ynot
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Welcome Katharina {And Randy, I also hope you contribute often. -:)}

You have gotten some great info on this thread, Do check out the rest of the site Gnome linked to. You will find it very helpful.
Katharina wrote:
Now, about the "decent light"... where do I start... is there such thing us "too decent"? Coz I think this is what my poor little tree nearly died of.
I wouldn't be so quick to absolutely say that is the cause, There are too many other variables to be considered, {Stress due to Environmental changes, Potential over/under watering, etc.}

Chinese elms are pretty forgiving of errors and are resilient trees- They tend to bounce back :).
Katharina wrote:
I kept it at the window, as suggested in the brochure. The only thing is that the window faces east and in the morning it can get realy hot over there. At this stage I even suspect that I didn't just dry my happy tree out. I think I might have burnt it... Is it possible?
IMO it is not likely that the blazing February Irish sun ;) did the deed on your tree [Especially in four days, Or even the week since you got it].
This was most likely a combination of other factors, Including the care it received before you got it.
Randy wrote: I wouldn't give up on the plant. I doubt going 4 days without water will kill it unless it was outdoors in brutally hot windy weather.
I agree with this entirely, Four days is a blink of an eye time-wise to a tree. I am betting it is in a fairly moisture retentive soil as well. [Which could be part of the problem.]

It is important to check each day as Randy stated.
His system for determining if you need to water is a good one, But [like any]is effective only if you apply it..;).
Again only water as it is required by the tree.

Post some pictures please if your able. [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3557]Photo tips[/url]
Good luck and please keep us posted.

ynot

Katharina
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OK, guys, here is the story...

I applied Randy's idea (put a toothpick into the soil and left it there) and I check daily if my little tree needs a drink :wink:

Now, I didn't water my tree since Tuesday, right? (I swear I didn't!) But the soil seems to be as moist as it was when I soaked it 3 days ago. The reason why it concerns me is because I noticed that the few leaves left on my poor, bald tree are now getting brownish spots which, from my experience with other types of plants, is a sign of over watering...

Ynot, you mentioned that the type of soil might be part of the problem:
I am betting it is in a fairly moisture retentive soil as well. [Which could be part of the problem.]
how can I recognize the type of soil my tree is planted in and if it's the right one?

And about the pics... I actually took some pictures but don't think it would be fair on my bald, little tree to publish them. If the 4-day drought and the blazing Irish sun didn't kill it, the embarrassment surely will :oops: Unless you insist, that is :wink:

Thanks for all the support, guys. I luuuuv the forum :D
Katharina

ynot
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Katharina wrote:
I applied Randy's idea (put a toothpick into the soil and left it there) and I check daily if my little tree needs a drink :wink:
Excellent :)

Now, I didn't water my tree since Tuesday, right? (I swear I didn't!) But the soil seems to be as moist as it was when I soaked it 3 days ago. The reason why it concerns me is because I noticed that the few leaves left on my poor, bald tree are now getting brownish spots which, from my experience with other types of plants, is a sign of over watering...
Right then, Your soil is still wet three days later, Now consider how often you had been watering it...More often than every three days I would wager. This combo =Overwatering.

Do keep in mind that as you tree loses leaves it will use less water because it will have less transpiration [which is moisture loss through the leaves]
Ynot, you mentioned that the type of soil might be part of the problem:
[I was being polite, There's no 'might' and it is a majority of the problem :(].

It is a dead common problem, The 'three day story' confirms that something needs to be done about the soil.
It seems to me as though it was a combination of terrible soil and over watering which results in a constantly wet condition, This can lead to root damage which keeps your tree from getting water/nutrients from the soil.
It then dehydrates and the slow decline begins.. [And people think 'Oh I must water my tree- It looks dry'--You can see where that leads]

Your tree may be savable [Most likely in fact, Need those pictures:)] but it will take some changes wrt its soil and care.
how can I recognize the type of soil my tree is planted in and if it's the right one?
By how effective it is, And yours isn't. [Effective- that is.]

Here are a few links about bonsai and soil for you to read:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3422
Here is a wonder page full of articles for you to research- Focusing first on soil, repotting and watering would be most helpful for the near future.: https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics.html
And about the pics... I actually took some pictures but don't think it would be fair on my bald, little tree to publish them. If the 4-day drought and the blazing Irish sun didn't kill it, the embarrassment surely will :oops: Unless you insist, that is :wink:
Oh I would never insist, It is entirely your choice: Dead, Or embarrassed. ;):lol:

I look forward to the pictures:)

ynot

douglasarthur
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Katharina-
I kinda had a similar story. I bought one from IKEA came home and a few weeks later it dropped all its leaves and I was bummed out for a bit...but I watered it like once a week and left it by the window. A couple of weeks later it just shot out all new leaves and looks amazing now.

I talked to a bonsai expert about it and told him the problem that I had and he said the main issue was that I was keeping it indoors in 70F heat and it got shocked and dropped all its leaves.

He also mentioned if you want to keep them indoors keep them by a cooler window and mist them every few days lightly...this will help them to not drop their leaves. He said ultimately during summer months it should be kept outdoors.

I am new to bonsai but it sounds like you are too and there are alot of people on here that are pretty knowledgable it seems...but sometimes that might lead to overthinking the problem. If its like my case it was simple and just took time to fix.

Douglas

ynot
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...but I watered it like once a week and left it by the window.
Once a week? :shock:

Sounds like you need new soil also. Check out [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4218]these pics[/url] to see some excellent bonsai soil.

ynot

douglasarthur
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ynot,
it was in the wintertime...and it seems like it doesnt require that frequent of watering although now that its gotten so much growth on it I am watering it more often.

katharina,
i forgot to mention that i repotted it after it lost all its leaves.

Katharina
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Hi Douglas,

It's funny... I was wondering, on my way to work this morning, if you've repotted your tree since it lost all the leaves. And here you are, answering my very question :D Thanks for sharing your story!

By the way, seen pictures of your Japanese Larch - all the best with that one! 8)

Ynot, here goes a little treat for you (you've got this thing about pictures, so it seems, doncha? :P ) . Ah, let me mention that I checked the soil again this afternoon and it's just as wet (forget "moist") as it was when I soaked it 4 days ago...

OKi, this is the first time that I'm uploading pictures, so be patient with me. WORK IN PROGRESS :lol:

[url=https://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u218/_Katharina_/Little_tree007-1.jpg][img]https://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u218/_Katharina_/th_Little_tree007-1.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=https://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u218/_Katharina_/Little_tree003.jpg][img]https://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u218/_Katharina_/th_Little_tree003.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=https://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u218/_Katharina_/Little_tree004-1.jpg][img]https://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u218/_Katharina_/th_Little_tree004-1.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=https://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u218/_Katharina_/6e14f314.jpg][img]https://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u218/_Katharina_/th_6e14f314.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=https://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u218/_Katharina_/Little_tree002.jpg][img]https://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u218/_Katharina_/th_Little_tree002.jpg[/img][/url]


All comments very welcome!

Thanks,
Katharina
Last edited by Katharina on Sat Feb 24, 2007 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Gnome
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Katharina,

Thanks for posting the pictures, they confirm what Ynot had suspected. Your soil appears to be almost entirely organic/peat. The texture is way too fine and does not allow water to drain properly. And, just as importantly, does not allow air to reach the roots, which is essential in maintaining a tree in a pot. Please take a look at Randy's Ficus chop [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4218]here.[/url] Note that his soil is primarily inorganic, also note the texture.

Your tree will need to be re-potted or it will probably slowly decline and die. If it is still damp please don't water yet. I know it is difficult but it is necessary. The problem with this type of soil, as you are learning, is that it holds water forever but once it does dry it becomes difficult to re-wet. Please begin your research on soil-less mixes and re-potting.

Norm

ynot
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Douglas wrote:ynot,
it was in the wintertime...and it seems like it doesnt require that frequent of watering although now that its gotten so much growth on it I am watering it more often.
Winter time is not entirely the issue as your tree is indoors, The reduced water usage was at least partially due to lack of foliage which limited the trees [url=https://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/T/Transpiration.html]transpiration.[/url]

Please review the link RE: soil that Gnome and I have both posted in our previous posts.
Katharina wrote:All comments very welcome!
Thank you for the pictures, It is best if you start researching bonsai soil as a looser well-draining mix would greatly benefit your tree. Links have already been posted wrt this.

{This is not aimed at specifically at you Katharina, I understand your kidding. But since you brought it up, I used your quotes as they address what I am on about. [Although 22 replies into the thread for the pix to show up does seem like quite a bit of water under the bridge.:P ] I wish everyone understood this.}

Please understand though, I am not:
:mini rant:
(you've got this thing about pictures, so it seems, doncha? :P )
Yes, In fact I went through no small effort [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3557]to write a 'thing' down.[/url] When was the last time a Dr. gave anyone a diagnosis from a description in a strictly text format email?...Oh wait... Maybe they would want to actually see the patient. That's not a possibility here so pictures will have to suffice.
Katharina wrote:Ynot, here goes a little treat for you.
Wrong, I absolutely [url=https://www.m-w.com/dictionary/abhor]abhor[/url]having to beg and plead for pictures from people we are trying to help, I could rant about this for pages...
One would think they would want us to see what is happening.....Yet :?: It is like pulling teeth.

It is not a treat for me, It is a tool for us to use to help solve the puzzle you brought to us.

The more pieces of the puzzle we have, The more complete picture we have & the more effective we can be.

Understand, We are trying to help you here, Please play along.

:/mini rant:

{A slightly frustrated }ynot

A Private Joke to someone who will understand it= The espresso machine is going ;)

Katharina
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Ouch...

Katharina
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I meant - Thanks for all your help, Ynot :D

and...

ouch, ouch, ouch...
Last edited by Katharina on Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ynot
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Katharina wrote: I meant - Thanks for all your help, Ynot :D
Your very welcome :D

Katharina wrote:Ouch...
I repeat
ynot wrote: {This is not aimed at specifically at you Katharina, I understand your kidding.
It is a nerve that gets stepped on once in awhile is all

ynot

Katharina
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Norm,

Thanks very much for your opinion. I've started my research already and tomorrow will take a look around the shops for some good soil. I'll post some more pictures when my little tree is re-potted and then again when it is all green and happy :D

Thanks again!
Katharina

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Gnome
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Katharina,

You're welcome. Please show us a sample of the soil you purchase before you re-pot. Most enthusiasts end up making their own soil mix. But this entails locating various components and recipes. If you can find a good ready made product it will be much easier on you in the short term.

Norm

Katharina
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I'll to that, Norm.

I just read your and Ynot's pieces about root pruning and got curious about the roots of my little tree. Here's what they look like:

[url=https://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u218/_Katharina_/Little_tree010-1.jpg][img]https://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u218/_Katharina_/th_Little_tree010-1.jpg[/img][/url]


[url=https://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u218/_Katharina_/Roots.jpg][img]https://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u218/_Katharina_/th_Roots.jpg[/img][/url]


Now, I've read in some of the recommended articles that root pruning should be performed in the least stressful time for the tree. We all know that my tree's been through a lot lately, bless its heart, so don't think it's a good idea to mess with its... parts... too much :wink:

But then, I would like for my tree to stay in this pot, and there really isn't much space for anything but the roots... What would you recommend? Will I get a larger pot for now and then plant my tree back to the pretty pot :wink: in a few weeks when it is ready for pruning?

What do you think, Lads?

Thanks!
Katharina

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Katharina,

Well your tree is root-bound, another reason to re-pot before too very long, relatively speaking. When I suggested you begin researching re-potting I did not mean to imply that it needed to be done immediately. It usually takes most folks a while to find a good soil or components to mix one, I wanted you to be ready.

I handle my Elms as deciduous trees and there is very little question as to the timing of re-potting. When they are kept as indoor trees this subject begins to become a little less certain. You are correct about further stressing a tree with problems. But if not now when? Later this spring, summer? I don't mind saying that I am unsure as to your best route. What do others think?

The roots don't look rotten to me. Is there any sort of sliminess or bad smell? If so that would indicate problems with the roots.

Be aware that watering is going to be somewhat difficult with a solid root-mass like that. Multiple waterings 5 or 10 minutes apart will help to thoroughly wet the roots.

Sorry I am not able to be more certain about this.

Norm

ynot
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Gnome wrote:
Please show us a sample of the soil you purchase before you re-pot.
Yes, Please do.
I just read your and Ynot's pieces about root pruning and got curious about the roots of my little tree. Here's what they look like:
It's Potbound, Not 100%, but note the circling roots. This issue is affecting your watering as well [More accurately the absorption of water as the rootball is compacted.]
More importantly, You need new soil. [Note the difference between your soil and the soil you can see in Randy's [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4218-]ficus-chop thread[/url]That is NOT a top dressing you see. It is the contents of the pot clear through.]
Now, I've read in some of the recommended articles that root pruning should be performed in the least stressful time for the tree. We all know that my tree's been through a lot lately, bless its heart, so don't think it's a good idea to mess with its... parts... too much :wink:
It's true that what we are talking about is stressful to a tree to be certain. However, A root pruning and some Better soil would be very beneficial.
It is not going to get better very quickly the way it is.
But then, I would like for my tree to stay in this pot, and there really isn't much space for anything but the roots...
We can fix that ;) [You are going to be losing a whole big bunch of those roots.]

[Gnome, Randy, Full root pruning vs. A pie slice root prune? { As a band-aid to regain vigor until a full repot} What do you think?

Considering the previous stresses are unknown. Hmmm, Risk vs. reward... Actually, I am leaning towards the whole hog approach as it eliminates the old soil. Best be done with it IMO. ]
What would you recommend? Will I get a larger pot for now and then plant my tree back to the pretty pot :wink: in a few weeks when it is ready for pruning?
A new pot does not address the [needing new] soil issue and you underestimate the length of the timing involved here.

It is not a matter of weeks-Repots are normally done [at the most frequently] on a yearly basis, Often there are two, Three or more years between repotting.

Please keep exploring with your research and asking good questions

good luck

ynot

Sylvia
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Katharina,
You've gotten a whole lot of good advice. Once you get everything squared away--repotted and such--if it doesn't come back right away, don't give up too quickly. I overwintered a Chinese elm in my window well--made it go dormant, dropping its leaves for a winter rest--and let it dry out too much. I thought I'd killed it. But I put it out with my other bonsai in the spring and watered it as if it were alive. It was at least a month, when I was sure it had to be dead, that new growth started appearing. I'd lost most of the branches, but there was life and it's now working its way back. If only I had such luck with serissas........
--Sylvia

Katharina
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Thanks for this, Sylvia. I actually have a good news :o I noticed yesterday that there are hundreds of little buds all over my tree :D I can't believe it's coming back so soon! The buds are still very small but some of them already turned into tiny little leaves :D I'll post some pics in 3-4 days when they are a bit more visible.

Now, I tried to find some good soil, but unfortunately all the right places were closed last weekend... I don't think I will be able to look for anything before Thursday, but then... is it safe to re-pot the tree when it is budding? And what about root pruning - I guess I'll have to put it away for a while, will I?

And one more thing - it's been 6 days since I last watered the tree. I checked the toothpick again this morning and it is still wet. The soil dried off a bit on the surface but inside it's definitely wet - no doubt about it.

What do I do? Should I still wait with watering? But then... when the soil gets dry, it shrinks and hardens and it makes it really difficult for water to penetrate through. How should I deal with this issue? Will I soak it again in a day or two? I'm a bit lost here. Now, that my tree is feeling better I really want to get it right... :)

Thanks again for all your support!
Katharina

ynot
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I can't believe it's coming back so soon!
It is not 'recovered' Katharina, it is simply replacing the leaves it has lost.

Remember, except for your improved watering knowledge...Nothing else has changed.
Now, I tried to find some good soil, but unfortunately all the right places were closed last weekend... I don't think I will be able to look for anything before Thursday, but then... is it safe to re-pot the tree when it is budding? And what about root pruning - I guess I'll have to put it away for a while, will I?
The risk/reward of the rootprune/repot is absolutely worth it IMO vs leaving it the way it is.
And one more thing - it's been 6 days since I last watered the tree. I checked the toothpick again this morning and it is still wet. The soil dried off a bit on the surface but inside it's definitely wet - no doubt about it.

What do I do? Should I still wait with watering? But then... when the soil gets dry, it shrinks and hardens and it makes it really difficult for water to penetrate through. How should I deal with this issue? Will I soak it again in a day or two? I'm a bit lost here.

Let me restate your question to you, I think you will know the answer.

"My soil is still wet, Should I water?"....:?: You know the answer to this...:)
Now, that my tree is feeling better I really want to get it right... :)
See my first comment in this post.

Thanks again for all your support!
Katharina
Your very welcome.
ynot

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Katharina,
when the soil gets dry, it shrinks and hardens and it makes it really difficult for water to penetrate through. How should I deal with this issue? Will I soak it again in a day or two? I'm a bit lost here. Now, that my tree is feeling better I really want to get it right...
You have touched on one of the reasons that this type of soil is to be avoided. As you have now learned it retains water too long and is difficult to re-wet when it does dry. You will be able to re-wet it though it may take a little effort on your part. Water copiously, wait 5-10 minutes and repeat this as many times as is necessary to thoroughly wet the entire root mass. Do not be concerned even if it takes five gallons of water run through the pot, this is not over-watering. You only get in trouble if you repeat this process before the tree really needs it.

Please continue to attempt to locate a proper soil/soil components, until you do all this talk of re-potting is moot. You will also need some basic tools to do the job correctly. Some sort of pruners/cutters are essential, as is a stout chopstick-like implement, a sharpened dowel or even a pencil can help in untangling the roots. I like to use a garden hose, outside of course, this helps to dislodge the old soil and loosen the roots. Remember that the whole point is to remove that old muck that is clogging up the works. Let us know what you find.

Oh, and welcome to the new member, Sylvia. Please continue to post.

Norm

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