txstang347
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HELP! My Juniper Bonsai is dying.

I know this is a common problem and question, but there seems to be two conflicting schools of thought on how much water and sunlight bonsais need. I've read that you cannot over water a bonsai as long as the pot has drain holes (mine does). I've also read that bonsais should not be watered daily or even every other day. I've read that 6 hours of sunlight is a lot and that it should stay outside in as much sunlight as it can absorb.

I'm a little confused as what to believe and follow. My technique had been working fine and my tree was doing great until my bonsai had a unfortunate fall from the window sill while I was at work. I don't know how this happened but it did. I have an apartment with no balcony or patio so it mainly stayed on my widow sill and on the counter at night for occasional watering. I watered it whenever the soil looked and felt dry.

When I walked in my apartment a week and half ago I noticed that the aroma of my tree wasn't present. I found it on it's side, bent, dry and all the soil was on the ground. The leaves were prickly and stuck in my hand. I re-potted the bonsai and watered it. It seems to get better for a few days and the aroma was back, but now the whole tree is yellow (only one side was yellow at the time of the fall).

Also a side note: the air conditioning had broken in my apartment and the maintenance fixed it and it was freezing when I came home, the same day the tree fell of the window sill. I know the maintenance turned the AC to FREEZE and slammed my door causing my tree to fall, but I can't prove that and it won't bring my tree back.

Help please. I want to buy some soil, fertilizer and re-pot it in one last effort to save my tree, but I'm not sure what to buy or if this will just make it worse.

Joe
TXstang347@gmail.com

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Gnome
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Joe,

Hello and welcome, wow there is a lot in your post to deal with.
but there seems to be two conflicting schools of thought on how much water and sunlight bonsais need
No one can possibly give you a pat answer to questions like that. There are so many species, with such varied requirements, used for bonsai that there is no way to make such generalizations. For instance a Juniper needs much stronger light than say an Azalea, similarly Wisteria likes more water than would be appropriate other species.
I've read that you cannot over water a bonsai as long as the pot has drain holes (mine does).
Not so, it is quite possible to do so especially considering the less than ideal soil that many tree are potted in. I have read that if you use an exceptionally free draining soil over-watering is all but impossible but I still think it could be done. Watering is not about the quantity of water that is given at any one time but instead the frequency with which it is applied. You cannot over-water your bonsai in one day it is an ongoing problem over time. Perhaps this is what you are alluding to.
I've also read that bonsais should not be watered daily or even every other day.
This is a much more accurate statement. Water bonsai as needed, not on schedule.
I've read that 6 hours of sunlight is a lot and that it should stay outside in as much sunlight as it can absorb.
Again, I point out that differences in species make any generalizations impossible. But the indoors is not really the place to raise trees, even the tropicals that I grow, which must be overwintered inside, are outside now and will remain so for as long as is practical. Junipers in particular are ill suited to indoor culture.
My technique had been working fine and my tree was doing great until my bonsai had a unfortunate fall from the window sill while I was at work. I don't know how this happened but it did. I have an apartment with no balcony or patio so it mainly stayed on my widow sill and on the counter at night for occasional watering.
You don't say how long you have been following this regimen, probably not very long I would wager. Junipers belong outside no matter what you may have been told when you purchased it. It requires a winter dormancy period that is not possible, or at least very difficult, to provide in your situation.
Also a side note: the air conditioning had broken in my apartment and the maintenance fixed it and it was freezing when I came home, the same day the tree fell of the window sill. I know the maintenance turned the AC to FREEZE
A few hours of cooler temperatures are not your problem. Instead consider that the low humidity provided by your air conditioner that keeps you so comfortable is death to trees. Our home are already very low in humidity, using air conditioning only make this worse.
Help please. I want to buy some soil, fertilizer and re-pot it in one last effort to save my tree, but I'm not sure what to buy or if this will just make it worse.
I think I would avoid re-potting it yet again so soon, this is very stressful and likely to do more harm than good. You may have already seen this page but look here for [url=https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Juniperus.htm]basic Juniper care.[/url]

I hate to tell you this but I don't have a lot of hope for your tree. Don't give up yet but prepare yourself for the worst and get a nice Ficus for indoor culture, it will tolerate the adverse conditions in your apartment much better than a Juniper.

Norm

ynot
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Re: HELP! My Juniper Bonsai is dying.

txstang347 wrote:I know this is a common problem and question, but there seems to be two conflicting schools of thought on how much water and sunlight bonsais need. I've read that you cannot over water a bonsai as long as the pot has drain holes (mine does). I've also read that bonsais should not be watered daily or even every other day.
[This relates to both the red & green] Water retention is all about soil composition. [Though drainage holes are indeed a requirement.]
[EDIT: Gnome makes an excellent point wrt frequency vs quantity]

Wrong, I have no idea where you read that but it is completely erroneous. Doubly so for indoor junipers.

It is impossible to water bonsai on a schedule as it does not address this basic question: "Does the tree NEED water?" That is the only criteria on which you determine if you water or not.
There are far too many variables involved to apply a schedule to watering...You check every day & water when needed.
I've read that 6 hours of sunlight is a lot and that it should stay outside in as much sunlight as it can absorb.
The answer to this is species/locale dependent but a juniper will take all the sun it can for the most part. Considering yours is indoors I sincerely doubt it's possible that 'too much' light was an issue. More likely the lack of dormancy and Light/humidity issues.
How long have you had it?
I watered it whenever the soil looked and felt dry.
Provided it was not bone dry this sounds pretty good. EXCEPT for it's location :shock: which I will address in a moment...
I have an apartment with no balcony or patio so it mainly stayed on my widow sill and on the counter at night for occasional watering.
Inside is not an appropriate environment for a juniper [Am I correct in assuming it was indoors all winter?] [url=https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Juniperus.html]Read this[/url] and pay close attention to the section on 'Position'.

Some more basic tips for you:

https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics.html
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3557
It seems to get better for a few days and the aroma was back, but now the whole tree is yellow (only one side was yellow at the time of the fall).
Yellow is never a healthy color for a Juniper [As you just read in that link Junis can retain their color for months after their demise.
I suspect yours is gone. To check: Scratch the bark in an unobtrusive spot down to the cambium [Just below the bark], If you see a pale green color it is still alive.
Any other color [IE: tan, brown...] it is an ex-bonsai.
Also a side note: the air conditioning had broken in my apartment and the maintenance fixed it and it was freezing when I came home, the same day the tree fell of the window sill. I know the maintenance turned the AC to FREEZE and slammed my door causing my tree to fall, but I can't prove that and it won't bring my tree back.
This had nothing at all to do with the trees demise, Though it did it no favors it didn't hurt it any either as it was gone long before this happened.
Help please. I want to buy some soil, fertilizer and re-pot it in one last effort to save my tree, but I'm not sure what to buy or if this will just make it worse.
Before you do all that, Scratch it and see if it is still alive first.
This is the most important thing you can do for now. My hopes are not high considering the yellowing [Sounds like a lot of it...].

Post some pictures please, [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=355]Photo tips.[/url]

ynot

Look here for [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3343]inspiration.[/url]

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