BonsaiBeginner77
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:37 pm
Location: Texas

Juniper Bonsai Help!!

I recently purchased a Juniper Bonsai from an online source, it came fairly well packaged with moist soil and packing peanuts between the branches. The tree looked very green and healthy. I've had it for almost a week and noticed that the leaves are starting to turn brown at the branches. It said to let it dry out before I watered it so I did. I've been placing it outside for a couple hours every day to get sunlight but I don't want to leave it out for too long because I'm afraid the 100 degree weather might kill it. I have taken to misting it often when it is outside so it doesn't get too hot. When it is not outside I have it near a window. I started thinking that maybe because the soil was moist when I got it, the roots might have started to rot. This morning I lifted up the rock to check the soil and there was some funky webbing and a worm. It looked like a grub but it was black. A few days ago I had also seen a tiny green bug walking around on the soil, not sure if that means anything. I've been reading online about bonsai's and it said the soil should be more gritty than soil. Today I pulled up my bonsai and the dirt smelled a little funny, the roots looked ok but I saw that the soil was a potting mix with a thin layer of sand on top. So I figured that the soil is probably never drying out when I water it. The roots didn't look like they were too much for the little pot so they still have plenty of room to grow. I mixed some aquarium rocks with little pieces of mulch and placed it back inside the bowl. I shook off some of the soil from the roots but not all of it. Should I have kept a little more of the soil, like mix it in with the rocks, or should i have washed off all the soil off the roots and then placed it in the mixture? Is my mixture even ok? The bowl is concave with the hole in the center so I think the drainage is adequate. The bonsai is a present and I want to make sure that when I give it to my boyfriend it wont die. He has always wanted one of these so I'd hate for his first one to die on us.
Attachments
A picture of the tree when I got it
A picture of the tree when I got it
IMAG0557.jpg (33.99 KiB) Viewed 1360 times
A picture of the leaves turning brown
A picture of the leaves turning brown
IMAG0566.jpg (35.5 KiB) Viewed 1360 times

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Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Re: Juniper Bonsai Help!!

BonsaiBeginner77,

Hello and welcome. Can you please update your profile to indicate your approximate location. Juniper is one of the least appropriate species to keep inside. Low light and humidity levels are two of the most obvious problems. If it's that hot outside I assume you are running air conditioning. Is that correct? Our homes are already very dry and air conditioning only makes it worse.

Junipers can handle high temperatures if situated and watered properly. Since we do not know how it was handled before you acquired it find a spot outside with some shade and stop moving it around. Water according to the chopstick method which can be found in this thread.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... =36&t=1479

Norm

BonsaiBeginner77
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:37 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Juniper Bonsai Help!!

I'm new to this so I'm not too sure how to update things but I live in southern Texas, the only reason I don't leave it outside all day is because I don't know where it originated from and I don't want to shock it. It gets a mixture of sun and shade all day. Yes the AC is usually on at about 76 degrees. So will the aquarium rock and mulch mixture actually work? I don't know if they actually need some type of soil, I know Bamboo trees can survive in just aquarium rocks so I figured the juniper tree would be ok too. At this point I'm just leaving it alone and misting the leaves every now and then so they don't get leaf burn or whatever you call it. Will pruning some of the leaves back help? Or will the yellow/brown eventually get better?

tomc
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Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: Juniper Bonsai Help!!

BonsaiBeginner77 wrote:I live in southern Texas, the only reason I don't leave it outside all day is because I don't know where it originated from and I don't want to shock it.
It is irrelivant where your juniper was propagated. Juniper is a temperate hearty tree that lived in a relative humidity of 50% or greater, and a breeze. None of which can be supplied by you indoors. Not to mention you are probably over watering (the learning forum has a description of "chopstick method; read it please)
BonsaiBeinner77 wrote:It gets a mixture of sun and shade all day. Yes the AC is usually on at about 76 degrees.
Perching your tree near to a window is not "sun".
BonsaiBeginner77 wrote:So will the aquarium rock and mulch mixture actually work? I don't know if they actually need some type of soil, I know Bamboo trees can survive in just aquarium rocks so I figured the juniper tree would be ok too. At this point I'm just leaving it alone and misting the leaves every now and then so they don't get leaf burn or whatever you call it. Will pruning some of the leaves back help? Or will the yellow/brown eventually get better?
All, repeat, all of my trees (even the tender trees) live outdoors this time of year in soil made primarily of Crushed granite grit (obtainable from your local feed store as chicken scratch), and crushed bark (aka "soil conditioner"). Untill I grew my trees in this kind of soil they died; as in, they all died.

Your greatest problem right now is you have a better than 50-50 chance your juniper is already dead. Evergreens are slow to show insults. Storing a juniper in what amounts to a slow oven in the dark, runs right up to such treatment.

I'm using that flash word (insult) advisedly. when you root prune, or top-prune "insult" is the term to describe that technique.
Think like a tree
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