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We have received a question about yellow leaves on a Chinese Elm bonsai (see image).

Dear Ji,
Thank you for your enquiry. Your bonsai is actually really heathy.
It is growing really well and simply needs pruning. It would appear to be some of the older leaves which are turning yellow and dropping off; this is because the bonsai is putting all its energy into growing on the tips.

If you prune approximately 2-3cm off all the growing tips the bonsai will look quite different in a few weeks. To start with it will look a litttle bald but within the next 3 weeks you will notice lots of new buds opening further back down the branches where the foliage is thinning.

The buds develop into leaves and then grow into shoots. You want to leave the first pair of new leaves and then prune off anything longer. This will achieve denser foliage pads and a less straggly effect.

The watering and feeding regime you have seems to be ideal and the bonsai is obviously happy. A little pruning and your Chinese Elm Bonsai tree will look really great again.

When pruning please use some bonsai scissors or very sharp scissors.

I hope this helps, good luck
Bonsai Direct

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2 replies

  1. I’m not sure if my tree just needs pruninng or if I’m over watering it. Some of the leaves are turning yellow and eventually falling off but then I’ve brushes a few branches when I’ve been watering it and they’ve just fell off. All the leaves on these branches looked healthy.

    1. Dear Shannon,
      I am not sure what variety of bonsai tree you have or whether this is an indoor or outdoor variety.
      If it is just the old leaves which are dropping and not the new growing tips it is most likely to be seasonal and should rebud in 6b weeks.
      Please keep the soil damp and not wet.
      I hope this helps
      kind regards

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