annalykewhoa
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Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:09 pm

Brown bonsai tree =(

So my fiance bought me this beautiful juniper bonsai a little over a year ago. I've been keeping it at my parents' house and my mother and I both take care of it. It's been sitting on the kitchen window sill where it would get the most light and air when the window is open. We've been watering it daily and following the instructions that came with it.

Quite a while ago though one of the branches started to turn brown and grow new foliage on the end. We really didn't know what to do and thought maybe it would be better for it to keep it outside, but nothing changed so it returned to its original place. But now the whole tree is like that. =/

I figure the old branches "died" to give energy to the new branches that grew on the ends because... well, I never pruned it. But then again I also know nothing about trees.

Is there any way to reverse what I did to the poor thing?

alexinoklahoma
Senior Member
Posts: 273
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:21 pm
Location: Central Oklahoma

If it has been inside all this time, its likely dead. Junips take a long time to totally brown, and do not live indoors for *any* length of time. It tried to put out new growth, and is now 'exhausted' and likely non-recoverable. It did not get its 'dormancy' and other stimuli it requires genetically - and ran outta steam, so to speak :(

Sorry... feel free to look around other threads, or google ' indoors juniper'...guarantee you will not be pleased with the results ;)

Alex

opabinia51
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Location: Victoria, BC

"Kitchen Window Sill" this consistently means death for a bonsai. The shifts in temperature between day and night are drastic, stressing the trees.

In actuality, if your tree is not tropical, it should be kept outside the majority of the time and only brought in for display. A good idea is to bury the pot in soil or sawdust for the winter.

Also only water the plant when it needs to be watered, this means checking the soil on a regular basis (it sounds like it is dead to me but, for the future).

And try using organic fertilzers like liquid seaweed, compost and so on.

Read the articles on our website and be sure to ask lots of questions this is a great forum with a lot of members with a ton of experience.

ynot
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Putting aside for a moment the fact that keeping a Juniper indoors is inappropriate. [YMMV wrt the window sill issue - I have never had a problem w/ it {Though I do have good windows ;)}

Here is how to check for signs of life: Using your thumbnail, Make a small scratch into the bark in an unobtrusive spot [Deep enough to go down to the cambium layer {below the bark}].

You should see a layer of pale green color in a living tree, Any other color [IE: White, Tan, Brown, etc...] indicates that you have an ex-Juniper on your hands.

I am sorry to say I am not feeling too optimistic with this one.
As mentioned by Alex, Junipers foliage can stay green for weeks [possibly months] after their demise...
annalykewhoa wrote: Is there any way to reverse what I did to the poor thing?
Probably not, But remember that we all lose trees [Especially in the beginning...& later on too :oops: ].
After all: 'Dead trees are the tuition you pay to do bonsai.' {A famous bonsai quote by John Naka. 8)}

Do some more research and try it again :D.

ynot

opabinia51
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Also, read the stickies atop this forum, there is a lot of great information there as well. You might want to find a bonsai club in your area, and read all the bonsai books at your local library. If you find one that is really good, you might want to buy it. Lot's of fun and enjoyment in bonsai, but, bonsai trees are not something that you buy, place in a window sill or on a counter and forget about.

Though really no plant is. :wink:

annalykewhoa
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Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:09 pm

ynot wrote:You should see a layer of pale green color in a living tree, Any other color [IE: White, Tan, Brown, etc...] indicates that you have an ex-Juniper on your hands.
I'm pretty sure it's alive because it still has a strong juniper smell, new growth here and there and, as you mentioned, a pale green layer below the outermost layer of bark (hehe, I still remember that from watching The Secret Garden as a kid, I don't know why it stuck with me this long). I'm really hopeful for it still but since most of it is dry and brown with little bits of new growth on the very ends and at the base of each branch I wasn't quite sure what to do.

I love interesting plants, but had stuck to bamboo plants until this juniper was given to me. Bamboo are more tolerant of my rarely-at-home lifestyle. =/ I would really like to do anything possible to keep this juniper.

alisios
Senior Member
Posts: 298
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:25 am
Location: Sedona, Arizona

It's not over 'til its' over - get it in a proper spot (outside) - let it sleep...

then use all the dead stuff as part of the vibe...

(IMO)

annalykewhoa
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Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:09 pm

Re: Brown bonsai tree =(

Thank you all so much for your replies. =) I've been reading more on the forum as well and would still like to hear more from you.

I pruned it up a bit and set it on a table in my parents' back yard with my mother's flowers. It actually looks a lot less sad.

ynot
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Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:49 pm
Location: USDA Z:5a Sunset Z. 41 IL

Re: Brown bonsai tree =(

annalykewhoa wrote:Thank you all so much for your replies. =) I've been reading more on the forum as well and would still like to hear more from you.
Pictures would be extremely helpful, See [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3557]here[/url] for tips.
Putting your location into your profile would be helpful also as simply plunking it outside into the [location dependent potentially] cold weather with no acclimation is not going to do it any favors.
I pruned it up a bit and set it on a table in my parents' back yard with my mother's flowers. It actually looks a lot less sad.
:shock: ... Did it still have new green growth on it? Out on the ends [as you mentioned previously] - And did you happen to leave the new growth...Or cut it off??

I hope you left any live bits on it.

BTW, This is not a good time of year to be pruning a Junipers foliage...Especially a sick one. https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Juniperus.html

ynot

alexinoklahoma
Senior Member
Posts: 273
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:21 pm
Location: Central Oklahoma

Great it passed the scratch-test! Rarely will that happen in situations such as you started with, VERY rarely :)

At this point, be VERY careful using any ferts as it is likely putting out the fine (and super-tender) hairy feeder roots which are super-easy to burn with any type of fert, 'organics' included. There has likely been very little uptake, and if you have not been 'flushing' soil, probably enough there for a little while as tree gets back 'online'. If you do go with 'organics', watch for 'fungus gnats' as they can wreak havoc with root-area (some species anyways) and your mental health, LOL - I *hate* seeing them things crawling around in the soil-mix! Not a huge issue, however.

Do you know specifically what type/species of Juniper it is? Care can vary a tad with some of them, but at this point its unlikely to really matter, IMO. And dying branches do not 'give energy' into other areas - dead is dead and no sap flows to carry the 'energy' (chemicals within that are generally characterized as 'energy') to other parts of tissue-structures. I am still going to remain a bit pessimistic on this, but optimistically pessimistic :) I've had junipers struggle for almost a year before finally giving up the ghost - keep them fingers crossed by all means and do as everyone's been saying, of course. Recovery *will* take a long time, possibly a few years for full vigor to resume. It'd be best to allow it to grow 'wildly' for a few seasons, even putting in-ground for better root re-establishment, IME. If its in a small root-restrictive pot (??), it's as if its being choked as it tries to do its thing. Something to think about there ;)

Fwiw, junipers can take VERY cold temps as long as roots are at least semi-protected, and usually fare better than most species when winter hits harder than usual/expected. Its not like seasons are predictable lately, 'eh?!

HTH,
Alex

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