Chinese Elm in Pacific Northwest

Hi,
I’m a beginner and a neighbor gave me a little Chinese Elm today. I don’t anything about the care of this tree except what I learned through today’s online searches. My question is, is it OK to grow it outside here in Edmonds, Washington (just north of Seattle) throughout the year? We often get some fog in the morning (even today July 12) and some snow in the winter.

So far I’ve learned that

  • it likes water everyday
  • to fertilize it with a balanced fertilizer until late summer
  • to give it full sun except during the hot summer months when filtered sun is preferred
  • it can be grown inside or outside
  • it doesn’t like systemic pesticides

Please correct me if any of the above is wrong.
Thanks!

I’m in Seattle, and elms do great here. They are both sun and shade tolerant. I left mine out for most of the winter, except a few days when it dropped in to the 20’s (moved in to a greenhouse). In the winters I put most of my trees on to the gravel, and last year I experimented with covering the pots with dried leaves/pine needles to help insulate. I think it worked pretty well, and left space in the greenhouse for more delicate plants. Since it has been hotter, and sunnier this year, I noticed that a couple of my elms have a little red tinge to the leaves.

They grow vigorously and respond well to directional pruning. I usually partially defoliate a couple times per growing season.

Good luck, sounds like you’re on the right track!

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Thanks, David, for your info. I’m much encouraged!

I have a covered deck where I can shelter my CE when the coldest winter temps occur. Last winter the deck got 4-5 inches of snow so I’ll make sure to take steps to protect the tree if that happens again.

Also, thanks for the heads up on the red tinge on the leaves. Mine has that, too, and I wondered if it was a fungus or bugs or what.

Question: when you partially defoliate, do you cut the leaves say in half? Or do you remove some leaves entirely? Or a combination?

All the best,
Audree

I’m in Bothell, and I leave my Chinese Elms out on the bench all year. Even when we had 12 inches of snow that one weekend. All leafed out just fine and are growing vigorously now! I keep them in shade/partial sun and they seem to do great.

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Thanks for letting me know that you left your CEs out all winter in Bothell even with all that snow, and they are thriving. They sound like tough little trees. Almost indestructible! The kind I need as a beginner.

All the best,
Audree

They are great trees to have. The only problem I find with them is they seem to attract more than their fare share of spider mites. If that happens they can be treated with a contact insecticide.

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I mostly remove leaves and prune back shoots a couple times a year to help keep growth under control.

CE cuttings also root very easily. Many times when I prune shoots back I’ll prep them and pant a tray.

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OK! Thanks for the advice about pruning and the suggestion about cuttings. I really appreciate it.

All the best,
Audree

Thanks, Keith. I’ll keep an eye out for spider mites.

All the best,
Audree

Chinese Elms are hardy, beautiful trees. I live in southern ca and have a few. Everything you said in your initial post sounds good, but please don’t keep them indoors. Trees are not meant to be indoor! :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the advice, Erphun. I’ve put my little Chinese Elm outside and it’s doing well–lots of new leaves. I think my neighbor had it inside and it had dropped a lot of leaves before she gave it to me. I hope to post a picture of it thriving before winter arrives in the Pacific NW.

All the best,
Audree