Chestnut leaves turning bronze color

edgyDuck

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Hi,

I’m very new to bonsai world and i have my first small chestnut which i am growing from seed.
It’s now got full size leaves so i replanted it and took outside few days ago. Yesterday i have fertilized it with bonsai specific fertilizer but probably I shouldn’t have done that because today i noticed that some leaves are getting bronze color. Maybe anyone has thoughts what it might be?

Thanks!
 

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sorce

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Sharp Bill!

Welcome to Crazy!

If you had 75 more plants, this may have gone unnoticed.

Sorce
 

AlainK

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Chesnut (Castanea sativa) is not the best candidate for bonsai, that's why you will hardly find a single one on search engines.

It doesn't mean you have to give up with it, but the leaves are big and hard to reduce (hence plan a "big" bonsai) and they can take diseases. here, whole plantations that were centuries-old were nearly destroyed by what we call "maladie de l'encre", literally "ink-disease". I don't know where yu live, what strain of chestnut this is but in Europe it's a risky project.

Maybe you should try other native species (you didn't mention your location). There are much easier, more resilient species to start bonsai with.

Once again, I don't want to discourage you, but this is definitely not the best species to start with. Good luck.

... and don't waste money on "bonsai specific fertilizer". A basic, cheap 6-6-6 fertilizer is OK for the moment.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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You kept it indoors?
The transition to outdoors means it's getting 75% more light now. For chestnuts, which are super slow to adjust, that could burn the foliage.
Don't give up though, it will probably adjust when you put it in the shade for three weeks. After that you can put it in full sun.
The damage will not restore, it's like a sunburn, but plants cant replace damaged tissue like we mammals. But the damage will not kill your tree either, unless you keep it in full sun of course.

@AlainK the chestnuts I see in nature have awesome fall structures. They might not look pretty in spring and summer and fall, but in winter they look pretty cool. Not just because it's cold.
 

edgyDuck

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Hi,

Thanks for quick responses! I live in East Europe, so Chestnuts are native in where i live, hence i decided to start with this tree as i've got the seeds for free from the park :eek:)
I have also planted few oak seeds i found yesterday while walking outside, so hopefully they will grow up.

What relates to Chestnut as bonsai, i totally understand what you mean, i did some research about growing Chestnuts as bonsai and what i found was that it is indeed a complicated project. However since it's native in my country, i decided to take a chance.
Since the leaves are big i don't mind having a "big bonsai" as it will stay outside anyways (well except in winter).

@Wires_Guy_wires you are absolutely right, i kept it inside until full size leaves grew up and then re-planted and took outside. I will find a share for it right away and keep it there for a while.

Thanks!
 

AlainK

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I live in East Europe

You should add your location in your profile, that would help : what's your climate like ? There are other members from Eastern Europe, they can tell you about their experience.

And Oaks are a much better option I think. (Field) maples, hornbeams, etc. are even better.
 

0soyoung

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the leaves are big and hard to reduce (hence plan a "big" bonsai)
Actually, the smaller they are, the smaller the leaves. It just happens ... automatically! I don't like them for bigger bonsai, but I think they are tremendous fun as mini. This is a horse chestnut. IMG_20200419_152829651.jpg
 

edgyDuck

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You should add your location in your profile, that would help : what's your climate like ?

Noticed and added :)
The climate in my country is continental, all 4 seasons, winters sometimes get really freezing while in summertime it can get quite hot, the temperature going above 30 degrees.
 

AlainK

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I think they are tremendous fun as mini.

I don't think they'll be that dainty very long. But why not ?

In any case, keeping a large-leaf tree as a "mame" requires a lot of skill and a daily attendance.

I don't leave in Japan, nor have I a team of apprentices to water my trees ;)
 

0soyoung

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Wires_Guy_wires

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Actually, the smaller they are, the smaller the leaves. It just happens ... automatically! I don't like them for bigger bonsai, but I think they are tremendous fun as mini. This is a horse chestnut. View attachment 298166
I have a pink and a yellow one!
Since I only pay attention to the big ones, do you have any clue if they can bud from anywhere, or just from the nodes?
Mine are getting leggy and although they're in a dish one can bathe in, I'd like to cut them back real hard.
 

0soyoung

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I have a pink and a yellow one!
Since I only pay attention to the big ones, do you have any clue if they can bud from anywhere, or just from the nodes?
Mine are getting leggy and although they're in a dish one can bathe in, I'd like to cut them back real hard.
Just from nodes, but there are usually several short internodes near the root-collar. They tend to become hard to see after a couple of years, but can be found by looking for a bump or bud-like bumps in the bark. Sometimes they will resprout from the root-collar. I think that is how I ended up with this triple trunk . I'm not certain of this, but cut down a big tree and one gets a profusion of new shoots. IMG_20200424_121647604.jpg That 'funny' spot about half-way up the middle stem is probably a bud. You can see that I 'chopped' the right stem last year - it had small leaves with short petioles. Then it became a big terminal bud. Those sheath bits will fall away in a few weeks, exposing little buds on close-set node rings.

I just dug another one out of my yard (squirrels plant them from the mother tree about a block away) that might show this a bit better. Just above the top wrap of wire you can see the close node rings with small buds. IMG_20200424_121812917_HDR.jpg Below, about the middle of the stem, you can see a lonely bud. Cutting between the two sets will release the lower bud, but one won't get anything along the remaining stem above it. Cutting just above the set of node rings will release one or more of them. It is difficult to slice the stem between the node rings, so I really can't say much about them. The new growth from lateral buds produces shorter internodes and leaves, but next year it will be topped with a large terminal bud.

The last detail is that, for me, they don't respond to pruning after the summer solstice.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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The last detail is that, for me, they don't respond to pruning after the summer solstice.
Here too! At least, not in the sense of growing anything new. I knocked a bud off this fall to get buds lower down, and it worked. It formed new buds over winter a bit lower on the trunk.
I think the main issue with my tree is that I grew it from seed and just let it run. The pot was too big, it grew a foot from seed in a single year, but only with two internodes.
Good to know about those nodes, I don't like starting over from seed again, but now I know where I can cut back to, thanks!
 

edgyDuck

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Is it true that during first year i should not do any pruning to a horse chestnut and just let it grow?
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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You can chop off the apex if there are at least 3 sets of leaves below it. Otherwise, do nothing for the first year would be my advice.

They are super slow in establishing themselves in the ground, the seed can provide nutrients for two years if needed. This means that most of the energy your plant is showing, could be originating from the seed. It needs to stand on its own legs first, so that you can be sure that cutting off anything will not deplete its stored energy.
I'm wording it wrong, perhaps. The seed is the fuel tank right now, while it's building a new one for itself. Cut off the tank it's building, and it'll only have that already half-empty tank of gas left. Could be no issue, could be deadly.
I think it's good to wait until fall, see how it did over the year. Just so you can estimate if this tree has enough energy to replace the pruned parts next year.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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I took a second look at @edgyDuck 's original photos.

The tree in question is indeed an Aesculus species, horse chestnut, or buckeye, depending on local vernacular, and not a Castanea, or the culinary Chestnut.

Doesn't really change much in the discussion. Both species have similar issues with large leaves and coarse branch structure.

EdgyDuck, the Aesculus is extremely cold tolerant, not only should this tree spend summer outdoors, but you should be able to winter the tree outdoors. In fact bringing it inside for winter could easily cause more problems. Toward the end of summer message here on BNut and I am sure many will ofter winter options. At my home, north of Chicago, I would simply set the horse chestnut pot on the ground an leave it there all winter. We can revisit this topic towards autumn.
 

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