Bentley
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:06 am

A slow lingering death

Hi Folks
Glad I found this forum as I have a little story to tell.

this is me last Sunday on my birthday :D . this is me when my 78yr old father came with my present :? this is my family :lol: as they know me well.
Yes you guessed, Dad bought me two Bonsai trees (photos to follow) and a nice little book THE BONSAI SPECIALIST, oh how over joyed I was :roll: Truth is I have a garden and I dig holes, stick things in and leave them alone, I have a lovely garden with a beautiful water feature, plants that come every year (I know you green fingered folks have a word for that) and the only care they need is for me to weed the ground and cut the grass all of which I can do. but BONSAI trees???? what was he thinking of? ok problems I have up to now? 1. what do I do? 2. what do I do? 3. what do I do? I have read the book from cover to cover, its great, I love the pictures and I am sure you all have trees just like them, mine too at the moment, but not for long if my luck with plants holds true.

Give them to someone who can look after them I hear you cry, sorry thats not an option, Dad would be very upset he always gave us a cheque for our birthdays until my mom passed away last year and now he feels he should enjoy his twilight years and put some effort into his family, so that option is a no no.

I need help, lots of it fast and now....... should I post photos? how? where?, should I water them now? I havent for a couple of days and they look fine to me, but on reading the READ THIS post I have watered them this morning my sticking them in a sink of water. one of them has one or two leaves that are going brown.

I do know that one stays green and the other doesn't in the winter. I don't know much lese as dad decided to remove the price of the plants along with the Plants name and the instructions.
truth is I want them to live but I am lost. do I keep them outside? (I'm in the uk) winter is coming on what do I do, buy them a coat each?

Got to admit they do look cool, they probably arent the best in the world but they mean a lot to me and I want them to live....

PLEASE HELP ME

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

Bentley,

The first thing you should do is not panic, trees are tougher than many give them credit for. Submerging is OK but only until bubbles stop rising. You only get into trouble if you do this with too great a frequency. Let your soil approach dryness between each watering, but never let it dry out entirely. Don't water on any kind of schedule but only as required. Many times purchased bonsai are in inferior soil that holds water for far too long. If this is the case wateing will be infrequent, don't kill the trees with kindness, try not too fuss with them too much.

Unless you get a sudden cold spell put them both outside in a partly sunny location. This is only preliminary advice until you can get an identification which is required for proper care.

Next identify your plants, ask your father for the tags or at least the names. Post pictures if you are able. Go to google and check the following candidates. Juniper, Ficus, Serissa, Fukien Tea, Chinese Elm. Proper care depends upon a proper identification. Get back to us when you know what kind of plants you have.

If there are rocks glued to the surface of the plants remove them now, they serve you no useful purpose, moss isn't much better especially for a beginner.

The word that you were looking for is perennial.

Norm

JoeLewko
Green Thumb
Posts: 348
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 7:29 pm

i think first we need to identify what bonsai trees you have so posting pics would be veyr helpful, if not look at the species norm had suggested.

Bentley
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:06 am

Photos

[img]https://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b178/Kagslee/Poorlytree.jpg[/img]
two pics of this one as its not doing so well (well the leaves are turning brown) [img]https://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b178/Kagslee/tree2.jpg[/img]
Tree 2 [img]https://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b178/Kagslee/Tree1.jpg[/img]

Hope these are ok,

Thanks for the help so far

Gordon[/img]

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

Bentley,

Sorry, I am not able to identify either of your trees. The first is so distinctive I would think someone must have an idea. The second tree is not so clear but does not seem familiar to me. Anyone else?

Ask your father for the info, it is important to ID your trees.

Norm

Bentley
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:06 am

got the names

first tree is a serissa foetdida or tree of a thousand stars, the second is a chinese ash (fraxinus sieboidiana)

the first has to come in during the winter and the second one doesnt say what I have to do with it, any clues?

thanks to Gnome and JoeLewkofor their advice so far

Gordon

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

Bentley,

I don't grow either of these species, I certainly was unaware that there was a variegated form of Serissa. The best I can do is to give you a link. There has also been some discussion of Serissa on this site, use the search function.

[url]https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Serissa.html[/url]


Norm

ynot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1219
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:49 pm
Location: USDA Z:5a Sunset Z. 41 IL

I like serrissas' Though in some climates they are a pain..

Bentley, [url=https://www.bonsai-bci.com/species/indexgen.htmlurl]Here[/url] is another care sheet for you.

Serrissas should be inside as the temps drop below 50f or so, They can be quite picky wrt watering [Yellowing/Dropping leaves] Best to water when just moist as they do not like wet feet [Conversely 'bone dry' is a death sentance]

About watering:
I DO NOT suggest submersion as a regular method of watering.
Especially if your tree is in standard potting soil [Which is not the best thing for your tree. I cannot emphasize this enough. ]
See a bit about the components and functioning of truly well draining proper bonsai soil [url=https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/soils.htmurl]here.[/url]

Test the moisture by digging your finger a knuckle or two into the soil...If Moist Do not water. It is impossible to water Bonsai on a 'schedule' as it does not take the needs of the tree into account. Too many factors to be considered [IE: Species, Potting media, Health of the tree, Location {both geographic and Indoor/Outdoor}, Stage of development, Season, ect]
Low light levels will cause leggygrowth.

Just click through that first link to the 'species guide' - it wll work- I do not know what the problem is...?
My apologies.
Mods: I am having a difficult time wrt linking things here.. [I am not technically oriented... :oops:..] any pointers?

ynot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1219
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:49 pm
Location: USDA Z:5a Sunset Z. 41 IL

Hey man, Nice shot! :)

Bentley,
BTW, I neglected to commend you on your photography.
Note the positive attributes:
Viewed from the front, Squarely framed, In focus [Foliage shot included], Good lighting, Straight on level, and with a neutral colored background [Excellent 8) ].
This is an example to be followed.

Well done.
-ynot

Bentley
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:06 am

I knew it would happen

Hi Folks,
the trees are dying, I do everything it said in the book, I have put them in a well lit but shaded place, watered not to much, I have been told to submerge and then not to submerge but it was to late, the leaves have gone borwn and on both trees they are falling off anf I really don't know what to do next.

they are inside again

any help to keep these alive would be great,

Gordon (Bentley)

ynot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1219
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:49 pm
Location: USDA Z:5a Sunset Z. 41 IL

Re: I knew it would happen

Bently,
My apologies for missing this before! Your Ash is a deciduous tree. It requires a dormancy period.
What is your location? [I ask to know a bit about your weather.]
On a related note: If your serrissa has been outside in temps below 50F [this is a safe #] this could be a cause f it's current state. [Not an absolute death sentance but enough to make it grumpy].
The ash needs to be outside, The serrissa needs to be indoors for the winter. [Bright light please]

See links:
https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/bonsaip.htm
https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/dormancy.htm
https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/indoors.htm
https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/fertiliz.htm
https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/overfert.htm
https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/watering.htm
https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/soils.htm
Do remember to limit your watering to what is required as a tree with fewer [or no] leaves has less [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transpiration]transpiration.[/url]

I hope this is helpfull.
Good luck!
ynot
Bentley wrote:Hi Folks,
the trees are dying, I do everything it said in the book, I have put them in a well lit but shaded place, watered not to much, I have been told to submerge and then not to submerge but it was to late, the leaves have gone borwn and on both trees they are falling off anf I really don't know what to do next.

they are inside again

any help to keep these alive would be great,

Gordon (Bentley)

Bentley
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:06 am

Seems I have done everything wrong

Hi
Well it seems I have been doing it all wrong, so the first step is to throw away my book and listen to the people in the group. I have been keeping the plants on a bahtroom windowsill which gets light all day. I have also been placing them in water for 45 mins (another mistake). So infact I have been killing them with kindness I suppose, so my plan is this.

The Ash is going outside, in a place away from the wind, the serissa will be kept inside away from the windows but in a well lit place. I will take the advice on watering and after that I suppose its down to nature.

I would really like to thank you folks who have given me help, I really would like to keep these plants alive, ok I know we learn by our mistakes but I really have to keep these alive if at all possible.

PS thanks ynot, the weather here is mild, with showers, not really dropped below 60, some high winds but only now and again we are apporaching winter so frost and maybe some snow is just around the corner. will the ash be ok outside still?

ynot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1219
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:49 pm
Location: USDA Z:5a Sunset Z. 41 IL

Re: Seems I have done everything wrong

Bentley wrote:Hi
Well it seems I have been doing it all wrong, so the first step is to throw away my book and listen to the people in the group. I have been keeping the plants on a bahtroom windowsill which gets light all day. I have also been placing them in water for 45 mins (another mistake). So infact I have been killing them with kindness I suppose, so my plan is this.
Everybody makes mistakes, It is only problematic when you don't learn from them or refuse to correct them [when possible]. Lets hope your trees are not victims.

Don't throw away the book, Do keep in mind that whoever wrote it has an entirely different set of conditions to deal with than you or I or anyone. You have to take the essentials and incorporate your specific set of variables into the equation, That = Bonsai success! [Replicating approximately the trees natural enviroment wrt light, temp, and moisture ]
But I digress.

Please see my comments below wrt temps, Even if all is safe on that front, These trees have been severely overwatered. Consider that your soil is not the most free draining judging by the pictures. Combine that with a regular drownding and I would be surprised if you did not have [url=https://www.bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATRootRot.html.]root rot[/url]

Here is a quote from that link:
Overwatering (particularly after root pruning) and poor bonsai soils provide access points for infection and are also ideal conditions for the spores to grow. This is why it is essential to provide bonsai with gritty, free-draining compost and to avoid over watering.
Bentley wrote:The Ash is going outside, in a place away from the wind, the serissa will be kept inside away from the windows but in a well lit place. I will take the advice on watering and after that I suppose its down to nature
. If it is going to be above 50f or so during the day-feel free to leave the serrissa outside [bring it in at night if the temps will be too low] the sunshine will do it good.
Bentley wrote:PS thanks ynot, the weather here is mild, with showers, not really dropped below 60, some high winds but only now and again we are apporaching winter so frost and maybe some snow is just around the corner. will the ash be ok outside still?
60f is the LOW temp including night time right? [Wrt the serrissa which was recently outside, If PM temps were lower than 50ish this could cause the leaf drop. If it has been nowhere near that temp then it is overwatering IMO, Less than effective lighting is a factor also.]
The ash will be just fine outside [All of his full size brethren live there.] :)
I hope this helped.
Your Welcome!

lava_angel_17
Full Member
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 9:08 am
Location: Malta

Hi Bentley
I think the worst thing is that you submerged them in water for 45min. I live in Malta and when my Fukien tree bonsai was still alive I would submerge it for 3-5min. ( Before i under watered it and it died) :( Mine died cause my local garden center told me that in this heat (32C at that time) I should have been submerging it twice a day!!! :shock: It was only getting watered from the top once every two days or so... It had bloomed lovley white flowers :cry: before it died and had really nice glossy leaves. I had it since December and since I'm really unlucy with ALL plants i was really surprised at how well the tree was doing. I made a HUGE effort with it and i think that's why it was doing well. The most imp advice I can give you is try to go to a garden center with them. Always seek advice. Mine was doing reall well before mid July-August. Then it really got hot over here.... and as I said I under watered it :(

I hope you save your trees. :D Good luck!! Angela

Return to “BONSAI FORUM”