lonepalm
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Posts: 46
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 1:05 am
Location: New York

Fertilizing, humidity trays and pruning

[url=https://img315.imageshack.us/my.php?image=growthinonemonth114075no.jpg][img]https://img315.imageshack.us/img315/8140/growthinonemonth114075no.th.jpg[/img][/url]
Hi, it's me again!!
I went to my local nursery to ask some questions about my Hawaiian Umbrella tree....it should be pictured above! The girl told me not to fertilize as alot of growth should not be encouraged. She also showed me how to prune back some long branches that are sticking way out. I also asked about a white powdery substance that seems to be on some of the leaves, and she told me that it was due to the tree being too moist. She told me to stop using the humidity tray with the stones and just let it sit on a dry tray. So I did that. Can I leave the stones on the humidity tray if they are dry? It looks so much nicer!! Is she correct about the white powdery substance on some of the leaves and is she right about the fertizlizer?
By the way...I want to buy a little Chinese figurine but can't find any...does anyone have any suggestions as to where to find one? Thanks again...you all are defintely my lifeline to success with my little tree!!
Liz :D

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Gnome
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Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Liz,

I don't recall you mentioning a problem with your foliage before, is this a new development? Do they look anything like this?
[url=https://img260.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficusspots4ut.jpg][img]https://img260.imageshack.us/img260/5197/ficusspots4ut.th.jpg[/img][/url]
And have you been misting the foliage. If so my guess is that it is simply hard water spots similar to what you may see in your shower. That is what my photo shows. To verify moisten your finger and try to rub the offending substance off. Let me know what you discover. I'll let the issue of the humidity tray go until I hear back from you.

It is a common misconception that bonsai should not be fertilized regularly. Yes it will grow, it has to grow or it will die. Even established bonsai need to be pruned and even restyled from time to time. Now how much and how often you fertilize is another matter entirely. This is an area in which your experience with this particular plant will be more important than any advice a third party can offer. It will take time but eventually you will learn how to handle this tree from your own experience.

Norm

lonepalm
Full Member
Posts: 46
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 1:05 am
Location: New York

Spots on foliage

Hi Norm,
Ok...the spots are not on all the leaves....and yes I have misted the tree several times. When I moisten my fingers and rub the leaf the marks come off. This has only happened since I've been misting...I think!
I was a little worried about it....you know since it is my first experience with a bonsai, I want to make sure I do the right thing with it...
Should I be misting it as I have been doing? I feel so much better with whatever advice you give me....the girl at the nursery really made me doubt that I was taking care of it properly.
So I will wait to hear from you regarding the spots, the misting, and the humidity tray....by the way...I'm using white aquarium gravel on the humidity tray since I couldn't find the river rocks...is that ok? Thanks again, Norm....you really are a great gardening friend!!
Liz :D

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Gnome
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Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Liz,

You're welcome, Glad to help. It sure sounds to me like they are simply water spots. You have not done anything incorrectly. If they concern you, you can mist with distilled water. It does not seem to do my Ficus any harm.

Since the spots are not due to any disease or insect this leads me to think that there is no reason not to continue with what you have been doing. I refer you again to the bonsai4me care sheet for this species. Please note the remarks concerning watering. [url]https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Schefflera.html[/url]

The gravel is not a problem, but it is imperative that the pot sit on the gravel and not down in the water as this could easily lead to an overly wet condition.

Norm

lonepalm
Full Member
Posts: 46
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 1:05 am
Location: New York

Link for Scheff is very helpful

Hi again, Norm,
OK...now I feel confident that I haven't done the wrong thing with my Hawaiian Umbrella tree. I have inspected the leaves with a magnifying glass and I don't see any insects or damage to the leaves. I had noticed the white dust and thought it was from the aquarium gravel, even though I had washed the gravel to eliminate the dust problem. I have only misted it a few times...and the white dust was only a sporadic development...one that I think only manifested itself about the time I started to mist it.
I do notice that the water in the humidity tray dries up within a day and I do replenish it. I have been very careful to build up the gravel under the pot so that it never sits in the water...and I don't keep a high water level either.
I will continue to read material. I did buy a book called "All About Bonsai" by Ortho. I selected it because it wasn't too technical and being a novice I needed something I would understand. I keep searching the internet for more material, and the link you provided for me is a wonderful source of knowledge. I will bookmark it so that I can refer to it easily.
Thank you for rebuilding my confidence in doing the right thing with my tree. I love caring for it and take pride in keeping it healthy.
My last question has to do with a more frivolous interest. I would love to add a small Chinese figurine to my display...do you know a good place to find these? I have looked on the internet but find that the cost of shipping is more than the little figurine!! I have looked in the nurseries but found nothing...perhaps due to the slow business during the winter time.
Thank you Norm....your help and advice are so very valuable to me. I will go back to using the humidity tray as you first instructed. I bellieve it is an important part of keeping my little tree "happy"...
I'll keep you informed as to how things go and will inspect the leaves to make sure I haven't overlooked anything...
Liz :D

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