Poor soil absorption

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Poor soil absorption

Post  AlwaysAndrea on Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:00 am

Hello! I've always been fascinated with bonsai and recently my son bought me a 4 year old juniper in a 6.5 inch oval pot from a roadside stand (yeah I know, but he's 12 and used his own money for it, he's a sweetie pie).

I had it for several weeks, I've been keeping an eye on the soil and I believe I am waiting long enough between watering, but when I water I never get any drainage out of the drainage holes. Water just pools at the top. I'm assuming either the soil is too compact or that the roots are pot bound. It's most definitely not repotting season in Ky, I'm unsure how to deal with this issue. I don't want to get root rot.

Most days our temps run 60/85 F I have it on the porch it gets morning sun and is in the shade of a potted dwarf pine in the afternoon and evening. My plan was for this to be a year round outdoor bonsai but I have an indoor plant area if that would be better.

Thanks for the help, I'm a descent gardener but the shallow pot is a bit outside my wheelhouse.

AlwaysAndrea
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Re: Poor soil absorption

Post  John Quinn on Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:26 am

Hi, and welcome to the IBC. Juniper must live outside year round. It does sound like the soil is too compact, from your description. You may also submerge the pot for several minutes periodically to help ensure the root ball gets watered. It can be repotted in the fall but you may want to protect the new roots from a hard freeze the first winter. If the tree seems healthy and you can wait until late Winter or early Spring to repot, that might be preferable.
You will want to learn about suitable bonsai potting mixes and root pruning techniques. A local club if you can find one would be the best bet. If you need to rely on online material, visit a few sources and see the common thread to help discern good advice from bad.

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Re: Poor soil absorption

Post  augustine on Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:33 pm

Find a source for bonsai soil. use your garden hose to wash the top of the soil out of the pot. Hose off about 1/2 the depth of the soil and replace with good coarse substrate. do not remove the plant from the pot and keep the bottom half of the existing soil in the container.

When placing the new soil in take a bamboo chopstick and dibble so that air spaces are not left. You can find articles and videos on repotting which shows the proper way.

It must be kept outside. If it is currently indoors place it outdoors in shade and gradually introduce into more sun. (Over the course of 4 to 6 weeks will be safe). And it must have good drainage. (At this time of year the roots should not be disturbed.)

Good luck, very thoughtful gift Dad!

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Re: Poor soil absorption

Post  leatherback on Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:05 pm

augustine wrote:Find a source for bonsai soil. use your garden hose to wash the top of the soil out of the pot. Hose off about 1/2 the depth of the soil and replace with good coarse substrate. do not remove the plant from the pot and keep the bottom half of the existing soil in the container.

Not sureabout this. This is a first that I hear about this. Apicture would help to get some idea what you areactually dealing with there.
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Re: Poor soil absorption

Post  AlwaysAndrea on Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:25 pm

It is outside and I have a good place to overwinter it with out it being in too much wind.

I'm going to look for a local club, I think there is one in Cincinnati but I'm not sure how active it is.

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