Megatherium
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Am I on the Righ Track with my Juniper Bonsai?

Hi!

So, I received a bonsai about three hours ago as a present. Having a Bonsai has always been a dream of mine, but this was a bit of a surprise, and I don't really know what I'm doing.

[img]https://img269.imageshack.us/img269/341/bonsaiw.jpg[/img]
^this is the Bonsai in question

I know the Bonsai is a Juniper, but I don't know its age. I'm assuming its pretty young.

I will go get a Bonsai care book sometime in the future (any suggestions?), and maybe take a class in Bonsai care, but in the mean time, I need some guidance to help care for my little tree. I've never really grown anything other than a few bean plants before, so I'm kind of paranoid that I'm going to kill my tree before I properly learn how to care for it.

First, a pretty basic question. I've been searching through a lot of different Bonsai care websites, and I've seen a lot of references to a "growing season" and a "dormant season". Seasonally, when exactly are these seasons? I live in California, so our winters aren't very cold, spring is warm and summer is very hot. Will this affect these seasons?

California also has low humidity, so I plan to mist my Bonsai once a day. But, in the long run, is it worth buying a humidity tray?

In the summer here, it is generally in the upper 90s to 100s. In these conditions, where should I keep my Bonsai?

Also, it is hard to see the in picture (which I took with my cellphone, hence the terrible quality), but a few of the branches are a dead, tan color near the trunk. I read on some website that yellowing branches could indicate mites, and I was wondering how I could be sure about this, and if it is mites, what to do about it. I don't really want to use insecticide, (I have a very curious cat) so if it is indeed mites, is there a less-toxic option?

Also, how should I water it? I know to check the soil everyday to see if it is dry, but should I submerge it in a container up to the trunk, or water it from the top? Is tap water sufficient (I have a water softener), or should I use water from a water filter?

I'm sure this forum gets a lot of questions like this, so thank you for taking the time to read this!

-Megatherium & her new Bonsai

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snowblind
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Location: uk kent

hello

ok its a juniper there lovely little trees verry hardy aswell so your on to a winer there. as for watering water from above with a misting spray bottel submurge in a bowl aswell mabby once a week if its really hot. i live in the uk and as you probly know the uks weather is either hot or wet so wen its verry hot here i water my trees 3 times a day for around 10mins each time and even then i still mist them we i think about it and wen its wet ill water them once aday. you will find your own routine with watering and tbh there r memy diffrent view points on watering . sum ppl say water 2times a day sum ppl say water 5 times a day sum say use a chopstick in the pot and if it comes away dry without any earth on it its time to water.

if you feel like it go look up my trees on herre and you can see my grove of junipers wich you can see the lower branchs well in that

as for the dry yellowing branchs this may be a mite issue or could simply by normal as those branchs arnt gettign as much lite as the other due to the fact the canapy is tight and not much light filters down.

junipers r out door trees so as for a "growing season" and a "dormant season" the tree will ajust to where you live given time.

and even if the summer heat is 90 100 still keep your tree outside but try and find sumwhere that your tree isnt sitting in sun all day.

all my trees r at the side of my garden beside my outbuilding so thay r shilded from the sun most of the day but at sum point the sun does get to them for a few hrs

the age of your juniper could be anything from 5 years to 20 its really ahrd to tell sorry about that.

anyway i hope ive helped in my own rambeling way the other guys on here should be able to help out a lot aswell

good luck :D
sparkels

Megatherium
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Thank you for the advice!

Edit:

I've also noticed that there are a few little (like a few millimeters) green sprouts coming out of the soil, not necessarily by the tree. I have no clue where these are coming from. Should I pull them out or not.

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snowblind
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you could either pull them out if you don't wont them in your pot or leave them for a bit and see them grow its tottaly upto you :D
sparkels

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Gnome
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Megatherium,

I think watering is going to be your first hurdle. If you will read [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1479]this[/url] it should give you some idea of proper watering. Briefly, don't water on a schedule. Saturate your soil each time you water. Don't water again until the plant requires it, this is where the chopstick/skewer method is useful. While I do sometimes mist foliage I do not rely on misting to adequately saturate the soil.

Keep in mind that Junipers don't like to kept soggy.
https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Juniperus.html

I don't have a water softener so I don't have that problem but it would be safer to avoid softened water due to possible salt content.

There have been a few threads before with recommendations on bonsai books, you should be able to find them with the search feature.

Norm

JTred
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Location: Elizabeth, PA

As for the softened water problem, I personally use water from a dehumidifier. That water is distilled and is just about nothing but pure water. You can also buy distilled water really cheap from the store. I don't know if filters can get rid of salt, I seem to remember from chemistry class that salt ions are smaller than water molecules, and thus will go through the filter along with the water. I could be mistaken though.

Megatherium
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Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 6:11 am

I've been using water from a hose to water my bonsai. It isn't pure, but it doesn't have the added salt.


I'm getting more and more worried about the brown patches, however. It seems as if its spreading.

Picture:
[img]https://img36.imageshack.us/img36/3702/bonsaib.jpg[/img]

Also (I'm sorry I have so many questions!), the soil my bonsai is just normal soil for something like a potting mix. Should I re-pot it immediately or wait until the tree gets 'settled' (and I get more used to caring for it.

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Gnome
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Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Megatherium,

I'm not clear on where you are keeping your tree, inside or outside, full sun or part shade? Also your soil looks to lean quite heavily to the organic (peat based potting soil) side of the scale. I keep a Juniper in a nearly 100% inorganic mix (small rocks essentially) while this may not be appropriate in your climate, a higher percentage of inorganic material than it currently has would be. I'm not suggesting you re-pot it now just be aware that the current mix holds a lot of water.

On the other hand peat based soils are difficult to re-wet once dry, another reason to avoid this type of medium in the future. For now monitor the medium carefully and definitely err on the side of watering less frequently than more. Of course this all has to be filtered through the realities of your climate which are much different than mine.

Norm

Megatherium
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Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 6:11 am

Thanks for your help!

My bonsai is outside. I'm still trying to find the best place to put it. For the past week its been in pretty much full shade in the morning and early afternoon, direct sun for around 1.5 hours in the late afternoon, and then partial shade as it gets darker. I've recently moved it to a place where it gets more indirect sunlight, but for longer.

I've been watering it using the chop stick method, and also spraying it with water ~ twice a day, as it does get pretty hot and dry here.

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snowblind
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Location: uk kent

just keep a eye on it then hun and i hope it goes well for you . anymore questions just feel feer to mail me or ask the other guys :D
sparkels

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