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 Bonsai >> Tree Types and General Care Guides >> CHINESE ELM (Ulmus Parvifolia)




 CHINESE ELM (Ulmus Parvifolia)


The Chinese Elm is one of the most popular choices for bonsai. This tree can easily grow up to 60 feet in the wild. However, the Chinese Elm can also be trained as the perfect bonsai specimen. When kept inside, this particular tree is considered a semi-evergreen but when grown outdoors, it falls into the deciduous category. The leaves of the Chinese Elm are small and leathery. The dark green color is shiny on the top with tiny blunt teeth. Fruit grows on the Chinese Elm, which then matures in the fall months.

Native to East Asia, the bark can be a variety of color from dark gray to cream to reddish brown. While the Chinese Elm is a beautiful tree, the bark is its most distinctive feature. Depending on the variety of tree you choose, some will have rough, almost cork-like bark that actually becomes cracked with age, while others have smooth bark. Interestingly, the Chinese Elm with smooth bark tends to be weaker than the trees with rough bark.

Proper Care
The Chinese Elm is typically resistant to the deadly Dutch Elm disease, making it a great choice for bonsai. Although considered hardy, this type of tree needs to be protected from cold weather and harsh elements. After the growing period in the early spring, the tree needs to be carefully pruned with just one to two nodes remaining near the main branch.

This tree requires good, year round water, remaining moist without over watering. Then every one to three years, the Chinese Elm should be repotted, again in the spring. For pruning, this should be done one month prior to or one month after pruning is performed to avoid shock. Because the Chinese Elm is so hardy and strong, it can tolerate both shade and full sun. However, during the hot summer months, some shade is required to avoid drying out the soil.

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