Chinese Elm Bonsai Make-Over Bonsai Made Easy

In Bonsai, sometimes you have to improvise!

Join us in re-designing this old tree affected by weather change.

Jerome here from the bonsai supply and today we’re going to give my beloved elm a little bit of a restyling so let me explain what happened so on the first look of this tree it looks like it has always done right has a full canopy it looks beautiful green and healthy however if you turn it around it doesn’t look so happy anymore so what happened here so all of these branches here there’s about five or six branches that have died off including the top has died off as well now let me explain you what happened here so we moved from florida to georgia in 2020 which was last year and i had to repot this tree last year earlier earlier than usual because i was displaying this tree in a disney world in orlando at the epcot center where the tree was displayed for about it was supposed to be supply displayed for four months but it got cut short because of covert so it was only displayed for two months so it went from being repotted early in south florida where it’s really really warm three hours north that’s driving distance to orlando where it wasn’t as as hot and it was a little colder it’s not a big deal different climate however it was there for two months and then when i picked it up after the two months were up because of covet i drove down to orlando to pick up my tree and it was very very weak this is all growth of maybe two weeks three weeks maybe something like that and it was in orlando for two full months and he had not grown nearly as much it was barely leafed out so it didn’t fully push out until i brought it all the way up to georgia and even here in georgia he needed up until an extra two months to fully flush out so it was a little weakened by the trip that that happened um i’m not blaming anybody besides except for me there was no chance for me to bring it back to florida after uh orlando so i had to bring it up here to georgia and the tree was weaker we had to go through you know a mild winter but this tree has never seen a mild winter because it was grown all the way in south florida so therefore um we had a few branches that died back and this is what happens when you do bonsai it’s a living art form it’s not that big of a deal but you know it happens and it does kind of suck so tonight even though the tree was weaker last year and we did lose you know half of the top and some branches in the back as you can see in the front uh we still have a lot of the branches intact and i’m really grateful for that because this is what you’re gonna see the rest i can work on for the next couple of years and kind of hide it so that’s not a bad thing as you can see the tree is extremely vigorous this year so it definitely has recovered from whatever it was weak and this is what happens when you move or when you display trees in different states you have to be extremely careful under my circumstances i couldn’t have done it any other way and so this is the backlash and so today we’re gonna fix it right now the first thing that i’m gonna do is actually i’m going to take all of this greenery that you see here and i’m going to cut it way back and actually i already cut this tree back about two weeks ago because it was out to here and i chopped it back because i wanted to read it read redistribute the energy from here up into there and into the areas that had dead branches now i could have cut i could have cut off the branches a little earlier but i i wanted to wet i wanted to let the tree fully push out to see if i get some growth anywhere else in the tree because up here this section here started to grow way later than the rest so if i would have cut this tree off earlier i would have cut off this entire top and since i waited i have a lot of branches and i still have my taper in there so the first step that we’re going to do is just cut everything way back and while i do that i wanted to show you a little clip of what this tree looked like before this and what it’s going to look like after so that you can have a nice comparison and see the story of my beloved american entry and let’s get to work [Music] [Music] so [Music] all right so this is about good um i i removed all the growth that was hanging underneath the branches on the deciduous trees when they push out in the spring they especially american elms they push into every direction and so therefore when we do our trim we want to remove all the foliage that’s hanging underneath the pad where the sun doesn’t get too anyways and we don’t want to have ramification underneath of the pad we want to have it up here right and so now what we’re going to do the reason why we cut it back is not just to redistribute the energy but it’s also that when we take a look at this first dead branch down here that we can take a look and make sure that that we don’t remove anything that we are not supposed to so i’m going to bring you in a little closer and show you this branch up close all right so as you can see this is the back branch of the front so the opposite here is the front this is the back of the tree and this entire branch it seemed like it died off but i have one green branch that came out here and i have some more green branches that came out here um i also have some green that came out here and that’s the reason why i didn’t cut anything before i let the tree push out completely because otherwise i wouldn’t have had this and i would have had lost this entire piece here and so today all i have to do is just cut back to here use my saw there you go so all right so now this branch here is gonna be allowed to grow up until it starts to harden and then i’m gonna take it down and then bend it into position somewhere in here so now if we look at this back branch here so some more branches have sprouted from here which these sprouted before this one did and so i thought i was going to need these branches to replace this branch but however since this one sprouted i can remove these two branches because the branch next to it is dead as well however if you look at it in here so you see how this branch is dead and then this one is also dead or so i thought until this one started sprouting so once again i can remove this one and i can remove it here and replace these two branches with this one from here [Music] [Music] so over here we have this area out of this one singular branch here that has still survived well we have a ton of branches that are pushing out and so we don’t want to keep all of these branches because we want to redirect the energy into just one branch and so therefore i’m going to remove all of these branches here and just focus on on one branch which is going to be this branch here all right so i’m going to let this branch once again shoot out just like this one and just like this one down here once they harden put them into position all right so as you can see i’ve gotten pretty lucky um that i’ve had branches regrow from all the branches that i cut off so which means that i can pretty much restore the entire setting up here like it was before the only thing i have to remove now would be the top and i have a branch here this one that one is going to be my leader so meaning my new top [Music] [Music] all right so obviously um this could look this could have been a lot better but at the same time this could have also been a lot worse so the entire front is still intact which is good i didn’t have to do any major cuts any major scars which is also good because this uh tree is such an elegant tree it doesn’t have any really it doesn’t really have any scars so that’s kind of a blessing in itself that i didn’t have to make very large cuts um this tree i was contemplating of you know making a lot of dead wood in here with all of these branches but this is just not the tree for for that style and you just have to know when it is and when it isn’t and when does the dead wood add and when does it you know take away from the whole design so here since deadwood on trees on the citrus trees doesn’t last long anyways especially if it’s man-made i thought i’d just shy away from that and have it look like plucked chicken for a couple years but then i’m back um i’m back on schedule with this tree so good thing is that i didn’t have to make any large cuts in here and the tree all the way up here is still alive so that’s really good and like i said i have the branches coming out of all of the branches that i cut off so the tree is not going to get restyled that much and good thing is that it is only in the back now what i’m going to do here is i’m going to let all of these branches freely grow thicken up gain some strength gain some vigor and then in july um in the middle of july when the all the deciduous trees go into their dormant period so for about 30 days and this might uh be a little bit different depending on where you live but here in georgia it’s in the middle of july where all the deciduous trees go dormant so they go to sleep for about two weeks to 30 days and that’s what i’m going to come in here remove all of the leaves defoliate the tree completely and then i’m going to take these new branches which by then they’re going to be out to they’re going to be out you know by the fence um then i can actually wire the branches and put them into position and cut these branches back a little bit more as well and just kind of even it out a little more too so i would say all in all i would say well it took me about 10 years to get it to this stage and i would say it’s going to take me i’ll say about three to five years to where i was the good thing that i have going here for me is that this is an extremely fast growing tree if this was anything else it would hurt me much more than this does i mean it still hurts a lot because i lost half the tree but since this tree is so vigorous this branch here is brand new growth from about a week and a half and it has grown a foot and a half and it hasn’t even hardened off yet and it’s still pushing really vigorously so and now that i thinned up the area this is going to grow even faster so i’m not that concerned we can definitely rescue this tree now the one thing that’s really important though is to make sure that the tree doesn’t get away from me completely meaning that these branches down here i’m going to keep them nicely trimmed and i’m going to keep them back where i let the rest uh grow up so i can send more energy to the other uh remaining areas now i hope that you guys enjoyed this video and i hope that you learned what not to do and what to do when you did what you shouldn’t have done that would make sense um so it was unfortunate mishap it happened it happens to all of us no matter how long you are in bonsai trees die for a number of reasons this tree just got weak now it’s strong again we’re back on track so it’s good please let me know if you have any questions comment below let me know what you guys think and i will catch you guys next time all right you

You May Also Like