mdougl
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Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:23 pm
Location: Flower Mound, Texas

Newby needs help with Fukien Tea and a Sweet Plum, help!

I'm a newby with Bonsai. I have a Fukien Tea and a Sweet Plum. Both are about 2 months in my possession. I live near Dallas Texas where it's been over 100 degrees for weeks. I only have a decent sun exposure that sees sun from around 3:00 to 5:30 (hottest time of the day). I was advised to leave these trees outside with a few hours of sun daily. Watering advice has been all over, from daily to soak entire plant container for about 15 to 20 minutes when it becomes dry. What I have experienced is not good. Both trees are showing signs of some kind of stress. I'm not sure if the issue is watering, which I do daily in the evening, or heat related, or light related. I decided that the heat was probably excessive so I brought them indoors for a few days. I don't have a good spot indoors that provides proper sunshine. I bought a grow light fixture (T5) 3 days ago and they both seem to be showing a little recovery in new growth.
My symptoms are yellowing, browning, leaf drop (Especially the Tea). I'm not sure how much light they should receive from the fixture. I have a programmer set to deliver 5 hours a day, for the past 3 days. They have been in my shop, with the new light, which is somewhat cooler than outside. I have several high quality close-up photos showing the indications. I don't know how to make those available to a forum replier. My tress are saying "Any help would be appreciated". :cry:

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rainbowgardener
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Instructions for how to post photos here are in the New to Helpful Gardener section at the top of the index page, under Helpful Tips and Suggestions for New Members, along with other useful stuff! :)
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mdougl
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Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:23 pm
Location: Flower Mound, Texas

Photobucket photos

Thanks for that tip on Photobucket. Here is the link to see my photos on that site: https://s1203.photobucket.com/albums/bb397/mdougl/

Here are my basic questions:
- Are the symptoms indicated in the photos due to watering, too much or too
little light or sunshine?
- Is the ambient temperature that much of a problem if it's over 100 degrees
outside?
- If temperature is an issue, what inside temperatire may be too high?

As I said, in only 3 days of having the grow light there appears to be a good response with new growth. But still leaf drop is pretty significant with the Tea tree. Is that possibly a residual issue from several days back when they were exposed to excessive outside temperature? Or maybe 100+ is not all that much of a problem, especially for the Sweet Plum since the Tea is more tropical.

For now I am applying 5 hours of the 4 T5 bulbs 5 hours a day, and watering almost daily. I have a fan blowing toward the trees on law from about 8 feet away. I fugure that is contribution to evaporation.

Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks,

kdodds
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Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Re: Photobucket photos

Well, let's get this out of the way first, because it's the really crappy news you definitely do not want to hear. You have a double whammy of species, two of the worst possible species for beginners. In almost every case, both of these species will die. I know, "WHAT THE?", right? But it is, sadly, true.

You will have better luck keeping them outside when temps allow. Indoors, for either species, is a virtually guaranteed death sentence. However, as you've found, outdoors isn't always the best place either. Crud. What to do then? It'll die inside, it'll die outside. I'm afraid I don't have an answer for you, nor will anyone else, really, as these two species, kept outside of their natural and/or greenhouse conditions, fair exceptionally poorly across the board. What I can offer you is what has been working for me.

The symptoms could be any one, or a combination of, temp, humidity, light, and heat issues. Both of these species like enough light that, indoors, they should receive 12+ hours of T5 illumination per day. Outside, part sun is fine enough for both, but Sageretia will really explode with growth in full sun. When temperatures get too high, trees enter a partially dormant state. So, when it's too hot, or too cold, I'd move them into your indoor set up. Otherwise, keep them outside. Water only as needed. Fukien Tea should be watered just before the soil is completely dry, Sweet Plum can be allowed to dry between waterings.

mdougl
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Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:23 pm
Location: Flower Mound, Texas

I appreciate your input, and yes that is CRAPPY news. However, if that's the case, so be it. I'll do what I can do.
I have made a curious observation, the Plum soil gets dry much sooner than the Tea, They are in almost identical pots and purchased at the same place, so I would expect the soil is probably the same.
I will keep them inside until we get down into the 90s anyway, and I will program the light for 14 hours per day.
Thanks.

TXGreen
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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 8:51 pm
Location: Dallas, TX

My very first bonsai was a Fukien, and I live just a few miles from OP. I have had it for a few years, and it seems to love this heat (best/fullest it's looked yet). It gets full/filtered morning. In fact, I have found it to be a very forgiving tree. I did lose my plum (well I leaf chopped hoping to see new growth), but this occurred when I brought it in thinking it was too hot due to some minor yellowing.

I pull one or two yellows off the Fukien a day, but there is continual growth and it seems happy.

I just posted to say that, in my experience, the Fukien has not been that difficult as a beginner tree.

TomM
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TXG - I appreciate your input and viewpoint. Having lived in Corpus Christi, Laredo and San Antonio I am convinced that Fukien tea will do very well in Texas heat. They love the high temps, bright light and can take humidity well. To them it is like 'home'.

Up here in NY it is considered a difficult bonsai material. So we have (among others of course) Larch, and we love 'em! :lol:

Thanks

mdougl
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Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:23 pm
Location: Flower Mound, Texas

Well based upon what I'm seeing on this post, I put my trees back out in the sun. It sounds as though they should be happier. We'll see...

I appreciate the input I'm getting here.
Thanks,

Grackle
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Location: Austin, TX 8b

I've got a Fukien and I'm in Austin. I know mine will do much better outdoors but I've kept it inside during this record breaking summer as we've had nearly 54 days over 100 degrees. If it's doing okay I'd wait until we get back into the 90s just to be safe. That is what I'm planning on doing. I tried to slowly transition a confederate jasmine that I had been growing indoors outside and it isn't doing well... It's still holding on, but I figured I'd let it taste for poison before I put a tree I enjoyed into the intensity. I'm sure if your tree had been outside it would be loving it, I just fear for the transition.

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

That's the thing here that I was trying to get at. These trees were likely kept under optimal growth in a "controlled" environment, be it their natural environment or a greenhouse. In the "transition", as Grackle said, plunking them down into 100ºF heat is more likely than not going to induce a semi-dormant state in which they will not take up much water. If you keep watering, root rot can set in, etc. Hence, my recommendations to keep them outside, bringing them in only when temps get too low or too high.

mdougl
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Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:23 pm
Location: Flower Mound, Texas

I think something that's causing me some problem is that I don't have enough experience to know how latent the effects are. Is the leaf browning the result of something that they experienced a couple of weeks ago, or a couple of days ago. I'm seeing good new growth which to me indicates a good thing. They are currently back outside in full sun for as much as 8 hours. Will I see the effect of this tomorrow or next weak when they shrivel up from the heat and die? I know watering is critical especially in this heat. My plum needs water daily but the Fukien stays pretty moist for more than a day. Is it recommended to water from the top then periodically soak them?

Thanks for the helpful replies.

Grackle
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Location: Austin, TX 8b

In my experience, which isn't much, I've found that leaf yellowing would have more to do with watering and leaf browning would have more to do with sumburn. The leaves were probably optimized for their prior environment and now are feeling a burn. Kind of like when you get that first sunburn of summer but then maintain a healthy tan the rest of the summer.

mdougl
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Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:23 pm
Location: Flower Mound, Texas

Please check out my photos https://s1203.photobucket.com/albums/bb397/mdougl/

All indications are pretty much represented on them. Actually my Plum has more browning now.
Thanks.

Grackle
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Location: Austin, TX 8b

I'm not sure if I can be of any help here. The first few photos look like a sunburn but the other photos don't seem to match anything I've yet witnessed. I can't say that the way the veins on the leaves of the Fukien are a different color than the rest of the leaf look healthy. I've heard of a disease that resembles this, but I can't find it in the book that I keep close at hand. It's probably a rare disease but I'd look into it...

kdodds
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Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

It looks like the browning is older damage and the yellowing and incomplete opening is more recent, which would lead me to suspect overwatering of a semi-dormant tree. You may have answered this already, but have you been using the "chopstick method" to water?

mdougl
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Location: Flower Mound, Texas

I am using the chopsticks method. My plum needs water about twice as often as the tea. They seem to be responding with new growth now that they are enjoying about 14 hours of t5 light. Maybe they'll make it. It'll be a while I guess before I can say for sure.

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