scott40
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:45 am

My juniper bonsai is turning brown!

:cry: A couple of weeks ago I noticed a white furry growth on the trunk of my bonsai. I went to Home Depot and asked for a fugicide product that I immediately applied to the bonsai. It is almost completely brown. I really need help with it. Does anyone have any ideas?
Thanks

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Well first of all, I don't recomend using any sort of fungicide, pesticide or herbicide because for one: they generally cause more problems than they solve.

A better alternative would be to use a weekly spraying of neem oil.

As far as the browning of your tree, I am guessing that you probably over applied the fungicide and harmed the tree in some way. (Probably burned the roots) So, I would say, soak the tree ( pot but not the stem) in a sink full of water for half an hour to an hour. Then, leave it be for a while except for a daily misting.

Check the soil to see if the tree needs to be watered again and water if needed. It's a waiting game now.

Good luck with your tree. :)

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Hard to say what happened here. Could be what Opa said, could be that the pathogen is the causal agent. Either way Opa is right about the treatment and the wait...

Scott

scott40
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:45 am

thank you guys!

:D thank you for your replies. All I can do is keep my fingers crossed! This particular bonsai means a lot to me because it is the first of four bonsais that I own. Right now it's looking very "Charlie Brownish". I hope it survives. The others are doing just fine ....I don't understand what happened. I will definately be throwing the fungicide straight in the trash can! I've isolated it from the other three. Is there any way this illness can spread to the others?

Thanks again for your replies,

Scott from Boca Raton, Fl

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Yes, the fungal spores can shoot from between 1 m and 10 m depending on what type of fungus it is. If you post a picture of the fungus I can give you more information.

I would isoloate the infected tree from any others Just to be safe.

I will also say that bacteria and fungi always live in close association with plants and the fact is that plants don't live well without this association. So, it is most likely some other problem that your tree has (like a nutrient deficiency or something else) one of the myriad of fungal inhabitants in and on your tree was able to become pathogenic.

Anyway, this is yet another reason that you shouldn't use fungicides. But, if you tree survives, in the spring feed it with some liquid seaweed fertilizer (diluted) and this will provide your tree with a slow release of all macro and micronutrients that it needs. This way, it will keep in check all of it's assoaciated flora and fauna.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Fungii on the soil surface is often sapprophitic fungii and harmless to plants. It often pops up in loads of plants that have been on a truck for a while (considering your source I'd say that's likely)...I suspect the cure was worse than the disease... :cry:

Scott

scott40
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:45 am

Charlie Brown

My bonsai was a beautiful green, healthy bonsai when I purchased it. All of a sudden after 6 mothes of being perfect and perfectly taken care of, the the bonsai showed signs of a kind of white fuzz growing on it's stemand trunk. We misted and watered it every day it was supposed to be. I just don't understand how this could have happened to a plant that has been so closely monitored. :(

scott40
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:45 am

the fungi was never on the soil

The fungus problem was never on the soil...only on the trunk. :?

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

When did it brown? After the fungus or after the spraying?

scott40
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:45 am

Browning

The fungus appeared before the browning...then we sprayed fungicide

scott40
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:45 am

fungus

The bonsai turned started turning brown before the fungicide was ever applied.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

As the fuzzy white started on the trunk, I suspect the tree was dead before the fungal outbreak...

Scott

scott40
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:45 am

For whom the bell tolls

How do I keep this from happening in the future? I mean I did everything right. I watered it twice a week, by putting it in a pan of water that didn't go over the rim of the pot, I misted it every day, gave it indirect sunlight(it was on our covered screened- in patio) and fertilized it with 20-20-20 plant food. Do I just not have a green thumb? My bonsais mean so much to me...I have this whole oriental theme on my patio. What can I do to protect the other 3 trees from my murderous hands? Is there any hope for Charlie Brown? He still has a slight amount of green foliage. Please help me and my juniper bonsais! :oops:

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Hard to say what the cause may be. Trees die sometimes without cause or reason; all you can do is follow best practice. I don't like to water by calender and think more trees die from overwatering than underwatering...could be phomopsis, or juniper twig blight. Don't let foliage stay wet at night...

You don't mention overwintering practices; missing dormancy is a too often repeated mistake we see here. How long have you had the tree?

Scott

scott40
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:45 am

I've had the tree since August. Yes, I know that seems like a short period of time, but it really means a lot to me. All of a sudden it got this white fuzz then turned brown. You mentioned winter dormancy...I've always wondered how to identify when that is supposed to happen...Can you explain?

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Well, in winter...

Seems unlikely that is the case here. Could just be a repot in the wrong season; root damage would look like that too...

scott40
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:45 am

I might have missed the dormancy, because I don't know how to tell. I've read up on it in a couple of books but can't seem to get any answers...Do you know how I can tell? I mean I'm living in south Florida (Boca Raton). We don't really ever have much of a winter. Right now it's about 65 degrees. That's average down here for this time of year.

scott40
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:45 am

Do you think the problem lies from where I purchased it? I have never re-potted it. It had a large enough pot. The plant is not huge, not extravagant...just in soil and moss. The pot size is probabaly about 4"x3". The plant had plenty of room to grow. Although, I must tell you, before the white fuzz appeared on the trunk, a long piece(compared to the plant) probably about 3 or 4 inches fell off the top of the tree. You see the tree trunk turns at a 90 degree angle. We were hoping to make the tree look wind swept. I guess we got our wish because it has lost a lot of its foliage.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

This would be your "dormant" period, such as it is. Tough to get a true dormancy at that temp; air-conditioning is too dry, refridgeration is too much space wasted...

Are your other trees tropicals?

Scott

scott40
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:45 am

pruning

Do you think we might have pruned it too fast? I mean, it wasn't completely pruned to where we wanted it but I've heard you must have patience with pruning. Is that true? What is the protocol in regards to pruning a juniper bonsai tree? We never wired it in any way, just twisted off a couple of pieces of foliage.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

After basic styling I do everything with finger tips on junipers (cutting can leave brown needles) Shouldn't shear foliage (like with hedge shears) cuz it creates too much damage and that can be attractive to disease (open wounds). Simply pinch off new shoots to keep shape and prompt new growth along the branch. Keeping a good flow of air and water through the branches can do a lot to ward off mites or fungus...

Scott

scott40
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:45 am

You have helped me so much..Thanks for all your help! I know if I have any questions in the future, I have someone to ask that knows.

Stephanie (Scott40's wife- you've been talking to me all along) :lol:

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Glad to help Steph...

Scott

Return to “BONSAI FORUM”