Developing Zelkova

MrWunderful

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I am creating this thread to document some techniques I am trying to Develop Zelkova specifically for bonsai. My Goal is not only refined trees for myself, but also quality bonsai deciduous stock for others (eventually).

This thread will mostly be focused on growing in ground, and from seed but I also will showcase some of my "in pot" Grey Bark elm specifically here (nothing special yet)

Goals:
-Develop easy, fast technique for developing nebari on grey bark Elm (tourniquet/tile planting/ground layer etc.)
-Develop "fastest" techniques for different styles (Formal upright, Informal, group plantings etc.)
-Discuss Nuances of Zelkova Serrata

Background:
-I have been doing Bonsai for about 10 years now, just started doing intensives and classes with a local bonsai professional. I have a normal 9-5 job, all this is done for hobby.
-I have my own growing beds, as well as a significant in ground space at my father in-laws (who also happens to be into gardening as well)
-I have about 50 zelkova ranging from 1-3 years that I am experimenting on but another 200 That I sowed this year (I also have other deciduous too- a few hundred linden, maple and others but those are for their own threads)

Disclaimer:
I live in Zone 10a, California, SF bay area near the coast. Its almost always cold to fair and very, very foggy-Things might need to change based on your location.
I do not claim that I am the first, or only person to try these. Most are common techniques, well known to most growers. I also will not claim that these are the best techniques, but am open to discussion.

Hopefully Documenting things here will help people start developing quality deciduous pre bonsai stock for themselves and others. I will try to update as much as possible, and welcome feedback/questions/discussion and help with my terrible photography.
 

MrWunderful

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From Seed:

I literally do nothing with elm seeds. No cold stratify, no scarification, no soaking. I have tried all these things, and I don't see enough of a difference to warrant the hassle. If you are really concerned about getting 91% instead of 89% on a hand full of seeds, then it might be worth it to you.

This is my first batch I planted (Dec 2018). Just threw them on the dirt in December and threw some dirt over them.
After sprouting:
IMG_8638.JPG


Let them grow a year, then Spread them out.
Turned to this, which brings us to now:
411.JPG

I fed them pretty aggressively with monthly handfuls of cottonseed meal, and chemical ferts this year.

This whole time I was thinning them out a bit. Some I just ripped out, lopped everything off except for some small roots in correct locations in the middle of summer and threw them in a flat to see if they would live (they still are alive, will post pics once Its time to repot in a few years.)

A few I re-potted normally, just at odd times to see if they will live- None have actually failed yet, but we will see come spring.

Here they are after this years winter thinning:
Sorry for imgur hosted pic, sometimes I have difficulty uploading to site


 

MrWunderful

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That is the pic That should have been at the end of my last post^^^^ Here are some of the techniques I used:

Standard Washers:



This is a part that electricians use to close junction boxes. Its called a "4-11/16 blank with a 1/2" KO"


Standard Tile planting:





Here The results of a tourniquet, going directly down into a shallow pot (100% akadama)



Another wire tourniquet


I have a numbering system down, I just need to update it so I can start keeping track. Been re-potting like crazy here.

Notes:
I find all these methods much faster than air-layering, but not sure if nebari is superior yet. I will be documenting ground layers this year.
 

MrWunderful

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Good luck to ya! Build some brooms!
Thank you Adair- I am actually starting to document building a correct formal broom, vs an "informal" broom (and by document I mean a few pics and some notes)
 

MrWunderful

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What do you use as soil in the beds ?
Mostly a Custom potting mix and horticultural lava (same lava I use in pots) My father in-law owns a landscape supply. I also throw old inorganic bonsai pot soil in there because I have been making my own for a few years now.
 

Tieball

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Well done. In my climate...I have not had great Zelkova growth results. Slower than slow really.
 

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