chinese elm forest fun

Sneak Peek

Forest bonsai are great fun to make. As long as you have a bunch of trees that look like they go together (straight trunks/crooked trunks, various size trunks, similar trunk character), you can make a presentable forest in minutes.

Chinese Elm Forest Fun

I’ve had this Chinese elm group on the bench since I lifted it early this year. I figured someone might want to make a quick forest out of it, but nobody bit. So I figured I’d do the job myself. Here it was at the beginning of the project. I’ve done a good bit of trimming on this group during 2020, starting the process of directing growth where I need it. Chinese elms grow super fast, so you can make a lot of headway in a short time. This one did not disappoint.




The first order of business was to do more selective trimming, to get the group ready for the tray. Low branching on the large trees was removed, crossing branches removed, and I brought in a lot of the branches to improve the proportions of each trunk.

Usually when you make a forest planting, you have to use all eight or ten of your hands to hold all of those trunks in place when all they want to do is fall down. Yeah, that never works of course. The good news with this group is, all I had to do was remove enough root above and below to produce a rounded “ground surface” that fit well in the tray. It’s common to mound forests, it makes them look more realistic.

Don’t forget those forest principles, like making sure the trunks don’t hide one another. This is true not only from the front view, but also the side views.

This side, too. I need to fix those crossing trunks, but that will happen when I do the final positioning.

I did a final adjustment of the trees, a little more trimming, and then filled in the tray with soil. This is a nice forest, if I do say so myself. But wait, there’s one more step.

Doesn’t the moss just make this look like a real forest? It also serves the purpose of retaining moisture, which is important while the group gets used to its new home.

I hope you like this Chinese elm forest bonsai-in-training as much as I do. Next season it’s going to fill out and ramify very quickly. If it speaks to you, it’s available in our Shop and ships in late September.