger container will allow the tree to grow more and it will thicken quicker so showable results in fewer years. There are drawbacks, notably that faults and problems also get bigger with faster growing but most western growers opt for faster development and hope to minimize the problems.

I would give it a year or 2 in the larger container to develop some. occasional trimming will help it produce a few branches as it grows.
 

KleinM

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Yeah, I'll let it grow in a bigger training pot, but for now I'll leave it where it is. I'll post update pics every couple months or so :)
 

Mike Corazzi

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Don't let that juniper get its hands on it. Trees can get jealous.
 

KleinM

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Update to my Chinese Elm root cutting. I haven't pruned it yet. I am not sure if I should cut those whippy branches or just leave it alone for another growing season

IMG_20220911_163729.jpgIMG_20220911_163659.jpg
 

Shibui

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I would be letting this grow quite a lot. A skinny trunk like that one does not make much of a bonsai so better to grow lots then chop back. Good news is that Chinese elm sprout really well after chop back but I guess we already realise that because you can see it will sprout even if cut right down to a root.
I would also not have buried it deeper. You covered up the thickest part of the trunk and a really nice bend and taper from thick to thin. Now the tree is skinny and straight but I guess if that's what you want to see it is OK. It can always be uncovered later if you change your mind.
 
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