Ulmus parvifolia (A) progression

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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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Location
Portland, OR
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#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.
 
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Location
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#3
Ooh, relevant: in early 2016 I produced a cutting from this tree and it’s growing quite well. Here, the red line shows the cut and the green highlights the new cutting

OHfgy85.jpg
 
Last edited:
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Location
Portland, OR
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#6
@Bonsai Nut I like that plan—especially the reduction in height. I will need to wait, now, as massive chops after repotting are high risk for root damage in my experience.
 

Bonsai Nut

Administrator
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OC, CA
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#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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Location
Fairhope AL
USDA Zone
8
#13
Today I repotted the cutting I had taken in 2016. It’s looking healthy and I was pleased to find some basal flare by digging down about two inches.
View attachment 175747
Like these. The other not so much. The nebari and lower trunk look to be right at 90 degrees. Is there a different front that can be chosen to fix that?
 
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#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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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!
 

Giga

Masterpiece
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#19
Looks to tall and lanky to me - have you considered letting it grow unchecked this year then chopping the top off at the 4th branch up?
 
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#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.