netterz
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Urgent Bonsai Juniper tree turning brown please help

Hello,

My name is Nette and I live in Texas. I live in an apartment and I received a pre-trained 3yr Juniper Bonsai Tree as a gift in December. I noticed that the leaves and branches are starting to turn brown. I have read many articles because I really want to save my tree. I originally had the tree indoors because i was told it would not require much sunlight during the winter period. Well I think this may have been a mistake. Texas does not really have winter. I also was watering it every 3-4 days. Once I started noticing the browning of the leaves I stopped watering the tree to once a week (today was the 1st day I watered it again since the soil appeared pretty dry) and placed it outside on the patio where the sun shines. I typically put it outside in the morning before work when it's still a little dark and then once I come home from work I bring it indoors until the next morning. I have been doing this for the last 3-4 days and did not notice any change. Can someone please tell me what else I can do to save my bonsai tree. It was a gift and means a lot to me. :( When I first received the tree back in December there was already some browning present but not nearly as much now. I have included pictures. I had to bring the tree in to take photos. Any help would be much appreciated. If you need more information or have questions about the plant please let me know

*I also read somewhere about a scratch test and the trunk still has some green as well as the branch.
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Last edited by netterz on Fri Jan 29, 2016 4:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Urgent Bonsai Juniper tree turning brown please help

RE: I typically put it outside in the morning before work when it's still a little dark and then once I come home from work I bring it indoors until the next morning.

Do not bring it back in! Juniper trees live outdoors, period! They are extremely cold hardy and grow natively almost all the way to the Arctic circle. It needs cold dormancy and does not like dry, heated, indoor air.

Don't water it on a schedule, water when it needs it, which will be different periods of time, depending on the weather, how actively it is growing, etc. Here's some good information about bonsai care including watering and how to know when to water: viewtopic.php?f=36&t=1479
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netterz
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Re: Urgent Bonsai Juniper tree turning brown please help

Thank you for the link to the information. I believe this was the information I read recently within the last 2-3 days. I will leave the tree outside now in fact it's there now. Although I am not sure about the "winter" phase because Texas doesn't really get that cold. Is there a certain temperature that I should go by to protect the tree by placing "the pot in a larger pot with straw or some other medium in it"

Also can someone advise what they believe the condition of the tree is? So I assume there is no saving it or just continue on with placing it outside and less watering. If more pictures are needed of the soil I can post more tomorrow.

tomc
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Re: Urgent Bonsai Juniper tree turning brown please help

Welcome to helpful gardener. Your juniper needs to be picked up daily, partly to weight it for water in your soil, and to check for disease-scale-weeds. It needs to be closely held and a chop-stick or splinter stuck in soil & withdrawn and checked for dampness (this is how your going to test its need for water) Dry chopstgick, its time to water, damp chop-stick do not water. When you do water, don't stint. Water it liberally enough so that water runs out the bottom.

All those many sticks with a chopstick will tend to help airate soil. (a good thing)

Juniper can turn brownish to red in winter due to lower light levels, its not nessisarily bad. Drying brittle needles are more ominous (signs of death).

As RBG has noted the right place for a juniper to reside is outdoors.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Urgent Bonsai Juniper tree turning brown please help

I don't think you are going to need to worry about winter protection. But you didn't say where in TX. I don't have to tell you, TX is a big place with a lot of different climates. :D

Your juniper doesn't look that bad (you did well to write in soon, often people wait way too long and by the time they finally ask about what they should be doing, it is too late). I wouldn't give up on it. Bonsai is an art requiring a lot of patience. You will need to just patiently take good care of yours until spring. If you are having snow and freezing, your juniper will be dormant in winter. It will require very little water and no fertilizer.

In the spring you will know how it is doing, if it starts putting out new, brighter green growth. At that time you would start fertilizing it.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

netterz
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Re: Urgent Bonsai Juniper tree turning brown please help

Thank you so much i am going to leave it outside all week and will do another update here. I did have another question can i cut some of the brown off the tips of the leaves. I wont worry too much about the brown branches. I need a way to tell if its still turning brown or if i am still seeing same brown spots all over the tree. Hope that makes sense. Oh and i live in Central TX a little outside the Austin area.

netterz
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Re: Urgent Bonsai Juniper tree turning brown please help

Hello again can someone tell me if the brown leaves shown in the pictures Inposted above will eventually to grow out and be replaced with green?? I still have brown stems and leaves. I am afraid the tree may still be turning brown but at a very slow rate. I just can't tell at this point. Some more advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

tomc
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Re: Urgent Bonsai Juniper tree turning brown please help

Take a deep breath. Handle your tree every day (& check for water needs).

Newly propagated juniper can have some die-back. I would leave off any pruning till spring growth spurt starts. Also no fertilizer till spring growth.
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netterz
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Re: Urgent Bonsai Juniper tree turning brown please help

Ok another update. Some of the leaves are brittle and hard. I think it maybe dead. I have kept it outside since i first posted asking for help. A scratch test did show some green but i really don't know how to tell at this point.

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