I collected this American elm, Ulmus Americana, in May of 2018. It’s not a bad piece of material. The trunk base is 2″ in diameter, and I chopped it at 16″. It didn’t take long for buds to show up all over the trunk.

Within two months I was wiring like crazy. American elm is a very vigorous species. One of the best features is leaf-size reduction – from 5″ in the wild to less than 1/2″ in a bonsai pot. You can’t ask for much more than that!

One more good thing about American elm: it ranges all the way from Canada down to Florida, and west to Texas. So winter hardiness is not an issue.

What about Dutch elm disease? I’ve grown quite a few American elm bonsai through the years, and I’ve never had a problem with it nor have I heard of anyone else who did. There appears to be a relationship between the height and age of specimens in the wild and susceptibility to DED.

Here is today’s shot. In less than one year, I have a complete and nice set of branches on this elm. I’ll be pruning back hard in about a month or so, and that will encourage back-budding and ramification. I may even go ahead and slip-pot into a bonsai container.

Let me know what you think. Do you grow American elm?