Well, it’s been 20 days since I completely defoliated and trimmed the Chinese Elm and already the new leaves are growing in nicely! Chinese Elms are one of my favorite bonsai. Not only are they super hardy and grow very quickly but they also can take some really aggressive pruning and bounce right back. Their leaves are already very small and with some regular training, they can grow even smaller. This really helps to give the illusion of a larger tree that’s been miniaturized.
Notice as well the exaggerated taper of the trunk. This is another trick used by bonsai artists to fool the eye by replicating the growth ratio of full sized trees in nature. There are some strict rules in creating and training bonsai that this example doesn’t necessarily follow, like branch placement, but sometimes its better to follow your heart and create what you want to see. This is a relatively young tree, about 15 years old, and still requires at least another decade of this aggressive training and pruning. The art of bonsai is not for those with short attention spans, it takes decades to get a good specimen. There are tricks to speed things along, but if you’re looking for a hobby with a quicker feeling of satisfaction you’re barking up the wrong, ahem…tree. Oof, sorry. That pun hurt me as well.