Siberian Elm Leaf Size.

Although this Siberian Elm is a tree that looks better in a winter image, it is still never-the-less a deciduous tree, that for seven to eight months of the year is in full leaf. I always felt it a shame to just let it grow and wait until winter. Sure late Autumn the leaves turn yellow and if we are lucky with winds, it looks nice at this time, as many fall leaving a ‘skeleton’ like look.

The single biggest flush is as the new leaves settle in early Spring; toward mid to late Spring it starts to look untidy. This year I knew that I wanted to reduce the tree down, or reduce the size of the canopy width primarily whilst balancing up the rest of the tree at the same time. Here it can be seen at mid to late Spring.

Before S:elm

The sheep of course don’t do a good enough job! The next image is off the tree with size to the canopy reduced but not finished. Far better to wait a while as once it comes off, you can’t very well stick it back on. For that you need to wait a year or two.

After S:elm


The Hawk-eyes among you will have seen that I missed the middle of the pot in 2012 during its repot. One of those things, it happens, and I hadn’t noticed until a good pal pointed it out to me. Then again I am due new specs again. I mention this as the canopy looks like it hangs off the right more than it should.

So after many hours of trimming and selective pruning I wanted to let the tree have a couple of weeks to settle; this then for now was as far as I went. Over the next week or so there were plenty of browned leaves to remove. Very difficult on a full foliage to not snip where you should not. I’m limited on time due to my arthritis, suffice it to say it took me a full day, plus I had some help too.

The next few images concern leaf size. That is leaf size on the hardened ones and the plethora of new that would be spring out. During the following images I hope you can see where reasonably hard pruning has induced a wealth of back buds. Some will stay other will go.

Light is all important to species that have such a thick canopy; when they are dense hardly any light makes it in and the best I used to get when I knew no better was a few that would turn yellow within the tree and eventually drop. I did actually think some twenty five years ago that eventually it would became such a huge tree, I would have to plant it in the garden. I could not get my hear around this pruning malarkey, no matter how many books I read. I thought back then a good prune meant taking off twenty or so leaves!

In the following two images you can clearly see the extent of new growth that is springing up well back along the branchlets and within what was the darker areas.

Back budding 1 Back budding 2 Back budding 4

Since the first 2013 hardish prune I have continued to water daily with some overhead showers but waited a short while until much of the new has hardened before resuming feeding. I’m using seaweed as a tonic and for good leaf colour, ‘The ONE’ in powder form so I can mix it myself, and Levingtons Tomato feed.

You can see in this next image how daylight can be seen quite clearly through the foliage canopy.

Back budding 3

Towards the end I will include one from the outside in as a close up. The following images are of leaf size current and new. Obviously the lighter colour ones are the newly emerging, and quite quickly they will blend in as darker leaves when hardened. I’ve included the largest leaf size on the tree as well as the new ones.

Scale size 1 Scale size 2 Scale size 3 Scale size 4 Scale size 5 Scale size 6

Actually leaf size stays quite small throughout the year, also a fairly even size right across the tree.

I have spent a good few hours further pruning, and for now it will stay as can be see in the next two images. I keep removing those wee brown leaves and for now I believe I have just about the lot. In total I have taken the canopy diameter in by 1.5-2.5cm on each left and right side. The front down by approx 2cm and the back has been left as it is fine. The leaves will not grow any bigger once hardened, hence why the species makes such a credible tree as a ‘Bonsai.’ Yes this one would stand some more thinning but for now I shall leave it. It very often becomes a case of pruning ongoing until winter.

Here I have taken a picture close up to show the airy side of the tree. The one immediately below that is as right now.

Sibe close up post trim

Siberian end article

For Photography purposes I have use a Canon 500D with an L series 24-105mm lens with f stop settings selected by me with the camera deciding on shutter speed. ISO 100 mostly, custom white balance, cropped where required in PSE. Thank you for looking.