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Anna
Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
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BONSAI TREEI have a miniature bonsai plant that is turning brown and I

Resolved Question:

BONSAI TREE
I have a miniature bonsai plant that is turning brown and I am watering it regularly so it drains out the bottom. When and how should I prune it.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

I'm sorry to hear your bonsai isn't doing well. Some additional information will be helpful.

Exactly what kind of tree is this?

Have you had it long? Where did you buy it?

Thank you.

Anna
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It is a mini small version that I bought at Meijers floral dept. It isn't unusual or exotic but lovely shape and size. I've had it about 5 months
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. I want to help, but before I can, I need to know what species the tree is. Many different kinds of trees are used in bonsai, and care is very different for each type.

Is it an evergreen with needles, or a deciduous tree with leaves?

Is the whole plant turning brown, or only in certain areas?

Is it possible for you to post a photo? If so, you can upload a photo by clicking on REPLY, then at the top of the area where you would type is a tool bar with icons. Click on the little paper clip icon (it's right next to the YouTube icon). Instructions will pop up. On some browsers, this doesn't work. if that happens, you can put your photo on one of the free photo sharing websites, such as www.photobucket.com. Then come back here and paste the link to your picture in a REPLY.

If you can't provide a photo, describe the tree to em as best you can, and we'll go from there.

Anna
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I will try to do this and send a photo in a day or two. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX reply later.
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.
That sounds good. I'll watch for your reply.

Anna
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Anna: Here are photos of the bonsai. I told you it was turning brown, that is incorrect. Upon looking at it, it is actually turning yellow on the ends. Thank you. Denise
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry, it didn't attach, I will try again./Users/Friermood/Desktop/bonsai 3.jpg
if you send me your email address, I can attach it easily that way. Thank you. Denise
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
/Users/Friermood/Desktop/bonsai 5.jpg
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for trying, Denise, but I can't open it. JustAnswer policy doesn't permit email or other contact off this website. So, just tell me a little more about the tree.

Is it an evergreen? If yes, does it have long needles, short needles, or is it more like this photo?

graphic

Or is a tree with actual leaves? If so, are they long and slender, or larger, such an oak or maple tree would have?

Anna
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Anna:
I have looked through everything and there is no tool bar above the reply section for me to attach a photo. It is an evergreen style with short prickly needles, not flat and smooth like your picture. The ends are turning yellow and dropping off like it is very dry but I watered it so it drains thru the bottom. Thank you.
Sorry I can't attach the photo, I sent it to info@justanswer if you can access it there.
Thank you for your attempts and patience.
My best, Denise

ps.I like the photo of you with your dog. We just volunteered for Indianapolis Humane Societies large fundraiser. Over 6,000 dogs and people turned out in the windy rainy 45 degree weather.
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX was quite the fundraiser - all of you volunteers have to be pleased with the results. I got my dog through a collie rescue program 12 years ago.

I will probably get the photo you sent to JustAnswer, but it may take a few days.We'll see what we can do in the meantime. Often, bonsai sold through big retailers are not true bonsai. They haven't been trained or prepared for life in a small pot. Once in a while, they are actually sold with few or no roots. In that case, there is no way for them to survive. If there is some kind of pebbles/mulch on top of the soil, the first step is to get that off. It may be difficult - you'll have to pry if it the typical type used. You'll also need to buy ingredients to make a better soil mix. You may be able to find soil labeled for bonsai in a garden center or nursery. I suggest you call around to see if you can find some. If you can't, I can find instructions for you to make your own mix. If no one sells it, you can buy some good loamy soil, peat moss, and some type of gritty soil, and mix them to make a good soil.

I'm going to let you go ahead and do this much for now. Take off any mulch or pebbles, and buy the soil or the ingredients to make your own. Let me know when that is finished, and I'll give you the rest fo what you need to do.If you can't get the soil today, do remove anything from the top of the soil right away. Just let me know when you're finished.

Anna
Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 9383
Experience: Great research skills, variety of work experiences, teaching experience.
Anna and 149 other General Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Wow, that is good facts. I didn't pay that much for it but have grown fond of it since it compliments my decor and is so attractive. Yes it does have the hard pebbles on it. I will follow your recommendations and investigate other soil.

Glad to hear you support rescue programs. There are soooo many needy animals that have no homes, it is sad to see people buying them through pet stores and puppy mills.
Thanks again.
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.
Yes, I hate pet stores and puppy mills, too.

Those hard pebbles are usually glued on and don't allow air circulation or water evaporation. Not removing them almost always results in the tree's death. Because bonsai soil is so hard to find, I'm going to go ahead and give you the remaining instructions. You do not need to click on accept again. Thank you for accepting above.

You can mix 1/3 regular potting soil, 1/3 Perlite, and 1/3 small gravel. Gravel for fish tanks works, but don't get the colored kind - stick with natural.

. When you have the soil on hand, you need to remove the soil the tree is now planted in. You can do that by holding the pot under a running faucet until most of it is gone. When the tree will come out without forcing it, you can remove it and hold the roots under the water. Trim off any damaged roots or those circling around themselves. If you find the plant has few or no roots, you can continue with the remaining steps, but it might be hopeless.

Place a layer of gravel in the bottom of the pot. Then hold the tree in place and carefully fill in with the new soil. Water once, then don't water again until the top 1/2 inch of soil is dry. Snip off the yellowed areas of needles. Fertilize once per month with a fish emulsion fertilizer. If the yellowing ends return, you may have a pest or fungus. However, most of the time, this is caused by the hard pebble-like stuff on the surface or by over watering. Little evergreens are very susceptible to problems from over watering. I hope the steps above will revitalize the little bonsai.

Anna
Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 9383
Experience: Great research skills, variety of work experiences, teaching experience.
Anna and 149 other General Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.
Hello again, Denise. I got your photos already. To be honest, it doesn't look good. True bonsai are usually grown in shallow wide pots. The tall narrow pot that was used probably means there is a long root. The tree was probably grown outside in the ground, dug up, pruned a bit, and placed in this pot. You'll be able to tell when you repot it. In a true bonsai, the roots would have been pruned as it grew to keep it in the shallow wide dish. The kind of yellowing we see on your tree is often associated with overall decline of the plant, rather than a specific disease or pest. I don't recommend any more root pruning than is necessary as I describe above because the tree is already weakened.

since I know you understand puppy mills, I'll give you an analogy. The people who produce these little trees for retailers are the plant world equivalent of puppy mills. They don't choose good stock to begin with; they don't care for the plants properly; and they don't train them to be true bonsai. The stores that order and sell them don't even know what they are doing. In most cases, the trees die in less than a year, and the buyers assume they did something wrong. It is a shame. It's actually best to purchase bonsai directly from growers who specialize in them or from hobbyists who grow.and show them

All you can do at this point is follow-through with the instructions I gave you above, and hope for the best.There are many people who ahve managed to save these little trees. I hope you'll be one of them.

Anna
Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 9383
Experience: Great research skills, variety of work experiences, teaching experience.
Anna and 149 other General Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Anna:
You provided me with a wealth of information. I feel I have gained so much and in the future will never buy a plant from a retailer instead of an actual nursery. You are a dear to spend so much time and explaining so thoroughly. I will definitely request you in the future if I have a pet or plant question.
I am a horse lover as well. Bless you. Denise
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.
You're welcome, Denise, and thank you, too.

Anna

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