kenb
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New to Bonsai.. Is my Juniper dying?

Hello.. I am new to this board and new to bonsai.. I just purchased a 5 yr old juniper less than a week ago.. there are some brown needles on some of the branches.. Could you guys look at some of the pictures and tell me what i should do.. is this normal?

I have watered it 2 times.. the retailer told me to put the pot in about 2 inches of water once a week for around 20 minutes or so.. i have. i also mist it a few times a day. today i actually pinched out some of the inner small branches to allow it to breathe. any advice would be much appreciated.. thanks alot

here are some pics
[img]https://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h265/kenbarto/ZBONSAI031.jpg[/img][/img]

[img]https://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h265/kenbarto/ZBONSAI030.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h265/kenbarto/ZBONSAI029.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h265/kenbarto/ZBONSAI027.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h265/kenbarto/ZBONSAI024.jpg[/img]

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Gnome
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kenb,

Hello and welcome. I see your cause for concern but I believe that there is still hope, it does not look that bad yet. Please discontinue watering by immersion. Please read the sticky thread concerning general tips, paying particular attention to the remarks about watering. Make sure to follow the links as well. Junipers don't like wet feet so make sure you allow the soil to dry out fairly well before watering again.
[url]https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Juniperus.html[/url]
You can pinch off the browning tips. Hold the branch with the fingers of one hand and pinch with the other hand. Other than that, and perhaps some fertilizer, I don't think I would do much with it for the remainder of the year. Just try to help it regain its vigor.

Where are you keeping the tree, outside I hope. Junipers are a poor candidate for indoor culture. You should also begin to consider where you are going to over-winter the tree.

Norm

kenb
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Thanks Norm.. I am keeping it outside.. after much reading I realize that i can only bring it indoors every once in a while for not more than 2 days. I am going to try the chop stick method of watering from now on..

for the winter.. im not sure exactly what to do.. i know that it is supposed to stay outside until it goes dormant around thanksgiving? then it can be moved into an uninsulated garage or shed? my garage gets pretty cold during the winter months.. so cold that we had cans of pop explode in there. so is it wise to put it there? I have a screened in back porch would that work? I also read that i am only to water about every 2 weeks during this time.

So you don't think that this tree is dead or dying? that would be upsetting because i just got it less that a week ago.. i bought it online at joebonsai.com.. it looked like that when i got it..

what do you think i should do?

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kenb,
what do you think I should do?
In the short term, not much. Find a good spot for it outside, keep it watered but not excessively so and just let it be. Some fertilizer would be appropriate as well but don't rush the issue, you don't know how much it has been fertilized recently.
I know that it is supposed to stay outside until it goes dormant.. then it can be moved into an uninsulated garage or shed?
Junipers, being evergreens, do not experience the same type of dormancy that temperate, deciduous trees do. So a dark garage would not be appropriate. I'm only facing my second winter with my Juniper. The first winter I removed it from the nursery pot and heeled it into the garden and left it for the winter. This was easy because it had yet to be re-potted and the root-ball was well formed and remained intact. This year it will different for me and, from the looks of your tree, for you as well. I fear that the root-ball will not be cohesive enough to tolerate this treatment this year.

If that is a plastic pot you may be able to simply bury the plant to just above the rim and over-winter it this way. The screen porch also has possibilities. Does some light get in? At lower temperatures photosynthesis slows and the tree does not require the same level of light that it does during the growing season.
I also read that I am only to water about every 2 weeks during this time.
You can't put your tree on a watering schedule during the winter any more than you can during the summer. I did not water mine from fall until spring last year. In my situation it was under a good mulch of leaves and snow. If kept on the screen porch, out of the elements, then you will have to water periodically.

Norm

kenb
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yes the screened in back porch gets plenty of light.. just not direct sun. so i might try that approach. thanks for the help i really appreciate it. i will keep posting the progress. Ken

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Ken,
yes the screened in back porch gets plenty of light.. just not direct sun. so I might try that approach.
OK, sounds good. Wind is one of the big enemies during winter so the porch will help in that area. Some protection of the roots may be required as well but that won't be for months yet.
thanks for the help I really appreciate it. I will keep posting the progress. Ken
You are welcome, and please do let us know how it goes for you. Please continue this thread with any updates.

Norm

kenb
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i do believe after getting the tree in the correct spot for proper sunlight and afternoon shade.. and i think that i am watering properly, the tree seems to be doing well.. it is turning back to a deep green color and i see some new parts as well.. i will get some pictures up soon.. thanks guys!

kenb
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i have figured out when it needs to be watered also because of the weight of the pot. i have been trying to practice this method along with the chopstick.. working so far

kenb
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here is an update picture :D

[img]https://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h265/kenbarto/bonzai008.jpg[/img]

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Ken,

It does look better, good for you. Just a tip, the chopstick can be shortened considerably so that you have just enough to handle easily. Eventually you will no longer need it.

Norm

kenb
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oh.. i know about that.. i had just put that one in and hadn't trimmed it yet..

? a while back when i scraped the trunk to see if it was green it wasn't... it was a white color. is that ok too? because i thought if it wasn't green that it was dying or dead? if that was the case why did it get better? just curious

JoeLewko
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Sounds like maybe you didn't scratch deep enough...? You need to expose the cambium layer, and sometimes it is deeper than you think. Maybe you just scratched the surface of the bark, and didn't get to the cambium.

Other than that, I'm not sure what the white would indicate.

Joe

kenb
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thanks joe.. i am just going to leave well enough alone.. but i will know that for future reference. i was at a nursery today and there were quite a few juniper bonsai there but they mostly looked like they were dying or dead.. sad :(

JoeLewko
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If you're at the nursery, you could always buy bonsai stock, which is basically $5 juniper plants in 1 gallon plastic pots. You could then trim and wire them how you like.

Joe

kenb
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i have found that i like my juniper... but i think the next tree is going to be a chinese elm. i would like to take the juniper that i have and start making it go upright. do you think that is possible?

Ken

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Ken,

Yes you have styling options. Through wiring and/or pruning you can change the shape of your tree. It might be best to wait until next year though. This will give the plant some time to recover and you some time to consider your options.

Norm

ynot
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kenb wrote: I would like to take the juniper that I have and start making it go upright. do you think that is possible?

Ken
Sure, Given enough time :).

As Gnome points out: 'Now' is not the time to be initiating this.

Now is the time to be formulating your plan on how to get it where you want it to be.

ynot

kenb
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i have been looking at upright junipers and i think i like the style better then the cascade or wind swept look.. i think that i will wire it up in the spring after i repot it in a bigger and more shallow pot.

that is if i don't kill the poor thing :D

kenb
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just a quick ?

i know that it can take a few months before a dying juniper will show signs of it.. is it safe to say that mine is going to be ok? from the first pictures i posted, i removed all the brown needles by pinching them off. i only water it when it is almost dried out. full sun most of the day.. that said.. i have no more brown needles and it is still dark green.

i would figure that if it were going to die it would show signs of it by now.. wouldn't you?

alexinoklahoma
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It probably is going to be OK overall eventually - but until you see *new* growth, nothing is assured basically. Once 'healed', they're pretty tough with full hot sun (unless winter, of course) and non-soggy waterings/soil, etc.

I would not try to do *too* much bending of trunk/branches as you *might* cause little micro-fractures of sap-carrying structures, or open tiny holes or cracks within bark, or such type injuries that will leave you scratching your head as to what the heck happened to stuff distal to that bend. You might get more browning needles (or entire branchings!) when you least need/want them from such un-visible trauma. Junipers can be slower to get back on the happy-trail than other species, IME.

Non-stressful, or minimally-so, bendings held in place (wired or whatever) can be done over longer periods to let the tissues stretch and accomodate their new requirements that new positions place upon life-support structures. The more hurried you are, the more worried you are -> basic rule number 3 of bonsai, I guess ;)

Alex

Alissamae323
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Re: New to Bonsai.. Is my Juniper dying?

I just joined the site, and this thread helped so much.
I'm in the exact same boat. I just got my bonsai as a gift and there's some brown needles as well. I'm not even sure what species mine is, but it looks like the one you pictured.
You just pinched off the brown needles and the bonsai began to look healthier?

Thanks!

Never mind. Didn't see the second page when I posted this...

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