AllSmiles
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:12 pm
Location: Nashville

Help Juniper in Distress!

Hey there! My sweet mother-in-law purchased a very young Japanese Juniper "Bonsai". I am obviously a newbie and have no clue what to do - I have researched many pages and have found good info but my problem is this: she bought it in Florida and I am in the great state of Tennessee. I am assuming since it is from the sunshine state that it has not been in a dormancy period. Being a newbie I was confused - keep it inside as to not shock it into dormancy or keep it outside........both options undesirable.......

Anyone who knows anything about TN knows that weather can change considerably in just a day - case in point it has been 60 degrees during the day and low 30's at night and now today it is a high of 38 and raining.

I read that junipers are not to be kept inside so I put it outside not considering the fact that it was probably not in a dormancy state and I am afraid that I have shocked it. It has been watered as necessary but other than that what should I do - keep it inside during the cold days and wait until next fall for it to go into dormancy on it's own??

My mother-in-law kept it in the house for a week and a half before she gave it to me and it looked better then than it does now. It is getting brown needles and it has lost it's dark green color in some spots. Is there anything I can do to save this poor guy?

Oh - I put it on a covered, wind protected, screened in patio...........sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon.

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

AllSmiles,
Anyone who knows anything about TN knows that weather can change considerably in just a day - case in point it has been 60 degrees during the day and low 30's at night and now today it is a high of 38 and raining... read that junipers are not to be kept inside so I put it outside not considering the fact that it was probably not in a dormancy state and I am afraid that I have shocked it. It has been watered as necessary but other than that what should I do - keep it inside during the cold days and wait until next fall for it to go into dormancy on it's own?
I think that your climate is mild enough to keep the tree outside without concern about it being too cold.
My mother-in-law kept it in the house for a week and a half before she gave it to me and it looked better then than it does now. It is getting brown needles and it has lost it's dark green color in some spots. Is there anything I can do to save this poor guy?
Junipers are slow to show distress, they can look good for weeks after they are on the down hill slide. What you have done is not the problem, ten days inside was not really a good choice but that may not even be the whole story.

These little Junipers are the bane of newcomers to the endeavor of bonsai, every year at this time we are inundated with these types of questions. These young plants are re-potted inappropriately, shipped, mishandled by retailers, and sold to people who don't have any idea how to handle them. By the time they are in the hands of the recipient they have endured so much abuse that often it is too late. It is no wonder that that these 'Christmas Junipers' are almost doomed from the start.
Oh - I put it on a covered, wind protected, screened in patio...........sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon.
I think you are on the right track, if it survives the coming season you will be out of the woods but if not don't blame yourself, blame unscrupulous retailers.

Norm

AllSmiles
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:12 pm
Location: Nashville

Ah-ha

Thanks Norm! I appreciate the info, I will be sure to post in a week or so of it's condition. When I mentioned she bought it in Florida - she was actually there - so it did not go through the painstaking ritual of shipping but the expertise of the "grower" was probably lacking seeing as how they gave her no instructions.......

If however the daunting reality sets in and it dies - where would the best place be to order/purchase a well kept bonsai? Is a juniper the best option for a newbie?

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

AllSmiles,
Is a juniper the best option for a newbie?
My Juniper has been very much trouble free so if you want one there is no reason not to have one. There are other choices that will do well too. Those who have a real interest invariably have more than one tree/species. This spreads your interest across several specimens and you will less likely to fixate on any one tree and 'love it to death.' If you like deciduous/ish trees you can't go wrong with a Chinese Elm.
If however the daunting reality sets in and it dies - where would the best place be to order/purchase a well kept bonsai?
Not having seen your tree it is very much of a supposition on my part but more than likely you can get a much better tree at any local nursery. Not only will you get more tree for the money but you will learn more by taking this route. Get a common garden Juniper and attempt to style it yourself, you may not create a masterpiece but it will be much more fulfilling than simply buying something.

Norm

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27809
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

This is a little off topic but...
These little Junipers are the bane of newcomers to the endeavor of bonsai, every year at this time we are inundated with these types of questions. These young plants are re-potted inappropriately, shipped, mishandled by retailers, and sold to people who don't have any idea how to handle them. By the time they are in the hands of the recipient they have endured so much abuse that often it is too late. It is no wonder that that these 'Christmas Junipers' are almost doomed from the start.
There are so many of these basically "throw away" potted GIFT plants, "doomed from the star" as you said -- it's really sad. :(

Return to “BONSAI FORUM”