Elms and hard pruning

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Elms and hard pruning

Postby Bonsai33 » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:34 pm

Hello all,

I have been poking around Lindsay Farr's website and watched the little video on care tips for Elms.
I watched in muted facination at the extent he cut back his little Elm.

Image

Image

My questions are regarding the 2 tree here in the post, as it effects both.

1. is it the right time to hard prune Elms?
2. viewing these trees, would anybody suggest this action?

My aim is to encourage it to 'back bud'.
They were badly effected in the searing heat last year and this year when they budded it was only at the tips

Thanks for your time

Regards
Jeff
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Re: Elms and hard pruning

Postby taffyman » Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:50 pm

Hi Jeff.
Not knowing your climate, I'd be very reluctant to cut elms back hard at this time of the year up here. All the information I have says to cut back in spring and they can be defoliated in summer. What you could try, is to give your trees a good boost of fertilizer then cut back to the last set of leaves on each branch/twig. At the worst, you'll get one or two shoots from the remaining leaves and at the best, you'll get some back-budding. If that happens, then cut back to suitable buds after they set the first set of leaves.

If you send Alpinebonsart a pm, he may be able to offer more - or better advice as he lives in your general area and has done a lot of work with Chinese Elms.

Also, if I were you, I'd be lifting the trees out of the styrene boxes and putting some more soil underneath them. It'll encourage more root growth, but should also help with water retention to reduce the problem of drying out during hot weather. When it comes time to put them in a Bonsai pot, then the roots can be cut back to fit the pot.

Hope this is of some help.
Taffy
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Re: Elms and hard pruning

Postby alpinebonsart » Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:46 am

Hi Jeff you have the advantage over me as my cuttings don't have roots as such .Chinese elms a very vigorous growers and will continue to back bud as far as you cut back .These pics are failed air layers ,they don't have roots as yet however the are shooting from the base to the tips .
100_4063.jpg
Branch cuttings "various sections" sprouting and back budding ,as yet there is no roots present on any of these cuttings
Like noxious weeds elms will stay dormant for a long period until the right conditions arrive .
100_4064.jpg
This is a 45mm branch 300mm long and has budded and sprouted quite well .It too doesn't have roots yet . Note the lower shoots removed in the pot
These branches were severed from the tree 19/4/2009 and have been sitting in a hothouse dormant since then ,whereas all my rooted trees failed to go dormant .
100_4065.jpg
branch severely cut and place into a pot ,now showing good shoots and back budding
These were cut into 300-400mm long sticks and put into pots ,i used the most interesting parts of the branches to create trunks .

Back to your question ,Taffymans method is a safe bet ,simply cut back to 1-2 sets of leaves and it will continue to shoot but mostly at the leaf nodes and with very little backbudding .Lindsay has the right approach cut the branch severely and this forces back budding .Its much easier for the tree to produce new leaves at the nodes than back bud ,so you have to get quite aggressive and force the tree to back bud .You could set an air layer on the upper part of the tree and hard prune the lower section this will produce the same effect .Cheers Alpine
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Re: Elms and hard pruning

Postby Bonsai33 » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:21 pm

Gentleman,

thanks very much for your replies, my apoplogies for the delay in getting back to you.

Taffy, it wasn't till you pointed out the low soil level did it I notice it, so that was corrected on the weekend. (Y)

i took the safe bet and cut back to the 1st set of leaves on each, and if it survives that, then i will be more adventous next year.

Alpine, can i clarify, these are essentially 'cuttings' from an Elm? as they appear quite large, an inch? an inch and a half across?
may i ask what preparation you do with them before planting? is there and angle of cut? do you use rooting hormone?
i am intrigued.


Can i also ask you both, regarding Corky Bark Elms, is it true that due care should be taken with the handling or the Cork Bark will shed and not grow back? and i confess, its for this reason for the lack of severe cutting back.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Regards
Jeff
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Re: Elms and hard pruning

Postby alpinebonsart » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:27 am

[quote="Bonsai33"]Gentleman,

Alpine, can i clarify, these are essentially 'cuttings' from an Elm? as they appear quite large, an inch? an inch and a half across?
may i ask what preparation you do with them before planting? is there and angle of cut? do you use rooting hormone?
i am intrigued.

Hi Jeff these were originally air layers that failed due to the fact that the Slaters managed to get into the moss and eat the roots .So rather than throw them out i decided to pot them to see if they would take root .Strike rate was 70 percent ,square cut with a hand saw nothing special .Firstly i soaked them in Willow water for 48 hours however i cant remember which batch of willow water i used .I then potted the cuttings ,and yes they are large diameter from 20mm up to 45mm and around 300mm plus in length .No other hormone substance was used . Noxious weeds is what i call elms as you can have a hard time eradicating root suckers with round up and if you cant kill it with round up to me its noxious . Private joke!!

I have used smaller tip growths for cuttings and used hormone powder ,thus all have failed . I believe from my personal experience that willow water is far superior on a lot of cuttings that are a little troublesome. .

Now as to Corky Bark Elms they can be a horror story for no good reason ,as the tend to get die back even to the best growers .Personally i don't have any to my knowledge but the stories i've heard would make me stay away for a long time .Most of my elms {Chinese } are Lace Bark however i have some with extremely rough bark {corky bark ???} and don't have the weeping habit of the lace bark elm , as yet i don't know the identity of the tree .These cutting are from that very tree and the leaves are quite large around 30-40mm .I will ask a few questions at the local council as they have several lace and rough bark Elms growing in a park .Corky's can die just after repotting OR AT ANY TIME DURING THE GROWING SEASON and no-one can say why this happens . Hope this info helps .Cheers Alpine
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