English Elm Bonsai – Caring for an Ulmus Procera

English Elm, also known as Ulmus Procera, is a member of the Elm family of trees, and is native to Europe and Western Asia. It is deciduous tree, often planted as a shade, or avenue tree and can live for over 100 years. Though not a native, it was one of the most common trees in Central Southern England before the Dutch Elm disease, which wiped out majority of the Elms.

The bark of the Ulmus Procera is dark grey-brown, rough, and fissured. Its leaves are oval in shape, pointed towards the end, with an uneven base and visible veins. The tree can grow over 35m and flowers between February and March.

The Elms thrive in most of the soil types and are thus considered as an excellent choice for Bonsai, especially the Chinese Elm, the English Elm and the Scots Elm.

How to care for an English Elm Bonsai

The English Elm can be planted from the cutting and it grows very fast for the first 2-3 years. The tree needs a free draining balanced-organic soil and needs to be placed in full sun during summers and protected from frost during winters

The bonsai tree is a water-sucker and should be watered daily during the growth season. It needs heavy watering, maybe twice a day when the weather is hot, and light watering during winters.

It is advisable to not use fast-acting fertilizers to maintain the small leaves. The dwarf English Elm Bonsai should be fertilized weekly during first month after the bud bursts, and then every month thereafter

This bonsai responds well to pruning. It should be pruned during spring season, back to 2-3 leaves.

The tree should be repotted every year in early spring for the first 10 years, and thereafter as required.

The bark of the English Elm is thin and prolonged wiring must be avoided.

The Bonsai is not prone to the Dutch Elm disease, but it must be protected from Aphids, vine weevil, caterpillars, and spider mites.