Ulmus parvifolia (A) progression

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Spring Hill, FL
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#21
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
View attachment 133856

Repotted in 2014; here it is in April:
View attachment 133852

Repotted again in 2015; here’s March:
View attachment 133855

June 2015; I let it grow without restriction and fed heavily:
View attachment 133854

January 2016:
View attachment 133853

Updates coming…
Hello parhamr, I was hoping to ask about the optimal time to prune Chinese Elms. At what stage of the growing season would it be considered best to prune a young elm when trunk development is the top priority still? I would like to start on the right track. Thank you!
 
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Location
Portland, OR
USDA Zone
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#22
best to prune a young elm when trunk development is the top priority
This answers your own question: if trunk development is the top priority then leave it unpruned for a season or two. I don’t know your tree and I don’t know your climate; you’ll have more luck with local experts and bonsai enthusiast clubs.

Chinese elm can successfully be pruned at nearly any time of year. Caveat: successively pruning new growths “too many times” (this depends on tree health) will negatively impact the tree.

Ask yourself: what am I trying to accomplish?

If you want to thicken parts of a tree, let it grow for at least a season and then prune back at the right time (this varies by tree, health, and climate). If you want growths to ramify and to have more fine branching, then let it grow until the leaves have hardened (varies by species, but they generally turn darker and feel more firm) and then prune back to 2–3 buds or nodes.
 
Messages
104
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Location
Spring Hill, FL
USDA Zone
9
#23
This answers your own question: if trunk development is the top priority then leave it unpruned for a season or two. I don’t know your tree and I don’t know your climate; you’ll have more luck with local experts and bonsai enthusiast clubs.

Chinese elm can successfully be pruned at nearly any time of year. Caveat: successively pruning new growths “too many times” (this depends on tree health) will negatively impact the tree.

Ask yourself: what am I trying to accomplish?

If you want to thicken parts of a tree, let it grow for at least a season and then prune back at the right time (this varies by tree, health, and climate). If you want growths to ramify and to have more fine branching, then let it grow until the leaves have hardened (varies by species, but they generally turn darker and feel more firm) and then prune back to 2–3 buds or nodes.

Cool! Thanks for the info.
 
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Location
Spring Hill, FL
USDA Zone
9
#24
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.
Bonsai Nut, if the lowest branch were to be taken off, I am curious about leaving the bottom branch facing to the back. Could it give the tree depth? Or, are backward-facing branches usually placed higher up?

Thanks!
 

Bonsai Nut

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#25
Bonsai Nut, if the lowest branch were to be taken off, I am curious about leaving the bottom branch facing to the back. Could it give the tree depth? Or, are backward-facing branches usually placed higher up?
The lowest branch is usually the defining branch of the tree - it helps set the front of the tree and frame your design. If the lowest branch of the tree is backward-facing it really doesn't give the tree depth, because the foliage from that branch will be below the foliage mass for the rest of the tree. It may just muddy your design because it conflicts with setting up your defined foliage masses on your primary and secondary front branches.

Of course, the devil is always in the details. There may be a situation where this is the best approach, but frankly I cannot recall seeing one.
 
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Location
Spring Hill, FL
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#26
The lowest branch is usually the defining branch of the tree - it helps set the front of the tree and frame your design. If the lowest branch of the tree is backward-facing it really doesn't give the tree depth, because the foliage from that branch will be below the foliage mass for the rest of the tree. It may just muddy your design because it conflicts with setting up your defined foliage masses on your primary and secondary front branches.

Of course, the devil is always in the details. There may be a situation where this is the best approach, but frankly I cannot recall seeing one.

Understood. Thanks for explaining.
 
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Belgium
#30
Will you make the cut more concave, clean and cutpaste it? I would rework it when the green is out. There might pop some branches there, keep some (the once above) to speed the process, for that reason keep it orientated to the sun.
 

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