Frozen Zelkova

Frozen Zelkova

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Question: how to cure a frost-stricken zelkova

I have a zelkova for about 25 years, just over 50 centimeters tall and always lived outside in the cold, this winter she squeezed my leaves despite everything that was indoors, now she has lost all the leaves and many branches, however the stem is still green. What can I do to get her back?

Frozen Zelkova: Answer: the bonsai zelkova

Dear Ugo,

zelkova is a beautiful tree of Asian origins, widely used to prepare bonsai; it is a close relative of the elm, but semi-evergreen: that is, it generally maintains the foliage, like an evergreen, but loses them if the seasons become excessively dry or excessively cold. Unfortunately, the 2011-2012 winter was decidedly very harsh, throughout Italy, with minimum night temperatures that fell below -10 ° C in many places, and for decidedly prolonged periods, with abundant snowfall, even in coastal areas. . These climatic conditions have ruined many plants in Italian gardens and woods, including native species, which generally prove to be resistant and rustic. It was probably these particularly adverse weather conditions that ruined your bonsai. A return of the climate within the seasonal parameters should have solved the major problems of your zelkova, which should have started to sprout again; to stimulate the plant to a luxuriant development, remove all the damaged, dry, broken, dark branches, so that they are not vehicles for possible fungal or bacterial diseases, and grow your zelkova as always. Since this is a bonsai, you may have to completely review your project with regards to the foliage of the tree, which should, however, recover quickly. For the next few years, remember that the zelkove are resistant, but if the minimum temperatures drop below -5 ° C it is advisable to cover the plant and pot, with non-woven fabric, placing it in a bright and sunny place, so that it is affected as little as possible of very cold weather. If the cold persists, and continues to be very harsh, move the pot to an area sheltered from wind and frost, such as a cold greenhouse, or a corner of the terrace.

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