Relocated Chinese Elm from Malibu to Chicago

AmazingUnicorn

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Greetings! Slight variation on a Chinese Elm question I saw someone post from earlier in the week. Last year I bought my tree from a lady on the side of the road in Malibu (she and her husband are legit and have been there for a decade or longer) and brought it back to Chicago with me in January. The tree was kept in a cool spot, lost most of its leaves but not all and then sprung back great for a wonderful summer where it stayed outside since early April.

Now it's getting colder and I'd like to keep the tree outside but i read that it might matter where the tree is from (which I can't find out till I go back to Malibu this year). It's no Chicago temps in Malibu but it was low 40s and she'd be out there with all of them every day.

My thought is to just leave it on our back deck, possibly insulate it a bit. I do have a detached unheated garage but it's pitch black in there. Should it simply be left out, does it need any light once all the leaves drop and what to do with watering once dormant?
 

Forsoothe!

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Put it in the garage, water it lightly (the crown) every 3 weeks or so. If it is frozen and the water just sits there on the surface, don't worry about it. It will begin to leaf out when the number of hours quiescent is satisfied which will be sooner than it is spring outside the garage. You will need to introduce the plant to direct sun gradually beginning with no direct sun in bright shade for a week, then dappled shade for a week, then full sun. Do not allow the leaves to be exposed to frost overnight in spring. This is called the bonsai two-step. Out in the morning, back inside in the evening when necessary. Next year, sit the pot on the ground in full sun late October after the mice have found a winter home and mulch with leaves over the pot and half way to the first branch. Oak is best if available. Put it back on the bench in late April. Enjoy.
 

sorce

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If it is a standard $x Mallsai Chinese Elm, you have to determine whether your time and effort is Worth more than just leaving it out and hoping for the best.

At minimum wage in Seattle, checking on it three times means you spent the time you could've earned to buy 2 more already.

It'll live left out and ignored, or it's probably not worth your time.

Sorce
 

sorce

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Stick this Malibu Barbie next to it for comfort.😉

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Sorce
 

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