skiphoppotamus
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Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:45 am

Pretty sure my juniper is dead

Hiya, I picked up my first juniper (procumbens, im sure) from the local nursery. They have had a good amount of bonsai for many years, as well as a large range of styles/costs, many having been trained, so I know the plant would be okay if I kept good care of it...

whoops.


What happened was this: I live in Kansas, where the winters can be extreme. I knew junipers could/should be outside all year, but was unsure in the extreme cold we can get (20 f and lower). I brought it inside in late November so it would get dormant after the Nov cold and put it near a window, watered about once or twice a week. About two weeks ago (late January) it began to show signs of dying.

I can post a picture, but my juniper's needles are barely green and are falling off. If you softly run your hand along of the top of the plant, needles and small branches fall off. Scratching the trunk shows very light tan/brown, possible hint of green.

Since noticing this I moved the plant to a new location, watered more frequently (not too much to overcompensate, though). After browsing this forum for a while, I have moved "Ein" (my bonsai) outside onto the deck. Today it's about 40 degrees but a few days ago it was 15. It will snow again before Winter ends.

What's devastating is that I purchased Ein in June--about 7 months ago--and he's grown incredibly in my climate until I moved him inside for the cold. I was just beginning to prune and shape; in fact I purchased materials to being to wire.

My question is this: is there anything I can do to revive my little friend? From what I've collected reading here, the signs I've described are tell-tale for a dead bonsai. I can't get a new one until Spring, obviously, and will have to start from peg one, so I really would like to try to save this one!

Brian

JTred
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Posts: 380
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:05 am
Location: Elizabeth, PA

All you can do is wait. If it starts to show new growth, give it a few days then fertilize it, full or half strength. If it dies, it dies, no big deal. Its a learning process. Get another juniper and don't make the same mistake of bringing it indoors (if you are worried about it getting too cold, put it in an unheated garage during the winter). Or you could try another species that is more hardy in your climate. Others will have more knowledge on the subject, but I'm pretty sure junipers are O.K. in sub-freezing temps if they have been acclimated.

kdodds
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Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Sounds like it's not going to come back to me. At this point, moving it outside would probably kill it the rest of the way (if it's not completely dead) anyway.

I have been successful over the last two months or so keeping J. horizontalis indoors. However, I do not have a conventional set-up, nor am I holding out any hopes of being successful, long-term. It's just something I wanted to try. Anyway, what I'm doing:

Planted in 2/3 inorganic (akadama), 1/3 organic pine bark. Watering 2x daily, thoroughly soaking the soil. Misting 2x daily, and on a humidity try. Day temps 65-68ºF, night temps 64-66ºF. House humidity, 45%. Southern, Eastern, and Western exposure. Source: nursery in south florida. J. horizontalis actually has a USDA range, from what I have seen, down to zone 8 or 9.

JTred
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Posts: 380
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:05 am
Location: Elizabeth, PA

Just found this:
https://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/hrdzon4.html

Common juniper can survive zone 3 -30 to -40

That seems very low to me, but certainly proves that a juniper is fine in Kansas (you said 20 and lower correct). I agree with kdodds that it may be a lost cause. However, there is always hope, and if you have to wait until spring to get a new one anyhow, there's no harm in doing what you can to try to save it if at all possible. I would suggest somewhere protected from winds and perhaps bury the pot in snow or dirt, not on the porch. An unheated garage is an option too. Considering junipers have a dormancy, if your tree has any life left it may take until spring to start showing it.

p.s. Honestly I am a total newbie in bonsai. I have only one, which I got only two months ago. That said, there is a great deal you can learn in a short time on this and other websites. I happen to have a lot of time to kill between class and practice. While I don't have firsthand experience with junipers, this question comes up very often because, unless you have a good setup like kdodds does (and even he isn't sure about long term), junipers don't do very well indoors. I am simply repeating what others have said in response to this question. Good luck!

skiphoppotamus
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:45 am

Thanks for the help guys, I'll continue to water regularly and watch and see if anything changes. I suspect he's a goner, though.

Also, is putting a juniper in the garage with no consistent sunlight okay to do as long as I water?

kdodds
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Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

It's not ideal, no. But maybe if you could provide some light, it would make a good transitional place. Again, though, expending a lot of effort into what is likely to be an already lost cause may not be the best thing for you. Only you can make that decision.

Kenshin14435
Senior Member
Posts: 284
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:33 pm
Location: Northern VA USDA Zone 7A

I think they pretty much summed it up. I had a few Junipers but they just kept dying on me. It's a learning process and man did I learn. I've moved on to deciduous trees because because I find them easier. But if you like Junipers, stay with it. Don't think just because this one might die, that you should stop altogether. If this one dies, no biggy(as long as you didn't spend over a hundred bucks on the tree), just go out and buy another cheap one and try it all over again. I don't know about you but in my area there are wild Junipers all over the place. So maybe you could go out and look for a baby juniper or something.

Take Care and Good Luck
~ Ken ~

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