bonsaibeauty
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Perfect green leaves falling from my Fukien tea. Please help

I have a new fukien tea bonsai that I have had since Christmas and it has been doing really well, it even has flowers about to blossom. I am relatively new to Bonsai, but am trying to research the best i can to care for it.

The tree is really thirsty requiring watering every third day or so and I fed it bonsai feed for the first time last weekend. I had read that Fukien tea's can easily burn from overfeeding so I made sure to use even less concentrate than suggested. Until now I've had leaves dropping now and again as usual and they are brown but in the last few days I've had perfectly good green leaves dropping off the tree. What is the reason for this? Some of the flower buds are drying up before blooming.

I read that Fukien teas don't require misting and actually do better without it, is this true?

I would be very grateful to anyone who could answer some of my questions as I love my bonsai and don't want it to go wrong.

Thank you.

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Bonsaibeauty,

Hello and welcome to the site. I am not that familiar with this species and am learning from these type threads. Off the top of my head I wonder if you have experienced a sudden drop in temperatures.

[url=https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Carmona.html]Here[/url] is a link to a care sheet.

Norm

ynot
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Re: Perfect green leaves falling from my Fukien tea. Please

BB-Welcome,

Can you post a picture please? Here are a few tips on photos:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3557

Additional info about it's environment would be helpful [The lighting it receives, Temps it experiences, Soil composition..etc.]
I have a new fukien tea bonsai that I have had since Christmas and it has been doing really well, it even has flowers about to blossom. I am relatively new to Bonsai, but am trying to research the best I can to care for it.
As your tree is currently stressed {for whatever reason} It would be best to cut off the blooms as they are using a lot of resources [nutrients, etc..] that your tree could be using to redevelop it's foliage.
The tree is really thirsty requiring watering every third day or so and I fed it bonsai feed for the first time last weekend. I had read that Fukien tea's can easily burn from overfeeding so I made sure to use even less concentrate than suggested. Until now I've had leaves dropping now and again as usual and they are brown but in the last few days I've had perfectly good green leaves dropping off the tree. What is the reason for this? Some of the flower buds are drying up before blooming.
Don't worry about ferts until your tree is better, One thing at a time. It won't starve to death..;):)

Please describe the method you use to test your tree to decide if it needs water as well as how you water.
I read that Fukien teas don't require misting and actually do better without it, is this true?
Misting is over rated as far as it's actual effectiveness in raising the relative humidity. I still do it though...:lol:
A humidity tray would be a more effective measure.
I would be very grateful to anyone who could answer some of my questions as I love my bonsai and don't want it to go wrong.
We will do what we can, Please post some pictures.
Here is a care sheet on your species:
https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Carmona.html

As well as a couple links on bonsai care in general.

There are a lot of links here for you to peruse on these two sites, Enjoy the journey!!8)

https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics.html

https://evergreengardenworks.com/articles.htm

Good luck
ynot

bonsaibeauty
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Thank you so much for your help, it really is wonderful to have constant help at hand when looking after a bonsai.

The way I test the bonsai to see whether it needs watering or not is just to touch the top of the soil with my fingertips to see if its moist or dry and if its feeling dry I either soak it in the sink or water it with a watering can, depending on the dryness. Is this correct?

Thank you for the many links, I'll be sure to read them all carefully.

bonsaibeauty
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Pictures of my bonsai tree and the leaves that are dropping

Please would you kindly let me have an email address where I can email 2 jpegs and if someone could then kindly post them on the site. I'm not very good at the internet.

I would be very grateful if anyone could help or knows of a simple way to load pictures onto the forum.

Thank you.[/url]

ynot
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BB,
Thank you so much for your help, it really is wonderful to have constant help at hand when looking after a bonsai.
You may not think so when you get the bill...;)

The way I test the bonsai to see whether it needs watering or not is just to touch the top of the soil with my fingertips to see if its moist or dry
and if its feeling dry I either soak it in the sink or water it with a watering can, depending on the dryness. Is this correct?
Soaking is for emergency type situations, If you read the 'watering' link on bonsai4me [Harry makes his living w/ bonsai= He is a Pro] you will see it is absolutely not recommended as a regular watering process.

The roots of your bonsai do not live at the surface,
They live underneath .
Touching the surface tells you nothing about the state of the soil deeper in the pot [where your tree actually lives], See what I mean?

Dig a knuckle or two deep into the soil is it moist [NOT wet- moist] if it is just barely moist then water, not until. Check your tree every day but only water it when it needs it.

When you do water it , Water three times about 10 minutes apart. Each time give it a thorough soaking until the water is flowing out of the drainage holes.
The multiple waterings are to insure that the rootball gets saturated as during the initial watering a large portion of the water will simply flow down the inside of the pot as opposed to soaking into the soil due to surface tension and a few of the other uncooperative properties of water.

This also provides for good aeration of the soil as the water drains [for the required gas exchanges within the soil.].
Air is a required component in your soil as well as water.

Speaking of soil read the soil stickey and see if your soil seems appropriate. https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3422

I suspect that your tree is in a very loamy/peat moss compost that consists of particles that are far to fine and stay wet far too long.
We will see in the pictures.
Thank you for the many links, I'll be sure to read them all carefully.
Glad to hear it :D. You will learn much.

I look forward to the pictures.
ynot
Enjoy,
ynot [img]https://img241.imageshack.us/img241/1939/u4jchinaec9.gif[/img]

bonsaibeauty
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I can't believe i've been watering it so wrong! woops... will do it properly from now on.

Could you let me know how I can load pictures easily? I've taken a picture of the whole tree which also shows where it is situated in relation to a window, radiator. etc. I've also taken a picture of three leaves that are the different kinds of leaves that keep dropping.

Thanks :D again

ynot
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bonsaibeauty wrote:I can't believe I've been watering it so wrong! woops... will do it properly from now on.

Could you let me know how I can load pictures easily? I've taken a picture of the whole tree which also shows where it is situated in relation to a window, radiator. etc. I've also taken a picture of three leaves that are the different kinds of leaves that keep dropping.

Thanks :D again
Watering mistakes are by far the most common cause of ex-bonsai.

It is not sitting on the radiator- or directly in a draft is it- Neither is good.

If the picture shows that much of the room, I doubt We will be able to see much about the tree.

Do see the link for a bit about how to take helpful pictures, Unhelpful pictures are exactly that. Unhelpful.[img]https://img411.imageshack.us/img411/7786/noideasmileyuo4.gif[/img]
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3557

The picture will also not tell us which direction the window faces if it gets morn or afternoon sun ect....
While a pic is worth a 1000 words... we need lots of words also please. :)

Take lots of pics please, Post the most usefull.:)

How to post the pictures is here: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3724

ynot
Last edited by ynot on Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

Sharp
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Your 4 biggest concerns for leaf loss are going to be:

1) Sunlight
2) Temp
3) Watering
4) Humidity

Also they are notorious for getting bugs, so be on the look out for that. Aphids love em.

Here are a few pics of mine:


https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v299/sharp222/Pestinfest.jpg

https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v299/sharp222/pestinfest2.jpg

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Bonsaibeauty,

Sorry I was so brief earlier, I had to go see about dinner. It looks like Ynot and Sharp have offered you some good information. Thanks to you both.

Norm

bonsaibeauty
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Hi here is the first picture of my bonsai:
[url=https://img74.imageshack.us/my.php?image=bonsaimu8.jpg][img]https://img74.imageshack.us/img74/6682/bonsaimu8.th.jpg[/img][/url]

Second one to follow in a minute :cry:

bonsaibeauty
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Here is the second picture:
[url=https://img261.imageshack.us/my.php?image=bonsai2zq0.jpg][img]https://img261.imageshack.us/img261/3209/bonsai2zq0.th.jpg[/img][/url]

bonsaibeauty
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It is difficult to see alot of the surroundings of the tree as I wanted to take a picture of just the tree.

The tree is about 7 feet from the radiator and about 8-9 feet from the window which is south-facing. I would be grateful if you could tell me if this is good or bad positioning. It gets alot of light, without being in direct sunlight which i hear is bad for it?

The second picture shows the kinds of leaves that are falling... some are completely brown, some just brown tips and some partially brown but most recently leaves are dropping that are green as you can see from the left leaf in the picture. I found that when I was feeling the soil the last couple of days to check if it needed watering, the leaves dropped off when I slightly moved the tree.

Overall, right now, I think the tree looks pretty healthy but its only been the last few days that the leaves have increasingly dropped so I'd rather do something now than when I've lost alot of foliage.

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Bonsaibeauty,

As Gnome notes in the post below, I also feel that your tree is suffering from wet feet and I think a new potting medium is required.

One thing:
Do be cautious when 'digging in' whilst checking to see if you need to water. No need to injure the root system.

I suspect it will not be an easy procedure considering the current soil...
We will help you to improve that though.

From the pictures I cannot identify any other single reason for the leaf drop.
Provided it does not accelerate [And the health of the tree remains stable], I don't see your tree as being in any immediate danger.

Do make it a point to check out the links about repotting at the websites you have been linked to, There is a bit about that in the stickey at the top of the forum also.

Positioning: It could be much closer to the window if you wish although Fukiens do not require a lot of light [ Though bright to a person is actually very dark to a plant.]

The radiator is not blowing a draft directly on the tree is it?

One thing to keep in mind is that if it should be the case that it is stressed from being too wet. It didn't get that way overnight and the recovery will take as least as long.
It may lose all of its foliage in the meantime which will mean dedicated care during its recovery and limited watering while leafless [ With no foliage it will have less transpiration - water loss through the foliage]

Limited refers to how frequently you water, not the amount that you water.
Your goal is a complete soaking of the potting media every time you water, But only water when it needs it.
You will find it won't use as much water if it loses its leaves so you simply water less often. Continue to check every day though, It is part of the deal with bonsai. :)

You might consider getting a large humidity tray as the tray the pot sits on now is primarily for catching small drips from the drainage holes and is not contributing to the relative humidity around the tree.

Good luck and keep us updated

ynot
Last edited by ynot on Wed Jan 31, 2007 1:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Bonsaibeauty,

Good job on getting the pictures posted. In looking at your soil it looks to be primarily peat and probably holds too much water too long. As has been noted a very free draining mix is needed for trees in such shallow pots. I suspect that watering is at the heart of your problems. Be careful not to keep it constantly wet, but when you do water do so thoroughly.

Norm

bonsaibeauty
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Hi, Thank you, just got all the replies.

I lost my last bonsai and felt terrible and do not want to lose this one. I have the day off today (wednesday) and would like to repot the bonsai.

Could you please let me know exactly what kind of soil I should get, humidity tray and whether I should put it into the same pot or a bigger one (which I have from my last bonsai).

I would be really grateful if you could let me know, thanks.

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Bonsaibeauty,
Could you please let me know exactly what kind of soil I should get
This might be a little more involved than you realize. It is not difficult but you may not be able to locate the proper soil/or components in one day. Did you read the stickies about potting and soil. You have also been given links to various sites that discuss this. It is possible to purchase ready made bonsai soil but I have only seen it offered locally once. Maybe it's different in your area.

I have learned to make my own mix, but locating the components was a bit of a challenge. In short you need one/or several in-organic components and an organic component. These should be sieved to remove the smallest particles. Lava rock is a good inorganic component but finding it in the proper size will be a problem. One grower in the UK uses a specific brand of kitty litter, but all brands may not be appropriate. I'll see if I can find a link.

Norm

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Kitty litter

Bonsaibeauty,

[url=https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basicscatlitter.htm]Here[/url] is the link about using kitty litter. Please don't feel that you have to rush this, better to take your time and find the correct product/s than to rush and have to re-do it soon. Oh I guess I did not mention it in my last post but one of the most popular organic components to use is pine bark soil conditioner. Let us know what you find. Good luck.

Norm

bonsaibeauty
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Repotting my bonsai

My tree has lost more leaves today :cry:

After reading the links (a little overwhelmed) I'll go and see if they have a prepared bonsai soil at my local garden centre, it's a big centre that often has specialised products so i'll let you know what i find.

If i don't find that i'll go for either the organic pine park (is that too wet for my bonsai, i read in link it holds water) or just the cat litter.

Do I do the root pruning considering my plant is poorly? Do I rinse the roots considering mine are too damp? I'm putting it into a bigger pot about 2 inches more each side. Is this too big or will it be ok?

Sorry to keep asking so many questions :D

Thanks for all your help

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BonsaiBeauty,
Thanks for all your help....Sorry to keep asking so many questions.
You're welcome and there is no need to apologize, we were all were you are now. In fact we are still learning, bonsai is more a process than a destination.
My tree has lost more leaves today
Please note what Ynot has mentioned here:
One thing to keep in mind is that if it should be the case that it is stressed from being too wet. It didn't get that way overnight and the recovery will take as least as long.
It may lose all of its foliage in the meantime which will mean dedicated care during its recovery and limited watering while leafless [ With no foliage it will have less transpiration - water loss through the foliage]
After reading the links (a little overwhelmed) I'll go and see if they have a prepared bonsai soil at my local garden centre,
Don't feel that you need to absorb all of this in a day or two, concentrate on the watering and soil portion of the links for now.
If I don't find that I'll go for either the organic pine park (is that too wet for my bonsai, I read in link it holds water) or just the cat litter.
The Pine bark is only one part of a good mix, not to be used by itself.
Do I do the root pruning considering my plant is poorly?
Only if necessary, rotted roots, if any, must be removed other than that I would not do much right now.
Do I rinse the roots considering mine are too damp?
It is the heavy peat based soil that is at the heart of your problem, so yes I would remove as much of the old soil that I could without putting too much stress on the tree, I routinely use a garden hose to rinse old soil from the roots of trees that I am transplanting.
I'm putting it into a bigger pot about 2 inches more each side. Is this too big or will it be ok?
I can't really say from here. Evaluate the roots once you are ready to re-pot, if the roots will fit back into the original pot that would be the better choice. This has to do with trying to avoid a large mass of wet soil that might occur in an overly large pot.

Get back to us later and describe what you have found.

Norm

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Re: Repotting my bonsai

bonsaibeauty wrote:My tree has lost more leaves today :cry:
It sucks to watch that I know, You can most likely expect that to happen tomorrow also, And the next day... Know that it is coming but concentrate on the relative links.
bonsaibeauty wrote:After reading the links (a little overwhelmed)

That is why you don't want to rush. You want to be well informed before you take action.
Again: He didn't get unhappy overnight, It won't be fixed overnight.

No need to 'Know it all' right now, Do try to have a grasp of the watering, Soil, and Repotting links provided.
Like any one who grows Bonsai...You will never know it all, But you always keep learning. 8)

Trees work on an entirely different time scale than we do and that requires our patience.
I'll go and see if they have a prepared bonsai soil at my local garden centre, it's a big centre that often has specialised products so I'll let you know what I find.
Good luck, Though you might want to just ring them up and save yourself a trip..
If I don't find that I'll go for either the organic pine park (is that too wet for my bonsai, I read in link it holds water) or just the cat litter.
I would not suggest using only an organic like pine bark, As Gnome and I have both noted we use over 70% or 80% inorganic materials.
[In the percentage examples we gave you it is only the remaining 20% or so that consists of bark.
It is an amendment/component of soil. Not something to be utilized as soil by itself.]
A mixture of those two elements is what you are looking for. I would suggest [no less than ] a 4 to 1 ratio in favor of the inorganic [litter]
Do I do the root pruning considering my plant is poorly?
That depends on how they look. Black slimy rotted roots should be pruned off [You may or may not have these in there, Honestly it is hard to know that from here. Considering the leaf loss, It is a possibility.]
You do want to take care not to damage any remaining feeder roots [These are the very fine white ones that look like hair].
Do I rinse the roots considering mine are too damp?
Absolutely.
It is not the 10 or 15 minutes that you spend rinsing/soaking/prodding about that is harmful to a tree. It is weeks at a time of an overly wet condition that leads to declining health.

The soil is retaining water too long- If you keep the same soil massed within your root system this changes nothing. You want to be rid of the inappropriate soil, You will need to use a chopstick [or similar] to loosen up the rootball and try to remove the vast majority of it via some [gentle] prodding and poking while running it under some tepid water.

Consider: If the baby has a dirty nappy, putting a fresh one on over the top of the dirty one doesn't really solve anything you know. [I am sorry if your a visual thinker..;)
I'm putting it into a bigger pot about 2 inches more each side. Is this too big or will it be ok?
It is probably bigger than need be actually [It could lead to other issues- A larger volume of soil stays wet longer] considering you will most likely have a smaller root system going back into the pot. I would wash the current pot out and reuse it.
Sorry to keep asking so many questions :D
Hey, You have to ask:lol:...Your learning right?

Your doing pretty good considering the amount of info we have thrown at you...:)8)

Keep reading and asking!

ynot
EDIT: I see Gnome replied while I was in the midst of my [typical] novel...:lol:

We sort of covered the same points, Which happens often.
My response is far more time consuming to read..Which also happens often. :lol:

bonsaibeauty
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Hi Ynot & Gnome,

Had to work today last minute so just got your replies. Had a good think last night after what you said about not rushing into it and realised i would do much worse rushing into it in a mad panic so am hopefully going to be able to look for the stuff i need tomorrow more carefully.

After reading the links, do i need to wire my bonsai into the pot or is that only for outdoor bonsai?

Thanks for all your 'novels' :D I feel less overwhelmed about repotting now and would have made a mess doing it all today without your comments on the root pruning, soil, pot etc. Will be sure not to cover the dirty nappy with a clean one :lol:

Am going to read through everything thoroughly now, will let you know progress tomorrow

:)

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Bonsaibeauty,
After reading the links, do I need to wire my bonsai into the pot or is that only for outdoor bonsai?
I have seen both views on this, most say that you should wire to allow the new roots to form without being disturbed. I have read at least one author saying exactly the opposite, that not wiring encourages a stronger root system.

In all honesty I have done it both ways. It is probably not so important for an inside tree. Even if you put it outside this Summer it should be settled in pretty good by then.

If you decide to wire you will of course need some wire for this and also a bit to wire in the screen/s. Oops did we not mention the screen before, just a few square inches enough to cover the drainage holes in the pot (if there are not screens now). I'll try to get some pics up to show how it is done.

Norm

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Bonsaibeauty,
Had to work today last minute so just got your replies. Had a good think last night after what you said about not rushing into it and realised I would do much worse rushing into it in a mad panic so am hopefully going to be able to look for the stuff I need tomorrow more carefully.
Glad to hear it [er...not the work part...:wink:] 'Patience' is a huge part of this game, It can be [very very] frustrating at times but it is the most rewarding way to go about it. Good luck shopping.
After reading the links, do I need to wire my bonsai into the pot or is that only for outdoor bonsai?
Good question, Some people wire every single tree into the pot and as this insures stability it is a good policy.

Having said that, I personally do not wire all my trees into their pots [Sheer laziness I assure you] and I am guessing that you may not have wire handy anyway.

In short, It is not required.
Thanks for all your 'novels' :D I feel less overwhelmed about repotting now and would have made a mess doing it all today without your comments on the root pruning, soil, pot etc.
Your very welcome! Welcome to your bonsai journey....I hope it is a long one.
Do let us know when you are about to repot as we will help clarify the process for you. It is not all that scary, I promise.
Will be sure not to cover the dirty nappy with a clean one :lol:
Excellent, My analogies are not always things of beauty though I try to make them effective..[url=https://imageshack.us][img]https://img362.imageshack.us/img362/6604/babaybinkysmileyts5.gif[/img][/url]
Am going to read through everything thoroughly now, will let you know progress tomorrow
8) Reading & Research are long term companions to bonsai..:lol:, Lucky there is a lot of time for it while your experience accumulates.

Good luck,
ynot

EDIT: LOL, Gnome beat me again! I type pretty fast...I just do a lot of editing [It may not show :shrug:]

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Ynot,
LOL, Gnome beat me again!
[img]https://www.toonarific.com/pics_root/00002965/quickdrawlogo.gif[/img]

Bonsaibeauty,

[url=https://img148.imageshack.us/my.php?image=wirecombosv8.jpg][img]https://img148.imageshack.us/img148/7104/wirecombosv8.th.jpg[/img][/url]

You need about five or six inches of wire for each clip this size, this is 14 ga. copper but that is not critical by any means. The screen has a mesh size of 1/8 inch. That is, incidentally, the same screen that I use to remove the fines from my soil. Anything that goes through is too small. Some craft stores here sell a plastic mesh for some type of knitting/crocheting. There are also some other alternatives such as plastic drywall mesh or a product sold to keep leaves out of gutters.

Use some round implement to form the loops, these were formed with a screwdriver. The loops should be far enough apart so that the legs, when bent, just fit through the hole in your pot. After the clip is inserted from the inside the legs are bent to secure the clip. I assure you this appears harder than it is. Once you do a few you'll see it is easy.

Norm
Last edited by Gnome on Thu Feb 01, 2007 8:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

ynot
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Quick Draw McGraw! LOL, Does that make me El Kabong?

Gnome,


Excellent pictures :!:

I took some also of the same process but they were a bit blurry and entirely terrible.

The only additional info I would have is that 6"=15cm and that I just wrap the wire around my finger [The loops are a bit larger though their size is very adjustable.]
Everything else I do the same.

Oh and they really are pretty easy to make, You will be an expert by the third one.

ynot

bonsaibeauty
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Bonsai products

Hi Ynot and Gnome, :)

Went for my bonsai shopping spree today and managed to buy the proper bonsai mesh, have ordered a humidity tray on ebay which arrive in a day or two.
I bought 'Levingtons' bonsai 'free draining' compost which can be returned if it's wrong - it's made up of 'loam, sand, bark, pouzzolane & peat with essential plant nutrients'. Is this right? :?
They didnt have pine bark soil conditioner so I just bought a tiny bag of 'mini pine bark' will this do the same thing?
Couldn't get to tesco to get the lightweight catlitter but bought some local petshop - it is made up of bits of gray 'stone' looking bits and is 100% natural with no chemicals, lady said it is quite lightweight.

Is ordinary wire ok, i know you said it doesnt have to be copper 14ga but is there are wire that will do damage?

Please let me know if any of this is wrong, it can all be taken back. I'd rather get it right.

I'm hoping to repot later on tonight or tomorrow if i need to change anything as I haven't watered it since last saturday and the soil is still damp and soggy, not drying up which it used to do. Roots must be starting to rot.

Please let me know your comments, thanks. Van take pictures of any of the stuff if needed.

Bonsai beauty

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Bonsaibeauty,
I bought 'Levingtons' bonsai 'free draining' compost which can be returned if it's wrong - it's made up of 'loam, sand, bark, pouzzolane & peat with essential plant nutrients'. Is this right?
I am not familiar with this product but we'll discuss it. First I gather that compost in your country means something entirely different than my concept of compost. This product is surely head and shoulders above conventional potting mix. There are a few things though that I should question.

The sand component should be coarse, more like grit than play or beach sand. Is that the case? Same with the peat, there seem to be two (at least) different concepts of that as well. A coarse, long fibered peat will be fine, on the other hand if it is fine peat then you will continuing, at least partially, along the same path you have been. I have no idea what pouzzolane is, I have never encountered that term before.
They didnt have pine bark soil conditioner so I just bought a tiny bag of 'mini pine bark' will this do the same thing?
Couldn't get to tesco to get the lightweight catlitter but bought some local petshop - it is made up of bits of gray 'stone' looking bits and is 100% natural with no chemicals, lady said it is quite lightweight.
These components are to make your own mix, since you have purchased a ready made mix you don't necessarily need these, Although I would keep them for future use. Another option is to use a combination of the products you have purchased. You could, for example, add some of the litter to the prepared product if you feel it needs it. Can you post a picture of the mix please, if you have opened it of course. Since the litter you purchased is not the recommended product you should perform a simple test before you use it. Place a sample of it in a glass of water and observe it. If it remains stable and does not decompose it sounds like it should be alright. This of course will take some time to ascertain.

The mini nuggets are fine, but again this is only a portion of a good mix not to be used alone. The size may have to be altered but you can break it up by hand if all you need is a bit.

Please consider what I have said about sifting, it is essential to avoid introducing fines into your mix. This has a tendency to clog your soil and impede drainage. Ill see about getting a picture of some of my mix up so you can have a visual comparison.

Norm

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bonsaibeauty wrote: I bought 'Levingtons' bonsai 'free draining' compost which can be returned if it's wrong - it's made up of 'loam, sand, bark, pouzzolane & peat with essential plant nutrients'. Is this right? :?
Is it this stuff?
[url=https://img457.imageshack.us/my.php?image=levingtonbonsaisoiliu3.jpg][img]https://img457.imageshack.us/img457/1748/levingtonbonsaisoiliu3.th.jpg[/img][/url]

I have never heard of the brand name but a quick web search tells me that it is 60% organic and 40% grit. Is that correct?

How about the particle size? Are there a lot of fines? [Does any portion of the soil look like actual dirt/dust? These are the fines and should be sifted out. They are bad news for the tree.]

Pleased refer back to the pictures I posted of my soil components for size references as far as particles go.


Sounds like it will need to be amended for sure if you intend to use it as it is mostly organic.

pouzzolane
I had never heard of this ...[One google later:smile:]

Translated from the French Wikipedia page:
Pozzolana is a natural rock consisted by slags (projections) volcanic basaltic or of close composition. It has a honeycomb structure. Pozzolana is generally red or black, with all the intermediate colours, exceptionally gray.
Ok this doesn't sound too bad at all so far...

The very next paragraph:
The term “pozzolanaâ€

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Here's a few random pictures I ran across onsite and elsewhere of some of my trees where you can see the soil.

Note that I do not use any type of top dressing whatsoever.

What you see on top is what goes all the way to the bottom of the pot.

https://img113.imageshack.us/my.php?image=pa041774ra8.jpg

https://img120.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficusbpandoraforestplan2iv.jpg

This is a video of what I mean by 'well draining soil':
https://s7.photobucket.com/albums/y291/novusordo1/?action=view&current=FastSoilVidForHG.flv

More pictures:
[img]https://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y291/novusordo1/Serrissa/RORIII/3ROR_Process_05.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y291/novusordo1/Ficus/Raft%20Ficus/Raftroots12_05.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y291/novusordo1/Ficus/Raft%20Ficus/raft6.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y291/novusordo1/Japanese%20Boxwood/boxnebari2.jpg[/img]


Bonsai 'soil' may not look like 'soil'...
You can believe me when I say it works though.

ynot

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Thanks guys, :)

have done a little more research :roll: and have found out that the reason tesco premium lightweight cat litter is best when others aren't so good is that there's is different to most cat litters as it is made of just 100% recycled paper whereas all the rest are chemical, etc. The one I got was made of 'fullers earth' which i don't think is right or worth risking so im getting the right one from tesco tomorrow.

The Levington compost you researched was right but mine is a slightly different (apparently new) formula and it doesnt say how much % is what.

I know what you mean about compost as here it is normally really thin and would all go through a sift but in the store a bag had opened and i saw they were almost in 'balls' of soil. hope this is right.

will get some pictures on soon, speak to you later :wink:

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bonsaibeauty wrote:Thanks guys, :)
Your Welcome!
have done a little more research :roll:
LOL- We are relentless aren't we? [img]https://www.mainzelahr.de/smile/crazy/whis_keule01_27794.gif[/img]
Read, Research, Read some more, Read a bit more, Use eye-drops and make a pot of coffee, Do some more reading...
[img]https://www.mainzelahr.de/smile/crazy/975.gif[/img] :wink:
and have found out that the reason tesco premium lightweight cat litter is best when others aren't so good is that there's is different to most cat litters as it is made of just 100% recycled paper whereas all the rest are chemical, etc. The one I got was made of 'fullers earth' which I don't think is right or worth risking so im getting the right one from tesco tomorrow.
I am not sure I understand the bit about the recycled paper...? The litter itself is composed of paper? [That certainly won't do...I must misunderstand this...] [or the bag?..] I am pretty confused by that actually...

I have never used [url=https://www.answers.com/topic/fuller-s-earth]Fullers Earth[/url] But it seems as though it may be a bit too water retentive to be beneficial as a primary soil component.
The Levington compost you researched was right but mine is a slightly different (apparently new) formula and it doesnt say how much % is what.
Ok
I know what you mean about compost as here it is normally really thin and would all go through a sift but in the store a bag had opened and I saw they were almost in 'balls' of soil. hope this is right.
That is certainly better than if it were of a very fine composition.
As I said earlier:
Size matters!
Note the size of the 'soil' particles in the pictures I posted, It looks nothing at all like what is in your garden.
[Can't really properly call it 'soil']
will get some pictures on soon, speak to you later :wink:
8)

ynot
Last edited by ynot on Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

bonsaibeauty
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Hi Ynot,

That certainly drains quickly doesnt it? so does the bonsai just get enough moisture from that? (how quickly does it dry out) how often (approximately) would you do that?

From your pictures it looks like a mixture of course and smooth grounded grit which i could pick up tomorrow. How does the bonsai get any nutrients from this?

Lovely bonsai collection by the way, i like the little forest of bonsai :P

I heard that my particular bonsai the fukien tea needs to be moist at all times (hence how i got so carried away with the watering, or should i say flooding :shock: :lol: This cant be right can it but would the grit be enough moisture for mine?

:D

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bonsaibeauty wrote:Hi Ynot,

That certainly drains quickly doesnt it? so does the bonsai just get enough moisture from that? (how quickly does it dry out) how often (approximately) would you do that?
Good questions, :)
8) Yep, When I say well draining soil, I am not fooling around.
It drains like a box full of coat hangers is my favorite way to put it. :)

Yes it gets enough moisture from that {That was when I lived in North Carolina [VERY HOT & VERY HUMID & BLAZING SUN]}

I watered as required [You had to know I was going to say that, right?]
Every day or every other day [depends on what tree were talking about- tree requirements- pot size- location [sun or shade] are all factors here.]
From your pictures it looks like a mixture of course and smooth grounded grit which I could pick up tomorrow. How does the bonsai get any nutrients from this?
Two words; 'fertilizer regimen' I feed them on a regular basis, They take what they need/can utilize and the rest is washed away through the free draining soil. No worries about extra buildup of chemicals in my soil either.

It is my job/responsibility [and yours] to provide all that your tree requires [Water, Appropriate light, Nutrients, Proper temps { via a suitable location}..etc.
Lovely bonsai collection by the way, I like the little forest of bonsai :P
Thanks, Wait..eh?... Oh no...lol, That is not a forest, [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3561]This[/url] is a forest- Or will be;)]
That is a raft [When a tree falls in the forest and the branches continue to grow into trees from the fallen log.] It has grown a bit since that picture [That was when rooted it] Here it is as of last Oct:
You can just see the former trunk along the soil line. [The 'trees' in this all sprout from it as they were formerly branches ] It is about 10" high
[url=https://img515.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficusraftoct060003to0.jpg][img]https://img515.imageshack.us/img515/6638/ficusraftoct060003to0.th.jpg[/img][/url]

A picture of the soil line: [url=https://img156.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficusraftoct060005oj4.jpg][img]https://img156.imageshack.us/img156/9746/ficusraftoct060005oj4.th.jpg[/img][/url]

There is quite a story behind that actually. Read it [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=19101&highlight=soil#19101]here.[/url] [Good soil info in this thread also.]
That [future] raft is actually the top that I cut off of another tree entirely.
Just for the record: All of these trees [The forest, the raft and the shohin] came from the same 1/2G pot {or was it 1/2G-can't recall. 6,7, or 8 trunks in total about 2'-60cm high} from a garden center and cost about 8$US.
I heard that my particular bonsai the fukien tea needs to be moist at all times (hence how I got so carried away with the watering, or should I say flooding :shock: :lol: This cant be right can it but would the grit be enough moisture for mine?
Well, You haven't really had a problem with having too little moisture so far, Lets cross that bridge if we come to it. :razz::wink:

I assure you it works for 1000s of bonsai worldwide [More actually].

Also this is what the addition of pine bark [an organic element] does to your mix- it helps it to retain moisture.
I make a distinction here as often people mistakenly water because it is not WET- It only needs to be moist- NOT wet.

If it is still moist their is no need to water, It need not be wet, just moist.

Note the difference between 'moist' and 'squidgy push on it and water comes out soaking wet'.
In better soil this will be less of a problem, Remember your tree lives in the soil not on top of it.

Those few bone dry flakes [You will see them] of bark on the surface ARE NOT a reason to reach for the watering can.


It is the depths that matter, And they don't need to be dripping wet either for that matter.

I know it all seems scary but you have to tough it out and resist the urge to water constantly.

Tape a huge note [or write in marker] on your watering can:

Only as required.

It will get less scary, I promise...

ynot

bonsaibeauty
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:o Wow, that really is a forest... i hope i can do that one day! Incredible.

Am going to have a rethink as to how I'm going to repot my bonsai, maybe also take back the compost and just use exactly what you have. I'll let you know what happens in the next episode of 'bonsaibeauty repots her first bonsai' tomorrow. Do you use liquid or solid food? :? Thanks for all the help again

bonsaibeauty
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Just in case I repot it before speaking to you tomorrow, have been reading your sticky on repotting and watering afterwards... do i use the submersion method or water with a watering can? thanks :)

ynot
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bonsaibeauty wrote::o Wow, that really is a forest... I hope I can do that one day! Incredible.
Thanks, It still has a ways to go though.

BTW- I found a more concise version of evolution of the Shohin/Raft trees at:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=18379#18379
I knew I posted that somewhere on here but took a bit to find it..lol.
Am going to have a rethink as to how I'm going to repot my bonsai, maybe also take back the compost and just use exactly what you have.

Ok, Do keep in mind that not everyone has the same materials locally available. There are often suitable substitutions available though.

Improvisation is a large part of bonsai you will find.
Due to variables such as What's available wrt potting medium, Climate {Temp, Humidity, Sunlight, Etc} Species you grow, Age-Development-and Health of said species, The amount of resources you have to devote to your trees {Time, Money, Etc.}
Actually the key is to use whatever is effective and is available to you locally, Or easily available.

IE: Using exactly what I use may have less [or more] effectiveness for you depending on all the conditions above. It is a constant process of experimentation/tweaking/observation and then trying to improve the results you get.

First we will get you started....Where the path takes you after that is up to you. 8)
I'll let you know what happens in the next episode of 'bonsaibeauty repots her first bonsai' tomorrow. Do you use liquid or solid food? :? Thanks for all the help again
I use liquid soluble ferts. Miracle Gro and Peters. Two regular old every day ferts available at any wal-mart [or similar garden center] and one fish emulsion fert that is also easy to find in any garden center.

Just for the record their is absolutely no such thing as bonsai specific ferts [or seeds for that matter.]

Ultimately, Bonsai are just trees in container culture. Their special needs wrt soil are so that they develop the most efficient root system possible so they can thrive in their limited [Soil volume wise] environment.

If by 'solid' I assume you mean some type of slow-release pellet. I do not use those at all as I prefer to be know when my trees 'eat' {So to speak} as opposed to mixing in another component into my soil.

Keep reading and posting,
ynot

bonsaibeauty
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thanks so much - am looking forward to my onward adventure with mr. bonsai... will keep you posted :D

ynot
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Sorry just saw your post. [EDIT: Both posts rather, I must be slowing down in my old age....lol ;) That's funny because I am not old at all...]
bonsaibeauty wrote:Just in case I repot it before speaking to you tomorrow, have been reading your sticky on repotting and watering afterwards... do I use the submersion method or water with a watering can? thanks :)
You could do it either way [provided you fully saturate the soil] Usually, After a repot I go ahead and dunk it in tepid water for 5 to 10 minutes It won't need 10...
You will find that it drains far far faster. :)
It should be the last time you dunk it for quite a while, until the next repot.

One thing for the repotting [I haven't read the sticky for a while].

Make sure you have a chopstick handy to use to poke the soil down into the rootball [fill partially- start poking and keep adding soil and keep poking]

You will be very surprised at how much more soil you can fit into the pot as you work it into and throughout the rootball.

The saga continues.... :wink:

ynot

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