pyracantha foilage

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pyracantha foilage

Post  styrax japonica on Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:54 am

i have a pyracantha bonsai and lately the foliage has gone from green to brown on almost all leaves, can somebody tell me why or what this is and how to cure it.

many thanks.

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  Todd Ellis on Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:22 pm

Styrax, could you post a photo of it?

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  styrax japonica on Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:25 pm

sorry dont have camera.
all i can say is that i left it in the rain for a short time and then brought it indoors, the next day i noticed that some of the leaves had started to go brown and were falling off.

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  Todd Ellis on Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:44 pm

You indicated that all of the leaves have turned brown? This does not sound like a good sign, usually indicating that the tree is dying. If the soil mass is soggy, and does not drain well or stays wet continuously, I would consider an emergency repot into a good granular soil. Or, plant the tree in a shady place outside and hope that it might grow. When my trees are dying, it is usually something that I have done or over looked. Watering is key and is something that takes practice. I have been growing for a long time and I'm still learning. The other thing to consider: How long have you had this tree. Where did you get it? Was it from an experienced bonsai grower, or did you buy it in a store or nursery which doesn't specialize in bonsai? Sometimes the soil used to mass produce trees is poor soil, and the tree is already compromised before youget it home. Pyracantha is a temperate species and needs to be grown outdoors. SOme people want to have their bonsai in the house, and believe they are doing well when they take it outside for a few days of "fresh air", then being it indoors again. This only stresses the tree more. I'm sure other readers will offer support.
Salut, Todd

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  styrax japonica on Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:55 pm

i was bought from a bonsai society here in the UK, the tree was fine when i first had it.
my friend also was given a month to month guide for caring for it which said to water it day and night.

i have been careful not to over water it, but it seems like it doesnt like the fresh air i may reconsider repotting it.
should i cut off all brown leaves?

any other help would be appreciated

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  JimLewis on Sun Aug 22, 2010 3:16 pm

Pyracantha belong outside all year long. They do NOT like wet feet. Those instructions to water "day and night" were terrible and are the cause of your problem. A fast repot into nearly 100% turface (or in the UK, whatever kitty litter you use, MAY help, but if all the leaves are brown, I'd guess that it's past the point of no return.

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  styrax japonica on Sun Aug 22, 2010 3:26 pm

not all leaves but most, but it does have some new shoots coming through!!

i really appreciate all info you guys are giving me.


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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  Mike Jones on Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:13 pm

The brown leaves are no use to you and will not do anything other than drop. To clean the tree up, hold a leaf pull in down gently towards its growing point...and it will come off easily. Just carry on until they are all off the tree.

For now I'd leave all new growth coming through. Firethorns will sprout just about anywhere and it requires constant pruning over the season to maintain a desirable shape.

Watering then. When you water the tree you should see water coming out of the drainage holes at a fair rate. Wait a moment and water again, this way you ensure even coverage throughout the pot. Should you not have the desired drainage, loosen up the surface soil...it can get quite compacted over time and although you think you are watering the tree most is just running off from the top. Use a small dinner fork if you do not have a bonsai rake.

Of course the FT loses leaves all through the year, they turn yellowish and to brown and it is usually a simple matter of just plucking them off. You should have berries that are green right now, unless you removed the flowers. If the tree is weak strip them off the tree to save further energy going into the berries, this way you can divert all energy to growth. You do have time to get plenty more shoots.

Although you have been watering twice a day I am going to suggest the root ball is dry. To confirm this, remove any wires at the base of the pot (underneath) that are retaining the tree into the pot. Gently remove the tree and inspect the root ball, my guess is it will be compacted and dry. If so, put some water into a bucket or tray and sit the tree in it for an hour or so until the root ball stops bubbling, this is the air escaping and the root ball filling with water. If you have a drop of superthrive all the better, add this to the water, make certain the water comes right up and over the surface of the root ball...you may need to pop something on the surface initially to hold it down until suitably soaked.

All of the above is of course based on the fact the tree is not diseased. This is where a picture would help us further to assist you.

Finally. As has been said earlier, the Firethorn is an outdoor tree only, and whilst it may be tempting to bring indoors to display, it should be left outside...in all weathers.

I hope this is helpful. It is based on guesswork though appertaining to your tree.

Mike

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  styrax japonica on Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:33 am

thank you for that info , i have just removed it from the pot, the roots a impossible to de-ball, but they are all brown, i have a feeling that it could have root rot, but i will try and salvage it, although not sure how as the roots are so closely tight together.

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  styrax japonica on Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:20 am

was wondering how to detangle the roots of the plant??

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  Mike Jones on Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:04 pm

OK then, for now I would just try to gently tease out what is there on the surface, sides and certainly underneath will be you main target area and most root activity should be around the edges and on top. Dead stuff will just fall away so don't worry too much about identifying the correct material. Whiter/lighter looking roots are your live ones.

You then have two choices. Pop it in the ground for the rest of the year until early Spring time, or into new soil in an oversized pot whereupon you can really get to work on the root ball at that time.

Not really much more I can say at this stage. If you were a bit closer I'd offer to do this for you and re pot in Spring but i am sure you will be OK. remember to keep the roots moist though, the centre of the ball will almost certainly holding water but where you needed it was clearly not.

Soak that root ball after combing out.

Mike

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  JimLewis on Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:15 pm

A hard jet of water from the hose may (with he help of a chopstick) start the untangling process.

You'll gt wet.

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  styrax japonica on Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:25 pm

i have managed to get the plant out the pot ok, i have used a jet of water to remove all old soil, which could contain root rot fungi, and i am now leaving the roots exposed to the rain and air for a short while.

i have cleaned the pot, and i will base the pot with some cat litter for drainage( which was omitted when i removed the bonsai) and put a thin cap of fresh bonsai compost on top of cat litter, then place bonsai on top of that and place some more compost on top and around roots and leave it outside.

please tell me what you think??

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  Mike Jones on Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:42 pm

All fine but I would have gone with an oversized pot for now to allow some decent root growth. Also will you be able to fill the air pockets that jet washing has created OK?

Mike

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  styrax japonica on Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:53 pm

excellent... this is the first time for me at the art of bonsai, i am also trying to grow styrax japonica from seed Smile

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  styrax japonica on Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:55 pm

all i have at the moment is plastic tupaware, would that be ok??

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  Mike Jones on Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:01 pm

Then you may enjoy this link:

http://www.why-bonsai.com/bonsai_history_styrax.html

Welcome to the world of Bonsai; where all things are the same in principal, but very different in reality.

Mike

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  JimLewis on Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:57 pm

I'm never certain what you all in the UK mean by "bonsai compost." Over here, "compost" is used -- if at all -- only as a minor component of bonsai soil. The soil for these should be at least 80% granular baked clay. I use composted pine bark as the other 20%.

Drainage layers as you describe are seldom used these days in western bonsai. We prefer a uniform soil structure throughout the pot. You can work the soil into and between the roots with a chopstick. It is tedious and time consuming, but it must be done. Pour on the soil, hold the tree down firmly in the pot with one hand and with the other jam the chopstick through the piled soil and into the roots and use a circular, funnel-shaped movement (tip of he chopstick almost stationary and stick moving in circular motion) create a whhirlpool in the soil so it disappears in between the roots. Do this all around he pot until you are damned sick and tired of it. Then do it some more. (Note that this procedure will pretty much mess up your soil layers, anyway.)

If I was into video I'd do one to show how it's done. Maybe John can demonstrate some time in his. It is a very important step in repotting.

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  fiona on Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:48 pm

I think I'd also be questioning what you are using as "bonsai compost" Styrax (do please tell us a real name so I don't feel like I'm addressing a Dr Who villain Laughing ). Garden centres here sell a bag of compost under the title of "bonsai compost" and really all it is is a variant of bog-standard garden compost. If indeed that is what you're using, generally these soils don't provide the drainage needed for bonsai - certainly not here in the wet UK.

I think you would be best served trying to find a bonsai club in your area and go along and see what the members are doing with their soils and their trees. It's by far the best way of getting a good start in bonsai. Assuming you haven't put it in the ground, you could always take your pyracantha along to get expert advice.

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  styrax japonica on Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:57 pm

thx fiona.
i bought bonsai compost from "york bonsai" www.yorkbonsai.co.uk"

it has several components in it to help promote root growth, etc.
I am going to go to my local'ish bonsai club and have a chat when i can because at present i am very busy with 2 jobs.

but am very keen to go to the club.

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  Mike Jones on Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:59 pm

Great advice from Fiona regarding soil and clubs. You will really learn so much more than what is contained in a book - by interacting with other members. they will be delighted to help you out - and be rather proud to do so.

Good luck.

Mike

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  styrax japonica on Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:07 pm

will do, i think the meeting is this monday 6th i believe, will have to go and find out Smile Smile

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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  fiona on Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:28 pm

I've looked at the soils available on that sire but I'm not going to be disrespectful to an organisation or product I haven't experienced first hand. If it's their basic soil mix, then I can't see that it would have done any harm.

It's also very difficult to be constructive about a tree that we haven't seen, so perhaps you could add a nice cheap digital camera to your Santa or birthday wish list. In the interim, can you take a basic pic on your or a friend's mobile phone, even, and upload it here? It really would be an enormous help.

Also, I've been looking back at the thread and can't see any details of the size of the tree. That too would help greatly. If you're not sure what we mean by terms like Shohin, then please don't be embarrassed to call it a small, medium or large bonsai. As a good indicator give us the height of the tree from the rim of the pot, the breadth of it, and perhaps also the diameter of the trunk.

That will give us a lot more of a base to go on in helping you.


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Re: pyracantha foilage

Post  marie1uk on Sun May 05, 2013 3:07 am

Sophisticat Pink is a good free draining kitty litter mix (pets at home stocks it). Tesco's kitty litter is a slighly smaller grain alternative that retains a bit more moisture - both are used widely if you don't have easy access to a bonsai nursery... http://www.tesco.com/groceries/Product/Details/?id=265235247


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