Page 1 of 1

I have a PLETHORA of questions for my Juniper bonsai

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 4:56 am
by importjunjun
New here =)

Anyway, this Christmas I received a Juniper bonsai from a friend. I had no idea how to take care of it and did some research, both from my friend and from the internet

From my friend, I found out she'd bought it from a home depot. I don't know how safe it is to buy bonsai from there, but it came with rocks that were all glued together (even the big ones >=(..) and I didn't get around to removing the rocks until a few days after I'd received it.

1) I read somewhere that glue (especially water-soluble glue, which it was) will hurt the bonsai. My question is to what extent - might it have damaged the roots? If so, is it permanent?

I also took the plant and the soil out of the pot (which I probably shouldn't have done, but then again I'm TOTALLY new to plant care) and found a bit of glue clogging one of the drainage holes >=(. Also,

2) The root ball is caked with soil that didn't "flake" off when i gave the ball a little pat - might it be the glue? Or is this normal? The ball was really moist, by the way. I water my plant correctly - I do the toothpick method and and wait a few minutes and everything.

3) The soil in half the pot has gotten "connected" the plant again. What I mean is that when I took out the tree and the soil (to clean the pot of the glue) and put it in again, the plant was, at first, loose. Now it's firmer, and when I wriggle the tree gently, half of the soil moves with it - will it establish its footing with the rest of the soil later?

And lastly, the Juniper's leaves have been pale green on the lower branches (some are brown and fall off) and also on the insides of some of the larger branches. But then again on the tips of almost every branch there are robust shoots of little shrub-like things (they look like fat fingers) that I expect are new growth.

4) Does this sound normal to you? Or is there something wrong with my tree? Or, as is my suspicion, is there something wrong with part of the tree?

Thanks to anyone who bothers to respond to this. I know it's a lot :oops:

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 5:34 am
by opabinia51
With regard to the glue, it depends on what type of glue that it was that was used. I personally don't like to use any glue on bonsai. Generally speaking buying bonsai from non bonsai dealers is a no no because they really don't know how to care for bonsai trees. That being said, you can get some real deals from non bonsai dealers like the (choke) big box stores.

I would personally take the rocks out.

Number two:

Trees are pretty hardy. When a tree needs to be repotted (sp?) people often do a root pruning and shake and comb the excess soil off so, that probably didn't hurt your tree.

The soil (number three):

Yah, just leave your tree for a bit. Watering it as it needs to be watered. the soil should be kept moist and not wet. Juniper is a conifer and you should keep it outside.

That sounds fine. The tree will naturally shed needles and grow new ones.

Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:48 am
by importjunjun
Thanks =D The glue looked like Elmer's Glue, by the way - the standard white kind.

Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:41 pm
by opabinia51
Hopefully the HG will be around soon to offer his advice. But, good luck with your tree!!!

Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:56 pm
by The Helpful Gardener
I don't see much here to trouble me, other than the fact you are disturbing roots this time of year...

1. Nope, the glue shouldn't be deadly, but it will restrict water flow. Lose the rocks; I like moss. I find my own, but the florist shhet moss works great too.

2. No, that's not glue, that's micro roots or mycorhizii, a symbiotic fungus that helps plants, and we don't want to break them up. Good that you got the glue out of the drain hole, but put it back in the pot and leave it...

3. That's rooting; this is the time of year for it. Refer to instruction in #2

4. Lower branches brown as they get shaded and some of last years needles will brown as the branch gets woody. All right as rain, just don't pick at it or it will never heal (got that one from me mum... :lol: )

Sounds as if you've been getting most of it right, Import. Just don't disturb roots during winter if you can help it...


Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:36 am
by importjunjun
Thanks for the help guys =D They're REALLY comforting.

And yeah, I'll try not to touch the roots for the rest of the season.

Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 2:04 am
by The Helpful Gardener
Right. 8)