Chinese Elm Growth Management

Hey everyone,

I have a quick question related to chinese elms. I have recently acquired a wonderful old Elm, fortuitously just before the chinese elm summer work live stream. I studied Ryan’s technique for summer pruning during the live stream, and dove into my own tree the very next day.

Instead of redistributing the strength to many growing tips, the tree has now responded with a few tips per branch elongating drastically, all of which are growing starkly vertical with much bigger leaves. Frustration.

At this point, can i remove these vertically elongating shoots? Or would it be better to wait until after leaf drop so i’m not further weakening the tree going into fall? If it’s helpful, I’m in northern VA, zone 7a.

Thanks in advance for the help!


I have a cork bark Chinese elm that I pruned fairly heavily and styled in late June. It put out both lots of little branches on the trunk and major branches as well long shoots as you describe although the leaves on mine are not overly large. I have been pruning back the undesirable growth (both sprouts and long shoots) every week to 10 days and getting more and more balanced growth. Based upon my results, I suggest pruning back the strong growth to 2 leaves for another couple of weeks. Yes, that will be beyond Ryan’s normal Aug. 15th strop pruning date, but you are trying to bring overly vigorous growth under control and the new growth is apt to be stronger than in a refined tree.


Excellent, thanks Marty!

When would you recommend stopping with this pruning process to let the tree prep for winter?

I plan to stop cutting any of the really strong growth by the end of August. Slightly weaker growth earlier.

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Awesome! Thank you sir! excellent info, as always.