PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

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PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  immAGinoso on Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:24 am

I got this tree in spring and I was new to outdoor species.  Big fat trunk with movement, developed nebari, and small two coloured leaves.  I thought, sure 3 years of work.   Now, I am thinking.. damn stop eating fast food, expectations are not the same with Bonsai. LOL

After being with me until now, it has not progressed.  Almost no new leaves, leaves just fading colour.  
I had it looked at by an experienced hobbyist and he said that it is very unhealthy.  Since it is too late to repot this season, he suggested to take out all the soil I can with a light poking of a chopstick and after put new deciduous bonsai soil mix as much as possible.  I managed to take almost half out the muddy and weedy dark soil and have topped it with new soil, burying the entire nebari almost.    This picture is as of today, did the new soil topping 3 days ago.

Secondly, he says that there are parasites that are living on the dead parts of the trunk.  I have highlighted them in red.  
He suggests that I carve/scrape out the dead wood with some wood working scraping tools and then apply Malathion Insecticide.    

I plan to do the second step before Thursday this week.  What do you guys think?  I really want to keep this nice tree, and spend years making it the best tree it can be.  It is a beautiful trunk really.  Now I am learning to be patient and appreciative of slow but sure progress.  PLEASE HELP Smile

FIRST PIC, WHEN I JUST GOT IT (RIGHT SIDE OF PIC), START OF SPRING, OTHER JAPANESE MAPLES BUDS NOT OPEN YET.



ALL PICS BELOW ARE AS OF TODAY






Last edited by immAGinoso on Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:39 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  immAGinoso on Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:32 am

I forgot to add:
In the last picture, on the right hand side, I wonder if the branches attached to the affected area can be saved?
I marked it with red arrows and a red question mark.

In my understanding, being able to keep as much existing branches and leaves will be to the overall health benefit and quick recovery of the tree. That would be great if possible. If it works, I will take it as a gift and challenge on how to style the tree long term.

Thanks again.

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  Marty Weiser on Mon Jul 04, 2016 2:08 am

If you had bad, mucky soil watch your watering very carefully since you may have root rot. You want the soil around the roots to dry to the point where it is just moist before watering again. Also make sure you water very, very thoroughly when you water so you wash out any of the old mucky soil and leave room for the roots to grow in a nice moist, but not wet environment.

If you think root rot is a real issue you may want to drench with a good fungicide. It will also kill any good fungi, but maples are not as dependent upon them as some other species such as pines so this is less apt to be an issue.

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  immAGinoso on Mon Jul 04, 2016 5:47 am

Marty Weiser wrote:If you had bad, mucky soil watch your watering very carefully since you may have root rot. You want the soil around the roots to dry to the point where it is just moist before watering again. Also make sure you water very, very thoroughly when you water so you wash out any of the old mucky soil and leave room for the roots to grow in a nice moist, but not wet environment.

If you think root rot is a real issue you may want to drench with a good fungicide. It will also kill any good fungi, but maples are not as dependent upon them as some other species such as pines so this is less apt to be an issue.


It was mucky for sure, I was able to take out half of it, from the top, I was very light handed with the chopstick.
Since I have no experience, I couldn't tell if there was root rot going on. But the pot was root bound.

Anyway, I filled it with new deciduous soil. More actually, covering the nebari. I thought that the more roots in the new soil, the better.

So is the method with fungicide you suggested, "an extra no harm at all , kinda just to be sure practice" ?

But as a next step, I should still go ahead as I outlined in my first post? My main concern is how its gonna affect pretty developed branches, theres not a lot of branches right now.

Thanks.

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  immAGinoso on Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:35 am

How many days can I leave it alone without watering just to be sure it is not too saturated at the bottom half of the pot? Meaning where the unremoved half of the original mucky soil is.

Could you also specify or recommend an affordable fungicide for this treatment?  Is it something going to be useful in the bonsai hobby?  Thanks again.


Thanks. [/quote]


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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  leatherback on Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:36 am

Personally, I would have taken the plant out of the pot, and carefully removed as much old soil as possible without breaking the roots. Then repot in a well-draining substrate. Then see how it recovers. As long as you keep it out of full sun and wind, you can do a lot to plants also in mid-summer. I find the green japanese maples to be very strong to almost all abuse.I did a full root-prune on one in mid summer last year with only a spurt of growth as response...

Drenching the eaten areas with insecticide seems like a good plan.

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  Marty Weiser on Mon Jul 04, 2016 2:45 pm

If the soil is stratified (good on top, mucky in the bottom) you are going t have trouble keeping the top moist without the bottom being saturated - I didn't catch that the first time. I was envisioning pockets of muck between roots rather than a layer.

I agree with the leatherback to lift the tree and get rid of most of the lower much without damaging the roots very much so the soil is more homogeneous. You might even consider washing with a hose as the least damaging to the roots. I also agree that with proper aftercare the green Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) are very tough.

No particular recommendations on the fungicide - go to a good garden center and ask for their recommendation. However, if clean out most of the much it should not be needed.

Inserting a chopstick or two to pull and check for moisture level is a good way to judge the watering.


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Moisture

Post  BonsaiEejit on Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:21 am

It may not be very traditional but I bought a moisture meter a few months ago and that has probably saved a few of my trees from over-watering. The meter will tell you how much moisture is in the soil at different depths so it may look super dry on top but it is still moist at the bottom. This in itself may well indicate poorly drained soil but I am waiting until next season to re-pot.

As for your situation, I agree with the top comments. It may be a slight gamble, but its probably worth completely re-potting if you are worried about root rot. Get some well drained soil in there and give it a few weeks to recover. You might find that it will spring back to life.

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  immAGinoso on Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:31 am

[quote="BonsaiEejit"]It may not be very traditional but I bought a moisture meter a few months ago and that has probably saved a few of my trees from over-watering. The meter will tell you how much moisture is in the soil at different depths so it may look super dry on top but it is still moist at the bottom. This in itself may well indicate poorly drained soil but I am waiting until next season to re-pot.
quote]

I have been fantasizing about something like this... I am overjoyed to hear that it is a reality.
This will help me now this season with manual watering.  Will help me so much more next season with fine tuning auto watering and misting when I set up my balcony bonsai bench (now turning into mini bonsai balcony garden LOL).

May I ask you for the specifics of your device?  Sounds like it is good quality.  I hate having to buy investments twice.
TY Smile

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Moisture meter

Post  BonsaiEejit on Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:25 am

Well I'm in the UK so I couldn't say if the exact device is available in Canada. Here is the amazon link...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/eBoot-Moisture-Sensor-Gardening-Farming/dp/B01CJ8UHEE/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1467796871&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=moisture+meter&psc=1

I have just had a look on the Canadian amazon website and thie looks to be the equivalent :

https://www.amazon.ca/Dr-Meter%C2%AE-Moisture-Monitor-Hydrometer-Gardening/dp/B00PTLGKSQ/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1467796951&sr=8-11&keywords=moisture+meter

They are cheap so easy to replace. I dropped mine a while ago and the pointy bit broke off so they can't be thrown around. However, they definitely help me in my early days of bonsai and horticulture! I definitely recommend them.

Good luck

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  beer city snake on Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:57 pm

keeping a chop stick in the soil can be just as effective (as mentioned by marty)

every day just pull it out and if it is wet, do not water and stick it back in.
if it is dry, or close to being so, water and stick it back in.
(while keeping in mind certain trees preference for being a bit on the dry side between waterings)

but you should do it daily and after a while you will be able to better judge your trees needs in various conditions
(hot & windy vs cool & dry, etc)

remember having bonsai is like having a pet... they need hands on care and checking that chopstick daily will also help you keep an eye on other aspects of your trees health and progress on a regular basis.

from previous posts, it seems that you may be leaning toward having your trees eventually cared for by automated systems, but in my opinion, that takes some of the soul outta the whole endeavor... just sayin'

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Watering

Post  BonsaiEejit on Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:43 pm

Totally agree with BCS...I love watering my trees so I don't think I would go down the road of auto watering systems. Some weeks I water my trees only once, other weeks I water twice a day. I don't think an auto watering system is all that great unless it is indoors under a highly controlled environment. Even then, it doesn't quote sit well with me. I like to tend to my trees too much! That's just me though. There are plenty of people that love to set up the gadgets, etc and there is nothing wrong with it...whatever brings you satisfaction.

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  immAGinoso on Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:51 am

beer city snake wrote:keeping a chop stick in the soil can be just as effective (as mentioned by marty)

remember having bonsai is like having a pet... they need hands on care and checking that chopstick daily will also help you keep an eye on other aspects of your trees health and progress on a regular basis.

from previous posts, it seems that you may be leaning toward having your trees eventually cared for by automated systems, but in my opinion, that takes some of the soul outta the whole endeavor... just sayin'

I acquired more trees than I should've as a beginner... it is costly :S ...But they are sort of telling me now how I should design my balcony or bonsai stand (which I postponed from not feeling 100% about it yet). I have hoped for automatic watering to be sure I do not kill anything by underwatering, but now I have learned that overwatering is a tree killer. So now, I will reduce the plans of auto watering and focus on automisting to address the dryness of conditions being on the 17th floor.

If someone could tell me, which is more effective for this issue? Does bonsai or plants in general respond to fine mist or regular mist?
I do not know the proper terminology.


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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  immAGinoso on Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:56 am

BonsaiEejit wrote:Well I'm in the UK so I couldn't say if the exact device is available in Canada. Here is the amazon link...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/eBoot-Moisture-Sensor-Gardening-Farming/dp/B01CJ8UHEE/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1467796871&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=moisture+meter&psc=1

I have just had a look on the Canadian amazon website and thie looks to be the equivalent :

https://www.amazon.ca/Dr-Meter%C2%AE-Moisture-Monitor-Hydrometer-Gardening/dp/B00PTLGKSQ/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1467796951&sr=8-11&keywords=moisture+meter

They are cheap so easy to replace. I dropped mine a while ago and the pointy bit broke off so they can't be thrown around. However, they definitely help me in my early days of bonsai and horticulture! I definitely recommend them.

Good luck

amazon.ca price is about 6 times at least... argh! buying,shipping to from here is like living in Mars! LOL
but thank you for sharing... I think I will look for north American alternatives. Great idea though for a beginner!

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  immAGinoso on Sat Jul 09, 2016 4:12 am

Quick update...

I carved out all 3 highlighted areas this evening... the lowest one is quite big and deep! At least 5 inches deep and half inch diameter open. It is going down to the root level.  See comparison pics with the stainless scraping tool.
Was getting dark so didn't get to do the pesticide treatment.  Tomorrow will use woodworking glue syringes to inject all holes with Malathaiaon solution until it almost flows out.     There should be really no major issues with the pesticide solution getting to the roots?
The plan is after the pesticide is applied, the tree will be put in shade to rest for a week.   Will just lightly mist the leaves, branches and top surface of the soil a bit daily to prevent it from drying out.  

Does this sound ok?




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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  M. Frary on Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:13 am

Underwatering is the tree killer not overwatering. If you only mist the leaves and the top of the soil it will dry out. Then it's bye,bye maple. Instead of worrying about deadwood and carving or styling you need to focus on getting the tree into proper soil. That means pulling the tree out of the pot it's in. Washing the roots and if it were mine I would plant it in a colander. In the inorganic soil of your choice. Toss the gadget and learn to use your eyes and fingers to find out if your tree needs watering.
And quit screwing with it. Leave it alone until next year. A little neglect goes a long way. Bonsai isn't a race.

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  Dave Murphy on Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:36 pm

M. Frary wrote:  Underwatering is the tree killer not overwatering. If you only mist the leaves and the top of the soil it will dry out. Then it's bye,bye maple. Instead of worrying about deadwood and carving or styling you need to focus on getting the tree into proper soil. That means pulling the tree out of the pot it's in. Washing the roots and if it were mine I would plant it in a colander. In the inorganic soil of your choice. Toss the gadget and learn to use your eyes and fingers to find out if your tree needs watering.
 And quit screwing with it. Leave it alone until next year. A little neglect goes a long way. Bonsai isn't a race.

This. The tree was clearly weak breaking dormancy and staying in the muck will only weaken it further. Get it out of the muck and into better soil. I'm willing to bet that when you lift the tree from its current pot, most of the soil will stay in the pot or fall from the roots anyway. Personally, I'd skip the colander and fashion a wooden box with a screened bottom for it. An Anderson flat would work as well. Place it in the shade for a few weeks then gradually move it out into full sun. The trunk will eventually need to be hollowed out, but that can wait until next year, assuming the tree is stronger.

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  immAGinoso on Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:47 am

Dave Murphy wrote:
M. Frary wrote:  Underwatering is the tree killer not overwatering. If you only mist the leaves and the top of the soil it will dry out. Then it's bye,bye maple. Instead of worrying about deadwood and carving or styling you need to focus on getting the tree into proper soil. That means pulling the tree out of the pot it's in. Washing the roots and if it were mine I would plant it in a colander. In the inorganic soil of your choice. Toss the gadget and learn to use your eyes and fingers to find out if your tree needs watering.
 And quit screwing with it. Leave it alone until next year. A little neglect goes a long way. Bonsai isn't a race.

This.  The tree was clearly weak breaking dormancy and staying in the muck will only weaken it further.  Get it out of the muck and into better soil.  I'm willing to bet that when you lift the tree from its current pot, most of the soil will stay in the pot or fall from the roots anyway.  Personally, I'd skip the colander and fashion a wooden box with a screened bottom for it.  An Anderson flat would work as well.  Place it in the shade for a few weeks then gradually move it out into full sun.  The trunk will eventually need to be hollowed out, but that can wait until next year, assuming the tree is stronger.

I just took it out of its pot and tried to get the muck out as much as possible by rinsing the roots in a bucket of water. Did not prune roots but it was shagged a little with this exercise. Wired it back and put in new deciduous soil mix (at 60%) and inorganic clay or small pebbles (at 40%). It is now in the shade on a hydration tray, no direct contact with water.

I am still very much inclined to giving it the pesticide treatment tomorrow or day after.
I am thinking of dealing with the possible problems once and for all and give the tree a rest for weeks.

One of the reasons I would like to do the pesticide treatment is to be sure that there is no bug in my balcony where I currently keep other bonsai, outdoor and tropical species at the moment. Although I did not see anything live so far.




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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  leatherback on Sun Jul 10, 2016 6:54 am

Good going. Not sure I would have washed the roots, but at least the roots have air. What do you mean with deciduous soil mix? Why not use the clay pebbles at 100%?

immAGinoso wrote:
One of the reasons I would like to do the pesticide treatment is to be sure that there is no bug in my balcony where I currently keep other bonsai, outdoor and tropical species at the moment.  Although I did not see anything live so far.

This is nto the thing to worry about. IF you still have living boarers in there, they will not just jump to another plant; These typically stay in the same host their hole youth, come out as adults, mate and lay their eggs on unprotected dead wood or tree bark. See also as an example https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/EAB/index.php?page=ident/eab_life_cycle.

The adults are mobile and will come to your balcony anyway Wink

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  M. Frary on Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:44 pm

Assuming it lives the tree that's been grafted on to make that bottom bar branch needs to be addressed. It looks like the graft is being pushed out of its channel.

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  Dave Murphy on Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:49 pm

immAGinoso wrote:
Dave Murphy wrote:
M. Frary wrote:  Underwatering is the tree killer not overwatering. If you only mist the leaves and the top of the soil it will dry out. Then it's bye,bye maple. Instead of worrying about deadwood and carving or styling you need to focus on getting the tree into proper soil. That means pulling the tree out of the pot it's in. Washing the roots and if it were mine I would plant it in a colander. In the inorganic soil of your choice. Toss the gadget and learn to use your eyes and fingers to find out if your tree needs watering.
 And quit screwing with it. Leave it alone until next year. A little neglect goes a long way. Bonsai isn't a race.

This.  The tree was clearly weak breaking dormancy and staying in the muck will only weaken it further.  Get it out of the muck and into better soil.  I'm willing to bet that when you lift the tree from its current pot, most of the soil will stay in the pot or fall from the roots anyway.  Personally, I'd skip the colander and fashion a wooden box with a screened bottom for it.  An Anderson flat would work as well.  Place it in the shade for a few weeks then gradually move it out into full sun.  The trunk will eventually need to be hollowed out, but that can wait until next year, assuming the tree is stronger.

I just took it out of its pot and tried to get the muck out as much as possible by rinsing the roots in a bucket of water.  Did not prune roots but it was shagged a little with this exercise.  Wired it back and put in new  deciduous soil mix (at 60%) and inorganic clay or small pebbles (at 40%).  It is now in the shade on a hydration tray, no direct contact with water.  

I am still very much inclined to giving it the pesticide treatment tomorrow or day after.  
I am thinking of dealing with the possible problems once and for all and give the tree a rest for weeks.  

One of the reasons I would like to do the pesticide treatment is to be sure that there is no bug in my balcony where I currently keep other bonsai, outdoor and tropical species at the moment.  Although I did not see anything live so far.



You need to give this one a rest for the next 1-2 years, and that's assuming it survives. I wouldn't do a thing to it other then careful watering. Skip the humidity tray, which is useless at raising humidity, but keep it out of the wind. If it hasn't kicked it by the end of July, I'd start feeding it lightly. This tree is weak and you just did an out of season re-pot- necessary imo but still another stress for the tree. Maples are tough but there's a limit and this one is close to it.

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  immAGinoso on Sun Jul 10, 2016 3:42 pm

Because its what I have currently to work with... I went to the pet store to get pebbles but they were closed :S

Besides, I did this because I saw the tree react to the 50% soil change I did last week. It had a cluster of new healthy leaf growth.

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  M. Frary on Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:42 pm

What are the pebbles from the pet store for?

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  immAGinoso on Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:50 am

M. Frary wrote:  What are the pebbles from the pet store for?

To increase the inorganic component of the soil mix. The store was closed that day anyway, I recycled some from the pot of a departed pine seedling from last year.

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

Post  immAGinoso on Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:52 am

leatherback wrote:Good going. Not sure I would have washed the roots, but at least the roots have air. What do you mean with deciduous soil mix? Why not use the clay pebbles at 100%?

immAGinoso wrote:
One of the reasons I would like to do the pesticide treatment is to be sure that there is no bug in my balcony where I currently keep other bonsai, outdoor and tropical species at the moment.  Although I did not see anything live so far.

This is nto the thing to worry about. IF you still have living boarers in there, they will not just jump to another plant; These typically stay in the same host their hole youth, come out as adults, mate and lay their eggs on unprotected dead wood or tree bark. See also as an example https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/EAB/index.php?page=ident/eab_life_cycle.

The adults are mobile and will come to your balcony anyway Wink

Can bonsai pests go all the way up from the ground to the 17th floor?
Also is there a general practice of keeping pests away in your bonsai space, garden or balcony?
Something organic would be ideal.. garlic spray? neem oil? Just imagining these for now...

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Re: PLEASE HELP SAVE THIS BIG FAT TRUNK JAPANESE MAPLE

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