Collected twin trunk cedar elm

jbogard

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I recently came across a strand of only multi trucked elms that had me puzzled on their form for a bit. Upon further inspection I realized that they had all been trunk chopped close to the ground and it seems like all but a couple kept on chugging without batting an eye. Anyway this guy caught my eye because unlike most of the other trees with four and five trunks this one only had two larger trunks. It could probably become a triple trunk if I keep the larger lower branch but I think I’ll eventually sacrifice that one. I know the longer trunk is a bit straight and at the moment I think it may be a bit tall so I may go back and shorten it before it pushes buds this spring. I know it doesn’t have many roots but from what I’ve seen elms are very resilient and I expect it to be fine. Any recommendations are welcome.
 

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Bonsai Nut

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(1) Above all else, make sure it survives. Elms are tough... but heavy pruning and bare rooting during dormancy is going to stress any tree. It is all a question of how much energy your tree has stored before you pruned it... whether it will be able to grow new roots as well as new foliage before it crashes.
(2) This tree won't work as a multi-trunk currently, because all trunks split far above the soil line. In a perfect world, a twin trunk or multi trunk design splits at the soil line. Doesn't mean you can't air-layer the tree and develop it as a multi-trunk, but you need to design to prune it hard now and keep it as a single trunk, or air-layer it in the future, and develop as a multi-trunk.
 

sorce

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In a perfect world
Hey Sugar .....Maple! Lol!

What happened to those "pics of wild trees on the bench" I recently read of?
Were they taken in a perfect world?

:p

One of my least favorite "rules" is the multi trunk at the soil line blah.....I just hate that!

If this tree lives......
IF!.....

Sorce
 

Zach Smith

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Cedar elms are easy to collect. You should expect a 90% survival rate. Don't worry about the lack of roots. Just be sure to seal those chops.
 

rockm

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Cedar elm are easy to collect, but collecting them out of season can be a problem I've dug a few out of season with not all that great success.

I would NOT expect it to be fine, even though it's an elm. I would HOPE that it's fine and proceed on that hope, not an expectation of survival.

If this was dug up in the last couple of days, it's got a long road ahead of it, even though Dallas has relatively mild winters. You've removed just about all of its roots, where it had stored reserves for springtime growth. Since it is the beginning of winter, it has at least a month --probably more--or sitting idle with no regeneration occurring. If you keep the tree exposed to cold and wet, root rot is a definite concern on those cut roots, as could tissue die-off on the trunk if you get freezes. If you bring it inside your house you'll face early bud break and have to deal with a newly-collected tree in less than ideal indoor conditions.

If this were mine, I would have waited until mid-late Feb. to dig it up. The deal is done, though. I would find a place inside a garage or workshed that can remain mostly above freezing for the next month. I would seal the chops, as Zach recommends. Keep the roots moist (not wet) and your fingers crossed. Cedar elm is resilient and a strong grower, but you're asking a lot of it.

Multitrunk CEs are not uncommon, especially if they've been bushhogged, or chain sawed to the ground over the years. Design decisions are best delayed a bit, until you know what's going to live and what may not...

I would follow Zach's advice and seal the cuts.
 

Peter44

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I am really new at this and can't even imagine that tree coming back to life after that chop job. If it does it is one huge survivor in my book. I'm going to have to collect some Elms!
 

Mike Hennigan

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Elms are very tough, so don’t be surprised if it does come to life in the spring. If this were my tree this is what I would do... after a year or two of vigorous growth, just letting the tree get healthy and strong. I would then cut it back much further, something like this.
892566B2-8D7C-4D28-BF5C-A58E72B3EF91.jpeg

I think the tree could make a really powerful tree if it is short and wide. The final image of the tree in my mind is something like this. This is a very poor quality virtual lol, but you get the idea.
40511400-5EBD-4E4E-97AC-8B547A13D56E.jpeg

As mentioned before, I think @BobbyLane ‘s threads could be really helpful for you to look at for working on a tree like this one. Nice!

892566B2-8D7C-4D28-BF5C-A58E72B3EF91.jpeg40511400-5EBD-4E4E-97AC-8B547A13D56E.jpeg
 

rockm

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I am really new at this and can't even imagine that tree coming back to life after that chop job. If it does it is one huge survivor in my book. I'm going to have to collect some Elms!
Cedar elm is a tough customer among a group of tough customers. Elms are extremely resilient. Cedar elm is particularly so. I know I've done worse to larger Cedar Elms and had them break buds in only a few weeks. I know Zach collects them with nothing more than a reciprocating saw and some muscle--saw around the root base six inches out. Push the trunk to one side, sever the anchor roots. bare root them and plunk them in bonsai soil in a tub in his truck...He's VERY good at getting these out.
The saw out, bare root collection method is not uncommon for other eastern species either. Bald Cypress, hornbeam and more than a few others can be successfully collected that way.
 

Peter44

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We do have a type of Elm around here that we call a weed tree. I think it grows a foot an hour or something. It has small leaves. Maybe that's the one to try. There sure is no lack of them around.
 

jbogard

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@Zack smith I believe I read that you start collecting at the first of the year which is why I went ahead and took a chance and collected it now. If this guy doesn’t survive there’s about 20 more similar trees where this one came from so I can wait a couple weeks and get a couple more if this one doesn’t make it. I’ll get those chops sealed up right away!
 

jbogard

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Cedar elm is a tough customer among a group of tough customers. Elms are extremely resilient. Cedar elm is particularly so. I know I've done worse to larger Cedar Elms and had them break buds in only a few weeks. I know Zach collects them with nothing more than a reciprocating saw and some muscle--saw around the root base six inches out. Push the trunk to one side, sever the anchor roots. bare root them and plunk them in bonsai soil in a tub in his truck...He's VERY good at getting these out.
The saw out, bare root collection method is not uncommon for other eastern species either. Bald Cypress, hornbeam and more than a few others can be successfully collected that way.
Would you recommend putting the tree and pot in ground?
 

Mike Hennigan

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Would you recommend putting the tree and pot in ground?
Don’t do that, could end up hurting by keeping it too wet. I think you’re probably fine to collect it at the time you did in Texas. If you get any hard freezes you could just set the pot on the ground and mound up some mulch around it. I’ve collected other elm species here in upstate New York in early March when there’s still snow on the ground, cut the roots just as aggressively or more aggressively than you have and they recovered really well. Like they barely noticed.
 

rockm

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Don’t do that, could end up hurting by keeping it too wet. I think you’re probably fine to collect it at the time you did in Texas. If you get any hard freezes you could just set the pot on the ground and mound up some mulch around it. I’ve collected other elm species here in upstate New York in early March when there’s still snow on the ground, cut the roots just as aggressively or more aggressively than you have and they recovered really well. Like they barely noticed.
Nope. DO NOT leave the pot outside exposed or protected only when there's a cold snap predicted. Recipe for disaster. There are historic tales of woe from Texas collectors back in the mid-90's who left their CE on benches in a 20 F cold snap for one night. They lost most of their collected trees. Garage is best. Mulched on bricks on a patio will work too, but not at the last minute. Texas "Blue northers" are killers and can sweep in quickly...
[
 

rockm

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Would you recommend putting the tree and pot in ground?
I would NOT put the pot in a hole in the ground. Holes collect water.

If you want to put the tree outside, you can place bricks on the ground (or patio) surface place the pot on those bricks and mulch in with eight inches of hardwood mulch piled over the pot and bricks at least three inches up the trunk. Make sure the mulch and pot are watered well. Pray you don't get a prolonged freeze (two days or more) with below freezing temperatures at night and low temps during the day. If it remains cold enough, the mulch will freeze through. While that won't really hurt CE all that much if they haven't had root work, it is bad news for newly cut roots. Also bad news for recently reduced trunks.
 

Mike Hennigan

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Yea I guess I wasn’t trying to say do it at the last minute, I’m just woefully unaware of What a Texas winter is like, lol. Didn’t know if he could expect freezes or not. I guess it’s not Florida? ??
 

rockm

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Yea I guess I wasn’t trying to say do it at the last minute, I’m just woefully unaware of What a Texas winter is like, lol. Didn’t know if he could expect freezes or not. I guess it’s not Florida? ??
I didn't think you were trying to kill trees;). Texas has winter, especially in January. It can get cold and get cold quickly, sometimes. Doesn't really last very long, though.
 

jbogard

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This tree is in the same grove as the one above. This one probably has more potential so I don’t want to mess it up when I collect. Wait till I start to see bud formation then collect and pot? Also where about do you guys think I should chop to during collection
 

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Mike Hennigan

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This tree is in the same grove as the one above. This one probably has more potential so I don’t want to mess it up when I collect. Wait till I start to see bud formation then collect and pot? Also where about do you guys think I should chop to during collection
Oooh definitely some twin trunk potential there! looks nice!
 
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