Mystery Elm

pquinones

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I've received a prebonsai as a gift and have been told that the plant is a chinese elm. However, the tree was collected from a yard and I would like to be sure that what my friend dug up is actually what he says it is. I believe it to be zelkova, not ulmus. I'm attaching a photo of the tree (with trunk) and a close-up photo of the leaves


(tree) http://www.flickr.com/photos/pabloquinones/5926917739/in/photostream
(leaves) http://www.flickr.com/photos/pabloquinones/5926917545/in/photostream

Also, if anyone has suggestions on where to take it, I am still exploring my options. So far, I think I want to go for either slanting of semi-cascade styles.
 
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jk_lewis

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Looks like an elm. I'd say infomal upright is what it wants to be.
 

DaveV

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It looks to me like it could be a Siberian elm. If it is a SE, I have been told they are not good bonsai material.
 

pquinones

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I thought about informal upright also, but the branching seems to be all wrong for it. It looks like the branches are mostly growing upward to get sunlight. I'm not sure if the tree would grow the necessary side branches to make a fuller tree if I were to rotate it so that it stands upright.

Maybe I should prune off branches and start it over?
 
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I would suggest you cut back the trunk some and wire down some branches...
I think it is a chinese elm... the leaves are a little large, which is probally to do with extra watering, or partial shade...
 

pquinones

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stacy, you are right about the watering and sun. My friend probably overcompensated on the watering and light once he dug it (out out of fear of killing it), so the tree has quite a mish-mash of leaf sizes, ranging from miniscule to an inch (or slightly more). Hopefully, I can get the leaf size smaller and more uniform with a little bit of time.

I'm still figuring out where the best place to cut back the trunk would be (if cutting back is needed). I was envisioning a tree of the same shape as the semi-cascade you posted. Thanks for your image editing! It is certainly helpful in visualizing my possibilities!
 

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