super dude
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Purchased Bonsai & Now Leaves Turning Yellow

ok, i bought this the other day from a bonsai merchant at a local farmers market type thing. i need to ID it and for you to help me with its problem. i bought it on saturday (today is monday) and today i counted 5 yellow leaves. i have the plant indoors, indirect sunlight, i DO NOT water on a schedule, only when the soil is begining to dry. i remember the guy saying that it was somesort of tea tree. it blooms flowers and little berries.. please help.. thank you

(also, i have done the scratch test and it is bright green, [healthy])

[img]https://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g5/cjbix/bonsaitree001.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g5/cjbix/bonsaitree002.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g5/cjbix/bonsaitree003.jpg[/img]
Last edited by super dude on Tue Oct 31, 2006 11:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Gnome
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Super Dude,

Could it perhaps be Fukien Tea? This is a species that I am unfamiliar with although I know that it has a reputation as being finicky. Here are some links that may help. You should also search this forum using the search function at the top of the page.

[url]https://bonsaihunk.8m.com/info/FukienTea.html[/url]
[url]https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Carmona.html[/url]
[url]https://www.bonsai-bci.com/species/fukien.html[/url]

Norm

super dude
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thank you gnome... i would have used the search, but i did not know the kind of tree i have... is the leaves turning yellow anything to worry about? the tree is 10 years old and i don't want to kill it.. :?

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Gnome
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Super Dude,

Quote:
is the leaves turning yellow anything to worry about?
The loss of a few leaves probably is not a cause for excessive concern but it is good that you are aware of a possible problem. The picture is unclear but it looks like the soil is rather heavy in peat. Is this correct? When you check for moisture in the soil make sure you check more than surface deep.

This type of soil retains too much moisture, (and if allowed to dry is dificult to re-wet), and should be changed as soon as you can do so without jeopardizing the tree. As I said I do not grow this species and can only offer help in general terms.

Perhaps someone who is more familiar with this tree can offer you some help. In the meantime read the sticky thread regarding soil if you have not already done so. Check this out as well.

[url]https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3530&sid=c8a1076380b43d14512a7051f70c6afa[/url]

Norm

super dude
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what do you mean by peat? reading through the earlier links, i found that if the soil is stuck to the roots, it will promote root rott... the soil on my tree is really packed... so that could be it.... i have been noticing more yellow leaves on the plant...

UPDATED PHOTOS, SAME ONES, BUT BIGGER.

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Gnome
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Super Dude,
what do you mean by peat?
Have you ever seen peat moss in the hardware store or garden center? It is very fine organic material that is hard to wet initially and once wet takes forever to dry. It allows little or no air to penetrate the rootball, retains water for too long a period and promotes root rot. With damaged roots the tree cannot take up enough water despite sitting in soggy soil.

Commercial trees are potted in this stuff precisely because it retains water and does not require constant attention while waiting to be sold. This type of soil is also cheaper than premium components that the enthusiast can easily afford. These are a few reasons why "mallsai" are held in such low regard by most.

The soil of your tree looks dark, moist and heavy, I even think I can see small spots of green matter growing on the soil. I would bet dollars to donuts that the soil in the bottom of the pot is staying soggy between waterings. You are going to have to address this issue or the tree will decline and die.

The thing is that your tree is already stressed and I do not have the experience with this species to offer you meaningful, specific advice. In other words what is the lesser of the two evils? Risk leaving it for a while in order to regain some of its strength or risk an emergency repot on an already stressed tree.

Norm

super dude
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ok, so should i replace the soil? what brand or mix of brands should i get? should i put it in a new pot while im at it? i am sorry for the questions but i am new to this...

Petra26
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yes yes! definitely replace the soil. clean out all the existing soil from the roots. check to see if any roots are brittle and dead and/or rotten black and slimey. prune those away. then get some good soil ...

read this topic about repotting, soil, and such...

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3422

D:

oh, i would suggest against watering after you have repotted. wait a few days, then water lightly. make sure the soil is dry again before you water again. if you have good drainage and good soil, the water should be able to flow right out the bottom as you are pouring. this will pulling air and wet the soil. check everyday with a finger/toothpick/etc... to see if the dirt is wet.

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Gnome
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Super Dude,
should I put it in a new pot while im at it?
Bonsai are often re-potted into the same pot that they came from, there is no need to buy a new pot now unless you simply do not like the one you have now. But consider this, bonsai are not usually potted into a proper bonsai pot until the initial development is over. Are you satisfied with the overall size and shape of the tree now? If so then go ahead and use a bonsai pot, if not then a SOMEWHAT larger pot will allow more vigorous growth. It does not necessarily have to be a bonsai pot either, a plastic nursery pot is quite suitable as a training pot.
what brand or mix of brands should I get?
I have only seen ready made bonsai mix once, (and it was expensive), so you may not have any choice as far as brand. If you can find pre-mix make sure you sift if to remove the fines that settle in the bag. Get a piece of heavy duty screen, known as hardware cloth, with a mesh of about 1/16 and discard whatever goes through. Most enthusiasts mix their own soil but that is another can of worms.

Petra wrote:
oh, I would suggest against watering after you have re-potted. wait a few days, then water lightly.
Sorry I can't agree with this. After re-potting an initial watering is crucial as the soil is likely to be very dry, especially if you are using a ready made product. After that you should indeed monitor your watering closely but you should be doing that anyway.

Norm

super dude
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ok, thank you all. i will try to replace the soil today... where could i buy it? lowe's or home depot?

also, when i bought the bonsai it was already in a bonsai pot, but i do not know when the last time he repotted it was. I guess i couls check to see if it is root bound or not, and if it is i could buy a new bonsai pot..

the plant (right now) does not have the wire mesh on the draining hole and roots are coming out of it..

I will see what i can do about it today..

super dude
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i think i solved my problem:

https://www.bonsaigardener.org/fukien-tea-bonsai.html
The only thing you might notice is the color of the leaves turning yellow when the soil gets too much water.
i over watered it once by mistake, but do you think i should still replace the soil?

thank you to everybody that helped me, i am very greatful because i am new to this and i do not know much about bonsai...

Super Dude

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Id replace the soil regardless.

Fukien teas are a bit tender, but keep up the light lvls, don't under water/over water and you'll do nicely.

Also keep the humidity lvls up, with either a humidity tray or mistings...or both.

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Gnome
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Super Dude,
I over watered it once by mistake, but do you think I should still replace the soil?
If you manage your watering practices better you may not have to rush things, but yes I would still be looking at replacing the soil. The dense nature of the soil you now have only makes it that much more likely that you will have these types of issues. Observe the plant closely and make your decision.

Use the time to locate an appropriate pre-mix or begin researching and gathering soil components. This in and of itself could easily take an entire thread. Keep us posted.

Norm

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