tsatsos007
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fukien tea- worms and leaf inspection

hi i have bought a fukien tea (indoor) recently.. and i face a little pest problem right now. i started out by watching how much water the tree needed.at first i let it dry quite much to the point that leaves were falling...i read some posts and i started watering the tree with more water. then everything went perfect...within a week white flowers started popping!But now i spotted one very thin and small roundlike worm in the soil about 2cm long.I took it out for some pics and i noticed that although transparent...there was like something dark.brownish inside its body(not the entire body though!).

what should i do? why was it there on the first place??how do i keep those away?

pics included
[img]https://i462.photobucket.com/albums/qq349/tsatsos007/DSC00700.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i462.photobucket.com/albums/qq349/tsatsos007/iuy.png[/img]
[img]https://i462.photobucket.com/albums/qq349/tsatsos007/1acopy.png[/img]

by the way, the head i think is on the left where the 2 spots form something like the 2 eyes.I guess it s the eyes.

well to be honest..as i ve been doing some research...before seeing this little worm thing...i noticed a flying object which as i identified is Fungus gnat. Could it possibly be one of its eggs that grew??! just right now i noticed another one flying around my tree! I guess my tree is a nice meal for it!

if i change it place,will it make things easier? or should i use insecticides at this early stage?

Secondly, after taking a closer look at the leafs i noticed some marks on a few of them and i cut them down. NO sign of bugs whatsoever.. i don t know if the previous guy where i bought it used any kind of pesticide to get rid of any pests but this is what i see now. (see pictures)
[img]https://i462.photobucket.com/albums/qq349/tsatsos007/DSC00702.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i462.photobucket.com/albums/qq349/tsatsos007/leaf2.png[/img]
[img]https://i462.photobucket.com/albums/qq349/tsatsos007/leaf3.png[/img]

Do you think this is any kind of disease?should i do something about it?

tsatsos007
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Location: Greece

soil ?!

well i have some more questions..the soil that came with this tree was somewhat brown with very small crushed rocks (mainly white and yellowish). However, the guy that i bought the tree from gave me a soil bag that looks like baked 'drops' of soil without any crushed rocks in it( i don t know if that makes sense). the funny part is that to make it look like the previous one, i have to squeeze the soil to make it like "dust"?!?should i or not...take a look at the pictures, and pls tell me yr opinion. I m new with bonsai.

You can clearly see the difference of the soil!
[img]https://i462.photobucket.com/albums/qq349/tsatsos007/DSC00709.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i462.photobucket.com/albums/qq349/tsatsos007/DSC00706.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i462.photobucket.com/albums/qq349/tsatsos007/DSC00712.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i462.photobucket.com/albums/qq349/tsatsos007/DSC00710.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i462.photobucket.com/albums/qq349/tsatsos007/DSC00711.jpg[/img]

PS my tree i identified as Carmona retusa-Fukien tea ('Phillipine tea')
PS2 my white flowers are turning to brown as shown in the picture..is this normal?!

alexinoklahoma
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Its the 'drops' you wanna keep; sift/filter out the fine powdery stuff (!). I use 'claydama', a term for fired clay used in soil-conditioning (loosening of hard compact soils). Also great, and inexpensive, is Oil-Dri (used for soaking up liquid spills and most auto-parts stores have LOTS of it cheap). Oil-Dri must be sifted to get out all the powdery 'fines' or it is too 'dense' per volume used (understand the concept??)...

A near=perfect bonsai soil is a varying-per-need ratio of claydama and smallish pine bark 'mulch' (toss the big pieces and avoid much of the 'fines'). Experience (or reading) will show you what each species likes/needs, but 99.99% of all bonsai things do enjoy such a 'mix'... This is echoed on all bonsai forums...and is seen in 'stickies' and topical threads ;-)

Not sure of your bugs...I use Neem oil mix whenever I have a doubt as to the safety of bugs. A nice fairly innocuous 'pesticide', IMO - better than diazinon, LOL....
HTH,
Alex

tsatsos007
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thanks alex for yr advice, although i m not quite sure i got yr point. :(
i guess it s my mistake as well as i don t really understand what type of soil i have bought..(because it s chinese on the label!!)
how would u identify the soil u see in the pics??

so, yr suggestion is to replace the old, condensed soil with my new 'drop-like' soil? (right now i used it only on some parts on the surface as seen in the pics..due to the fact that when i soaked the tree in water.. some parts were washed away!!)

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Gnome
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tsatsos007,

In bonsai the particle size is larger than most people would expect them to be. So yes the larger particles are preferable. Over time they can break down and become smaller, compacting the soil and slowing drainage. Your tree may not have even been grown by the retailer and not all growers use the same mix so he gave you what he prefers for the next re-potting. If only all retailers were so considerate!

The product you have shown is probably what is known as 'Akadama' it is imported and comes in more than one grade. Sorry that I can't be more specific, I can't read Japanese and don't use these products preferring local substitutes. Check out the symbols on this product for comparison purposes.

[img]https://www.japanbonsai.com/shop/images/akadama01.jpg[/img]

I have only had problems with Fungus Gnats when I used an organic fertilizer in my pots. This slowed drainage and encouraged the insects to lay their eggs in the constantly damp soil. In one picture I think I see that you have your tree in a double potted situation. If this allows the drain water to accumulate rather than drain away you should change that configuration. In other words make sure that the pot does not sit in standing water. Damp soils can lead to problems with Fungus Gnats.

Don't worry about the faded flowers, think of plants in nature no bloom lasts indefinitely.

Norm

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bonsaiboy
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From the pictures I'd say the worm is a flatworm (or nematode?). No idea if their harmful or not( I know nematodes are), but to be safe when you repot, you should spray the entire plant (roots and all) with a insectacide. You might also consider using a sysmatic insectacide as well.
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tsatsos007
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thank u all for yr help..it s invaluable to me!
well gnome..i definitely see a similarity in at least 2 symbols on that soil.. so that soil must be similar/the same to acadama! i ll look into it!! many thanks!! about the pot..yep.. u r right.. the guy that sold it to me had it in a plastic pot with 2 holes at the bottom. So it s smaller than the white pot he gave to me; however, it fits perfectly to stand on top of the white pot... so think of it like 2 separate pieces:the plastic pot with the tree, and the white pot at the bottom. For now, till i do my research, i think is ok. But i m thinking of either buying a new pot or using the white pot only. The only problem is that there are no holes on the white pot, and i don t really know how many would serve the purpose. Making them i hope is no big deal. So one reason for asking about the soil i have is because i subconsciously have in mind to repot soon. (should i though leave the soil as is?..or use entirely my new one??... would it cause stress to the tree?)

bonsaiboy..i ll look into it but i hope it s not nematode..as i see in Wikipedia they are disgusting! My only concern is if there are more close to the root that i cannot see. The one i took pictures from, was the only one i ever saw. i panicked so i pulled it out with a plastic stick and then i soaked the tree into water for 15' in hope that others will come up on surface or suffocate! neither happened..

tsatsos007
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by the way gnome..i found akadama..the same exact bag with yrs @ $42 (30 euros) with 5ltr of soil. so akadama is a type of soil...not a product's name right? i see some others also called kanuma and kiryu in that store.. better or worse?..just curious

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tsatsos007,
thank u all for yr help..it s invaluable to me!
You're welcome, glad to help.
about the pot..yep.. u r right.. the guy that sold it to me had it in a plastic pot with 2 holes at the bottom. So it s smaller than the white pot he gave to me; however, it fits perfectly to stand on top of the white pot... so think of it like 2 separate pieces:the plastic pot with the tree, and the white pot at the bottom. For now, till i do my research, i think is ok. But i m thinking of either buying a new pot or using the white pot only. The only problem is that there are no holes on the white pot, and i don t really know how many would serve the purpose. Making them i hope is no big deal.
This is a bad situation, potted plants require drainage and being double potted with the outer pot having no holes means no drainage. I'm not sure why a bonsai retailer would sell you a pot without holes and feet, bonsai pots always have both. Get the inner pot out of the white one very soon.

You may be able to drill holes in the white pot depending on what it is made of. I often add extra holes to plastic pots or even convert other containers to my purposes by drilling holes. I tend to avoid trying to drill holes in ceramic or glass, it is possible but since I have proper bonsai pots it hardly seems worth the trouble to me.
So one reason for asking about the soil i have is because i subconsciously have in mind to repot soon. (should i though leave the soil as is?..or use entirely my new one??... would it cause stress to the tree?)
When re-potting it is important to remove all, or nearly all, of the old compacted/degraded material, this is common practice in bonsai culture. https://img176.imageshack.us/my.php?image=prrp3yu3.jpg
Have a look at the 'Sticky Threads' located at the top of this forum for tips on general growing, re-potting/root-pruning and bonsai soils. Also research this species, I don't grow this one yet so I can't offer any specifics.
so akadama is a type of soil...not a product's name right? i see some others also called kanuma and kiryu in that store.. better or worse?..just curious
Correct, Akadama is not a brand name it translates to 'red ball soil'. Kanuma is used for acid loving plants such as Azaleas. Kiryu is a form of coarse sand or grit. All have somewhat different properties but all offer excellent drainage which is the key to success with potted trees.

Norm

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bonsaiboy
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i soaked the tree into water for 15' in hope that others will come up on surface or suffocate! neither happened..
Worms are very versitile in the fact that breathing through their skin allows them to collect oxygen, almost regardless of the mosture levels of the soil. Because of this, it is unlikely that they've drowned, and therefore it is important to treat the entire plant (more so the roots) with the appropriate insecticidal chemical(s).
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tsatsos007
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bonsaiboy..even if i don t see anything weird when i repot? what would u suggest?

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bonsaiboy
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It has been a while since I've read about worms, so I cant tell you much, other than it is still HIGHLY recommended you get some chemicals on the roots. They may have the ability to lay adhesive eggs, which will likely not come off by either soil change or a wash, or, even worse, if it is a parisitic worm type (which it may or may not be), it may invade the roots (indicated by swollen noduels on the roots), and the only way to combat it from there is usualy with a sysmatic insecticide. There is the possibility that they are completely harmless, although if they are harmful, best make sure none are introduced to your new soil when you repot. This is why I would recommend you spray it; better safe then sorry.
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applestar
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The photo of the transparent "worm" looks like fungus gnat larva to me. It looks huge in your close-up photo but it was only about 2~3 mm right? I posted what I know about fungus gnats in https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9591&highlight= Oh, I think my posts start on the 2nd page....

Not very important but in case you're interested :wink: -- "aka" means "red", "tama" (or used in conjunction with an adjective like "aka" -- "dama") means "ball" and "tsuchi" (the 3rd kanji character on tsatsos007's bag) means "soil"

FYI -- Both Akadama and Kanuma soil are mined in specific regions of Japan before they are processed and packaged, and there's an on going concern that they're finite resources. Projected future availability are 40~50 years for Kanuma soil and 15~20 years for Akadama soil.

tsatsos007
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that s right applestar..it s about 2-3 mm... i took a very close up picture and then trimmed with photoshop too so that people can clearly see the worm. interesting. i ll look into it
helpful info ..thanks

One more question i have to pose... i want to prune/cut a few small branches to enforce style and there is one that is growing upwards and is still green... can i cut them??! at which point should i cut them? and what happens at the point u cut them? do branches to thicken..or do they try to pop new ones?
which ones should i avoid?

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bonsaiboy
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What branches you cut is your choice, as it depends on how you wish the tree to grow/look in the future. If you want to completely remove a branch, cut it away flush, or concave, to the trunk. It will heal over in time. However, if you wish to encorage branching, do not remove the entire branch, but leave some remaining (this 'remaining' portion should idealy have a few leafs on it, so sap continues to flow). The best pruning rule of thumb for tropicals is this: if you want to cut a branch, but you want that branch to continue living, you can cut it as far down as you want, as long as it still has a few leafs still attached to it. If you still want more information on pruning, try this https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=bonsai+pruning&aq=6&oq=bonsai+p
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alexinoklahoma
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tsatsos007 wrote: One more question i have to pose... i want to prune/cut a few small branches to enforce style and there is one that is growing upwards and is still green... can i cut them??! at which point should i cut them? and what happens at the point u cut them? do branches to thicken..or do they try to pop new ones?
which ones should i avoid?
https://evergreengardenworks.com/pruning.htm

https://evergreengardenworks.com/pruning2.htm

https://evergreengardenworks.com/growprin.htm

Those should give you a better understanding of what happens with prune/pinch of a plant :-) Just a few concepts, but they drive the entire growth 'system' that you work are working upon :-)

HTH,
Alex

tsatsos007
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thanks people.. i ll read the links!! ..i have a book on bonsais but it does not provide suffiecient information as to what happens after you cut some branches!..well, it does not provide much info anyway..waste of money!
thanks

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