Choosing a tree for my Dad...

Clorgan

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My Dad has recently shown interest in bonsai, since my parents have moved house close to me and he's seen mine!

So I'm looking to find him a good starter tree. Something that does already resemble bonsai as I don't think he's done a huge amount of reading up yet. Thought was to go for a cheapish Chinese elm since they're super easy and readily available.

I did however come across this nice siberian elm... I don't know a huge amount about them, but from what I've seen they're very similar to chinese elm, but need full sun? Are they as forgiving/tough as chinese elms?

If they're a bit more tricky I'll probably go for a Chinese elm. Just wanted to find him something a little nicer than the standard box store ones!
 

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I don't think we have Siberian elm down here but I have seen some of the US cousins refer to them as weeds over there which I assume means they are pretty tough. I think it would be an ideal starter for the Aged P.
If that is the actual tree you will get it looks like it has good potential with minimal pruning.
 
I don't think we have Siberian elm down here but I have seen some of the US cousins refer to them as weeds over there which I assume means they are pretty tough. I think it would be an ideal starter for the Aged P.
If that is the actual tree you will get it looks like it has good potential with minimal pruning.
Great to know, thank you!

Yes that's exactly why I thought this one (that is the actual tree). Doesn't appear to have any inverse taper issues and yes nice branch structure! Only main branch I can see to prune is that crossing one.
 
That's cool...most all who seek interest in our hobby to me. When I sit down to see what they feel capable of for wintering...to choose a species. They get deer in the headlights and pass on it. To much work. 🤷‍♀️ Though our sub contractor's son in law just got into the hobby by buying a tree. So that's cool. They are an hour from us though.
 
That's cool...most all who seek interest in our hobby to me. When I sit down to see what they feel capable of for wintering...to choose a species. They get deer in the headlights and pass on it. To much work. 🤷‍♀️ Though our sub contractor's son in law just got into the hobby by buying a tree. So that's cool. They are an hour from us though.
To be honest I can absolutely understand that. I'm choosing to only go for species which are fine outside all year here in the UK (for ease!) I'm sure my Dad will be the same too. My parents are round the corner now, so it'll be really nice to share the hobby with him!

I think he'll like this one, a nice little step up from the typical first chinese elm beginners get
 
To be honest I can absolutely understand that. I'm choosing to only go for species which are fine outside all year here in the UK (for ease!) I'm sure my Dad will be the same too. My parents are round the corner now, so it'll be really nice to share the hobby with him!

I think he'll like this one, a nice little step up from the typical first chinese elm beginners get
Very cool, I do believe my friend Paul who lives in the UK does have milder winters than myself. Here you have to protect them in with mulch if not more even in your zone. People don't wish to do that. Most tend their flowerbeds. So that they don't wish to have an area of mulched trees. No room for it.
 
Very cool, I do believe my friend Paul who lives in the UK does have milder winters than myself. Here you have to protect them in with mulch if not more even in your zone. People don't wish to do that. Most tend their flowerbeds. So that they don't wish to have an area of mulched trees. No room for it.
Yeah I can imagine it's a bit of an effort! Lucky to have our temperate climate here
 
Siberian elms are an invasive weed species here. But as bonsai they have a major flaw. They will drop branches if shaded. If you site the Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila) against a fence, the branches facing the fence may drop because of shade generated by the fence. To keep them full, you need sunrise to sunset full sun. In full sun they are bullet proof.

If your Dad has any shade at all in his yard, even from a fence or building, Siberian elm is not a good choice.

Actually, that 'Kiyo Hime' maple might be a good choice for your dad. Just teasing, maples are not that hard to handle as a beginner. Or get your father a nice juniper, guys tend to like conifers.

Or ask him what he might consider if he were to get started in bonsai. If a tree captures his imagination, even if it is more complicated to take care of, he will be inspired to put the effort into learning.
 
Siberian elms are an invasive weed species here. But as bonsai they have a major flaw. They will drop branches if shaded. If you site the Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila) against a fence, the branches facing the fence may drop because of shade generated by the fence. To keep them full, you need sunrise to sunset full sun. In full sun they are bullet proof.

If your Dad has any shade at all in his yard, even from a fence or building, Siberian elm is not a good choice.

Actually, that 'Kiyo Hime' maple might be a good choice for your dad. Just teasing, maples are not that hard to handle as a beginner. Or get your father a nice juniper, guys tend to like conifers.

Or ask him what he might consider if he were to get started in bonsai. If a tree captures his imagination, even if it is more complicated to take care of, he will be inspired to put the effort into learning.
Ahh well that isn't ideal, good to know though thanks... I'll have to have a think about that then, it's been ordered already.

I'll have another chat with him, he did like the idea of an elm. Didn't mention junipers, mainly because I know very little about conifers so wouldn't be of much help to him.

The maple is nice! I could give him it I suppose... If I can part with it 😂
 
Scots pines are cool. Every dad should have one.
They can be pretty forgiving when they're young, so they can evolve with the person and grow together to suit each others needs.

My own pops got my fuchsia. He loves the little flowers.
 
Ahh well that isn't ideal, good to know though thanks... I'll have to have a think about that then, it's been ordered already.

I'll have another chat with him, he did like the idea of an elm. Didn't mention junipers, mainly because I know very little about conifers so wouldn't be of much help to him.

The maple is nice! I could give him it I suppose... If I can part with it 😂


Just have your father keep it in the sun. If he has to put it up against a fence or side of a building to remember to rotate the pot every week. THe rotation should get sun to all sides.
 
Scots pines are cool. Every dad should have one.
They can be pretty forgiving when they're young, so they can evolve with the person and grow together to suit each others needs.

My own pops got my fuchsia. He loves the little flowers.
They do look cool! Good suggestion thanks, but again I know nothing about them so wouldn't be able to advise...I know he's more than capable of doing his own research, I'm just unsure whether he's THAT intererested yet, or whether he'd rather something that will just tick along and he can enjoy looking at and watering.

I'll have a proper chat with him 😊

A fuchsia might be a good shout, I have a fair few - I'll have a look and see which he might like.
Annoyingly I've got a few starter trees he could have chosen from, but they've recently been moved to the grow bed!
 
Just have your father keep it in the sun. If he has to put it up against a fence or side of a building to remember to rotate the pot every week. THe rotation should get sun to all sides.
Nice one, cheers! They've got a good area of their garden that gets sun pretty much all day, so hopefully it'll be fine there! May well need to be against the fence though, will definitely instruct him to rotate 👍🏻
 
They finally arrived! Was a delay in shipping.

The elm looks great, looks to be healthy and loads of buds 😊 I'm unsure whether to repot and maybe cut that crossing branch now? My parents are actually away for two weeks on their narrow boat, so he won't be able to do the repot, if it's a good idea.

The Kiyohime didn't cope as well with the shipping - as you can see we have some very floppy, wrinkled leaves 😕 it was dry, so given a really good drink and mist. Positioning wise - we have a South facing garden that gets loads of sun. Best to have a little sheltered for now (from sun)? And protect from frosts of course.
 

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