Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

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MJL
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Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

Post by MJL »

This is a busy time of the year with various deciduous trees ready for repotting. Here's the last of my group plantings/forests. To add to the Boulevard Cypress, Japanese Maple and Chinese Elm forest that I have recently posted in the progression series - here's a group planting of Japanese Elms!

Background: I rescued some really poor nursery stock about 5 years ago. From memory there were 3 pots with multiple pot bound Zelkova's in a general nursery. I saved them from being dumped out the back of a general nursery.

Anyway... I repotted .... then root trimmed and repotted...then reduced the height.

The hardest thing to remove were some really, really ugly twisted roots. If you look at the photo below the tree on the right has a weird aerial root which today I jammed over a rock to help 'disguise' it... that root crossed the trunk a few years back! Perhaps I should have removed it like I did some others. You'll also see one of the ugly roots still at the base of the main tree. I nearly removed it today but then I sort of thought it looked ... bearable.

Anyway ... I think this group is looking OK too. Taking heed of advice recently received on this forum for other forests... I have a more subtle, winding, narrowing furrow/path with no stones... a more natural look perhaps?

Here's the group as it was earlier today in a rectangular, deep'ish pot.
IMG_5023.jpg
Not too root bound but quite wet so when I repotted today, I used a looser mix with drainage pebbles on the base of the pot this time. Learning...
IMG_5024.jpg
And into the newer lower profile oval pot.
IMG_5040.jpg
A bit more detail - you can see how I have tried to work the root into a rock. It looks OK, I think.
IMG_5033.jpg
And a side view ... I think it is correct that the main trees should be slightly leaning to the front - which they are.
IMG_5034.jpg
So there you have it. Comments always welcome. Learning by trying ...
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Re: Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

Post by MJL »

A quick update. This has only just come into leaf - much later than my other deciduous forests. I was a little worried but it’s now bouncing into spring.

My young Japanese Maple and Chinese Elm forests are much denser than this Japanese Elm planting. I like this sparser group and look forward to many years of ‘clip & grow’ - over time selecting branches to grow and ramify.
IMG_5269.JPG



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Re: Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

Post by Boics »

Yes zelkova are always last to leaf round here too.
Completely normal - yours are clearly ahead of mine in terms of growth too.

Watch the trunks for clusters of branches at same spot and remove to one asap.
Otherwise you will get unsightly bulges at these points.

Defoliation is an option for zelkova after leave have hardened off as well.
Good luck on your journey.
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Re: Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

Post by MJL »

Boics wrote:Yes zelkova are always last to leaf round here too.
Completely normal - yours are clearly ahead of mine in terms of growth too.

Watch the trunks for clusters of branches at same spot and remove to one asap.
Otherwise you will get unsightly bulges at these points.

Defoliation is an option for zelkova after leave have hardened off as well.
Good luck on your journey.
Cheers for the response and the advice Boics; that’s exactly why this forum is the ducks nuts.


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Re: Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

Post by MJL »

I took some cuttings from this little group when I trimmed it in spring. I’m constantly surprised how - with a little bit of hormone gel and a tad of care you can propagate future bonsai.

Apart from being eaten by caterpillars - grrrrr - I’m really happy with how these cuttings are progressing. Given the beautiful weather, I took the chance to root prune and increase size of the seedling pot for these morning. Here’s one before root pruning - nice spread.
IMG_0235.jpg
I trimmed the tops too - and after a repot - back to their makeshift growing area!
IMG_0236.jpg
And here’s an update on the group after it’s third haircut of the season.
Yet another of my groups that needs a style change but alas that’s what happens when you learn by doing stuff - even if the stuff, ends up being stuffed!
IMG_0239.jpg


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Re: Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

Post by MJL »

Oops - forgot to attach photos of cuttings. See below.
IMG_0235.jpg
IMG_0236.jpg

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Re: Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

Post by TimS »

Do you find your Zelkova late to flush out compared to other deciduous, and then grow rampantly though multiple cut backs MJL?

I have a very rough stump Zelkova that each year for the last 2 years has been the last to flush out, but then grows absolutely bonkers all through spring and summer. This spring-summer i swear i have cut it back at least 8 times, and each time it just takes off again from the bud i cut back to, sending running shoots 30cm long in no time at all.

I'm kind of confounded with what to do with my Zelkova stump at the moment beyond let it run and heal the scars as best i can. It doesnt mind being 30cm tall, but it certainly doesn't want to be restricted to 30cm wide!
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Re: Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

Post by MJL »

100% - my Japanese Elms are the last deciduous of mine to flush and then they go coco bananas.

Indeed, I usually would go so hard on a prune as I did today but the things are still goring nuts - I’m sure I’ll get another flush. I did some Chinese Elms two weeks ago and they are bumping out new growth.

I think Boics advised me to take care with the multiple branches from one point - otherwise they get ugly lumps - so this year I have been far more vigilant on multiple branching.

My only let down this growing season has been English Elms - they seem almost stunted this year. Strange.


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Re: Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

Post by TimS »

Thanks for confirming my thoughts mate. i'm still getting my head around this species, though i am vigilant with removing shoots from the branch crotches/collars as it had some ugly branches from that (hence the scars i'm trying to heal now.

I don't grow English Elm to have a frame of reference for them, but a young English Oak i had was pretty useless this year and the large leaves lead to it getting the guided tour of the green waste bin today. I'm on a space making mission and many general garden plants are either being binned or given away to family friends now.
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Re: Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

Post by MJL »

Ok. I was finding it hard to live with this group. It was pox. (That's the technical term. ;) )

Now... it may be that some people view what is about to follow as even 'poxer' but in my mind, I had to change this or throw it out.

Here's the original group - as assortment of odd sods, thrown together. No taper, ugly roots ...just a mess. A mess that I thought might be ok when I first put it together but alas... :palm: it was just another one of my average experiments.
IMG_5039.jpg
IMG_5040.jpg
So yesterday, I took the tops off.
IMG_6506.jpg
IMG_6504.jpg
Today I went further.
IMG_6510.jpg
IMG_6511.jpg
Then a complete re-design and I went to places that I did not expect. Better, I think so. Too contrived, yes. A foundation to build upon - I hope so. At least I can look at it now!
IMG_6513.jpg
IMG_6514.jpg
IMG_6516.jpg
IMG_6518.jpg
But I'll understand if this also turns people off. As I have noted in the past - "Ya can't polish a turd' but I think I have taken the smell off a tad.
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Re: Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

Post by Raging Bull »

I like it! I like it! :tu: That's a great windswept look. If you can now convince the trees to keep to that look it'll be a great little group. And on top of that you've learned along the way.
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Re: Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

Post by TimS »

A really great improvement to some pretty uninspiring trees there Mark. Zelkova are a little fickle (for me) in where the shoot from -> lots of crotch growth, so just keep an eye on that and keep working on the primary shapes!

This will be a vastly superior group down the line for this work now you are doing
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Re: Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

Post by MJL »

Thanks Frank and Tim. Comments appreciated. I am pretty sure that some folk may have choked on their evening cuppa. As noted, I'd prefer this design. The other was 'meh' - boring and all wrong. This probably moves the group into the 'like it' or 'hate it' category but better to cause some emotion than not. :imo:
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Re: Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

Post by MJL »

After a recent discussion on a thread about windswept forms.... I decided to change the angle of this starter group. In the end, I think it will make more sense - as opposed to the branches heading in opposite directions to the trunk. It's weird, I liked the first iteration but I think this will makes more sense in the long run. Who knows?!
IMG_7203.jpeg
IMG_7204.jpeg
IMG_7206.jpeg

It all looks a little odd in the training pot now but we'll see how it goes over the next decade or so. ;)
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Re: Japanese Elm (Zelkova Serrata) Group Planting

Post by Boics »

Give it time.
I think you'll find that the leaves are limiting the overall effect.
The more growth and branches the more convincing this will get.
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