Wee Trees Bonsai Help Forum Advice for all

Pot Style for Chinese Elm
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Author:  Rivulus123 [ 23 May 2020, 18:49 ]
Post subject:  Pot Style for Chinese Elm

Hi from another WeeTree Newbie.
I have been hanging around forums and FB, buying books and sundries for the past few months.
I can't say for definite that I'll ever be a massive collector but I do express an interest and wish to learn a little more on the topic. I basically want a few trees to accentuate my Japanese themed mini pond area.
I have just acquired the usual "S-Bent" Chinese Elm beginner tree. circa 400mm tall which I would like to develop for a while before moving on. It's in a very squat 240mm heavy rim oval ceramic glazed pot. (I do think it needs a re-pot although I may leave it alone for this season (if it's too late to do so)
My question is (given that it needs a deeper pot) and I know this may be subjective,
What shape of pot suits this species of tree the best?
Please post some pics of your Chinese Elms if you like for reference
Any help appreciated

Author:  Keith Hansell [ 24 May 2020, 10:47 ]
Post subject:  Re: Pot Style for Chinese Elm

I would imagine that you have the classic blue pot that they are all sold in. Take a look at this.....

http://bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATChoosing ... Bonsai.htm

Author:  Rivulus123 [ 24 May 2020, 11:23 ]
Post subject:  Re: Pot Style for Chinese Elm

Thanks for that Keith.
I've been reading a lot of Harry Harrington's stuff and watching the videos of his and various other bonsai artisans.
The tree I chose was an internet buy. I shouldn't have done (having seen better trees and prices) but I did so I'll just have to love it nonetheless. It is en route so I actually haven't got it yet to post images (I'll do that later)
It was not in the common blue glazed pot as you suggest (I hate those with a vengeance) but rather a shallow ceramic light green glazed oval/circular. It looks rather shallow and on closer inspection, the tree is sitting rather high on banked earth which I'm not happy with. Maybe I shouldn't have been so impetuous. Anyway can't cry over spilt milk.
I don't really dislike the pot it's in but would like a little more depth, just looking for ideas really.
Can they be repotted this late (not slip potted)? most people say to leave but the soil/compost looks compacted and poor.
Also to clarify things for this dumb newbie. and not necessarily immediately.
Can you re-pot and still do work on the tree at the same time or do you have to leave time gaps between?
I.E. Repot, trim and wire.
Please keep me on the right path folks
Any help is always appreciated

Author:  Gary Jones [ 24 May 2020, 14:25 ]
Post subject:  Re: Pot Style for Chinese Elm

If the tree is healthy then you can leave re-potting to next spring. In poor soil, better water management is required although elms are quite forgiving. Water thoroughly then let it almost dry out before watering again. If it's looking like it's losing strength (yellowing leaves or losing leaves for example) then you can repot carefully as a risky report is better than a dead tree. Don't repot now unless you really have to. Much safer to wait until next spring, especially as a novice.

If you repot keep as many roots as possible and after re-potting keep the tree in the shade / semi-shade until it's growing strongly again. Direct sun will make it very hard on the tree. Growing strongly again is also the signal that you can work it. That will depend on the health of the tree and the quality of the repot. It might be a few weeks at best or it might be a wait until next year at worst. Its not a problem with elms as they are easy to work when you get to it, and if you can put up with "ugly" for a little while it'll pay dividends. Patience is a virtue in the bonsai world.

Author:  Rivulus123 [ 24 May 2020, 15:24 ]
Post subject:  Re: Pot Style for Chinese Elm

Thank you Gary for your concise answer to my query.
I think I'll play it safe and do as you suggest and put off a total re-pot until next Spring.
I'll try to coax it through the winter (cold greenhouse) all the while trying to prune and get maybe a little planned shape into certain branches via wiring. Which will probably throw up more questions.
Ultimately I want to get it out of that circular bowl and give a little more depth for the roots.
Do you think a pot like in the image below, would suit a Chinese Elm?
Unglazed, Rectangle.

Author:  daryl [ 24 May 2020, 19:39 ]
Post subject:  Re: Pot Style for Chinese Elm

I can’t comment on pot suitability but do search around before buying. Herons is notoriously expensive for pots and trees. Ebay sometimes has some good deals.

Author:  Gary Jones [ 24 May 2020, 22:00 ]
Post subject:  Re: Pot Style for Chinese Elm

I agree with Daryl. My friend Nick Payne runs his own ceramics studio under the name Springwood Ceramics. Take a look at his site (and others) to get some good comparisons.

Pots are a very subjective artistic choice but there are some generally agreed basics. The main factors to consider are tree style, size and colour. There are quite a few articles written about this and it's not easy to summarise, so search for an article and enjoy. At the end of the day the choice will always be yours - what you like is good if you own the tree.

Some basics though. Trees usually look more impressive in smaller, shallower pots and a smaller pot has the advantage of restricting the rootball so the foliage doesn't grow much or get bigger quickly - ideal for refined trees where you want fine growth. However they dry out quickly (tree death warning) and will stop you developing the tree if you need it to put on growth. Too big a pot and you'll always get coarse growth (trees want to be big!) and you may have problems with too much water in the pot over the long term).

Convention suggests that the depth of the pot should be about the same as the width of the tree at the base but I find this far too shallow for the trees most beginners have. I like the width of the tree to be just larger than the pot so it overhangs a little but not much.

Trees that are short, stocky or angular are called masculine and convention says a rectangular (ish) pot is better. Trees that are more curvaceous and graceful are called feminine and generally go with oval pots.

So a few thoughts there but I'm no pot expert. You'll find over time you get an appreciation for it even if you can't vocalise it easily.

If you post a picture of your tree and a number of pots the good folk on here will tell you which ones they like the most and why.

Author:  Rivulus123 [ 25 May 2020, 02:54 ]
Post subject:  Re: Pot Style for Chinese Elm

Thanks, Daryl and Gary for your input, it's been very enlightening to hear your honest and direct viewpoints.
I will take what you have said on board, I should get a better understanding of the situation once my tree arrives (hopefully in one piece). Then I can access the way forward much better. I will come back to this topic with imagery (although I may be too embarrassed to do so), I guess I may be better to show it warts and all from the beginning without so much as touching it to gain guidance and knowledge. Videos can be quite good but you can't beat a dedicated forum or society/club.
Can't help thinking though that in this day and age that some bright spark couldn't build a phone application whereby the bonsai pot sellers could catalog their range and you could upload a picture of your tree and view it, to gain just a little bit of insight into what your tree would look like in a certain type of pot, maybe not size-wise that choice would be made given your tree's dimensions but certainly style and colouration suitability. stop me if I'm talking rubbish now :roll: (maybe there's something to think about or maybe there is something already out there)
Anyway back down to earth....
Thanks again,

Author:  Rivulus123 [ 26 May 2020, 03:44 ]
Post subject:  Re: Pot Style for Chinese Elm

Generally speaking, and given the information above, then, I should consider my tree as a feminine form and therefore acknowledged (but not stringent) that it is best suited to an oval pot. Upon reading that, and multiple internet searches later I came upon a Chinese Elm from the same initial source (identified by a wrong label) Zelkova (although it may be thought of as a Zelkova nire in some circles), (I think). It was in the usual rectangular pot and, to be honest I personally feel from an aesthetic standpoint it is better suited to the oval version of the pot as suggested.
Thank you for people that have contributed to this thread thus far, your help and guidance is much appreciated

Author:  Paul B [Swindon] [ 26 May 2020, 10:53 ]
Post subject:  Re: Pot Style for Chinese Elm

Don't concern yourself about the pot, use what looks good to you and keeps the health of the tree.

It only becomes relevant if you show the tree and for that it needs years of styling.

Try the tree in several pots until you find the right one for it. There are some great potters out there, probably why we all have so many pots :132doh: :132doh: :07hysterical:

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