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Thread: Bonsai Help?

  1. #1
    A leuco by any other name would still be as gluttonous. CorneliusSchrute's Avatar
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    Bonsai Help?

    So I have a bonsai tree I received in October for my birthday. I believe it is a Japanese elm and I am sort of enamored with it. I have, however, been trying to not think about it much as I don't need another plant addiction: Sarracenia and orchids are enough for now. As such, I am avoiding joining a bonsai forum. Lucky Terra Forum members, then, as I have a question.

    How do I keep a bonsai tree in shape, so to speak? In other words, do I need to prune it as new growth occurs to maintain its shape, or should I just let it bush out? This little guy suffered an aphid attack a few weeks ago, and now that the pests have been eradicated the thing is exploding with growth. I would just hate to see it loose its "divine proportion."

    I will post a picture of it in a bit, hopefully. Thanks!
    Corey Bennett

    My cultivated vegetation, carnivorous and otherwise...

    Formerly cbennett4041

  2. #2
    A leuco by any other name would still be as gluttonous. CorneliusSchrute's Avatar
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     photo 576CB794-41B5-487A-98FC-7DA74DF26956_zpsuk0bipx3.jpg

     photo F6DD3163-47AC-4B7B-B70D-6864696CE4A7_zpsdeexqy54.jpg

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    I wish I could give you an easy answer but I'm afraid if you want to keep the bonsai in "scale" you will have to do some reading. This is easily one of those hobbies you can go way overboard with if your not careful. You don't need to join a forum per say but a book or a few articles would be enough. Photos of what and how to cut help a ton.

    The three main areas I would spend 10-15m reading up on would be elm leaf pruning (you prune an elm different than you do a maple or a pine), repotting/root ball trimming, and branch structures (what twig to cut and which one to leave). People have wrote books on which twig to cut .

    I have mostly pre-bonsai maples and if you want the tiny maple leaves you have to defoliate (remove all the leaves) the tree 1-2 times a year. I've never had interest in Elms so I'm not sure of there pruning. I do know if you leave a bonsai alone and don't style it, well it becomes a tree in a pot .

    I'm assuming you have the basic care down.

    Google Bucephalandra and start another plant addition .

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    afrodisa's Avatar
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    Looks like a Chinese elm.

    It is an outdoor bonsai and requires a seasonal winter period. I would acclimate it to colder temps and less light over a period of several weeks.

    If your temps are above 20 degrees it should overwinter outside with no problems. Just place it in an area that is out of the wind and mulch it in with 2-3" of pine needles. If your temps go below 20 store it in an unheated garage til temps go up.

    When it leafs up in the spring you can think about reshaping it.
    What do you do when you see an endangered animal that eats only endangered plants?

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    RobinGordon's Avatar
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    If you want to neaten it up a bit, cutting dead twigs out is a good idea. The whole idea is to keep the plant as 'natural' as possible - that is, to prune inconspicuously.

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    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Since its indoors now, dont put it outside this winter..
    Its not very healthy for it to be indoors for the winter, but its too late now.
    it will have to take its chances..it should be fine skipping one winter dormancy..but its a risk.

    Put it outdoors in the spring, and then leave it outdoors 24/7/365..forever.
    Its not a houseplant..
    I know irresponsible sellers sell them as such..but they are only in it for the money.
    they dont care if it dies in a year.

    Scot

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    carnivorous plants of the world -- unite! DragonsEye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbennett4041 View Post
    I have, however, been trying to not think about it much as I don't need another plant addiction ...

    *snort* Yeah. Good luck with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by cbennett4041 View Post
    How do I keep a bonsai tree in shape, so to speak? In other words, do I need to prune it as new growth occurs to maintain its shape, or should I just let it bush out? This little guy suffered an aphid attack a few weeks ago, and now that the pests have been eradicated the thing is exploding with growth.
    As RSS mentioned, your best bet -- without resorting to additional human contact -- would be to get a book. The number of books written about bonsai is legion. (And pretty much all of them will have beaucoup pics of gorgeous bonsai that will set you drooling and push you into a new addiction anyways.) Honestly, your best option would be to find a bonsai society within driving distance. Not only would they be better able to offer you cultural advice pertinent to your area, but members would be able to show you exactly what to do and how to do it.

    Considering the time of year, I would suspect that attempting to give the tree a dormancy this time around (assuminig it needs one) would be ill advised. But again, here's where bonsai hobbyists in your area would likely be able to offer you more reliable information.






    (Not my tree. Just something to drool over. heh)
    "Blessed are the cracked….
    For they are the ones who let in the light."



  8. #8
    A leuco by any other name would still be as gluttonous. CorneliusSchrute's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info, all! I tried leaving it outside but it didn't start to enter dormancy by the end of November. If anything it picked up pace as the temps became cooler. I attributed this odd "behavior" to it being grown inside at the store... But this is probably an erroneous concept thinking back. Either way, I moved it inside for the winter.

    I actually read--in my wee bit of research--that this species doesn't necessarily need a dormancy. *shrugs*

    I definitely plan on dormancy for next year, though...

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