Jacqueline Hillier Elm Dark Leaves falling off

BeebsBonsai

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Hello all,

I noticed something was wrong with my Jacqueline Hillier Elm this morning when watering. Some of it's leaves are extremely dark green and brittle. I would say about 30 percent of older leaves towards the interior seem to have this issue. I touched a few of them and they immediately fell right off. This problem is across all brnaches, but is only occurring to about 30 percent of the overall leaves, all of which are towards the interior of the branch. These leaves in question are not shaded by any of the other leaves on the tree. Is this a normal growth pattern of dropping older leaves after an extension of new growth? If not, what could it be? I have fertlizer on it because I performed a prune in early July. After which the tree extended 7-8 sets of leaves at each cut point.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Photos?

Dark, dry leaves are not normal :(
 

BeebsBonsai

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Bonsai Nut,

They aren't quite black. I didn't have good lighting to take a photo this morning. I can try this evening. They are very dark green. Darker than the green I've seen this tree present in it's hardened form. I will try to snap some photos this evening to illustrate. It's going to be hard to see. I'll try though. Anything come to mind off the top of your head?
 

sorce

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Anything come to mind off the top of your head?
Never had a JH .....

But other smaller cultivars seem to have a waxier, thicker leaf.

Could be they react to fungus that way rather than yellow like other elms.

Good thing I don't have Smoke on ignore!

Sorce
 

AlainK

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I think they suffered from drought.

Healthy JH elms have very dark leaves. When they lack water, the inner leaves will be "sacrificed", they dry up very quicly so they don't turn brown before like leaves that suffer from sun scorch or leaves that take longer to wither out.

My 2 € cents...
 

BeebsBonsai

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Thanks for the input guys. We have been experiencing high relative humidity (65-80 percent) so i had adjusted my water to prevent root rot or fungus. Thanks for letting me know the patterned reaponse to drought for this species alain. Not much online about them. I am posting pics. Theyre not too great but i did say it would be difficult. 20 pics in and this is what i have. Lol
 
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How long have you had this tree?
Is this tree outside?
It could be that it's dropping it's old leaves.
Humidity does promote black spot in elms. Spray it with Daconil every 10 days and it should be fine.
 

BeebsBonsai

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How long have you had this tree?
Is this tree outside?
It could be that it's dropping it's old leaves.
Humidity does promote black spot in elms. Spray it with Daconil every 10 days and it should be fine.

Steven,

I acquired the tree in mid june. It has been outside ever since i got it. I only give it some mild wind protection. Full aun til about 3 pm then my backyard gets shaded out by trees as the sun moves west.

I do notice that the leaves that have fallen arent uniformly dark. Theyre so small its hard to see, but there is some variation in that darker color that appears to have rigid borders. Thanks for the tip on daconil. Ive got plenty of it. Much appreciated
 
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I have 4 Chinese elms and if I don't spray them they will get black spot fungus, especially on hot humid days. Daconil does work, but you have to spray every 10 days.
 

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I had something similar on an Elm before. I clipped off all of the leaves that were sickly colored. Left alone the leaves would turn nearly all black...and be crispy feeling. After the clipping I put the tree in filtered sunlight...nothing exotic....just under the branches and leaves of an outdoor tree. I also misted the tree twice a day. I misted with a water solution that was a mix of mold-mildew-and other problems powder. My tree responded with new leaves. I think it was a mildew or black-spot problem. The tree is fine today. That was my experience with something quite similar if not the same.

The leaves were not going to get better. Clipping them off helped.
 

sorce

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Beebs!

We have been experiencing high relative humidity (65-80 percent) so i had adjusted my water to prevent root rot or fungus.
I think they suffered from drought
Those 2 match up.

You don't want to water less to prevent fungus.
Healthy trees prevent fungus, and they need mad water!

It's like not giving a human food in order to make them smarter.(if that was possible I would have made sure we were all starving, or at least all the non bonsai folks, hint hint we're smarter)

The best way to prevent fungus....
More air circulation.

only give it some mild wind protection.
So that is likely your ultimate problem.

Not enough water for the tree, and not enough air to prevent your personal fungus worries.
(No sense worrying about the mostly inevitable anyway)
Just be observant and proactive....
Properly proactive!

Sorce
 

rockm

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This could also be a symptom of over-watering. Both under and over watering can cause the same problem with root death, which prevents transport of water to the leaves, resulting in the kind of leaf die off you're seeing. Would be very helpful to see a pic of the soil.
 

BeebsBonsai

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Ahh. I can provide a picture of the soil. I obviously haven't repotted it. It was what the bonsai nursery had it in. Drains very well when watering, so there doesn't appear to be any compaction of the soil column. I am planning to repot next year just so that I have the soil I know best in there. It helps me make smart and conscious watering decisions. for now, I will pay close attention and use daconil every ten days. Hopefully it clears. Will you typically see new growth at the points the leaves fell off? Kind of how you would if you partially defoliated?
 

sorce

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Drains very well when watering, so there doesn't appear to be any compaction of the soil column.
There are more than a few ways appearance can deceive you.

I have nursery soils from the same place where one will hold crazy wet and seem not to, while the other seems to hold more but it's actually dryer.

Weight helps...pick em up regularly.
Grandma would!

If unsure, better to dig down and find out now.

I been doing a lot of in pot root work.
Like @GrimLore slow schedule.

Hasn't hurt anything at all, Mugo, elm,spruce, ficus...

Don't underestimate the power of the undisturbed roots to remain supporting the tree.

Find out what's really going on!

Sorce
 

rockm

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Ahh. I can provide a picture of the soil. I obviously haven't repotted it. It was what the bonsai nursery had it in. Drains very well when watering, so there doesn't appear to be any compaction of the soil column. I am planning to repot next year just so that I have the soil I know best in there. It helps me make smart and conscious watering decisions. for now, I will pay close attention and use daconil every ten days. Hopefully it clears. Will you typically see new growth at the points the leaves fell off? Kind of how you would if you partially defoliated?
I would tend to think this isn't so much of a fungal problem as it is a root issue.

Interior leaves CAN fall off as a branch extends, but they typically yellow and drop. They don't stay green then go crispy and remain on the tree (unless they're shaken or pulled off). New growth dying at the ends of branches is not normal.
 
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GrimLore

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This could also be a symptom of over-watering.
Find out what's really going on!
I have a 5 foot or so Chinese Elm that was draining just fine until we had a few evenings of very heavy rain. It is showing symptoms and today needs to be pulled from the pot and get root grooming and more perlite - I tested this morning and it is compacted, yes in that short of time...

Grimmy
 

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I personally am having trouble seeing a big issue with that leaf... in itself.

It looks like the old leaf on an elm that is root bound, particularly in the summer when the leaves callus hard. Some of my Chinese elms will almost feel like a dwarf holly by the end of the summer - particularly if I leave them in full sun. If you happen to repot while an elm is budding, some of the first leaves may show some asymmetry due to the interruption to the roots.

Certainly doesn't look like a disaster to me, particularly if it is only happening to the old leaves on the interior and the new leaves look healthy and symmetrical.
 

BeebsBonsai

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I personally am having trouble seeing a big issue with that leaf... in itself.

It looks like the old leaf on an elm that is root bound, particularly in the summer when the leaves callus hard. Some of my Chinese elms will almost feel like a dwarf holly by the end of the summer - particularly if I leave them in full sun. If you happen to repot while an elm is budding, some of the first leaves may show some asymmetry due to the interruption to the roots.

Certainly doesn't look like a disaster to me, particularly if it is only happening to the old leaves on the interior and the new leaves look healthy and symmetrical.
Bonsai Nut,

Hmm, that is interesting. I mean I guess it could be root bound, but again, the soil, on top at least doesn't seem to have decomposed or broken up at all. It is in a relatively small pot so I assume it is possible. However, I do not see the tree pushing up or roots coming out of the bottom of the drainage holes. I am planning on repotting next spring just as the buds swell. Do Elms respond negatively to water on the foliage. I have a greenhouse-type shelving unit with the access panel always open. I am wondering if when watering above, the leaves getting wet could have caused this. (I'll be moving into my own house next year, so a bench build will be my first exterior project, thus eliminating the space issue).

Also, I am noticing that hardness of those leaves. Almost like you would expect to see in olive or certain other deciduous evergreens. I had a chinese elm that had this issue after a repot but didn't make it. My first tree, and my newbie self shone through.

Grimlore,

How long ago had you repotted? Just out of curiousity. It's increasingly interesting to me the amount of potential issues that a single symptom could signal. I am just afraid that those portions won't leaf out again. If they will, lesson learned. I don't want to lose this tree. I am going to dig around a bit on the top to see what's going on with the roots. I gotta be careful though since I am currently out of soil to replace. I have some generic bonsai soil I could use as a filler, but not the normal good Boon's mix.
 

rockm

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It's not really an issue of being "root bound" as it is having soggy rotting roots, probably at the lower levels of the pot. There's no other way to tell than to lift the plant up out of the pot by the trunk and have a look at the root mass...
 
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