15 July 2012

A tree that withstands urban stress

Ulmus parvifolia
Lacebark Elm
Chinese Elm

These two Chinese Elms were brought
 to the Bamboo Farm in the 1930's.  

Chinese elms are durable,  deciduous, semi-deciduous  semi-evergreen tree trees with small leaves, a large trunk base, balanced root spread, and an evenly tapered trunk.Chinese Elm is native to China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Although common in today’s landscape, the lacebark elm was virtually unknown in commerce twenty years ago. One look at the bark and you will know why it is called “lacebark”.  Chinese elm typically grows 40 to 50 feet possibly 70 feet. 

Lacebark Elm
have exceptionally attractive bark.

 A very forgiving Tree

Ulmus parvifolia  tolerates a wide range of temperatures, light, and humidity conditions and makes  an excellent bonsai species, and is widely available. It is a good choice for beginners because of its high tolerance of pruning and benign neglect. 

“Bonsai Beginner” friendly 
Chinese Elm /Ulmus parvifolia
  • Keep Outdoors in a sunny location. 
  • Temperate trees that are fully frost hardy.
  • Check the compost daily but only water when necessary.
  •  Never allow the soil to dry out, keep it evenly moist.
  • In spring when the plant sports lots of new growth water more frequently to keep the soil moist. 
  • Allow shoots to extend 3 or 4 nodes then prune back to 1 or 2 leaves, to maintain shape
  • Frequent pruning can create good branch ramification.
  • Repot in spring before the buds begin to extend 
  • Fertilize at one-third strength during the growing season. 
  • There is no need to feed when the tree is dormant.
  • A great tree for beginners.

Popular choice as a bonsai species
Root over Rock

During summer Chinese Elm bonsai need some protection from extreme sun and heat. move them into a semi-shaded area. Also during the coldest months of winter it is best to protect them from severe freezing. Move them into a cold greenhouse or cover them with a plant blanket. 

Chinese Elm is easily Air-layered 

 Root over Chert
Savannah River Agate
Many Ulmus parvifolia bonsai is mass produced and imported from Chinese nurseries. The "S" shaped trunk can be seen in many big box stores. They can have a nice graceful movement and can develop into very nice Bonsai, Pensai, or Penjing. Frequent pruning can create good branch ramification. The patchwork design of this bark is created as the trunk diameter increases with time, pushing off old bark, and revealing younger bark layers underneath. This process is called exfoliation.

Wind on the Mountain is a Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia) Penjing
on display at the North Carolina Arboretum.

Chinese Elm
Ulmus parvifolia
Chinese elm cultivars:
  • Ulmus parvifolia ‘Catlin’
  • Ulmus parvifolia ‘Corticosa’
  • Ulmus parvifolia ‘Hokkaido’
  • Ulmus parvifolia ‘Seiju’
  • Ulmus parvifolia 'Yatsubusa'
  • Ulmus parvifolia 'Drake'
  • Ulmus parvifolia 'Frosty'
  • Ulmus parvifolia 'Nire-keyaki'
  • Ulmus parvifolia 'Emer I' or 'Emerald Isle' (Athena)
  • Ulmus parvifolia 'Emer II' or 'Emerald Vase' (Allee)
  • Ulmus parvifolia 'Matthew'

Ulmus parvifolia

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