Is this an Elm?

Redwood Ryan

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Hey all,

Found this tree growing partially under my deck. It has a pretty thick trunk and it has been chopped back over time. Anyone know what this tree is? It looks like an elm to me, but I also thought about a Zelkova (but I don't think they grow naturally here).

Trunk:


Leaf:


Thanks!

Ryan
 

rockm

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I don't think that's an elm. Definitely not a Zelkova.
 

rockm

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Bill is probably on the right track. Siberian elm is pretty common around here
 

Redwood Ryan

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It does look like a Siberian Elm. Thanks Bill!

I think I'll probably dig it up next spring. It is in a bad spot under my deck.
 

rockm

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Before you do that...siberian elm makes for unreliable, unpredictable bonsai. While they are quite vigorous and easy to collect, they drop branches, half the trunk, etc. for no apparent reason. That is why nurserymen HATE this species. Dead dropping branches are a primary reason this species is no longer planted widely (although it spreads as an invasive from trees planted decades ago).

As bonsai, this tendency to abandon branching, trunk die back, etc. can mean you lose a decades worth of development and have to start over.

This may or may not happen to any given Siberian elm bonsai, but it is a definite problem with using the species.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Thanks Rock!

I was afraid of that. I actually find decent material, IMO, but it makes bad bonsai. Just my luck :/
 

Dav4

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Rock didn't say they make bad bonsai material, just that they are fickle when it comes to keeping branches and can be frustrating when trying to maintaining a particular design. If you have a descent trunk, it might be a good tree to collect and play with.


Dave
 

Redwood Ryan

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Well I will see how it works out next spring. Thanks all.
 

rockm

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THIS one isn't really worth much effort. The trunk is pretty uninteresting.

However, if you have seedlings around, there are mature trees too. Might be worth looking around for bigger trunks with mature bark. Big trunks (over two or three inches in diameter) are worth fooling around with as they can sometimes have great character. This species, like most elms, is pretty easy to collect (in springtime). Don't need much root mass to get them out alive.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Thanks Rock.

There is a large one back behind my house and it throws it's seeds everywhere. There are tons of seedlings in my pots coming up all the time. I'll have to search around for bigger ones. How well do these air layer ;)?
 

rockm

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They air layer OK, but why do that if there are trees worth collecting around? If this thing seeds like you say it does, there are bound to be a few sapling sized trees about. If you've got wooded areas of neglected yards or lots nearby, look around in those.

It's mostly past air layering season this year. If you start now, you might be able to get one off the main tree (depending on size) by the middle of September. That would leave you with having to store the separated layer for the winter in a cold--not freezing, but not above 40 F place-not an easy thing to do. You cannot leave the air layer on the tree through winter.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Thanks Rock. I'll see what I can find.

I didn't mean to do an air layer now, but I thought I would experiment next year maybe.
 
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