Bonsai Tips with Justin Case – Root Cuttings   2 comments

This time of the year is very exciting for me. Repotting starts this weekend. There are also so many things to do right now before Spring gets here. Today was very sunny and dry. Almost like an early spring day. Today was 66 degrees and tomorrow the same. Now is the time to get projects started that will continue on for the next few years, and that means seeds and cuttings. It’s still a little early to start cutting here but elm root cuttings are perfect right now.

Elms are one of the plants that take extremely well from root cuttings. Especially good material can be propagated from elm roots. Elms grow long fleshy roots that actually hjave bark on them under the ground. They do not look like regular roots in that way. many times the roots will be large and twisted into bizarre shapes that translate well to bonsai culture. When repotting elms, trim away the large roots into a bucket of water and when the repotting is done, they can be cut into sections for short stubby thick trunks or left long for future bunjin trees or bent over for cascade shapes. The stubby trunks can be developed into spreading styles and brooms.

The nice thing about elms is that they will push buds from the cut end of the stub. The ring of exposed cambium will push numerous buds in a ring right out of the blunt end. Of course other buds will come after time, but the buds that come from the end should be allowed to grow and elongate to prepare the root for tree culture. Later in the year some of the buds can be pruned away, but getting the root piece strong is paramount in the first few months. In mid summer some of the growing meadium can brushed away so that the root will only grow roots at the end of the base of the stem. This will allow the plant to be put into a bonsai pot later.

All of these elms are developed from root cuttings.

DSC_00130005 DSC_000200021


Today I repotted a contorted elm. It is known as a Camperdown elm. I only cut two large roots from the tree but managed to retain some bottom roots on both and so planted them up in a pot.


These cuttings should take off in a couple months and push new leaves. Will update when that happens.

Just because the weather has been so mild I will plant out this years seeds soon. I will plant some tridents again and also some coral bark maples just to see what they do. The seeds are imbibing as we speak and will go into the ground tomorrow.


Be prepared in the winter and get ready for spring by starting some seeds and taking cuttings…Justin Case.


2 responses to “Bonsai Tips with Justin Case – Root Cuttings

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  1. Do you cold-stratify your trident seeds there? I’m just getting ready to plant some myself and reading mixed things. Thanks!

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