svedishgypsy
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Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:55 am

Dying bonsai

I've got a mallsai (bear with me, I know what I got myself into), and recently it's had a few problems. It's got what seems to be a white mold on the base of the trunk and the surrounding soil, and it's been, well, falling apart a bit. My best guess is root rot? It was my mistake, left it with a friend for 4 months while I was in Europe, and he didn't give it any sun or add more fertilizer. So my question is, should I maybe try to re-pot it before it's winter and hopefully the better soil will help (I've never re-potted it, got it last summer), or should I just sit back and see if it lives. I know mallsai are really cheap anyway, but it has sentimental value and I want to try to keep it alive.

Also, is it possible to grow a new one from the cuttings or is the tree too small? Its about 4 inches in height.

Here's an album of the mold and etc.: https://m.imgur.com/a/1OpUO

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rainbowgardener
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Dying bonsai

Well let's see: to start with it looks like really bad soil for your juniper - too dense, too organic, too moisture holding. That is contributing to the rotting of the soil, along with probably over-watering. Next it looks like your juniper is indoors. Junipers DIE indoors. Period. End of story. It needs to be outside, 24/7/365. It needs cold dormancy in the winter. Without that, if it survives until spring it will die of exhaustion, not having had the rest period. And it hates the hot, dry indoor air and lack of light.

So I think it is suffering as much from what you have done as from what your friend did.

This is really the wrong time to repot. Since it needs dormancy, I would just go ahead and put it outdoors. You didn't say where you are located. If it is already very cold where you are, you can't just plop it out in the cold, you have to acclimatize it a bit gradually to cold/ wind/ sun, etc. And if you live in a place with lots of ice or other harsh conditions, you will need to give it some winter protection.

Re the cutting, I think it is probably too small and suffering for that to work. The tree should be growing vigorously when the cutting is taken. Here's an article about propagating junipers by cuttings: https://www.bonsaiforbeginners.com/bonsai_cuttings.html

I have seen it said that the branch cutting should be 7-8" long and I don't think your little rooted cutting has any that big. And your mallsai probably has very small root system itself, so isn't growing vigorously.
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