60 Year Old Chinese Elm Help

About 7 years ago my wife bought me a Chinese Elm (Ulmus Parv) where we lived in Florida. It was about 3 foot tall and a nice tree. Being rather new to Bonsai I failed to notice that the branches needed way more development and a few other issues, but it’s mostly a good tree. About four years ago the top died and I removed about a foot of the tree. I started developing the topmost branch as the new crown of the tree.

We moved to the PNW shortly after that and the problem got worse. I did my research and I believe what was going on was heart rot. I hollowed out the pithy fungus eaten material from the trunk and have treated it with lime sulpher three times. The problem seems to be under control and for the last two years the tree has had vigorous growth. I have a couple of questions. The first is there anything else I should do about the disease? I know fungus can kill a tree slowly so any advice on prolonging this one’s life would be greatly appreciated. The second question I have is about the branch sizes. I am letting sacrifice branches grow to help the trunk and branches develop, but should I put it in a larger nursery pot instead? The last question I have is the branch structure. I am thinking about removing the higher of the two branches on the right side of the tree. This will remove a large portion of the tree but it might help the balance.

Any thoughts, suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated!

The tree looks like it’s growing well so there may not be pressing health concerns.

When growing sacrifice branches, more vigorous growth overall will speed the thickening of the branch. Using a slightly larger pot could help speed things up.

The structure question is trickier. I’d consider cutting all of the branches back to about 1" and regrowing the secondary and tertiary branches. If this doesn’t sound like a fun project, continuing to reduce the internodes and increase density is the main goal at this point. If you can remove one of the branches on the right side, that could help with the structure too.

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Thanks Jonas, I appreciate the comments. The larger pot and the removal of one of the right branches has been on my mind so it is helpful to have those options pointed out and reinforced. I don’t think I am ready to cut them all back just yet but if I don’t see significant improvement by next year, I think I might go that route. This tree was a gift for my 50th b-day so I want to proceed with caution.

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