Siberian elm from a stump - BonsaiSouth-inspired

Messages
105
Likes
111
Location
Montréal
USDA Zone
5b
#1
I heard everybody say that:

1) Elms are amazing growers, and almost unkillable.
2) Therefore, perfect for beginners.

Siberian elms grow like weeds here, in the most incredible places (cracks in the pavement, gravel beds, etc). I collected this stump on May 5 of this year, which was probably a week too late according to the standard (the leaves were beginning to emerge). The tree was about 4-5' tall, clearly quite young but getting a lot of sun, not much competition.

It was pushing buds 5 days (?!) after collection, and leaves were emerging about 10 days later. It had a big push in late May-early June, slowed down for 2 weeks or so, and then started growing again recently, with buds forming on the chop site. The only thing I did to it was bud selection (lots of 2-3-4 buds pushing together) and fertilization in mid-June.

The last 3 pics are from this morning. Thoughts, suggestions?

Should I start thinking about wiring the branches this growing season? My preference would be to shape the tree using clip-and-grow where possible. Should I prune this year? (some branches already have ramification).

The only issue I have been encountering so far was yellowing/drying of leaves at the base of branches. Doesn't look too alarming. Siberians here often have ravaged foliage, very ugly, to something to monitor I guess.

Thank to Zach Smith for his informative blog posts.
 

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Messages
109
Likes
257
Location
Albuquerque, NM
USDA Zone
7
#2
Here in NM they are also everywhere. I’ve had quite a few over the years. “Had” being the key word. While I still collect a few from time to time, I try not to get too attached to them as they are prone to branch dieback, in particular several year old branches that have undergone lots of development and ramification. Ive always pushed them real hard becausee they are very hard to kill ie. multiple prunings a year, hard root prunes and at different times a year etc. im wondering though if that’s partially why my branches are dying off. I’ve also heard that because they are a pioneer species that the branches will do this regardless. I’ve got one in training now that I’m moving much slower with. You’ll find different thoughts on American grown Siberian’s on the internet.

With all that said, they are great to practice with and expirement different techniques on. I’ve got one in training now that I’m moving slowly with. So far so good.

Several branches on yours appear ready to wire into place. But I wouldn’t prune too hard just yet. You want your main branches to thicken as much as possible and pruning won’t help that at this stage. Great start though! Should be a fun project and could yield great results!
 
Messages
105
Likes
111
Location
Montréal
USDA Zone
5b
#3
It's fascinating to me that the same species of elms can be invasive in New Mexico and in Québec, several zones apart. Kudos to them, tough cookies they are.

The topic of branches dying suddenly is mentioned a lot in the numerous topics on siberians in here. I think I remember a member speculating that full exposure to hard frosts and annual repotting seemed to lessen this tendency. Looking forward to see how full that pond basket will be at the end of the growing season.

I see this tree it as a learning/pratice tree, I have nothing invested in it. I will keep maybe more branches than necessary to compensate for the fact that some could die unexpectedly. There is another one I might dig up next spring, less movement than this one but slightly wider base.

Another question, maybe @Zach Smith can chime in: I trimmed all the buds at the cut side except for three, but the tree already seems to have chosen the branch just below as the apex, and it is quickly thickening. Should I keep the branches at the cut site or remove them, ie do they serve a purpose, like helping the wound heal or something like that?
 
Messages
941
Likes
1,286
Location
St. Francisville, LA
USDA Zone
8
#4
It depends on the species. I'm not familiar with Siberian elm, but if it were msot of the elms I work with I wouldn't hesitate to lose the extras provided you have a branch or two not too far below your leader. I'm assuming you sealed the chop, so it should hold up for another year or two until you can carve down to live wood.
 
Messages
105
Likes
111
Location
Montréal
USDA Zone
5b
#5
I did not seal the chop (hence the 3 shoots growing straight from the exposed cambium). Is it too late to do it? And what are the benefits (I know you seal yours systematically)?

Thank you.
 
Messages
941
Likes
1,286
Location
St. Francisville, LA
USDA Zone
8
#6
I did not seal the chop (hence the 3 shoots growing straight from the exposed cambium). Is it too late to do it? And what are the benefits (I know you seal yours systematically)?

Thank you.
It's just a measure to prevent drying out and dieback at the chop point. Some species are more at risk than others. No need to do it at this point.
 
Messages
1,551
Likes
1,447
Location
Essex, UK, Zone 8
#7
I heard everybody say that:

1) Elms are amazing growers, and almost unkillable.
2) Therefore, perfect for beginners.

Siberian elms grow like weeds here, in the most incredible places (cracks in the pavement, gravel beds, etc). I collected this stump on May 5 of this year, which was probably a week too late according to the standard (the leaves were beginning to emerge). The tree was about 4-5' tall, clearly quite young but getting a lot of sun, not much competition.

It was pushing buds 5 days (?!) after collection, and leaves were emerging about 10 days later. It had a big push in late May-early June, slowed down for 2 weeks or so, and then started growing again recently, with buds forming on the chop site. The only thing I did to it was bud selection (lots of 2-3-4 buds pushing together) and fertilization in mid-June.

The last 3 pics are from this morning. Thoughts, suggestions?

Should I start thinking about wiring the branches this growing season? My preference would be to shape the tree using clip-and-grow where possible. Should I prune this year? (some branches already have ramification).

The only issue I have been encountering so far was yellowing/drying of leaves at the base of branches. Doesn't look too alarming. Siberians here often have ravaged foliage, very ugly, to something to monitor I guess.

Thank to Zach Smith for his informative blog posts.
I always said that too but I think my first ever tree, mallsai Chinese elm is in a bad way and dying cos I didn’t repot it lol. I might kill it!