Bonsai Development – The Chainsaw Elm


Welcome again to a different installment of #ProgressionThursday, the place I take you thru a development of one of many timber in my backyard. Identical to final week’s development, that is an elm with humble beginnings. If reminiscence serves, this was a seedling from Arbor Day, which is a superb place for reasonable seedlings.

My hope for the PLB readers is that you simply study from the errors I’ve made through the years. And ohhh boy, did I make some errors with this tree. Early on, in 2016, I used to be within the ground-growing part of my bonsai journey. I used to be all in favour of *nebari strategies. I had learn that putting timber on/or in plates, tiles, and so forth would enable for the expansion of bad-ass nebari. So, I bought some plates and positioned a couple of timber within the floor. There was just one drawback…

*Nebari – A Japanese time period referring to the foundation flare. An important facet of bonsai, because it supplies stability and sense of age to a tree.

Do not use these, okay?

Why am I carrying a glove?

The plates have been made from plastic. Bushes are very sturdy and they’re going to develop nearly anyplace. Together with round a plastic plate. My advice, in the event you’re selecting to develop a nebari by means of a gap, use a stronger materials, ideally a ceramic tile or a washer.

I put this tree within the floor within the spring of 2016 and did not contact it till final summer season, after I moved to Nashville. At the moment, I minimize the highest to attempt to create a brush fashion and pulled it from the bottom. It was solely then that I started to see the problems I’d have with this tree.

Spring 2021

The roots grew out of the pond basket and into the plastic plate.

Chinese Elm Bonsai roots

Large roots in every single place!

Bonsai nebari growing into plastic

Plastic no good for nebari strategies

In all probability the most important subject, although, was the foundation rising beneath the plate. It was huuuuuuge! Here is a tip for you new ground-growers. For those who’re gonna develop Chinese language elms within the floor, pull them out each different yr and do some root work. They’re such sturdy growers that you’ll lose management of the tree and the roots. And earlier than it, you’ll have an enormous bulbous root rising beneath the soil line like I did.

Big root of elm bonsai

Large ol’ root

I attempted utilizing a small noticed and varies root cutters, however this root was simply too large and gnarly. So, I introduced within the large weapons. See the video beneath.


That is proper, I took a chainsaw to it! And to be honest, it labored fairly properly. Now, earlier than you go pulling out a chainsaw in your timber, ensure you may have the tree secured and that your means across the instrument. On this case, the minimize was fairly straight ahead and I used to be in a position to safe the tree right into a vice on my workbench.

As you’ll be able to see, the foundation I minimize was giant. By utilizing the chainsaw I used to be in a position to create a flat backside which allowed me to get the tree into this good Forest Inn spherical pot.

Elm – After Repot – Spring of 2021

Being that it is an elm, it responded very properly to the chainsaw. Not many timber might take that type of abuse. As you’ll be able to see, the expansion this spring has been sturdy. Now I can give attention to creating a brush fashion

Summer time – 2021

5 12 months Development – 2016-2021

So, what do you assume? Do you just like the white pot? How about that chainsaw, ever used one in your bonsai journey? Make sure you depart me your feedback beneath and subscribe to the weblog for future updates on timber and bonsai from my backyard. See ya subsequent time, Peace Love Bonsai!

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