Jolyon
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Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 7:30 am

SOS Bonsai Help

I have a Japanese Black Pine and am killing it. I suspect it has some age and would really like to save it. The needles are gradually going brown and dropping off. Many of the remaining needles are developing yellow bits in their midle (presumably as unhappy precursors to dropping off too). The remaining leaves are also spreading out - and beginning to look rather sparse.

I haven't had it long. I have kept it on a windowsill. I now gather this is bad and will move it but how much light does it need? I don't think I have been overwatering it - I mist it every couple of days and water it once a week or so. The soil is very hard and if I water it with a jug, the water runs off the surface. Should I immerse it in the sink to water it? Might it need repotting?

Please help

opabinia51
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Location: Victoria, BC

It may be to late to save your tree but, try immersing it in the sink to water it. And don't water your tree on a schedule (like once a week) test the soil with toothpick or a chopstick.

I have to run, I'll type more to you later. I'm sure that Scott will have some advice soon as well. :)

opabinia51
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I'm back... (let's see, what did I type so far......?) oh yeah.

Okay yes, immerse the toothpick or chopstick deep in the soil and pull it out. If there is no soil stuck on the wood, it's time to water. I would check daily. Also, a daily misting won't hurt.

By the sounds of your soil condition; your tree is probably dead and the soil is probably bone dry. You can try the sink immersion technique but, I'm pretty sure that it may be to late.

I hope you can bring your tree back to life but, it may be time to try a new one.

Jolyon
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Thanks Opabinia for your helpful thoughts.

Assuming it's not dead yet - which is about as much as can be said for any of us (and I suspect may be true in its case - it has got quite a lot of green needles on it still and is producing a bit of sap on the buds) - do you have any thoughts on where it should be positioned in terms of light and temperature. I could certainly find somewhere cold and non-drafty to put it but lots of light is not easy unless I put it (a) outside or (b) on the windowsill (which I now know to be BAD).

Jolyon
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Another thought: might the soil be packed too tight for it if the water is just running off the top? If so, should I attempt to repot it? Thanks again.

opabinia51
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I would give the tree a good hour long soak in the sink first. Then, I would move it outside if you are able to do so. Put it in a sheltered spot. The tree needs it's dormant season if it is going to be healthy.

(I'd also purchase another tree and start caring for it in the same manner. Just in case this one kicks the bucket. And I am thinking that it probably will.)

Good luck!

Jolyon
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Thanks again. Have soaked it and will move it outside tomorrow. Assume it will need to be watered outside too (at least until your prediction proves accurate and it goes the way of all wood (with apologies to Samuel Butler)) as rainfall unlike to be sufficient?

opabinia51
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Yes, your tree still needs to be watered. Probably want to have it in a more or less sheltered area away from wind and other extremes.

The Helpful Gardener
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Location: Colchester, CT

I am a little puzzled by the needles going yellow at the middle versus on end or the other. Could be a nematode or mites...this is also the time of year when some of the old needles would be dropping, so we need to rule that out as well. Perhaps an image is possible? Lots easier for diagnosis; worth a thousand words as they say...Opa's tips are good first steps...

Scott

opabinia51
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I knew Scott would offer some well experienced advice... :)

Jolyon
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Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 7:30 am

Just checked back...

Have put it outside in a sheltered spot... A few more needles have dropped off but it seems to have stabilised. It doesn't have many needles left but it has a few and they are bunching up in a wintry sort of way... Am hopeful that it may survive and will report back in the growing season. Thank you so much for all your help.

The Helpful Gardener
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Thanks for checking back in; I often wonder where some of these queries end up. Stabilized is good. Small bunches of needles is not bad. How about candles? Any new ones? (Their the downy brown shoots on the end of the branch)...

Scott

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