Ulmus parvifolia (A) progression

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Location
Portland, OR
USDA Zone
8b
#1
I’m working on a longer term informal upright Chinese elm. I purchased the tree in early 2012 and its first three years were subpar due to my noob usage (“learning opportunity”) of subpar soil material (too organic), inadequate pot sizing, and poor timing of pruning.

Tiny tree, mid-2012
yxiGv7O.jpg

Repotted in 2014; here it is in April:
3Qcfsb4.jpg

Repotted again in 2015; here’s March:
QzCoaBr.jpg

June 2015; I let it grow without restriction and fed heavily:
QDxwXao.jpg

January 2016:
OHfgy85.jpg

Updates coming…
 
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719
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1,897
Location
Portland, OR
USDA Zone
8b
#2
I repotted it on Feb 25. It had been in this pot for two years and was root bound.

Before
IMG_0383.JPG

I removed a lot of root to prepare for the new, more shallow grow box:
IMG_0385.JPG

After IMG_0387.JPG

I'm pretty damn pleased with how the nebari is progressing
IMG_0418.JPG

The potting angle and orientation are not quite right on this tree but I'm okay with that. I think the biggest branch will be the primary but I might grow out a new primary on the right side of the tree. The new primary would be aligned with the basal flare and nebari in a desirable manner.

This tree does not intentionally have a uro. That's a scar from using those ghastly branch bender tools. It might make a nice uro, but the tree is definitely capable of healing it up cleanly.

The tree does not have a lot of taper through the trunk. I might fix that with massive lower growths or I might air layer the top and regrow a crown.
 

Bonsai Nut

Administrator
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Location
OC, CA
USDA Zone
10A
#12
Here’s the current silhouette.
Air-layer off the two bottom branches this Spring. Trust me. They are too low for your final design, they aren't doing anything at this point to contribute to your trunk caliper, and the wounds will just become harder to heal over time.

Plus, you will have two stubby shohin to work with.

The lowest branch on the left is really important to develop the tapering in the trunk. Right now the canopy is getting too strong and the upper trunk is getting too thick. If it were my tree, I might let that branch grow freely the entire year while ramifying/suppressing the upper branches. Then I might cut it off... and start a new thin branch from the buds that will pop at its base.
 
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719
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Location
Portland, OR
USDA Zone
8b
#15
Air-layer off the two bottom branches this Spring. Trust me. They are too low for your final design, they aren't doing anything at this point to contribute to your trunk caliper, and the wounds will just become harder to heal over time.

Plus, you will have two stubby shohin to work with.

The lowest branch on the left is really important to develop the tapering in the trunk. Right now the canopy is getting too strong and the upper trunk is getting too thick. If it were my tree, I might let that branch grow freely the entire year while ramifying/suppressing the upper branches. Then I might cut it off... and start a new thin branch from the buds that will pop at its base.
Huhhhh. I hadn’t thought of this! This is good feedback. I’ll… ponder this.

I strongly agree the canopy vigor needs to be kept in check.
 
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412
Location
Richmond, VA
USDA Zone
6
#17
VEry nice! You have made some good choices with branch selection. And it seems to be on its way to fixing the lack of taper.

Would love to see a few more pictures from different sides!
 
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719
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1,897
Location
Portland, OR
USDA Zone
8b
#20
@Giga I’m going for a more natural diameter-to-height ratio in this tree (i.e. a slightly skinny trunk). I see what you mean about that chop proposal,. but that’s not what I’ve been planning.

At best, the tree height will be 12 times the trunk diameter. I think I have another 6 years of canopy development before its size and shape are approaching my desired design.