Only the lower branches woke up on European Elm after ground layering

I have several elms, and on one of them last year I made ground layering, as it has problems with nebari. I gave it free growth all the season. This spring I repotted it when the buds began to break. The elm has a lot of new roots in the layering. Even before the repot, I noticed that the buds of the lower branches were most swollen, compared with the upper branches. Now on the lower branches there are already small leaves, while on the upper branches the buds don’t swell. Some branches are dry and dead, but most of them are alive and have green cambium, if I scratch the bark. What can I do in this situation? It may make sense to cover the top of the tree with a bag to keep moisture in the upper branches and trunk? Perhaps this will stimulate the buds opening on the upper branches? Also, maybe they should just be cut to stimulate back budding?

Interesting. I’d leave the tree alone and see what happens as sometimes different parts of the tree open at different times.

Am also curious why the top might be weak. It could be that there aren’t enough roots.

If you do try the bag technique, let us know what happens - will be curious to learn how it works!

This year we had an abnormally warm winter and already in mid-February the buds began to swell. Last year, the elm gave strong growth on the lower branches, since the tree is in the process of being developed and requires thicker branches at the bottom. I also have a sacrificial branch at the top, which has had strong growth all season. And it’s also in a sleeping state, which is a bit strange. Only the lower branches began to actively wake up.

1 Like

Today I decided to cover its top with a black partially transparent plastic bag, I will maintain moderate humidity in it so that mold doesn’t form. Although it may be worth using high humidity, as in the original “sweating techniques”…

1 Like

Well, enough time has passed. The lower branches thrive and grow, but the upper branches have not moved from this point and have no signs of growth.
Oddly enough, the cambium of these branches and the trunk is green, that is, the upper part is alive. This is strange.

I would assume that when you repotted the ground layer was separated from the original root base, is that correct. If so than I would suspect the new root mass was insufficient to handle the entire tree and the top is slowly diving back. If you removed the lower root mass than reserves would have been removed as well, leaving the tree reliant on the Photosynthesis of the new leaves formed this spring. The newly layered roots would have held smaller reserves from the previous growth last season, most of the energy would have gone into new root formation.
Just some thoughts to consider.
Wishing you the best with this tree!

1 Like

Yes you are right. But unfortunately, when I took the tree out of the pot, the old roots were dead.
I did a similar procedure in Chinese elm, and its old roots were also dead.
Perhaps this is due to the fact that sugars didn’t enter the old roots and their frost resistance was low.
It’s also possible that the wound below the layer point wasn’t healed and they died for this reason.