Cork Elm 066


In 2015 I purchased this Cork Elm from Steve DaSilva. In the picture it is the largest tree in the picture. Most of the other elms are gone and this one was left due to it’s ungainly trunk and lack of good taper. It had taper, just not smooth taper, with waists and hiccups along the way.


The tree came with a profusion of branches which had to be thinned.

The first thinning was pretty random and I kept a lot of the larger stuff not really sure how big the tree would be.


The following year it grew out well. Lots of branching again, this thing makes foliage all season.

With this haircut we can see how the trunk is shaping up. It just looks like three or four balls of wood stacked on a dowel. The apex was cut back to that small ball. We will see how that turned out!

A little closer.


In 2017 I thought about making an airlayer on the trunk to try and improve the shape and taper.

It had a bad waist right in the position of the beer can and I thought if I could layer that part out I could improve it. I placed a red line on the trunk at the site I thought looked good.


I didn’t work on the tree for the last couple years while taking care of the home front after my wife died. I now have renewed interest in the tree and have decided to layer the tree, but in a much different spot. The apical nature of elms is evident here.

Remember that knob I took the apex back to? Well it’s still here and much larger also.

I decide to cut that whole top off. I put my saw right into the slot between the small right branch and the knob.

Cut that thing right off.

I prune back everything and wire the leader up. Seal all the cuts and prepare it for the layer.

I placed a string around the trunk in the location I thought I would layer it to.


The trunk at the string is about 4 inches across. The tree is about 6 inches tall.

I decided to use a die grinder to make the cut around the trunk. Cutting cork bark with a knife is not a picnic.

I mix up some hormone and paint it on the wound and cambium.

All wrapped up with sphagnum and plastic.



Posted May 19, 2019 by California Bonsai Art

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