Fukien Tea troubles

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Fukien Tea troubles

Post  Biggie on Sat May 21, 2011 9:41 pm

Hello all,
Im kinda new here as well as to Bonsai in general. Love the hobby as I learn and get involved, I appreciate this art more everyday. With that said to my point.
I recently aquired a Fukien Tea bonsai of approx. 5 yrs old. I live in Central Florida and keep this tree outside. Im seeing some leaves yellow a bit and Im concerned about it.
Ive read several post about this plant and most say it likes full sun. I have moved this tree around a bit to see if I can remedy the yellow leaves but its still dropping them. Watering is minimal I give it a drink about every 2 days and the roots seem full and lush not too wet not to dry but damp. Before watering I check it to see if its still wet from the last watering and mostly its not so I dont think Im over watering it at all.

I have no guess as to when this tree was last repotted and the root mass is very dense. Would it be plausable that i need to put it into a new pot or give it a root trim and this might be causing the leaves to drop? Some advice or tips, suggestions would be great. The same tree is also still producing shoots but the leaves seem under developed on them. The soil seems to have alot of peat in it also. Being that the plant was purchased from nursery specializing in Bonsia I trust the soil is good as the seller is very reputable. Just dont know what I should do for this tree to perk it up.

Thanks in advance for the help.
Eric

Biggie
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Re: Fukien Tea troubles

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sat May 21, 2011 10:24 pm

I have a number of Fukien Teas and I keep them in about 60% shade. Lack of water causes leaves to droop, not yellow. Check drainage? When you water does water come out the drain hole? What fertilizer are you using?

Billy M. Rhodes
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Re: Fukien Tea troubles

Post  Guest on Sun May 22, 2011 1:59 am

Unfortunately Fukien tea is often sold as a "beginners" plant yet in my opinion is one of the trickier species to keep successfully. All I know is it has to do with watering and positioning. Some of the guys from down south will know more..like Billy. But don't get discouraged, you started with a tricky species.

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Re: Fukien Tea troubles

Post  Biggie on Sun May 22, 2011 2:10 am

Hello,
Thank you for your reply. First, I had this tree in full FL sun for the first week after it arrived. The plant drains water out the bottom of the pot very well so I suspect drainage is good. I have only fertilized the tree once with a small amount of Osmocote slow release 10/10/10 which was last week and it is still fully visible on the top of the soil so It hasnt really gotten to the roots yet. Since reading further on the species I have taken it from full sun and put it into a filtered sun location facing south but protected from full expsosure.
I know its hard to diagnosis a tree you cant see but just trying to get a feel for where this tree would be the happiest. Ive had good luck with Southern exposure but we have been having 90 degree plus full sun days and Im not sure this little Tea tree can take that kind of exposure or at least come out of a shipping box and straight into that without some ill effects.


Biggie
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Re: Fukien Tea troubles

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sun May 22, 2011 8:05 pm


Thank you for your reply. First, I had this tree in full FL sun for the first week after it arrived.

If the original grower was keeping it is partial shade, the exposure to full sun could cause the yellowing.



I have only fertilized the tree once with a small amount of Osmocote slow release 10/10/10 which was last week and it is still fully visible on the top of the soil so It hasn’t really gotten to the roots yet. How much Osmocote? I use a tablespoon in a six inch pot.

Osmocote prills release fertilizer through pores in the coating; they are working even though they are still on top of the soil. Every time you water fertilizer is being washed from the surface of the prills and into the soil. however in our climate, Osmocote lasts about a month, because the fertilizer release is controlled by temperature, a three month dose is based upon 70 F average temperature.


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Re: Fukien Tea troubles

Post  Biggie on Mon May 23, 2011 12:57 am

Bill do you suggest another fertilizer? What do you use for your Fukien Teas? I use Osmocote 10-10-10 but recently purchased a bottle of Dyna Grows Bonsai fertlizer which I will use for my other trees. As previously mentioned Im a beginner so any advice is valuable to me. I have a variety of trees going now and they all seem very happy. Im the proud owner of 3 Japanese Black Pines (in training), a Green Island Ficus, A Willow Leaf fig, typical Juniper in Cascade form, a couple Desert Roses (love those), a Yew ( I have no idea of its true I.D) and of course the Fukien Tea who defies me at present with its yellowing leaves.

I have been aquiring specimens that fancy my interest for awhile now and I always love to hear about the success of others and there tips and tricks. I plan on attending the next Orlando exhibition to see the Masters works. So neat how this hobby brings people out to show off there work and share thier information. I just love it.

I have to admit I watch this little Fukien like a hawk after moving it out of the direct sun. Maybe 5 times a day I inspect it to see if It has an ill effect and so far I havent seen any more leaves going south. I may have figured out the issue but to early to tell. I will keep you posted and hopefully its was just a matter of positioning. Let me know what you feed yours Id be curious even if this one decides to join the compost pile in the future.

Biggie
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Re: Fukien Tea troubles

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon May 23, 2011 2:15 am

Osmocote is fine. I use a similar product called MultiCoat, because it has trace elements. To get an Osmocote formula with trace elements you have to buy one with high nitrogen content, but the MultiCoat is 16-14-14 plus minors. I buy it in large bags at BWI on 441 north of Plymouth. The MultiCoat is a commercial product.

Do you have the information on the BSF Convention on June 10 and 11?

There will be a vendor area and an exhibit that is usually open to the public for free. (I didn't go the last couple of years so that might have changed.) If you register for the convention you can sit in on demonstrations and workshops. Check out the Bonsai Societies of Florida web site.

I will be there all weekend. I am doing a workshop on Friday morning with Erik Wigert on Campeche.

Billy M. Rhodes
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Recent update

Post  Biggie on Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:08 am

Its been a few weeks since I posted about this Fukien and I went as far as to re-pot it and change out the soil as Billy suggested it might be my drainage causing the leaves to yellow and fall off. Im happy to report its got great new shoots all over it and its doing great. I made my own soil from Pumice, Pine bark fines, Turface and a little bit of organic material which I screened. I ended up seeing some tiny ants in the old soil as well but after hosing off the old soil with some high pressure I got those buggers out too.

Seems so much happier now and I have to attibute the issue with the soil and the drainage no question. Thanks Billy you saved my Fukien for sure! I purchased some neem oil in case those ants come back I have a way to fight back also. Hoepfully it will not be an issue with the new soil. I read that the ants like the wet soil also so good drainage is helping in more ways than one.

Best regards and thanks for the happy ending. BTW, I will drop by the Convention in Orlando also, thanks for that info Im looking forward to seeing the exhibits and all the vendors.

Biggie
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Re: Fukien Tea troubles

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