In the ideal bonsai world we’d collect a tree, watch it bud out and then push nice shoots for us to work with, we’d wire and pot the tree, and it would have developed its complete structure by the end of the first growing season. Ah, if only….
Well, this looks like one of those ideal situations. I collected this nice smaller Cedar elm, Ulmus crassifolia, on February 24th of this year. It had buds in a week and shoots in three. This photo of the tree was taken on May 4th, almost a month ago. I felt it had enough roots to not only get wired but also potted.
Nice result. This is more or less a common way to move a deciduous tree along quickly, provided of course it cooperates. Cedar elms tend to be cooperative.
This photo is from today, a mere 24 days later. Not only did the tree take to being potted without objecting, it seems to really like its new home. Isn’t the growth just amazing? And the leader is thickening so quickly at the base, I’ll most likely be able to carve the transition point in another month or so.

All I needed to do today was to wire some of the branches in the crown, which if you look closely you’ll see I did. I’ll be trimming these branches within a couple of weeks, to keep them from getting too thick (they’ll do their best to try). At that point I’ll also consider pruning the new leader. I expect additional growth through the remainder of the growing season, which should allow me to complete the basic structure of this tree. Starting next year, it’s just pinching and developing ramification.

Let me know what you think of this progression. Have you ever seen one quite so fast?

Want to take over finishing up this bonsai? It’s on sale at our Shop page.