Chinese Elm Bonsai Care: Assess and Location (Part 1)

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Hi YouTube I’m Darren George Well it’s mid-december and here in the UK it’s gray it’s a cloudy day the rains Coming down and it’s miserable with Christmas just around the corner I Wonder if one or two folks out there Might be getting new Chinese alban’s ID So I’d like to talk a little bit about How to keep these charming little guys Healthy and happy until the spring when The growing season begins again and all The fun jobs need to be done I think There are three things that we need to Do in order to guarantee the success of A new Chinese our bonsai first it’s Important to have a good look at the Tree get to know how healthy is it has It been doing up to now this information Might give us some clues about how to Keep it happy and healthy until the Spring the next thing that we need to Think about is where should we keep the Tree until the growing season comes Around and finally the last thing that Would need to be considered is watering The tree let’s have a look at this tree First then so the first thing to notice Is got plenty of foliage the crown is Quite full the leaves are a nice even Green color the foliage on the branches Is reasonably close together it’s not Too spread out they are the branches are Looking a little bit leggy so we’ve got Quite a long distance from the trunk

Until we start to get to the foliage What’s happened is this trees been sat In the nursery and as it’s been grown on It’s been trimmed over so repeatedly any Grows that pops up it’s been cut back to This silhouette that we’ve got here and So what that’s created is plenty of Foliage on the outside and some sparsity In the middle Another factor would be that the leaves On the outside will create shade Underneath and so any leaves that were Present here have turned yellow and Dropped off that’s a perfectly natural Thing to happen the tree senses that the Leaves on the inside that are shaded out It senses that they’re not receiving Enough light so it sucks the goodness From those leaves on the inside and Reinvests it on growth on the outside Searching for the light so the foliage Is looking quite nice on this one I’m Quite happy with it this is healthy Foliage perhaps could be a little Greener but it’s fine okay so let’s have A closer look at the soil on the surface We’ve got a gravelly substance that’s Quite loose and we’re able to push it Back revealing this soil that looks a Bit more familiar it looks like potting Compost or plain old if we press it There’s a sponginess to it that tells me That these stones aren’t present Throughout the pot they are simply a

Topdressing to top up the pot the Sponginess also indicates that there’s Probably quite a lot to route through The soil this tells us that this tree is Probably coming up for a repot as the Pot fills with roots There’s less and less room for the roots To grow and there’s also less Less room for water to penetrate the Soil even though this tree probably Needs to be repotted it’s not the best Time of year to be doing it we’ll come To that in the spring the soil that We’ve got underneath looks quite dense This isn’t ideal soil for growing bonsai In what the roots need is plenty of air Passing through the soil and the roots Also need good drainage and this this Dense soil isn’t the best growing medium To achieve that again we’ll address that When we come to repotting we’ll use a More open substrate that will encourage Strong healthy roots and also minimize The chance of over watering So overall then this trees looking Reasonably good the foliage is great for Newly purchased Chinese elm bonsai the Soil needs a bit of work but we’re not Surprised this is pretty standard stuff And we’ll address that in the spring so The foliage on this Chinese elm is Looking quite sparse the branches are Very leggy that’s quite long distances To get to the leaves the leaves are

Reasonably well spaced there’s also Quite a lot of stuff that looks like It’s died back here and there with no Leaves it’s quite crusty and falls off Easily the foliage of on this tree is Telling us that the tree isn’t in the Best of health the sparsity of the Leaves is a pretty good indication that The roots of the tree aren’t happy the Amount of foliage a tree can support is Dictated by the health of the root System the healthy of the roots the more Water and nutrients can be taken up by The tree and the more leaves can be Sustained if we have sparse Foliage such as this it tells us that The roots aren’t working as well as Perhaps they could be the sparsity of The foliage also points to the tree Perhaps trying to tell us that it’s not Getting enough sunlight if a tree isn’t Getting enough sunlight what I’ll do Is it will suck the nutrients out of Foliage near the trunk and reinvest the Nutrients into growth further and Further away from the trunk searching For the best sunlight so that it can Continue to thrive and survive if a tree Is getting enough nutrients from the Roots and is getting enough sunlight From above we’d expect plenty of leaves Closing the leaves to be quite nice and Tight and close together and have good Good density to the foliage we wouldn’t

Have these died back twigs It will be nice and much more bushy okay So if we move in close and let’s check Out the soil of this tree so there’s Quite a lot of moss on the surface as we Push the moss back we reveal this Uniform looking earth that possibly Potting compost or maybe it’s plain old Earth and this is typical stuff it’s Quite standard for trees to be planted In this material and then shipped to be Sold the trouble is this material is Very dense it doesn’t allow water to Easily penetrate and it doesn’t allow Air to easily penetrate so the chances Are the root system of this tree isn’t As healthy as it could be and we may Have drainage issues when we come to Water which we’ll look at shortly and Important things take into account when You’ve got a new bonsai tree Particularly Chinese Elms or other Imported trees that have come from Countries that have a different climate To where you live in my case the UK it’s Important to think about where you keep The tree in the case of Chinese Elms They’re much much easier to keep happy And healthy if you keep them outside Year-round when you keep your Chinese Arm outdoors it’s easier to ensure that The tree gets plenty of light during the Growing season it’s also important that The tree gets rest over winter and is

Allowed the cold temperatures that it Requires in order to go into dormancy in This country the UK Chinese arms are Deciduous that means in the autumn the Trees will drop their leaves and go Dormant over winter until the longer Days and the warmer temperatures arrive In the spring as you can see these trees Are still in leaf even though it’s December and that’s because they’ve Probably been fairly recently imported Into the country from a place that has a Very different climate to the UK because These trees aren’t used to the UK Winters we need to give extra careful Thought to where we keep the tree even Though Chinese arms are easier to keep Healthy outdoors it’s important that we Take into account the conditions that The tree has been used to before it was Imported into this country that means That it’s not a good idea to take this Tree and let it live outside immediately The tree is probably going to need a Couple of UK winters before the tree Realizes that it’s actually better to Drop its leaves and go dormant in Winter because these trees aren’t yet Used to the cold conditions that we get What I will be doing with them in the Winter is I will be storing them in a Greenhouse the greenhouse ensures that The trees don’t get excessively wet in All the rain that we have and also it

Provides shelter from cold drying winds What the greenhouse doesn’t do is Prevent freezing the temperatures over Now it will still drop pretty low in the Greenhouse admittedly not perhaps as low As outside of the greenhouse but still Low enough for the water inside to Freeze but because the trees are Sheltered from the wind this is less of A problem it’s also important to note That I took these trees into my garden And well before we got the first Frost’s So the trees have experienced a gradual Decrease in temperatures as the autumns Progressed through to the winter if You’re wondering where you should keep Your trees and you have the option to Keep the tree outside it’s probably Still worth considering keeping the tree In a cool indoor location if you don’t Have access to a greenhouse such places As an unheated garage are shared if it’s Got a window or like I’m in here Conservatory that gets plenty of light All of these options will be fine it’s Best not to keep your tree near a Radiator or if you can and if you can Avoid it away from drafts I don’t know Very much at all about keeping trees Alive indoors I keep on mine outdoors I’m fortunate to have a garden so I will Provide a link to an excellent youtube Video that goes into great detail about How to keep trees alive indoors if

That’s the route you choose this is Where I keep all of my sensitive Projects things like Cuttings and air layers and emergency Repots so I’ll keep these these trees in Here with all my other sensitive Projects it’s just a cheap plastic Pop-up greenhouse it was actually given To me so it didn’t cost me anything During the day open the doors to ensure Some fresh air can pass through prevent Any fungal issues and then in the Evening or on particularly windy days I Will shut the doors keep everything nice And snug coming up in part two we’ll Talk about watering your new Chinese our Bonsai

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