lwinpet
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dormancy question

hi everyone!

new to the forum. i have a juniper bonsai tree that i keep indoors and it has started to turn brown. people have told me that i need to let it rest and go into dormancy. will that save my plant? when a juniper goes into dormancy, will it change colors? how long do i keep it dormant?

peter

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JerseyBonsai
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Re: dormancy question

hi peter,

Welcome to the forum! :D Trees do need to go into dormancy, if they don't they become overworked and stressed. I doubt however this is the problem with your juniper :( It could be more serious. Junipers really shouldn't be kept indoors,despite popular belief from "mallsai" vendors. The poor conditions will slowly kill your tree and worst part is, your juniper could have been dead for weeks before it has even showed signs. I'm new to bonsai so im sure more members will be able to fill you in better :wink:
How long have you had it indoors?

-Drew
You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain; I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care. As the peach blossom which flows downstream and is gone into the unknown, I have a world apart that is not among men." -- Li Po

lwinpet
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i kept it indoors since i first bought it, which was about six months ago. everyone loves it and it even had some leaves growing on the soil. it gets watered every other day. however, i have not fertilized it since i bought it but i heard i should not fertilize it since it should be dormant.

one other question. i keep reading people place their trees in garages during dormancy but how in the world will the tree get light? i am from the san francisco bay area and homes here have garages with no windows.

peter

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djlen
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Peter,

What is your average temperature in SF at this time of year? By that I mean what are your average highs and lows on a daily basis?

Your tree needs to be outside in order to live happily. If it's a Juniper it will not go completely dormant and will dry out without the humidity and environment of being outside.

OK, never mind. I just checked your weather forecast and the San Francisco area is not supposed to go below the upper 40° mark for the next week. As long as the temps are in the 40's and 50's your Juniper can go outside and be fine. My suggestion is that you put it out tomorrow (Wednesday) morning and leave it outdoors to go through the rest of the Winter season. It will be fine out there as long as it has not already perished from being in your house this long. They can look fine for a long time after dying.
Let it get a some sun and some rain.....it will love it.

Would you please post a picture of your tree for us to see?
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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lwinpet
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here is the picture of my tree.

[url=https://img85.imageshack.us/i/img3220i.jpg/][img]https://img85.imageshack.us/img85/2946/img3220i.th.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=https://img31.imageshack.us/i/img3221f.jpg/][img]https://img31.imageshack.us/img31/9987/img3221f.th.jpg[/img][/url]

was also wondering what do i have to do differently when the tree is in dormancy? i still have to water it and give it sunlight. do i just water it less and stop giving it fertilizer?

peter

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Gnome
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Peter,

At the temperatures that Len mentioned it won't become fully dormant so basically treat it as you have been, watering as needed. It definitely belongs outside, it already is showing some distress in the form of the browning foliage. Transition it to full sun via a sheltered location until you know if it is going to make it or not. Junipers are known for not showing distress until they are well on their way to being 'finished bonsai' so you may be in for a disappointment.

Norm

lwinpet
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so far i have been watering it three times a week by submerging it into a bucket for 20 min. is that too much water?

should i use a pesticide? i have recently seen small bugs around the tree. is that what is causing the browning?

should i start fertilizing it? how often and what product do you recommend?

peter

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Gnome
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lwinpet,

It is not possible to make blanket statements about how often to water. Read [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1479]this[/url] for some tips on watering. Try the chopstick method to help you determine when to water.
should i use a pesticide? i have recently seen small bugs around the tree. is that what is causing the browning?
The insects may or may not be causing you problems. Until you identify them you won't know if they are a problem or how to deal with them.
should i start fertilizing it? how often and what product do you recommend?
Have you fertilized it previously? If so, when? If not, how long have you had it?

Norm

lwinpet
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i have had it for six months and have never fertilized it.

should i do so now and what brand do you recommedn?

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Gnome
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lwinpet,

It is often suggested that ailing trees not be fertilized. I'm not entirely sure I agree with this. Fertilizing is certainly not a magic bullet, nor is it medicine but it is essential for our bonsai.

In his article [url=https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/fertiliz.htm]Fertilize your bonsai[/url] Brent Walston suggests fertilizing regularly while temperatures are above 55F.

The brand is not really an issue, there is no need to buy a bonsai specific fertilizer. If you lean organic then choose an organic product that represents all three of the basic elements (N-P-K) in approximately equal rates. If you prefer water soluble products they are effective as well.

Read Brent's article it covers the subject much better than I could.

Norm

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djlen
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I suggest MirAcid at 1/2 strength about once a week. Mist the tree as often as you can and keep it out of direct sun as much as possible
The rest is up to the how far along it was toward dieing. Please keep us up to date on it.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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lwinpet
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i will get that over the weekend. is that in liquid or solid form?

any suggestions on an indoor bonsai? i want to put it in my office.

peter

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JerseyBonsai
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hello again,

I hope your juniper pulls through...I also went through the same issue when i first started Bonsai. A ficus would most definitely do fine indoors...as well as any other tropical species. I currently have an Elm indoors, however I'm going to place him outside when the weather gets better :o Elms do fine indoors, but grow even stronger under good outdoor conditions.

-drew
You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain; I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care. As the peach blossom which flows downstream and is gone into the unknown, I have a world apart that is not among men." -- Li Po

lwinpet
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here is the current state of my bonsai.

[url=https://img121.imageshack.us/i/img3248v.jpg/][img]https://img121.imageshack.us/img121/6472/img3248v.th.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=https://img153.imageshack.us/i/img3250.jpg/][img]https://img153.imageshack.us/img153/2027/img3250.th.jpg[/img][/url]

i was wondering if i should trip the dead branches or leave it alone?

Marsman
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I'd leave it for now. Give it a chance to recover before you cut anything that might be used in the future as a [url=https://www.bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATCreating%20Deadwood.html]jin[/url].

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djlen
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That tree looks really stressed. I would not cut on it or feed it.
I suggest you stop watering by submerging it and water only from the top.
Go to the supermarket and buy a package of Shish-kabob skewers. They are thin, pointy sticks. You stick a skewer into the soil, down in to the roots and leave it for 3 mins. or so. Pull it out and if it's dark and moist the tree needs no water. If it's clean and dry when you pull it out it needs a drink.
Water from the top, only until water is coming out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
I have a feeling it's been over watered. I hope it will recover.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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Victrinia Ridgeway
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I hate to jump into a party late... but I feel the burning urge to contribute.

Please don't feed this tree Miracle Grow of any variety... In fact... not feeding it right now is exactly what I would do. If you feel you must... then do NOT feed it anything with nitrogen... and get as mild as you can... 0-10-10 would be about as high as I would go. That or organic slow release ferts like BioGold which slowly melt into the soil as it is watered.

The reason is that nitrogen is going to trigger a growth response in a tree which has NOT had any kind of dormancy so far this year, and is in severe distress. To trigger growth when the tree has no stores and little energy would be to strip it of what little it has when there isn't enough warmth and sunlight to create any return for that effort.

By feeding 0-10-10 (if you must) you at least are feeding something which will create stronger roots, which will be a help in the long run if the tree survives.

I would stop soaking it for 20 mins... that's a treatment you would do to soil which is severly dehydrated. In your case, you are just waterlogging it. Watering from above is my own personal prefered method because it tells me a lot about how the soil is draining... and how dry it is. Soil which has the right amount of moisture in it still readily accepts and releases water. Overly dry soil will not allow the water in very quickly. Also the action of soaking in and flowing down draws air with it which is vital to the roots.

Remember... roots take up vapor... not water itself. If there is no airflow to the roots, they will drown.

Also... if your tree has been in doors for 6 months and you have bugs, you likely have a pest which is causing harm. It's fairly common for trees kept indoors to get them, and you should make every effort to try and identify them so you can treat it correctly. You live in SF which has one of the most active bonsai communities in the country. Google for a local club and take the tree to them. They will be able to help you.

Since you have a couple months left until it really warms up, it may have a chance to achieve some tiny level of dormancy (as minimal dormancy is achieved at less than 50 degrees), so let this tree be outside and give it no more than filtered sunlight. Since it has been indoors so long, none of its foliage will have the waxy coating most trees get which will defend it from UV light. Last thing you want to do is give it a sunburn... and believe me it will.

It is only with the greatest respect that I disagree with my good friends here... but I also happen to live on the west coast, and am pretty familiar with your growing conditions, and how junipers react here.

Important thing to know... don't expect much from the tree this year, and infact your only job is to coax back health to a tree. I once gave a tree to a neighbor as a gift for 3 weeks... and he gave it back nearly dead... I'm still coaxing it back to health, but several branches were killed completely.

As the saying goes.... Bonsai can outlive you with correct daily care, and not last a week without it.

Kindest regards,

Victrinia
La belle cose prendono tempo... (Beautiful things take time...)

Victrinia Ridgeway
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djlen wrote:That tree looks really stressed. I would not cut on it or feed it.
I suggest you stop watering by submerging it and water only from the top.
Go to the supermarket and buy a package of Shish-kabob skewers. They are thin, pointy sticks. You stick a skewer into the soil, down in to the roots and leave it for 3 mins. or so. Pull it out and if it's dark and moist the tree needs no water. If it's clean and dry when you pull it out it needs a drink.
Water from the top, only until water is coming out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
I have a feeling it's been over watered. I hope it will recover.
Good man Len.... (I'd give you a kiss if there was an emoticon for that)

You beat me to the line while I was writing my little dissertation...lol

V
La belle cose prendono tempo... (Beautiful things take time...)

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Victrinia,
It is only with the greatest respect that I disagree with my good friends here... but I also happen to live on the west coast, and am pretty familiar with your growing conditions, and how junipers react here.
Definitely not a problem, we appreciate your perspective.
The reason is that nitrogen is going to trigger a growth response in a tree which has NOT had any kind of dormancy so far this year, and is in severe distress. To trigger growth when the tree has no stores and little energy would be to strip it of what little it has when there isn't enough warmth and sunlight to create any return for that effort.
This seems to be the salient point, that it's still too early despite the relatively, to me, mild temperatures.

Norm

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Vic, You can use mine. Wipe it off before you give it back when your done.

[img]https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Fun%20Stuff/cheekkiss.gif[/img]

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djlen
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I like to take this opportunity to personally thank Marsman for his kind donation of a kissing emoticon, but just the idea of a kiss from the V'ster was more than enough. I'm still fantasizing!! :shock:

V, when I saw the amount of stress that the tree is under I had to take back my recommendation of any kind of fertilization at this time.
Sometimes we write things that in hindsight we regret. As limited as my knowledge base is, the last thing I want to do is mis-inform about stuff I am familiar with.
BTW. dissent and alternative view points are the ways we all learn and give all of us food for thought.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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Victrinia Ridgeway
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Gnome wrote: This seems to be the salient point, that it's still too early despite the relatively, to me, mild temperatures.

Norm
It is indeed too early which is why it isn't useful to feed... he will likely get enough mild temps to at least get a small amount of dormancy under it's belt.

Poor lil thing is sick and tired... it'll be so for some time. -helpsos-

V
La belle cose prendono tempo... (Beautiful things take time...)

Victrinia Ridgeway
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Marsman wrote:Vic, You can use mine. Wipe it off before you give it back when your done.

[img]https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Fun%20Stuff/cheekkiss.gif[/img]
M... your so cool...lol

v
La belle cose prendono tempo... (Beautiful things take time...)

Victrinia Ridgeway
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My dear friend Len...

I know you would not intentionally mislead anyone. :D

And don't get too excited... I ain't all that. I'm just handy. :wink:

V
La belle cose prendono tempo... (Beautiful things take time...)

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