Garrit's Notes

Notes on pruning chinese elms

Dec 24 2021

I recently bought a chinese elm bonsai. To keep it alive and healthy, I devoted some time to learning how to properly prune it.

Chinese elms are very robust trees with strong growth. Even in the winter season, I can prune it on a weekly basis. I just watched this video which gives some helpful tips on pruning.

I noticed that the author let the tree grow heavily to develop stronger branches. Until now, I pruned the branches back to one leaf whenever it had about 5 leaves. However, a branch should only be cut on its woody parts in order to develop more shoots, and a branch needs some growth in order to turn to wood. Don't prune the branches too early!

Secondly, I thought that cutting the branches just behind a leaf would lead to more growth, but I found that this is not true. The branches should be cut just a bit above the leaf to prevent branch to die back and kill the leaf. It could also lead to the shoot coming out straight instead of angled, which is not desired.

Lastly I learned that branches pointing upwards should most likely be pruned, since they take a lot of energy that the tree could use elsewhere, which is also pointed out in this video.

Here's a picture of my chinese elm just how I bought it. You can clearly tell that it was cheaply imported from china. It needs a lot of work, but I'm having a lot of fun learning about this tree!

Chinese Elm

This is post 022 of #100DaysToOffload.


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