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New Bonsai - a few questions

Posted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 6:08 pm
by matthewmj
Hello, I just got a new bonsai as a gift. It's a juniper, I believe, and I've been reading around this site for how to take care of it.

I read that I need to water it every time it gets even slightly dry, but then I went and read that in the dormant time over-watering could kill it. I live in Maryland, and as its currently winter I figured it should be in the dormant phase. The temperature varies, its currently around 55 degrees F, but has been alot colder before.

My first question is, should I water if very often? Seeing as it should be in the dormant phase the site said to not overwater it, but I don't want it to dry out. Should I be watering it everytime it seems even a little dry?

Second, as I've read I should keep it outside, but in a cool place. I have a place I can put it outside that is shaded most of the day (but it will get a little sunlight from late morning to early afternoon). Is that a good place to keep it? If not, where should it go?

Last, should I leave it outside in extremely cold temperatures and when it snows? Should I keep it in my garage and out of the snow?

Thanks for any help, and here is a picture of it:
[url=https://img244.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc00033lw6.jpg][img]https://img244.imageshack.us/img244/8557/dsc00033lw6.th.jpg[/img][/url]

Posted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 6:46 pm
by Gnome
Matt,

Recent Juniper threads:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3866&sid=f38ef8116d58b7c4278986b62886a699

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3845&sid=f38ef8116d58b7c4278986b62886a699

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3814&sid=f38ef8116d58b7c4278986b62886a699

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3806&sid=f38ef8116d58b7c4278986b62886a699
I read that I need to water it every time it gets even slightly dry,
Not true, Junipers do well in a very free draining mix that dries out somewhat between waterings.
My first question is, should I water if very often? Seeing as it should be in the dormant phase the site said to not overwater it, but I don't want it to dry out. Should I be watering it everytime it seems even a little dry?
If the rocks are glued on, and perhaps even if they are not, please remove them. They only make judging the condition of the soil that much more difficult. Junipers don't mind being kept a little on the dry side particularly if they are outside as they should be. They are able to absorb moisture through their needles. More are probably killed by over watering than under watering.
Second, as I've read I should keep it outside, but in a cool place. I have a place I can put it outside that is shaded most of the day (but it will get a little sunlight from late morning to early afternoon). Is that a good place to keep it? If not, where should it go?
Junipers like a lot of sun in the summer but even though they are evergreen their lighting requirements are reduced over the winter so the location sounds OK. The real issue is where the tree came from and how it has been managed recently. Please review the threads I cited above. For now, by all means put it outside if the weather is mild. After that you will have to make your own decision.
Last, should I leave it outside in extremely cold temperatures and when it snows? Should I keep it in my garage and out of the snow?
Junipers belong outside even in the snow, they are very hardy. Starting next year it should go outside and remain there (protection would be required only during the very coldest part of winter and even then only because it is in pot). The hard part will be to get it through this winter. The garage sounds good even better if it can get some sunlight.

Norm

Posted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 7:07 pm
by matthewmj
Thanks alot for the info. The leaves are a little brown as they near the truck, but from the links you posted other people seem to have that problem, and you said it could be overwatering, so Ill leave it alone and see how it comes out.

Also, should I leave it out in the rain (as it has been doing recently, but not today)? If overwatering could kill it, I would think letter it sit there getting rained on wouldnt really help.

Thanks again for the help. :)

Posted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 8:29 pm
by Gnome
Matt,

You are welcome.
Also, should I leave it out in the rain (as it has been doing recently, but not today)? If overwatering could kill it, I would think letter it sit there getting rained on wouldnt really help.
This depends on various factors. Is the soil gritty and free draining as it should be or peaty and dense as many ready-made bonsai are? Is the tree well established in the pot or newly planted? How wet it was when the rain started and how long is the rain expected to last. Rain does not provide nearly as much moisture to the pot as you might imagine. A healthy tree can take a bit more variation, whereas a stressed tree may be damaged more easily. If you suspect any possible root damage be more cautious. play it by ear.

I left mine out all summer even though it was still in the nursery mix that I purchased it in. I will be re-potting in the spring with an almost entirely in-organic soil-less mix, as should you.

Norm