Artisans
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Joined: Sun May 29, 2016 7:50 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida

TREES DYING??? PLEASE READ!!!!

I keep seeing TONS of posts here "help my tree is dying", "Help save my tree". Almost EVERY ONE OF THEM are Chinese elms, Italian cypress, Fukien Teas and, of course, JUNIPERS, JUNIPERS, JUNIPERS!

I understand that most of these are new to bonsai so here are some things to learn that will help you in your quest to learn the art of bonsai. FIRST let me say that simply putting a plant or tree in a pot IS NOT BONSAI!

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT try to grow your trees INDOORS unless they are specifically an INDOOR SPECIES (ficus, jade, etc)! None of the above are indoor species! DO NOT rely on the seller telling you the truth. THEY WANT TO SELL YOU A TREE AND WILL TELL YOU ANYTHING YOU WANT TO HEAR!

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE get the name of the tree, GOOGLE IT and learn if it's an INDOOR SPECIES! If it says that it "can be grown indoors", just as a side note, then DON'T BUY IT FOR AN INDOOR TREE!

BEFORE YOU BUY A TREE ONLINE: Check you hardiness zone here - https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/Default.aspx#
Type in your zip code UPPER LEFT HAND CORNER and look below your zip code for the answer. THEN, look up the tree species and MAKE SURE THE TREE CAN GROW IN YOUR AREA (9-a, 10, 7a). If not, DON'T BUY IT!

You guys are killing trees by the THOUSANDS! That's not good! You are wasting your money and killing a living tree! As bonsai artisans we have a duty to preserve and respect nature and our trees and even make them live longer than usual. If you are collecting in the wild, please check out the season that species can be taken. Don't just take it without knowing when is the appropriate time to do so. You WILL kill it!

Find an honest seller. Here's a few signs that your "bonsai guy" DOES NOT know what he is doing...

1) His trees have glued in rocks on top.

2) His trees have little white river rock all over, a panda bear, mud men fishing, a peace mushroom, big round rocks on the surface (round rocks ARE NOT found in nature EXCEPT in the water) or other "decorations" on the top.

Bonsai is a living art of illusion! Your pot is ONLY the "frame". Your tree is the "picture" and your tools are your "paint brushes". If you need other items to distract the eye then your tree must be crap! YOUR TREE SHOULD BE THE FOCAL POINT, NEVER out-shined by the pot or surface decorations.

3) His evergreen trees (pines, junipers, cypress, etc.) are in glazed pots.
Evergreens should NEVER be in glazed pots!

4) His trees are right in the center of the pot.
(Remember the rule of thirds, back half of the pot/left or right, NEVER CENTER, except for literati style).

5) His trees DO NOT look like a tree (longest branches on the top).
In nature the longest (fattest) branches are on the bottom because they are the older ones. Shorter, skinnier branches are on the top, closer together.

Relation between the pot and tree...

1) If it flowers, has fruit, seed pods, the leaves change colors or leaves are colorful or shiny, it CAN BE in a glazed pot (can also be in an unglazed pot).

2) If it has only green foliage and brown bark it MUST BE in an unglazed pot.

3) Pot width should be 2/3's the height OR width (of the tree), whichever is greater.

The two MOST IMPORTANT design considerations are...
1) The rule of thirds
2) the asymmetrical triangle

Hope this helps you in your quest!

tomc
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Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: TREES DYING??? PLEASE READ!!!!

The revolving door of a new (passive) grower, who posts once or twice and them departs to somewhere else. Are foremost in the ranks of bonsai growers who leave the hobby.

Your practicle post is likely to never be read. Researching how your (new) tree grows, presumes and actual interest in bonsai.

That said, please keep posting. We might trick a few along the way into actually learning how to love their tree-babies.
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

Artisans
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Posts: 15
Joined: Sun May 29, 2016 7:50 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: TREES DYING??? PLEASE READ!!!!

THANKS tomc

I know, I face it everyday at the nursery. They want to put it "on their desk at work". As for me, I will not sell a tree just for money. I first ask them where they will keep it. If on their desk or inside is the response, I steer them to the mini jade, ficus or similar species.

Another good one is they ask me for Japanese Maple. They can't survive in our part of Florida because it's too hot. So they go online and buy one. THEN they bring it in and ask me to SAVE MY TREE!

However, MOST beginners want the procumbens nana juniper (which is why they have such a bad name in the real bonsai world). Once they find out it is strictly outdoors they say they will "keep it outside" or "under a grow light" or "in a window that gets "direct sun" 10 hours a day.

I know that they will put it inside on their coffee table anyway. Usually, I can talk them into an appropriate species (or taking the intro to bonsai class).

When they mention Karate Kid I know who I'm dealing with. If I get called "Mr. Miyagi" one more time I think I will explode!

All we can do is TRY my friend! Thanks for your support!

Luseth
Newly Registered
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:49 am

Re: TREES DYING??? PLEASE READ!!!!

For what it's worth, I read your post. And I suspect I will be firing some questions at you when I get home later aha :D

Though I did buy one on a whim Sunday (yesterday) I have had a look on how to look after the tree and tips on taking care of a Bonsaid tree. I am completely new to the area and I didn't realise the effort you have to put in to take care of it.

I don't suppose you have any generic guides? Obviously each tree is different and has it's own individual needs / requirements.

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rainbowgardener
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: TREES DYING??? PLEASE READ!!!!

Check out the non-Forum, gardening tips section of this website. There is a whole section on bonsai care, feeding, watering, etc:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/bonsai/
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Luseth
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:49 am

Re: TREES DYING??? PLEASE READ!!!!

Thank you Rainbow, much appreciated.

tomc
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Posts: 2661
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: TREES DYING??? PLEASE READ!!!!

If I have any supplimental advice, it is handle your tree every day. Pick it up, note its weight, Look for its grooming needs. pick off moss from the trunk etc.

Stick a chop stick or your finger into its dirt, Note how damp the soil is every day.

Over the past twenty years there have been legions of mummified junipers gathering dust on top of TVs or computer towers. Spare your tree this fate.
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

Artisans
Full Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun May 29, 2016 7:50 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: TREES DYING??? PLEASE READ!!!!

New replies are ALL great advise for beginners. Great, helpful people here! Here is a red spider mites favorite food! Procumbens nana juniper. Look for olive green to brown foliage, signs of infection.

Many think that they are killing it but it's usually spider mites. Bayer 3 in 1 for mites from Home Depot works GREAT! Junipers like water however they don't like "wet feet" so use a good draining bonsai soil. It's almost impossible to over water when using a good draining bonsai soil. It's easier to underwater. Foliage feeding junipers with 20/20/20 works GREAT!
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imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: TREES DYING??? PLEASE READ!!!!

When people ask me about plants to keep indoors I ask them what the conditions are. There is no such thing as a tree that naturally lives indoors. Most people want an indoor plant that blooms. Only a few bloom but only if they get enough light.
Most people work during the day and close all the windows and curtains depriving any plants of air and water and heating the inside of the house several degrees higher than the outside.


All plants in or out need the right amounts of air, light, and water. They need a well drained potting mix that is not stale and fertilizer since any plant in a pot is limited to what you give it.

Indoor plants need more than just water
They need the right amount of water and they don't like to sit in a pool of water and some don't like to be wet all of the time.. Don't water plants in the cachepot. Take them to the sink or outside and give them a good flush and wash the dust off the leaves while you are at it.

Plants need fertilizer. Plants in pots cannot reach into the soil and pull nutrients out of it in a limited soil volume

Plants need good soil. Over time, potted plants use up the nutrients, outgrow their pots and the media sours and needs to be replaced before it kills the plant.

Plants need light to bloom and grow. The light ideally should surround the plant or it will grow spindly and toward the light source. The leaves will be dark green and soft and the plant more susceptible to pests. There are only a few plants that can bloom in low light conditions. Plants must be conditioned to a change in light conditions.

Plants need air. Tropical plants need added humidity.

Plants are living things they grow, they get sick and they die if you cannot provide what they need. Potted plants especially indoor plants are totally dependent on the grower for knowing what the plant needs and providing the right environment for them.

Plants will outgrow their pots and they won't stay small or keep their shape without pruning.

If you want a carefree plant that constantly blooms and requires no care, then get a plastic plant. It just needs to be hosed off once in a while.

If you really are interested in growing plants indoors or out. Take the time to learn about the plant and what it needs to keep it happy and healthy.

P.S. Junipers are not indoor plants
Ficus will lose all its leaves if you change its light
I can't kill Fukien tea, its a weed for me.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Artisans
Full Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun May 29, 2016 7:50 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: TREES DYING??? PLEASE READ!!!!

THANKS imafan26

We MUST keep pounding the fact that junipers CANNOT BE KEPT INDOORS! THIS is the biggest problem with new bonsai owners. I always tell them if they INSIST on having a juniper (or others) indoors they MUST buy 5 or 6 and change them out everyday. This also gives them a "changing scene" daily. Even though some species might be "indoor" species, they ALWAYS will grow better outdoors.

Additionally, even indoor species get bigger leaves indoors and most likely will not flower. It's the sun that helps keep the leaves smaller. More sun, smaller leaves!

On Fukien teas... Here in Florida they seem to be very picky. Customers kill them very quickly here. Your lucky to be in Hawaii :>)



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