Nursery Seiju elm base

Picked up this elm . This spring . It had some winter kill . But I was confident it would be ok . Zone 4 here . These are rare . And I’m new to Chinese elm . Just never bothered . My concern is the inverse taper . What is the source and best cure . Is it a graft sight . My thinking is if it’s a graft . Do I A ground layer the tree. At the graft . And most likely make a multi trunk tree . Do I B possible take some air layers ( will both choices ) then attempt to carve the inverse out . Therefore saving the existing nebari. One thought is if I attempt B . Then it pretty much rules out A. Or any other ideas . I’m really looking for first . What is the inverse . Is it normal for this cultivar . Like I said these are new to me

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My first thought was ground layer and make a clump

Inverse is coming from having 5-6 or 7 trunks coming from the same junction point. This is why Ryan always talks about being 3-4’s down to 2’s. They eventually become structural flaws (inverse taper). I can’t say definitely if it is grafted or not. I am not expert but they propagate easily from cuttings so the ground layer should go quickly if you decide to pursue that avenue.

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I don’t think this is grafted. This species is a dwarf mutation that has cork bark. so I assume it would be very noticable if it were grafted.

First off I thing this is a great find.

These are typically not grafted. They root easily so there would be no reason to propagate by grafting. That said there is an abrupt change in bark characteristics on the lower trunk.

Personally I would not worry about reverse taper when you have that many primary branches close together. Reverse taper would be normal in a tree like that. Almost all broom style will have reverse taper. I think of it as the reverse nebari. I think it depends on the style of the tree if reverse taper is ok or not. To me it looks good so that speaks for itself. Trust your instinct and try to not apply too many rules.

To me you have a second problem and that is the division from primary to secondary branches. The way the tree was pruned created the same reverse taper in the branches as well, again I think that could be ok but to me the first division is too far out if this is going’s to stay a broom style which is what this tree is resembling.

If you don’t like the trunk then layer it higher. These root easy. You should be able to girdle the bark and cover with soil. I don’t think you have to wrap it in plastic. Either put it in a deeper pot or cut a pot to slip onto the the bottom of tree. This should grow roots easily.

It is was my tree I would confirm if grafted or not. If grafted I would 100% layer off the junction. If not grafted I would keep the trunk as is. I would also cut all primary branches to shorten the distance of the first junction. Doing this will require several years to regrow the branches. You could air layer each of the branches as well if you want more trees.

I think no matter what you do the tree has really good potential. I would not try to make it into something it’s not. It’s already a tee with lots of proximal division so I would push in that direction. Aggressive pruning to keep divisions tight and close. These trees are very forgiving. Hard to kill and they grow like weeds in hot weather with water and fertilizer,

Repost and show us what you did!!!

Thanks for the post.