DDMcKenna wrote:Thank you, and actually, those are exactly some of the questions I had.
To be perfectly honest, I am petrified that I am walking a tightrope on this watering thing. It gets so darn hot down here and so far, I have limited her to four hours in the direct sunlight, mostly morning sun and up to noon. When I pick her up from the stool out by the garden, the pot itself feels really hot, but just like you would expect anything lying out in the sun down here. I take her into the lanai which is screened and offers some form of protection if only imaginary. I carefully go over each limb and leaf to make sure there are no bugs on her and I clean off the debris from all the blossoms in the back yard. I try to look closely at the trunks of each limb to see if it shows any signs of being stressed. I have a sense of relief when she is on the lanai because those storms happen mostly in the afternoon and can pop up in an instant and can be so devastating to something that size. So I am constantly worried about her when she is sitting out in the garden because I don't want any pests to touch her or let the storms wash her out of her little garden.
Some shade is probably in order if multiple waterings per day are not a possibility in your Florida heat.
DDMcKenna wrote:There is a distinct change in all the limbs where they start out looking darker and harder up to a point where you can see what is obviously fresh green and tender limbs but both thickly covered in the growth of those awesome tiny leaves. I think that delineates a time period between whatever it was like for her before and a new season of growth. The fresh green limbs look strong even though they look new and soft. The whole tree is very springy and feels good to touch.
There are indeed immature and mature needles on juniper.
DDMcKenna wrote:I think I have been doing very closely to what you describe with the chopsticks when I push my pinky down into the soil to feel the water content. I can't imagine a chopstick making a very different impression into the soil as I am trying to feel my way down in and do my best not to break a root. I do it out about an inch from the edges but do it two or three times at one check in different spots around her. I'm still trying to learn what it feels like when she is totally dried out.
DDMcKenna wrote:I started looking at pictures online but the problem is that there are thousands and thousands and for every really great looking bonsai, there is another completely different one that also looks great. So I end up thinking that letting her decide how she wants to look might be fun too.
Doodling (about your tree) after photo review will finally lead to a concrete idea. You will prune your tree early in your spring feeling a whole lot better after knocking around some.
DDMcKenna wrote:Another concern is about winter time and the things I've read about how she needs to experience some "dormancy" which is something that is not always guaranteed down here. Some things just grow year-round so I'm hoping there is a way to make sure she is comfortable all year.
Cold is only part of the story, reduced light levels is the other limb that mother-earth is already forshortening a minute or so per day.
DDMcKenna wrote:I think I got all the fertilizer she'll need for a while although I am hesitant to start too early or put too much on her. The liquid fertilizer says to mix one teaspoon with a gallon of water. That sounds extremely potent to me. She is so tiny that I'm thinking I need to use the smallest amount possible. One of my biggest concerns is how much, how often. The guy at the nursery told me he feeds his once a month at the most. He says they grow too fast if you feed them more often. I think you mentioned something about how "rinsing out the soil" when I'm watering means that I have to replace the nutrients which makes sense. So I just have to figure out how often to put some of those green pellets on or in her soil and how much of that liquid to use. I am still spraying her with the spray bottle in the morning. I feel like it is like letting her take a quick shower to start the day. I wondered about mixing a tiny amount of that liquid fertilizer in with the water I spray her with?
OK a spray weekly will do. Regular plain watering should keep salts rinsed out.
DDMcKenna wrote:I am hopelessly torn on what to do about his trunk thing. I want her to have a strong and healthy trunk so whichever way would help her be as strong as possible is the way I would like to see her. I'm guessing that "dead wood" you described is the darker colored bark on the older parts of her trunk and limbs?
Keep shopping for photos, you are overlooking tree that have been intentionally bent, and had their living bark stripped back to a single vein. With sometimes a plethora of bald-white branches. Most of these trees are made not ancient. Note too, white (sometimes too white IMO) bark and trunk, that is lime-sulfur painted on.
DDMcKenna wrote:Ripping apart the tiny roots on a baby tree like this scares the hell out of me too. I watched a YouTube video and read some articles on how they "comb out" the roots but what I saw of her roots looked so tiny and fragile that it would be easy to break them off as you tugged on them to straighten them out. I'm sure she is a little tougher than I am giving her credit for and it sounds like her roots are going to come up out of the soil so I know that I am going to have to do something eventually.
Sooner or later your going to buy a bundle of disposable wooden chop-sticks at your local Piggly-Wiggly. You'll use that to comb out soil when its time to re-pot, I'm hinting that combing those surface roots and recovering them will help you develop a better set of feet for your tree.
DDMcKenna wrote:I was hoping that I could buy that special cactus soil online.
Try your local feed (horse chicken cow) store for soil components, and your local big-box store for cactus soil.
DDMcKenna wrote:I apologize for making this so long and sound so dramatic but I'm afraid this tiny Juniper is going to be smothered with affection.
Many people kill their first trees, before asking pertinent questions. As in ALL
their first collected trees. Your willingness to try and run ahead of this, should lead to better outcomes.