Corkbark Elm - One flush of growth?

007

Sapling
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I have a newly acquired corkbark elm that I bought about 6 months ago while dormant. This is a mature tree with a well developed trunk and primary branches mostly in place. In January, I repotted the tree, did some moderate to heavy pruning and the tree pushed new growth everywhere in late February.

Since that first flush of growth, however, I have not seen one single new leaf. The tree looks healthy, there are no signs of pests, and it gets a moderate amount of direct sun. Soil is not an issue, watering is well under control, and it has been fertilized with a slow-release pellet based fertilized (I know, I know, not the best).

Is this normal behavior? I have a generic C. Elm and a Seiju elm that both push strong growth all season long, but this is my first Cork Elm so I have no idea.
 

tnaz71

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Sorry I am not much help but, I have one cork elm & it grows like a weed. I recently took a air layer from it and that is growing at a amazing speed.

How were the roots when you repotted? Maybe try some other fertlizer?
 

crhabq

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Mr Bond,
I don't have a lot of experience with cork bark elms so take that into account. It sounds to me that you may have root pruned too much. If, as you report, the soil, watering and fertilization are in order, the tree may have used trunk reserves to push new growth but not have the root system to pull up nutrients to push new growth.

As well, new root growth could be compromised through too early of repotting. Please add to your user profile your location so you can receive better advice on when to repot and root prune.

It might be helpful to know if this is a native cork elm or a chinese cork elm.

If you can buy a nice cork bark elm, then surely you can buy some good fish emulsion and seaweed fertilizer and apply it at least every two weeks or find someone willing to do this.

Whatever the case maybe, you could seek expert advice from Brent at evergreen gardenworks. Just look at his specimen catalog for elms and drool over possibilities for having a show worthy bonsai within 5 or so years of purchase.

Oh, doing all your spying and stuff on her majesty behalf, I'm really impressed that you have the time to do bonsai. And if when you tire of your Bond women - and I know you alway do, - could you send me a PM with contact info? I be ever so grateful.

Hope to have been some help . Hope better to be of mutual help in the future *wink wink, nod nod"

Ray
 

007

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Never thought that perhaps I root pruned too heavily . . . I can't recall exactly how much I trimmed, but I do recall that the tree's previos soil was in a relatively decomposed state (pretty old akadama that was soft and compacted). I bet that in an effort to remedy that situation, I was a bit over-zealous with the shears.

I don't think the timing was off . . . I don't go by a calendar in general. I go by what the tree tells me, and if I repotted, the buds must have been swelling/starting to break.

No clue if its native or not.
 

Brian Van Fleet

Pretty Fly for a Bonsai Guy
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How about some photos?

My Corkbark (seiju and Chinese) elms seem to detest repotting, and can be sluggish afterwards for a year. I'm an advocate for heavy feeding, but I always wait a LONG time (6-8 weeks) before resuming feeding for a repotted CE. Keep an eye on the watering to be sure they're not sitting with wet feet.
 

rockm

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You don't say where you're located or where the tree is being kept (hopefully not indoors). That information would help determine what's going on.
 

mcpesq817

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I have a few cork bark elms going myself, and have noticed that the season they are repotted, they will put out a flush of growth then really slow down, but later in the year, like late summer or early fall, they once again go gangbusters with growth. I think the reason for this in my case is that I usually worked the roots pretty hard, so it takes time for the tree to grow new roots and regain energy after the first flush.

I first noticed this a couple of years ago when I did my first repot of field grown corkbark elms. They put out their first flush, then sat until about August, when they began to explode with growth. This year I ended up repotting them into small pots for shohin so the rootballs were worked pretty hard. They put out a first flush this spring, and have sorta been sitting there without much growth since.

So, what you're seeing is consistent with my experience. For what it's worth, I've noticed this general trend with other deciduous trees as well.
 

yamins

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I have several corkbarks that have been repotted this year. I would say I did moderate root pruning, but certainly not heavy root pruning. In contrast to your reports about trees that have been root pruned heavilg, these trees have been consistently pushing new shoots immediately after pruning, so much so that I've had to already do two or three foliage pruning rounds already this season.

Next year, I have several very similar trees that will need to have heavier root pruning, so I'll let you know how those respond when the time comes. 007, definitely keep us posted on your tree's progress.

Thanks,
D
 

Gandalph

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I have several corkbarks that have been repotted this year. I would say I did moderate root pruning, but certainly not heavy root pruning. In contrast to your reports about trees that have been root pruned heavilg, these trees have been consistently pushing new shoots immediately after pruning, so much so that I've had to already do two or three foliage pruning rounds already this season.

Next year, I have several very similar trees that will need to have heavier root pruning, so I'll let you know how those respond when the time comes. 007, definitely keep us posted on your tree's progress.

Thanks,
D

What do you do to overwinter them there??
 

Attila Soos

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I have a few cork bark elms going myself, and have noticed that the season they are repotted, they will put out a flush of growth then really slow down, but later in the year, like late summer or early fall, they once again go gangbusters with growth.

Yep, that sounds correct to me.
 

007

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Thank you for the replies everyone. I also have a seiju elm that seems to not react poorly to repotting, however, that tree has been in the same pot for several years now so I have not had to root prune heavily for the past 2-3 repots now.

Attached are two photos of the tree in its current state. Sorry I don't have a great back drop. The angle of the full tree photo is the envisioned front by the way, and as you can see this tree is in need of some primary branch work (particularly the first branches and the "nub/spilt" near the top third.

I live in Los Angeles by the way and just moved here one year ago, so this is my first experience with SoCal "seasons." Coming from Detroit, I have a lot to learn without a hard winter. Its weird seeing tree's leaf out in February and March!!!!

Edit: Wow, those pics are BAD. And I stand corrected . . . the angle in the full photo is NOT the true front because the "nub" is NOT that pronounced when I look at it in person (though its still an eye sore).
 

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