The Last 3 Months with a Chinese Elm Bonsai

When I got the tree only a few months ago it was pretty scraggly.  It constantly is being pruned and cut back….if you’re not familiar Elms grow like weeds.  This one has potential but will require a few years work before being truly amazing.

The tree is a mere 5 inches tall.

Here is this elm when I got the tree (It’s the one on the left in the red pot):


There has been a recent trend toward larger and larger bonsai.  I love the big trees too, but bonsai is, after all about miniature trees…….so it’s a nice change to work on the smaller trees.

You have less branches and material to work with in general on smaller bonsai.  This makes the finished composition that much more impressive.

Clearly a mess and barely looking like a “tree”.  The picture above was  taken on May 15, 2017.  The tree on the right has since sold.

I left it alone for 3 weeks to acclimate to it’s location here etc……I then cut away most dead branches, growth in the wrong direction and cleaned it up a bit so I could get an idea of what this tree really looked like.

On June 7th after the initial clean up, it looked like this:


The tree responded well………and just a week later showed new growth everywhere:


Then it got cut back again, this time a lot more:


And just to show you how quick they grow this is the tree 3 weeks after the photo above on July 6th:


I love elms for their rapid growth but having too many of them would be a nightmare…

From the picture above, I cut back the new shoots and thinned it out:


This tree has it’s challenges but is workable to a nice bonsai in the future.  I’ve put it on a 3 year time clock.  3 months goes by pretty quick.  It has already given me new workable branches so I’m happy with that.

Right now, I’m working on getting it to fill in the empty spots (which it is doing nicely).

The tree as of a few minutes ago:


It needs to go in a better pot but I still need to find one for it.

Not sure of the exact direction I want to go with it yet.  But that is the case most of the time.  I let the trees tell me what they want to be more than forcing the style or design.





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