The water-elm collecting season is typically in July of each year in the spot I frequent. The area is intentionally flooded each winter to support water fowl and other wildlife, with the water being released beginning in June. Due to high water levels on all of our rivers this year, my collecting area stayed well under water through most of July. This made the season both late and short for 2015. But today I was able to get some specimens for next year. I thought I’d share two of them with you.

Water-elm8-16-15-1This is a unique example of the species. If it survives collecting, it’s going to get a name with “dragon” in it for sure. The trunk base is 6″ across, and it’s roughly 28″ tall from the soil surface though the body of the tree is about 42″ if you measure along it. If you look closely you can see the shari that runs from near the base all the way to near the chop. Very impressive! I can already picture a branch structure for this tree.






Here’s a “hunky” guy of a water-elm, trunk base 4″ and only 18″ to the chop. Nice rootage that I buried to keep it from drying out. It’ll take a few years to grow a new leader on this tree and make the tapering transition look smooth, but this should not be a difficult chore.

Water-elm and bald cypress are hands-down my two favorite species for bonsai. Most of you have probably tried your hand at BC. If you haven’t given water-elm a shot yet, I highly recommend it. The leaves are naturally small and reduce without any special effort, and it’s a species that loves the heat of summer (as long as you give it plenty of water). You can go from a bare trunk to a showable bonsai in as little as three years.