User avatar
zewald
Full Member
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:46 pm
Location: Greeley, CO, USA Zone 5

Bugs, Soil, Repotting, etc.

Hey guys,

to Norm, kdodds, and thesdbux, thank you for all your help when i first bought my juniper. Its been doin great. i over wintered it on my porch in the winter sun and rain, and watered it when the soil was dry. a couple of weeks ago, as the days started to heat up, my little guy starting sprouting new growth. I'm soo excited. i just have a few questions... again.

unfortunately now that spring is here, I'm beginning to see little white bugs as well as tiny red spiders running around my tree. i think that they might be the cause of some of the dying needles toward the top of my bonsai. I sprayed it with some houseplant insecticide that i got from home depot, and hope that it will work fairly well, any comments would be appreciated. does anybody have a favorite pesticide that they use?

before that, i repotted the tree in fast draining cactus mix soil also from home depot. I used a bonzai pot with fairly large drainage holes. i trimmed some of the roots away after getting as much of the old soil out of the root mass as possible. he seems to be doing pretty well so far, new shoots are growing fast, and the needles have stopped turning brown, so im hoping to start fertilizing pretty soon. is the cactus mix a good idea? and does anybody have a preferred fertilizer for junipers?

look forward to hearing from you, and i'll get some pics up asap.
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow (I Cor 3:7)

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Zach,
to Norm, kdodds, and thesdbux, thank you for all your help when i first bought my juniper. Its been doin great. i over wintered it on my porch in the winter sun and rain, and watered it when the soil was dry. a couple of weeks ago, as the days started to heat up, my little guy starting sprouting new growth. I'm soo excited.
I'm glad to hear that things are looking good.
i repotted the tree in fast draining cactus mix soil also from home depot. I used a bonzai pot with fairly large drainage holes...is the cactus mix a good idea?
Probably the best you could have done at Home Depot without resorting to mixing your own. You will have to monitor your watering as it likely has a large percentage of organic matter present. For future reference, I have been growing a Juniper in a mix that is nearly 100% inorganic. Two years in a 50/50 mix of Haydite and lava rock with just a touch of Pine bark. I re-potted it recently in a similar mix and expect it ot do well.

As far as fertilizer, use whatever you feel comfortable with. If you are in the 'organics is better' camp that's fine. If you decide to use synthetics you are in good company. Both [url=https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/articles.htm]Brent Walston[/url] and [url=https://walter-pall.de/00gallery/index.html]Walter Pall[/url] use synthetics. They are both extremely knowledgeable and neither has a bias against using synthetic fertilizer. I generally use a balanced product, where all three components are equal. I have also used other fertilizers such as dry organic pellets. I found that they break down too quickly, clog my substrate and attract insects. I have largely stopped using this and instead make a manure/compost tea from it. I like to mix my products so that any shortcoming in one is made up for by the others.

I have never found it necessary to spray mine so I can't help there, perhaps someone else can offer something.

Norm

User avatar
bonsaiboy
Greener Thumb
Posts: 892
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:54 pm
Location: Earth

I think it may be okay to go a little higher on the organic part of the soil on bonsais. I use 50% pine bark and 50% inorganic for all my bonsais, and they do fine. Just make sure the particals have been screened before you use them; that is the most important part. And as for my opinion of best pesticide, I use neem (its organic, and it works better than any other stuff I've tried).
הדמיון הוא יותר חשוב מאשר ידע

User avatar
zewald
Full Member
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:46 pm
Location: Greeley, CO, USA Zone 5

Hey, thanks norm,

you've been a great help, i have an organic fertilizer (5,4,3) which i will use as soon as my tree starts drinkin up water again. here's a (unfortunately poor quality) picture of my tree, i kinda like that it has two main branches, but im kinda unsure what i could do with it. please let me know what u think.

bonsaiboy,

thanks for the info on the pesticide, i'll keep an eye out for it, though, the stuff i used seems to be doin the job.

[url=https://s680.photobucket.com/albums/vv164/zewald/?action=view&current=bonzai.jpg][img]https://i680.photobucket.com/albums/vv164/zewald/th_bonzai.jpg[/img][/url]
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow (I Cor 3:7)

User avatar
zewald
Full Member
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:46 pm
Location: Greeley, CO, USA Zone 5

new apex

Hey guys,

i've been really thinking hard about what to do with my juniper, and i think i've come up with a fairly good idea, but i wanna run it past some of u "pro's" :wink: . i want to angle the trunk of my tree to the left in order to make the right branch (in the picture in the previous post) the apex. I would then trim off the foliage on top of that branch to promote other branch formation. the left branch would be pruned to create a foliage pad, and the middle branch would be removed. does this sound feasible?

also, what would be the best way to remove the foliage on the branch i want to make the apex?

any info or ideas are welcome and greatly appreciated. good luck in all ur bonsai endeavors. :D
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow (I Cor 3:7)

kdodds
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:07 pm
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

If you're talking about standing the tree up straight through training, I wouldn't, it's bare, then, on the right side. It does look like a very nice candidate for a windswept style though.

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

zewald,

Is this along the lines you were thinking of? Please forgive the crude virtual.

[url=https://img206.imageshack.us/my.php?image=76092324.jpg][img]https://img206.imageshack.us/img206/1023/76092324.th.jpg[/img][/url]


Norm

User avatar
zewald
Full Member
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:46 pm
Location: Greeley, CO, USA Zone 5

Ya norm,

thats about it, i'd flatten out the foliage on the branch, and cut off the top foliage to try and make it grow farther, is that possible? Kdodds seems to think that it would look kind of bear on one side, and i think he might be right.
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow (I Cor 3:7)

kdodds
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:07 pm
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Bare on one side is okay IF you're aiming for a windswept style, or possibly an unconventional literati with a dead (jinned) trunk on the bare side, or paired with another bare-sided tree, something along those lines. But, IMO, it would be out of balance as is and alone if straightened.

User avatar
zewald
Full Member
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:46 pm
Location: Greeley, CO, USA Zone 5

Kdodds,

thanks a lot for ur input. its really helpful and i really appreciate it. I now have my juniper in a half gallon pot and am gonna let it grow out for at least a year before i try anything with it. We'll see if anything else comes of it.

I have a question for anybody, but i would really like norm's input, since he seems to be vastly fluent in soil mixes. I know that im breaking one of the most important rules of bonsai by repotting twice in one season, but here's my reasoning, the last time i repotted my bonsai, i used about 60% cactus soil and 40% perlite. I figured that would be a good mix as perlite is a sterile, inorganic material. but after a few weeks of watering, the perlite had floated to the top, and every time i watered, my juniper was essentially free floating in perlite infested water, haha. so i replanted it in strictly the cactus mix. my questions are as follows:

1. How do you keep the perlite from separating out to keep a good mix?
2. How horrible is it that my juniper is now in 100% soil?
3. Have i doomed my juniper to death by repotting it twice in a month?

all input is greatly appreciated and welcomed.
and again, norm/Gnome, i'd really like ur ideas on the situation.

Thanks in advance
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow (I Cor 3:7)

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Zack,
I figured that would be a good mix as perlite is a sterile, inorganic material.
Many growers don't like Perlite for the very reason you have cited. I do use it but mostly for younger material that I am growing out. This is primarily an economic consideration. I have a lot of pots and if I used premium components the cost would be greater so I look for less expensive alternatives. If you only have a few plants you can easily afford to purchase a good medium if you are having trouble finding appropriate components locally.
How do you keep the perlite from separating out to keep a good mix?
Yes it will float at first but only the material near the surface is prone to floating and after a while you will reach the point where it will largely stop and the bulk of the material is 'locked' within the remaining medium and should not be a problem.
How horrible is it that my juniper is now in 100% soil?
Cactus soil likely contains no actual soil, furthermore the composition of each product will vary so giving an answer to that question is not really possible without seeing the product. As a point of reference, I keep a Juniper in an inorganic mix (a little bark may have snuck in) and it does well. I use Haydite, Turface or Lava rock. My blend varies as I have had some trouble locating local sources for the heavy (cost prohibitive to ship) materials.
Have i doomed my juniper to death by repotting it twice in a month?
That too is hard to say, only time will tell but it is not ideal, of which you are well aware. Sometimes you make a choice and you live with the consequences. Make sure to keep us informed.

Norm

User avatar
zewald
Full Member
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:46 pm
Location: Greeley, CO, USA Zone 5

OK guys.

After a couple of weeks, my juniper is still doing fairly well, there is quite a bit of new growth, and although it seems to be a favorite home for some daddy long leg spiders (every time i clear out the webs, they're back in a day or two) :roll: it seems to be thriving. Thanks for all your help and support. It has helped a great deal. Hope to see some updates from you guys as well :wink:
take care
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow (I Cor 3:7)



Return to “BONSAI FORUM”