Chinese elms from Brussel's (small leaved cultivar?)

karen82

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Earlier this summer, I bought two Chinese elms from Brussels because they were cheap and I wanted to test them out over winter in my climate before getting a nicer tree. There was no mention of a variety name or anything.
They arrived with surprisingly tiny leaves (1/4-1/2" long) and what almost looks like a graft about half an inch above the ground.
I immediately planted one of them in the ground and left the other in its pot.
The ground growing one has grown some longer shoots, but has maintained the tiny leaf size.
I've just never heard of Chinese elms being grafted - is this what I'm seeing?
I will probably try to airlayer the tops off if they survive the winter if this is the case.
2019-06-20(right).JPGIMG_20191026_165143186.jpg
 

karen82

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Here's some more pictures and I apologize for that phone photo.
Close up of the tiny leaves even on one of the long shoots on the ground-growing elm:
o 004_01.JPG

And the trunks of the two showing the graft:
o 006.JPGo 009.JPG

I know it's not unusual to graft smaller foliage varieties onto trees, but I had never heard of this being done with elms so they were a surprise.
If the ground-growing one survives the winter, I will put the other in ground as well, and then try to layer off the tops, because I do love that foliage.
 
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Hi 👋 great photos!! Great description!!

I’d bet these are root cuttings. That graft-like mark is where the new leader grew from. I’ve done this myself and it’s a fantastic way to propagate
 

Shibui

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I agree. Most likely root cuttings. The variety looks like what I have been calling ‘Carlin’. Mine are slow to thicken, almost evergreen and grow long straight new shoots. Leaves are smaller as you have noted.
 

Anthony

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@karen82 ,

these are Southern Chinese elms, around zone 9 in the ground,
probably zone 11 in pots.
From root and rejects.
Sold as Mallsai.

If you had a long enough growing season, say 9 months
frost free, in the ground they might surprise you
with rapid trunk thickening.
Then they look exception with fine leaves, but the fine branches will
continue to thicken.

Been growing them since the late 80's.

Rejected for growing on , and the West becomes the market.
Good Day
Anthony
 

Anthony

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Whoops, apologies Karen.
That was too agressive.
Too many mallsai episodes.
Bad Anthony, bad.
Manners, manners.
 

Peter44

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Your a zone 5 and they're a zone 9??? Looks to me like there going to be dead in your climate very soon. Nice pots though!
 

karen82

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Thanks for all the info. They were sold just labeled as Chinese elms and I initially thought the leaf size might be from the small pot, until the one I planted in ground took off and the leaves didn't get bigger.
I guess they won't be any good for my overwintering experiment! I was hoping they were just ordinary Chinese elms which are hardy to zone 5 and have a decent chance of survival.

Anyway, I know they are just mallsai and I was only getting them to test out winter hardiness both in ground and in a sheltered location, before getting a nicer elm. Looks like they won't be any good for that, but I hate to just leave them to die so I will just pop them into the greenhouse and see how that goes. Even though they are ugly 'bonsai' I still like them.. and maybe years from now they will look like something.

One question - since they aren't grafted, will that line disappear over time?
 

Shibui

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Do not discount these managing cold winters. We do not have cold like you but I find these ones (if they are the same as the ones I have) are actually more hardy than the normal Chinese elm and Seiju.
If it is the same variety I know as catlin you will need to manage growth to create taper. Mine love to grow long, straight sections so pruning is necessary to make taper and to make ramification. good luck.
The line will disappear in a few years.
 

Anthony

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Karen,

they are not ugly. Thicken the trunks to say 3 inches in a drawing.
Watch the change.

if you don;t draw, place a sheet of good tracing paper on your
computer's screen and trace gently with a 9b pencil.
Good Day
Anthony
 

Paulpash

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Chinese elms are tough customers.
I kept a seiju here for 3 years outside all year.
It took 20 below just fine.
Then we had a winter where it got to try out 37 below.
It didnt like it.
How the hell is it possible to even leave the house when it's that cold? Or work? Damn that's ridiculous.
 

Cable

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How the hell is it possible to even leave the house when it's that cold? Or work? Damn that's ridiculous.
Fortunately it is much more temperate here in Ohio. It rarely goes below -15°F, though did get down to -25° two winters ago.
 

karen82

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Just an update on these two Chinese elms for anyone curious. I was told they might be catlin elms, after I'd planted one in ground. They are much less hardy than normal Chinese elms.
However, I decided to leave it in the ground just to see how it did.
Today, the snow around it melted, so I uncovered it (I did lay burlap over it). It actually seems to be alive! There were some branches that had died back and the trunk feels a tad wobbly in the ground, as if some roots had died. But, it also has plenty of live green branches and a few tiny new leaves.
That said, its twin, which I left potted, is doing much better right now. I left it outside for several light frosts, before moving it to my greenhouse for the winter, and it seems very happy about that.
 

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