Emergency care

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Emergency care

Post  Razvan Savin on Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:45 pm

I would like to start a discussion regarding your best tips for recovering a neglected bonsai. By neglected i am referring to bonsais that haven't been watered in a long time, leaves completely curled up.
From what i have read, seems that the general advice is to water it thoroughly, keep it in a semi-shaded spot and hope for the best.
Does keeping it in a high humidity mini-greenhouse help? Should you keep it in full sun? or shade is fine, since it doesn't have any leaves? Do you cut the dried up branches (since they suck the moisture out of the healthy part of the tree) or do you leave them there, maybe some of them will spring back to life?

What do you do when you're presented with a bonsai that needs your help? ThumbsUp

Razvan Savin
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Re: Emergency care

Post  JimLewis on Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:38 pm

Razvan Savin wrote:I would like to start a discussion regarding your best tips for recovering a neglected bonsai. By neglected i am referring to bonsais that haven't been watered in a long time, leaves completely curled up.

I'd imagine that everybody will have a different idea, depending on the species, the location (climate) it lives in, its age, and a host of other variables.

From what i have read, seems that the general advice is to water it thoroughly, keep it in a semi-shaded spot and hope for the best.

Yes, BUT . . . a tree in this condition cannot use much water. You do water it thoroughly to start, but after that you wait until the soil mostly dries out before you water again. Chances are since the leaves won't be there to pump the water up from the roots, the pot will stay damp/wet for a long time. As soon as new leaves sprout, the roots should become more efficient and you will need to water -- but still carefully.

Does keeping it in a high humidity mini-greenhouse help?

I have no experience here, but this might depend on the time of year and the kind of tree. The humidity may contribute to keeping the soil too wet.

Should you keep it in full sun? or shade is fine, since it doesn't have any leaves?

In all but the hottest areas or hottest times of year, full sun will be helpful. Sunlight (and a little fertilizer) will encourage new growth. In warmer areas, morning sun and part shade in the afternoon might be called for.

Do you cut the dried up branches (since they suck the moisture out of the healthy part of the tree) or do you leave them there, maybe some of them will spring back to life?

If they're dead, they're dead, but they don't "suck the moisture" from any other part of the tree. Still, dead branches aren't contributing anything to the tree (though you might consider leaving stubs for jin on a conifer).

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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