shashie88
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Juniper Bonsai Yellowing - How to Save it?

My boyfriend, knowing i'd been wanting a bonsai, bought me a green mound juniper for valentine's day. However, he didn't look into it at all and bought me an outdoor bonsai and it's winter here (SE Pennsylvania) and we also live in an apartment so we don't have a yard. If I could have exchanged the poor thing I would, but he ordered it through the mail so that wasn't an option.

What we do have is a small porch area that is directly under our neighbors deck and it's almost in a little cove that juts into our apartment so it has 3 walls around it as well. Long story short, it has some shelter from the elements. After about 2-3 days inside when I first got the plant 2 weeks ago I set him up on the "shelf" thing on the grill so the lid of the grill gives him a bit of an extra shield from the wind etc. :shock: I have his pot sitting on the humidity tray that he came with. By the way, I kept him inside those few days because I was doing tons of research to see if it was too cold for him outside because it was in the 20s F that week during the day and we only keep our apt in the low 60s and it happened to go up into the low 50s a few days later so he got a bit of an adjustment (global warming at it's finest maybe, lol)

Anyway, I took him in to water him today (I use the submersion in a tub method that I keep reading about) and I noticed he's yellowing and it must have happened pretty quickly because I watered him about 5 days ago since its been raining off and on and he was fine then, or so I thought. Last time he even had new growth! The temperature has been in the low 40s during the day but 50s today :roll: and going down to high 20s or low 30s at night. Very windy the past few days and I'm thinking that could be it? He isn't getting direct sun but he does get sun most of the day.

I can't imagine that the 5 days between waterings would do it that quickly, especially when although it's been windy, it's been raining enough that he essentially got a watering in between. Maybe not because he is sheltered too much. But could 1 time of going too long between waterings do that much damage? It's not something I plan on letting happen ever again if I can help it, but I'm just curious about what's going on here so I can fix it.

Or is it too late for him? The yellow is only on 2 branches so far - 1 being the half the branch and it's needles and the other just the needles. Should I bring him inside at night and just put him back out again in the morning because it's getting too cold? I feel like that's too much up and down. Put him in a cardboard box? Does he need the humidity tray in the winter? Should I prune off that yellowing branch? I'm just lost on these specifics and I don't want to lose the tree, especially so quickly! Im going to bring him inside for today/tonight or until I get an answer since it's pretty damn windy right now. I have nothing big enough to put him in for now to protect him from it. Ugh.

Thanks in advance for your help. Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to give you enough details so you understand what I'm dealing with/what you're dealing with in giving me advice.

shashie88
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Just to clarify - I took a look at him again right now and the yellow is more of an orangish brown and that branch isn't as bad as I thought and maybe not even damaged at all. Maybe I was panicking heh, but the new growth is still there as well and it's green. Is that orangish brown normal in the winter or am I catching something bad early?

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rainbowgardener
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Don't keep moving it in and out, that is much harder on it. If it just stays out, it goes dormant and protects itself. If you keep bringing it in to warm, it can't do that. Juniper is extremely cold hardy down to like MINUS 20 degrees. It is a lot tougher than you are, so quit fussing with it so much. :)

Yellowing could be too much water. You said you didn't water it very frequently, but you mentioned rain in between. What kind of soil is it in? Especially if it is going to be rained on a lot, you want it in VERY free draining soil - basically rock/ grit.
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tomc
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If your down Philly way and your 'outdoors' is protected, I think its got as good a chance as any outdoors.

Juniper will redden in winter. Its dry and brittle that is a death notice.

If you expect a cold snap you could add a bucket over it for shelter.
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shashie88
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Thank you both very much for your replies. Sorry it took me some time to get back to you!

rainbowgardener - I saw your advice last Wednesday and I immediately put the tree back outside and he's stayed there since. Thanks for the reassurance on the temperature it can withstand as well - I'd read various things here and there, some saying don't let them freeze, etc. Well anyway, it's been below freezing often since then and like you said, he's fine. No increase in the amount of brown at all.

The soil it's in seems to be very free-draining to me but it's definitely not all rock/grit. There are small natural looking rocks, some mulch, and green balls on top of the soil (fertilizer I'm assuming) and then when I move some of that away to feel the soil underneath the soil is very easily movable and not packed down. Maybe these rocks and stuff go all the way through the soil but I have no idea It's a very rich, dark brown soil. In fact I haven't watered the tree in a week and the soil still feels nice but not in a wet way, it just doesn't feel like dried out dirt. The tree came from Brussel's Bonsai Nursery but ordered through ProPlants and it's whatever soil they ship their GM Junipers out in. I know they're a pretty big name so perhaps the soil they use is well-known. I sent Brussel's an email with a question about something else and never heard back. So I guess finding out the type of soil they used is out of the question as well.

tomc - Yes, right outside of Philly. Good news thanks for reassurance about my area specifically.

What do you mean redden? Maybe that's what this is - it's almost like an orangish-brown, maybe even more orange than brown and only on a few needles close to the branches they're on. Nothing is brittle! Phew.. not even the orangish needles.

Sorry for all of the questions again.

tomc
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shashie88 wrote:What do you mean redden? Maybe that's what this is - it's almost like an orangish-brown, maybe even more orange than brown and only on a few needles close to the branches they're on. Nothing is brittle! Phew.. not even the orangish needles.

Sorry for all of the questions again.
There are a number of "evergreen" woody plants. Oh prostrate junipers and azalea being two, that show color changes in the winter.

Izzit red? Brown? Orange? I'll let the viewer tell me. Those color changes in and of themselves (I beleive) only show seasonal light level changes.

The more you read in advance of your trees needs, the bigger skill-set you will build to correctly care for your tree-babies.

Touch your trees every day. Check them for dampness. Love them.
Think like a tree
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shashie88
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tomc - thanks again for your input and your time. I do plan on doing lots of reading next week. I'm in grad school and working so I haven't had much free time lately. I'll be on spring break and finally able to do some real reading on bonsai care. My problem is just that I received the tree as a surprise gift and although I had wanted one for a while I definitely wasn't prepared lol.

And I'll be sure to love my tree no worries there! It was beautiful outside today so I did some studying outside and sat my tree right next to me the whole time 8) Got some compliments from the neighbors and felt proud of him .. although I can't take any credit yet!

I hope your weekend is going well!

tomc
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Fat old men (like me) live longer talking to and loving up their tree babies.
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