tina berry
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Leaf Problem

Hi, I was given a Sageretia bonsai for Christmas which is currently kept on my west facing kitchen window away from a radiator. At first it was healthy, but the leaves developed brown spots and fell off. I thought I was underwatering it, so I was recommended the immersion method. New growth appeared and the leaves were initially bright green, however, soon after they also developed brown spots. Can you advise me what to do? :(

ynot
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Re: Leaf Problem

tina berry wrote:Hi, I was given a Sageretia bonsai for Christmas which is currently kept on my west facing kitchen window away from a radiator. At first it was healthy, but the leaves developed brown spots and fell off. I thought I was underwatering it, so I was recommended the immersion method.
Welcome Tina,

Please discontinue watering by submersion, It is almost unheard of to hear an experienced bonsai practitioner recommend it as a regular practice: [url=https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basics_Watering.html]Read this please.[/url]
[url=https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Sageretia.html]Here[/url]is a care sheet about Sageretias.
tina berry wrote: New growth appeared and the leaves were initially bright green, however, soon after they also developed brown spots. Can you advise me what to do? :(
Sounds potentially fungal, Pictures would be most helpful here as it could simply be watering related still.

These two threads will help you to post helpful pictures:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3724
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3557

Please do check out the links posted [That entire page of articles will be helpful. :) ] And get back to us with some pictures.

ynot

tina berry
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[url=https://img340.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscn4068kk7.jpg][img]https://img340.imageshack.us/img340/466/dscn4068kk7.th.jpg[/img][/url][/img]

thank you for your response, I have attached a photograph of the leaves showing the brown spots. Any advice would be appreciated. Tinax

ynot
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Re: Leaf Problem

tina berry wrote:Hi, I was given a Sageretia bonsai for Christmas which is currently kept on my west facing kitchen window away from a radiator.
You will note in the info presented wrt position in the caresheet link I provided that it says:
Bonsai4me wrote: Position in good light but do not expose to direct afternoon sunlight when behind glass to avoid scorching.


This means your tree requires a new spot to live in, This is one aspect of the issue.
The watering is potentially another, I cant tell if their is an additional fungal aspect to it.
Did it happen to all of the tree at once? Just specific branches? One side or the other? Over what time frame do they brown? etc....
Any details about that you can give us may help determine which factor is most likely the primary cause. [There may be several factors involved...]

ynot

PS - I do not know where your location is: Braintree...?[ Mass, Vt, Or 'other' ? Or what season your currently experiencing.]

tina berry
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My location is Braintree, Essex, England and it is currently spring time. The problem started to occur shortly after I got the Bonsai, all over the tree, with a big loss of leaves over a period of two months even though I was watering and misting the tree regularly. This is when I changed the watering technique and had the new growth come through, however, after approximately 1.5 - 2 weeks the new growth began to develop the brown spots as well. If I can think of any other details I will post them. Hope this helps! :)

ynot
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UK, Ok thanks.
tina berry wrote: The problem started to occur shortly after I got the Bonsai, all over the tree, with a big loss of leaves over a period of two months even though I was watering and misting the tree regularly.
How often is 'regularly'? This is as it was required right? Or was it still wet [Or conversely bone dry? Not on the surface mind you but down a bit- 2 knuckles deep.]

Not trying to give you the third degree ;). Just trying to discover all I can about the care it has had so far....:)

Can you post a picture of the soil it is in so that we may see that? Also do read the article on soil at the bonsai4me site. You may find some of the soil info surprising compared to what is in your pot....:shock:

ynot

tina berry
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I used to water the bonsai every 2 - 3 days using rain water at room temperature. I watered the bonsai from the top, ie pouring a little water from a bottle into the pot. Misting was more occasional, maybe once per week. I watered the bonsai when the surface was starting to dry out, certainly not bone dry. I didn't check how wet the soil was below the surface but must admit I would think the soil was too dry rather than too wet, hence the change to the submersion method as recommended by a bonsai keeping friend.

As to the soil, the bonsai was re-potted soon after I got it based on the recommendation by a local bonsai club. I attended the club one evening so they could take me through the process. The bonsai was repotted using special bonsai soil supplied by the bonsai club. I have attached a couple of pictures, the soil is damp at the moment as it was watered by submersion soon before:

[url=https://img63.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc04022is9.jpg][img]https://img63.imageshack.us/img63/2476/dsc04022is9.th.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://img63.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc04023tp6.jpg][img]https://img63.imageshack.us/img63/2064/dsc04023tp6.th.jpg[/img][/url]

rjj
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Do you water from the top until it drains freely from all the drainage holes on the pot?

I can see what can be a problem created by submersion. Minerals and undissolved solids from the water are building up on the plant, soil and pot. At some point they will become toxic and kill your plant.

Based on what I see in the photo, in my opinion your soil doesn't look that great. It's way too fine and doesn't allow any air around the roots. It looks very compacted. Without air in the mix, it stays wet too long and can cause stress and loss of roots and finally root rot and death.

randy

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Tina,

Hello and welcome.
I used to water the bonsai every 2 - 3 days
This seems a little excessive perhaps, you know better than we do from a distance. I have some Ficus that are in a free draining mix that I water less frequently than that.
I would think the soil was too dry rather than too wet, hence the change to the submersion method as recommended by a bonsai keeping friend.
That is the problem with peat based soils. They stay wet too long and when dry become difficult to wet properly. If you have to water by submersion in order to thoroughly wet the soil then that should be a warning sign that your soil is poor.
The bonsai was repotted using special bonsai soil supplied by the bonsai club.
I must admit that I am surprised by the condition of the soil mix you were given. It looks like little more than conventional potting mix with a little perlite and perhaps a little bark, can't tell for sure. What is conspicuous by it's absence is any form of grit or other inorganic material.

Just a guess but it seems likely to me that the soil is at the root of your problems.

Norm

tina berry
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Thanks for the advise guys. I will re-pot the bonsai in new soil and keep my fingers crossed!

tina berry
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Have re-potted the bonsai now. The roots look fine, no root rot so hopefully I will have more luck now. Will post again in a couple of weeks to tell you if there is any improvement. I will not water by submerging but just stick to a thorough watering when the top layer of soil is drying out. :)

ynot
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Tina,

What did you use for potting medium? Please post some pictures.

ynot

tina berry
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I haven't found any inorganic soil in local garden centres so bought the attached. It has been fine for my outside bonsai. If you think this still may be a problem, I would need to try and order some via the internet.:

[url=https://img370.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc04026mn7.jpg][img]https://img370.imageshack.us/img370/9214/dsc04026mn7.th.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=https://img370.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dsc04024dg7.jpg][img]https://img370.imageshack.us/img370/5989/dsc04024dg7.th.jpg[/img][/url]

ynot
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tina berry wrote:I haven't found any inorganic soil in local garden centres so bought the attached. It has been fine for my outside bonsai. If you think this still may be a problem, I would need to try and order some via the internet.:
It is nothing I would use, Due to the extremely small particle size and highly organic nature of that soil. This soil will quickly compact and this will limit aeration and I suspect it will retain a lot of water.

You will discover much about the benefits of a far far courser [larger particle size] more inorganic looser soil structure in the links below.

Please read these links for a bit about the structure, properties, and function of proper bonsai soil. You are in for some surprises I think...:)
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3422]
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3423

https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basics_Soils.html
https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/soils.htm

Let us know any questions you may have after you absorb this info...
:)

ynot

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Tina,

I'm not sure you have improved the circumstances for your tree with the latest re-potting. Unfortunately with two recent re-pottings I really think it ill advised to do so again. You are just going to have to be very careful how you manage the tree and keep your fingers crossed.

Norm

ynot
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Gnome wrote:Tina,

I'm not sure you have improved the circumstances for your tree with the latest re-potting. Unfortunately with two recent re-pottings I really think it ill advised to do so again. You are just going to have to be very careful how you manage the tree and keep your fingers crossed.

Norm
Oh, I apparently missed [or forgot] that there were two recent repottings...

Nice catch Gnome.

Tina, Be very careful with your watering with that soil...

ynot

tina berry
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Oh dear I am not doing very well. Any suggestions as to how long I leave it before re-potting again?

Please could you look at the attached link, would any of these soils be a good option. This store is within driving distance so I could pick up from soil from there:
https://www.thebonsaistore.co.uk/soils_and_soil_tools

ynot
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tina berry wrote:Oh dear I am not doing very well. Any suggestions as to how long I leave it before re-potting again?
Very generally [barring any emergency situations], Bonsai are usually repotted at minimally annual intervals. Periods of 3 to 5 years are not uncommon for established trees. Repotting is a stressful event for the tree you see.
[url=https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basics_Repotting1.html]Here[/url]is an article about this.
Please could you look at the attached link, would any of these soils be a good option. This store is within driving distance so I could pick up from soil from there:
Glad to see your searching :)

This is from the description of the first soil listed [2.2L] on that page:
This bonsai soil has been produced and mixed in the UK by bonsai professionals.
The soil based mix contains Akadama, Kiryu, grit and fertiliser. The soil based mix has superior water retention over most other products on the market and will help hold the tree steadily in it's pot.
I am not a fan of soils that include ferts [My trees 'eat' when I say so & I know how much and when they 'eat'.:)]
I am also bit concerned about "soil based mix" as that indicates to me [as does the picture...Though that could be bark bits I am seeing in the picture..maybe?? Bark would be far more suitable than actual soil] that possibly they have actual 'garden type soil' mixed in [Which would account for the 'superior water retention', So this does not exactly seem to be a good thing.]

I would take a good look at a bag of the first soil [Well, Each of the available soils actually, See if you can get them to open a bag - Or to see a tree potted in said bonsai soil.] and if it has a substantial amount of 'actual gardening type soil' in it..I wouldn't be thrilled about it.

The second soil listed may be better yet. As it is twice the price and the amount included [9Kg!] is a bit of overkill it may not be your best option. [Unless you have other trees on the horizon ;)]

Having said that: I do think either is an improvement over whats in the pot at the moment.

This is a bit off of your question but I am going to expand on watering for a bit...I know it is redundant and I may be harping a bit...But it is important.

Watering mistakes IMO account for an astoundingly high % of bonsai deaths when starting out, It's the primary cause by far.

Watering is all about frequency, Not the amount that you water.
Remember as I noted before that the goal each time you water is a complete saturation, So the effect is a complete watering every time you do it.
No more water until it is just barely moist a bit down in the pot. [As described before] Then another complete watering...Repeat :)

Speaking of watering, You may note that the site you linked to does have excellent info on watering bonsai at [url=https://www.thebonsaistore.co.uk/watering]this[/url]page.
I notice that the entire article was cut/pasted word for word from several portions of the article [url=https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basics_Watering.html]here[/url] which happens to be the site I have already linked you to previously.
[Potentially this was nicked without permission, Evidenced in that they neglected to post a credit/permission granted statement - :evil: SHAME!]

Good questions- Keep posting :D

ynot

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