Newbie branch/pruning questions

Forbes

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Hi all... My name is Jason, and I'm VERY new to the forum. So far, i have gotten some good information, but i wasn't able to find answers to my exact questions, so why not try with my first post. :) I recently purchased my first bonsai, a Chinese Elm. Before i even had it out of the box, i was enthralled with it. It is about 10" high from the top of the soil and has a curved trunk. I bought it from a place in Iowa (I live in Pa). I have done some reading on bonsai before the purchase, and just thought it was "me". I've always enjoyed nature and how it works, and plants/trees so i thought i'd try my hand at it. Well, not knowing any better really, i started pruning after looking at it for about 2 days. I could see where i wanted it to be, so i started with a trim here, and a trim there...

Now I have three distinct branches and fair sized conglomeration (no crossing branches) at the top that i hope to form a little "canopy" with. Now, with my questions... the bottom branch is very thin. I know the lower branches should be thicker, and decrease in size the further up the tree you go. What is the best method, or is there any to grow this lower branch thicker? it is maybe 1/10 the trunk size in diameter, where my second branch is closer to maybe 1/4 the dia of the trunk. I would really like to keep the first branch as i like it's location. Any suggestions?

Question 2: Is it best to let a tree grow for a period of time before pruning it? Should i have let the Elm (im' guessing about 3 yr old) grow a little more to develop some smaller offshoot branches before prunning? I have cut back several branches and leaves, and have gotten leaves to start budding on the branches closer to the trunk as I would like, but if there is a better method, i'm all ears.

It's only been about a month since i got the Elm, and I have since gotten a Fukien Tea and have tried to start growing a Red Maple from a cutting... so we'll see how that goes. I haven't been as aggressive with pruning on the Tea tree. just cleaned up the sprouts on the trunk and under sides of the branches. I welcome any input, thoughts, suggestions, comments, etc... I'm new and am here to learn, and hopefully one day share my experiences as well. :)
 

jk_lewis

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Hi all...
Now I have three distinct branches and fair sized conglomeration (no crossing branches) at the top that i hope to form a little "canopy" with. Now, with my questions... the bottom branch is very thin. I know the lower branches should be thicker, and decrease in size the further up the tree you go. What is the best method, or is there any to grow this lower branch thicker? it is maybe 1/10 the trunk size in diameter, where my second branch is closer to maybe 1/4 the dia of the trunk. I would really like to keep the first branch as i like it's location. Any suggestions?

The only way to fatten that branch is to let it grow LONG, then trim it back, then let it grow LONG again, trim it back, and repeat until the branch is where you want it. Of course, the second branch will be growing too, but if you keep it trimmed back it may not grow as much.

Question 2: Is it best to let a tree grow for a period of time before pruning it? Should i have let the Elm (im' guessing about 3 yr old) grow a little more to develop some smaller offshoot branches before prunning? I have cut back several branches and leaves, and have gotten leaves to start budding on the branches closer to the trunk as I would like, but if there is a better method, i'm all ears.

Elms will sprout new buds easily, so cutting it back probably has not damaged it -- assuming it is healthy.

Pictures of the trees in question always help.
 

Forbes

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Here are some pics of the Elm... it's pretty bare... hopefully not too bare... it seems pretty healthy from what little i know of trees. I'm guessing just time and some tlc will do. Also, it's new to me, and came in this small pot, and i have a slightly larger pot i would like to put it in... do i need to do any root pruning at this point, or just put it the larger pot?

Well I guess I have to link my pics, so i'll have to do that a little later... work doesn't play well with photobucket. :(
 

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