marvin790
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How to care for a Juniper Bonsai?

My wife just gave me a small juniper bonsai for our anniversary and I honestly have no idea where to start.

How much should I water it?

How/When should I prune it?

How do I figure out what shape to prune?

How much sun does it need?

It's starting to frost where I live so I know I don't need to put it outside, but I don't want to kill it indoors. Any suggestions?

ynot
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Re: Where do I start?

marvin790 wrote:My wife just gave me a small juniper bonsai for our anniversary and I honestly have no idea where to start.
How much should I water it?
Watering is ALL about how often NOT how much. See the tips at: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1479 & There are lots of articles at these two sites you should check out also [IE: watering, basics, soil, over-wintering ect. ect.] : https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics.html & https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/articles.htm
How/When should I prune it?

How do I figure out what shape to prune?
You have plenty of time to learn about this as this is not an appropriate time of year to be pruning a juniper. The links above will be helpful
How much sun does it need?
During the growing season Junis love sun. During dormancy it is barely required.
It's starting to frost where I live so I know I don't need to put it outside, but I don't want to kill it indoors. Any suggestions?
But you do need to get it outside, First you need to acclimate it gradually to the cooler temps out doors [over a period of several weeks]. A proper dormancy is a requirement for a long life for your bonsai.

Again please review the sticky at the top of the forum as well as the article pages I have linked to. You will find many of your questions answered there [& you will have many more questions....I promise ;)]

ynot

Edited for spelling
Last edited by ynot on Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Gnome
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Marvin,

Hello and welcome to the site. Please heed Ynot's words, Junipers are a poor candidate for indoor culture. Are you really getting frosts now? I just had my first frost last night. In fact I just brought my tender plants in yesterday, probably the latest I have done so to date.

Do you have any idea how the tree was managed up to now? You may not have anything to worry about WRT acclimation.

Norm

marvin790
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I'm trying to read everything I can so I don't kill it. I'm really interested in learning how to take care of it, but I'm NOT a green thumb and I worry a lot. I've been trying to ease it outdoors so I don't shock it. It got down to the mid 30's the other night, but I had it in the garage at the time. I keep reading contradictory instructions though. My main worry right now is water though. I'm afraid I'm watering it too much. I kept checking it for days and it ALWAYS felt moist. I finally watered it the other night and I think I gave it too much. I just hope I don't mess this up.

kenb
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you are just like i am and was when i first got my juniper..

watering is the key and a difficult task to learn.. I personally have a chopstick stuck down into the soil mix and i check it every day to see if it is moist. if the soil is dry usually nothing will stick to the chopstick. is moist some soil will stick to it. like the guys said.. it is about how often to water not how much.. my trees now are going over a week without water. during the summer months it was about every other day. when you water it.. try to completely soak the soil, wait 15min and do it again..

good luck, Ken

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Gnome
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Marvin,
My main worry right now is water though. I'm afraid I'm watering it too much. I kept checking it for days and it ALWAYS felt moist. I finally watered it the other night and I think I gave it too much. I just hope I don't mess this up.
As Ynot stated and Ken reiterated, watering is never about quantity but frequency. You cannot have given it too much water, you may have watered it too soon though, there is a distinction.

As the weather cools water loss due to evaporation diminishes. Reduced plant growth also slows water loss through transpiration. Add the possibility that your tree is potted in a water retentive medium and it is very likely that your tree will require much less water this time of year than it would during the heat of summer. Many of my trees that stay outside under a layer of mulch, and later snow, do not require watering for several months during the winter. This changes from season to season.

Norm
Last edited by Gnome on Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

marvin790
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Thank you everyone for your answers. I've been reading a ton about bonsai's and I'm already getting the itch to get another one (my wife wants me to try to keep this one alive first). I found a nursery/bonsai learning center in my area so I plan to stop by there to see if they have any suggestions as well, since they are in the same climate that I am.

I'm still trying to dry my soil out from my last watering snafu. I'm trying to be patient. The trunk of the tree is fairly small (I'm working on getting photos) so I hope I don't have a poor quality tree that won't survive.

I know that I need to replace the soil because what I have now is very fine and (at the moment) feels like mud. When can I replace the soil? Should I wait until spring?

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Gnome
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Marvin,
I found a nursery/bonsai learning center in my area so I plan to stop by there to see if they have any suggestions as well, since they are in the same climate that I am.
This is an excellent idea, especially if they have some sort of classes that you can take.
I know that I need to replace the soil because what I have now is very fine and (at the moment) feels like mud. When can I replace the soil? Should I wait until spring?
This is what I alluded to earlier when I mentioned water retentive soil. Yes, it must be changed but not now. Late spring is a good time to do Junipers. Have you read the soil sticky at the top of the forum? There is no point in re-potting unless and until you have a grasp of what constitutes a good free-draining soil. You have months though to create or purchase a good mix.

[url]https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Juniperus.html[/url]

Norm

alisios
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As always, this is all great advice from great experts - no matter where you live -

Learn what people are doing in your area. Here in AZ, I'm still watering everyday - even with my peaty soil that everyone else doesn't like - It's 15-20% humidity over here - I finally brought back the Juniper I bought online in the spring :D

ynot
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Also: Marvin, Eat at Azteca...I love that place!!!

marvin790 wrote: I found a nursery/bonsai learning center in my area so I plan to stop by there to see if they have any suggestions as well, since they are in the same climate that I am.
Gnome has addressed the soil issues, I just wanted to add that the [url=https://www.bonsailearningcenter.com/]Bonsai Learning Center[/url] is a wonderful resource that I hope you utilize 8).

alisios, Glad to hear you have a survivor on your hands. :D

ynot

alisios
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Re: Also: Marvin, Eat at Azteca...I love that place!!!

ynot wrote:
alisios, Glad to hear you have a survivor on your hands. :D
Yes! I'm glad too! So, just yesterday, my daughter (age 6) picked out a Juniper at HD for 4 bucks - and I made a bonsai for her!

Typical Juniper styling (for now) - still dirty pot... :wink:


[img]https://www.robertcory.com/webdata/Juniper01.jpg[/img]

alexinoklahoma
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Autumn/Fall is also a great time to repot (but not root-prune Junipers ;) There is good root-growth in fall with this species, so it may be better to get stuff out of 'horrid' soil and into something more appropriate - *if* its really bad and not super-cold already...

I would not do so with anything other than Junipers - just to be clear.

Alex

marvin790
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I'm working on placement of my bonsai. I need to find a place to put it in the winter, but we don't get very harsh winters here. I visited the Bonsai Learning Center and got some good ideas from them.

I found a small juniper bush at my mothers house that has a great curve to the trunk and I can see the possibility of a great tree. That's my next project!

ynot
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marvin790 wrote:I'm working on placement of my bonsai. I need to find a place to put it in the winter, but we don't get very harsh winters here.
I lived in Wilmington, NC for years and I didn't bother with much winter protection at all for my outdoor trees [IE; Jan temps averaged: Highs of 58F and lows in the upper 30s. Sometimes my maples would leaf out in Feb :shock:...:)] Just a bit of wind protection was my main concern.

I realize it's a bit cooler up where you are but I don't think you will have any problems with it surviving an average winter if it's given a just bit of minimal protection [& that is mostly for your peace of mind ;)].

ynot

alexinoklahoma
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Marvin: you mentioned earlier of a 'bonsai center' nearby - see what they recommend for your area :) It is definitely true that junipers are VERY tough winter-wise as ynot says, and most protection is for *your* peace-of-mind. However, for even *more* p-o-mind, ask 'em to verify such for your 'micro-zone' reqts ;)

Alex

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