Best time for transplanting is early spring and fall.
At that time, trim longest roots. Prune apex down to re-proportion tree, and
cut long limbs to globe shape of original parent tree or start pruning for
another style you've chosen. Take care to cut between leaves on a branch -
not too close to a leaf. Tender new leaf shoots at the end of limbs can be
pinched back to encourage fuller growth.
All pruning on the perimeter helps with later choices in shaping the tree as it routes energy back toward the trunk increasing the size of trunk and the number and sizes of limbs.
If you mix your soil with a good pine bark mulch, fertilizing may not be needed. Over-feeding can cause elongated limbs and large leaves. In this case, clip back and/or pinch off large leaves.
Same Chinese Elm parent tree as above seedling. Potted up in May 2001.
2/23/03 (nine months later) The potted Chinese Elm
growing in a screened porch leafed out early due to the protective climate
of the porch. In North Georgia, Chinese elm is deciduous. It may keep it's
leaves in a Florida or Southern California climate.
Branching has matured and we continue to fertilize and prune in the growing season. Repot every two years or when root-bound or when ready for a shallow training pot. Plastic bonsai training pots can be used to help with visualization and since they are shallow, you will begin the phase of pruning out larger tap roots to encourage small fibrous root density creating a balance above and below ground.
Soon you will have a miniature tree that can be transferred into a finished bonsai pot.
Chinese Elm, Ulmus parvifolia
Chinese Elm is a fast growing tree with naturally small leaves and exfoliating bark. Readily, three reasons why this tree is a good, interesting choice for growing as bonsai. Elms are also hardy and grow best in full sun with good soil drainage. The Chinese Elm produced today is resistant to disease which has been a problem for the American Elm. Chinese Elms go well in these styles: formal upright, informal upright, slanted, and broom.