blackcondor1
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Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Australia

I am a newbie, please help

Hi folks,

I am a newbie at Bonsai.

One of the two Bonsai I have is a Juniper Squamata Prostrata 2006 which I have had for about about 2-3 months.

I try to water it as it needs, although, judging from what I read in this forum a couple of days ago, I have not been watering it correctly - I only have been pouring water on it until the water comes out of the bottom of the pot, but not repeating the watering after 15 minutes.

I have changed the way I water now.

The problem I have: one of the big branches is almost completely brown and looks dead. Another couple of branches look dull green - like they are wilting or something? And one very minor branch is nicely green and is growing new leaves.

I also did not know until now that I am supposed to feed my bonsai every fortnight in spring/summer. Today I fed both of my bonsai for the first time ever since I have bought them, with bonsai fertiliser I bought.

Is there anything I can do to make my Juniper "feel" better? My other tree is a Zelkova Serrata - a hardy tree which seems to be doing very well.

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

I'm guessing here that the tree is being kept indoors. There is 0 hope for any juniper kept indoors where "indoors" is not a greenhouse (unheated to cool). Even if you were to move it outside, I fear it is already too late. Junipers can look "lively" for a long time past dead. IOW, it takes quite a while for needles to brown and drop, and the tree is usually long dead before that happens. If you want to keep juipers, they HAVE to be outside. If you want a bonsai inside, it can't be a juniper.

blackcondor1
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Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Australia

Hi kdodds,

Thank you for your reply. Both of the trees are actually kep on my balcony. I think the balcony is facing West. It has a roof and walls but has one open side through which both air and light come in.

But I just realised another possible problem: it has little pebbles covering the top of the pot.


The dead branches are all top branches, and the new leaves are growing on the bottom branch.

I will scratch the trunk in a few hours time to see if the tree is dead or alive.

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

Are the pebbles glued on? If so, get them off. What's underneath?

blackcondor1
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Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Australia

Have not been to check my Juniper today, well yesterday now actually, but the pebbles are not glued on. When I fed the trees on Sunday evening though, the pebbles seemed to occupy at least 1/3 of the pot's depth in the pot with Juniper, and I did not see any soil to be honest.

Will check it later today - it is after midnight now here in Canberra. Will do a scratch on the trunk to see the colour and if it is green I will change the soil completely - I have a repotting kit with soil there too. But in any case I should try to investigate what killed the tree if it is dead. So I do not buy any more conifers if my balcony is not a good place for them.

I bought both of the trees in about August at the end of Australian winter, from the nursery department of the Bunnings Warehouse. The two trees came from different Bunnings stores. The Juniper was originally from a nursery in Sydney that also sells the trees online I think. I do not know where the Zelkova was wholesaled from but that one is flourishing now. Zelkova has the top layer of loose pebbles and a little moss, which I will be removing later today, but there is soil right underneath.

The Juniper branch that is now brown looked slightly brownish when I bought the tree.
The rest of the tree looked green. The new light green leaves on the bottom branch appeared in the last few weeks just as the brownish branch turned brown.

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

Hrm... it sounds like maybe you got an alreadying dying tree that might just be coming back. If you can post pictures, that would be a lot better.

blackcondor1
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Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Australia

Hi kdodds :)

Scratched the trunk of the Juniper today and there was a little bit of green.

I then had to do a complete repot, because under the pebbles there was only more pebbles and some black matter, and there was no soil.

I repotted the tree into the Bonsai potting mix (black soil) without root pruning, added some little "grains" of Bonsai fertiliser and then watered the tree by immersion for 15 minutes. I enjoyed getting my hands dirty :)

I took a couple of pictures of the tree but I have no idea how to upload it onto the forum. Hope this works:
[img]https://s1216.photobucket.com/albums/dd364/blackcondor1/?action=view&current=Canberra-20111108-00132.jpg[/img]

[img]https://s1216.photobucket.com/albums/dd364/blackcondor1/?action=view&current=Canberra-20111108-00129.jpg[/img]

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