new bonsai

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new bonsai

Post  Art by David White on Mon Apr 13, 2009 3:45 am

this is my first bonsai. i've been interested in bonsai for a while and ive bought a couple of "mall-bonsai" in stores... after doing quite a bit of reading i decided to buy a juniper and try bonsai for real. i pruned, re-potted and did a little bit of wiring. im rather pleased with the results. ive had this tree for about 2 weeks now. dont get worried from the pic... i dont keep it indoors. i only bring it in for display when we have dinner guests and things like that. since im new to all this any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated. thanks Very Happy


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New Bonsai

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:24 am

David

Please forgive my bluntness. But, you are going to kill that plant in that situation,

1. I notice what appear to be small stones glued to the surface of the soil. You must remove them and fill the space with loose stones or soil.

2. And most important that Juniper will not survive long indoors 24/7/365. You must get it outside most of the time. In NC it should be OK outside all year. It is OK to bring it in for a few hours or even a day for show and you display is very attractive.

3. Make sure that the plant does not sit in water. Junipers are killed very quickly buy too much water. Don't over water. Insert a wooden meat skewer into the soil to check for soil moisture. If it is wet don't water.

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Re: new bonsai

Post  Art by David White on Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:09 pm

thanks for the advice. the stones are loose, theyre just laying on the top for decoration, and the tree stays outside 99% of the time. it comes in no more than a few hrs @ a time. the tray underneath is just for humidity the pot is set up on stones so it cant sit in water. i read that this was a good thing... is that wrong? i only water it when it gets kinda dry. i read about the wooden stick to check if its dry... got a chopstick for that. i read not to water unless the stick was mostly dry... right?

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New Bonsai

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:22 pm

Sounds like you are doing most things right.

The tree does not need a "humidity" tray and they don't do much if any good to really raise humidity. They do allow you to water without damaging your table.

The chop stick works to check for soil moisture, but wait until it is dry.

What is your soil mix?

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Re: new bonsai

Post  Art by David White on Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:35 pm

the soil is about 1/3 perlite, 1/3 rocks, and 1/3 organic miracle grow potting mix with 6 months of plant food in it. i tried to find some type of clay rocks for the soil but i couldnt find, so i just used some of the rocks like are on top. it drains pretty well, do you think its ok? also i read something about using cat litter, whats that about? all i could find was cat litter with some type of deodorizer in it, i didnt think that would do so well for the plant so i didnt get it.

what with and when should i fertilize it?

i really wanted to have sphagnum moss growing on the top of the soil, but all ive seen in stores is sphagnum peat moss. do you have any suggestions of where to get and how to grow the moss? and will it kill the moss when i re pot next year?

thanks for all your help

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Re: new bonsai

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:58 pm

Art by David White wrote:the soil is about 1/3 perlite, 1/3 rocks, and 1/3 organic miracle grow potting mix with 6 months of plant food in it. i tried to find some type of clay rocks for the soil but i couldnt find, so i just used some of the rocks like are on top. it drains pretty well, do you think its ok? also i read something about using cat litter, whats that about? all i could find was cat litter with some type of deodorizer in it, i didnt think that would do so well for the plant so i didnt get it.

what with and when should i fertilize it?

i really wanted to have sphagnum moss growing on the top of the soil, but all ive seen in stores is sphagnum peat moss. do you have any suggestions of where to get and how to grow the moss? and will it kill the moss when i re pot next year?

thanks for all your help

Your soil mix is OK but don't count on the plant food lasting 6 months. Cat litter can be a very BAD idea because most brands are made to clump when wet and that is what you don't want.

I would use a liquid such as Miracle Grow (actually a powder you mix up) they have a formula made for acid loving plants which would be good for your Juniper. Use according to package directions.

Moss on the surface usually means the plant is too wet. The photographs you see with moss on the surface were set up for display. The moss is kept in a separate container and only put on for display.

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Re: new bonsai

Post  Art by David White on Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:29 pm

thanks

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Re: new bonsai

Post  Carolee on Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:38 am

It sounds to me like you have gotten some good advice. I wanted to share with you how I killed my first juniper so you won't make the same mistake. Before wiring, I would bend the branches in various positions in order to try to find the 'best' position. Don't do this. It breaks up the cambium, and that kills the branch. Kill enough branches, and the tree dies.

Regarding cat litter: Years ago I learned about cat litter for bonsai soil. In fact I think I learned it here. The cheapest cat litter without deodorant, without clumping additives, etc. will work instead of the turface and other high-fired clay used in bonsai soil. The way to tell if it is okay to use, do this: put a 1/2 cup of litter in a cup of water, let it sit for twenty-four hours, if you can make a ball of the litter after it has sat in the water, do NOT use it. If it is still loose, and doesn't clump, it will work. The trick is finding a cheap cat litter.

Keep reading those books on bonsai, but here are some good web sites for information:
www.evergreengardenworks.com
www.bonsai4me.com

Carolee
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Re: new bonsai

Post  Art by David White on Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:15 am

thanks, i'll check out the sites. ive been reading any thing i could get my hands on, about bonsai. i like to know as much as possible about a subject before i get too involved in it. one of the sites i was reading from directed me to this club as being a great place to learn and share experiences.

i'll try some cat litter on another tree. i want to get several more junipers and try different things on them to see what works best for me.

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I have killed my share.

Post  Joe Hatfield on Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:44 am

You might want to look at a home pond store for some soils. They have soils for aquatic plants that are mostly made of baked clays. The mix you have already might be ok for now.
_joe

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Re: new bonsai

Post  Art by David White on Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:43 am

cool, thanks. i'll check the store i got the stuff for my goldfish pond at.

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Re: new bonsai

Post  Alan Walker on Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:41 am

David: You don't say in what part of NC you live, but there are a number of good bonsai societies in the state. In addition, there is a wonderful resource in the NC Arboretum's bonsai collection near Asheville. You can check it out online at http://www.ncarboretum.org/Horticulture/bonsai.htm

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Re: new bonsai

Post  Art by David White on Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:33 am

thanks, im about an hr from the outerbanks. im defanatly going to go check out the arboretum in asheville. i had no idea there was any thing like that around here. i see the bonsai societies are in raleigh and in wilmington. im not too far from raleigh... might have to check that out too. thanks again.

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Re: new bonsai

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