I repotted my Chinese Elm this season (end of March to be specific), and it took off growing like a champ! Its leaves hardened off, and it even started adding length to the branches all over the tree. I was very happy with its progress – this is my first Chinese Elm – but then we had an unexpectedly hard rain. Let me explain about the kind of rain we get. I live in North Mississippi, and we get an average rainfall of FIFTY-FOUR to FIFTY-EIGHT inches of rain a year! That’s more than double the national average! Anyway, when it decides to let loose around here, we get some serious sized rain drops over a long period of time (days without stopping sometimes). I’m carrying on about this because that unexpected, severe rainstorm we knocked off over half of my Elm’s leaves like it was nothing The tree is now protected under my back porch, getting minimal water and a two to three hours of morning sun only. I’ve got my fingers crossed about its survival, and as Ryan says, “I’m letting it be a tree.”
I’m writing this post so that others will learn from my lack of knowledge about Chinese Elms’ leaves not having the strongest connection to the branches. One of the reasons I got into bonsai is because I enjoy studying, learning, and researching (almost to an obsessive degree) about all the different trees in nature, and more specifically about the trees in my collection, and I did not find ANYTHING about hard rains knocking leaves off Elms on “The Magic Box” that is Google when I was first learning about them…and unfortunately, I had to learn this tough lesson on a fifty year old tree. I don’t want anyone else to have to learn this the hard way.
So, my advice is that, if you have any doubts about a tree in your collection handling the weather, protect it. That is your inner bonsai voice speaking to you, and you should listen to it, because it’s better to be safe than sorry.