Couldn't stand by any longer, had to do something about this juniper

october

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With many people having trouble with their junipers due to mites, fugus, scale etc. I am also in the same boat. This shohin has seemingly been weakening for over a year now. A slow but steady weakening. In the first pic, you can see the whole right bottom and middle side is turning yellow and weak. The area has pretty much become worse and does not grow. What is not visible is that the entire front foliage on both main branches on the right is almost dead. It looks fuller because the foliage on the back of the tree is still relatively healthy. The tree has had scale in the past. However, I believe this is not necessarily scale related. You will notice that parts on the left side of the tree are now starting to die as well.

I have used my judgment to help this tree. First, the dead wood and the bark were cleaned. Then the top, strong sections of foliage needed to be thinned out. Meanwhile leaving the bottom sections alone. This will hopefully divert energy from the strong areas to the weaker areas. Next, the tree was wired so that sun can shine down and hit all pads, even lower ones. Since so much had died in the front. I used back branches and sub branches pulled to the front so it looks like the 2 branches on the right are fuller than they really are. Hopefully, this growth will become very strong. Meanwhile, the small parts of foliage that are still alive in those areas will become strong. I did not remove any branches.

Next came the big decision. Repot, out of season. All the work done above the soil will mean nothing if there is a root issue. The tree has done nothing but weaken last season and this season. With the weakness now spreading to the left, I really think there is a root issue going on. I did notice that one side of the pot was draining, the other side was not. I went ahead and repotted, but removed no roots. I noticed that in the last 2 years, this tree has not really grown any roots. I believed I probably saved the tree by doing this repot. It is now it good, larger particle soil.

Well, now we wait. There is nothing else that can be done for this tree. Now the tree will decide. Hopefully, if it grows well, next year we can clean up the foliage to look a little neater.

Rob






 

davetree

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Well you do what you have to do. Good luck I hope it recovers.

I live in a very humid place where my trees are susceptible to all kinds of disease and bugs. This year I repotted all of my elms, maples, junipers and pines into a more coarse soil. Screened turface is the smallest particle now. No organics unless you count Akadama.

My elms used to fight black spot and scale every year. My pines would battle needle cast and tip blight. My maples occasionally succumbed to verticillium wilt and fungal diseases. I lost a juniper to scale last fall/this spring.

Now with a coarser mix I believe I have eliminated these problems. I think that a well-oxygenated plant is a healthy one. This spring was the wettest coldest in history. I thought my elms would be toast - this elm struggled with scale and black spot last year. Now look at it - no scale, no black spot, I can't even see a yellow leaf ! Look at the size of the medium - thats an 18 inch pot so you can see some of the particles are close to 1/2 inch. The downside is that you have to water more often when it is hot. You sure cant overwater anything.

I'm not saying this is your problem but I have not sprayed for bugs or disease at all this year. Trees are healthier.

I don't know if this helps you at all but I thought I would share my experience.

image.jpg
 

KennedyMarx

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Good luck. I hope it recovers. I am always happy to see your trees and each time I think the new one is my favorite (including this one).
 

xray360

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I don't have much experience with this but there is an article on bonsai4me that says you can repot them during the humid days in august. I did it with one of my junipers and it's still alive. The top looks very healthy still. When did you add the dead wood?
 

october

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Well you do what you have to do. Good luck I hope it recovers.

I live in a very humid place where my trees are susceptible to all kinds of disease and bugs. This year I repotted all of my elms, maples, junipers and pines into a more coarse soil. Screened turface is the smallest particle now. No organics unless you count Akadama.

My elms used to fight black spot and scale every year. My pines would battle needle cast and tip blight. My maples occasionally succumbed to verticillium wilt and fungal diseases. I lost a juniper to scale last fall/this spring.

Now with a coarser mix I believe I have eliminated these problems. I think that a well-oxygenated plant is a healthy one. This spring was the wettest coldest in history. I thought my elms would be toast - this elm struggled with scale and black spot last year. Now look at it - no scale, no black spot, I can't even see a yellow leaf ! Look at the size of the medium - thats an 18 inch pot so you can see some of the particles are close to 1/2 inch. The downside is that you have to water more often when it is hot. You sure cant overwater anything.

I'm not saying this is your problem but I have not sprayed for bugs or disease at all this year. Trees are healthier.

I don't know if this helps you at all but I thought I would share my experience.

View attachment 37924
Hi Dave, that is a great tree. Very powerful.

I used to use a turface mix for years. Didn't really have problems, except for here and there. However, as the years went on, I gradually switched to akadama, pumice and lava rock. The scale and fungal disease does not really have much to do with the soil on my trees. They attack the trees in both soils.The pines seem to really thrive in this mix. This tree has all it needs to thrive, if it chooses to.

Rob
 

october

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Good luck. I hope it recovers. I am always happy to see your trees and each time I think the new one is my favorite (including this one).
Thanks Kennedy.. Hopefully in a couple of months, I'll be able to show an even stronger healthier tree.:D
 

october

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I don't have much experience with this but there is an article on bonsai4me that says you can repot them during the humid days in august. I did it with one of my junipers and it's still alive. The top looks very healthy still. When did you add the dead wood?
Hello xray.. I only refined, cleaned and lime sulfured the current dead wood. I did not create it. The rough styling of this tree was done by Suthin Sukolsolvisit a couple/few years back. Since then, I have repotted this tree, refined it and rewired. All was going well, until last year.

The best time to repot is in Spring. However, Fall repotting is acceptable. Personally, I have never been a fan of Fall repotting. Basically a juniper should not be repotted in mid summer unless the tree is failing. This tree was only repotted for fear that the design would be totally lost and the tree might not make it. I am reasonably confident that this tree will survive. The problem lies in what will I be left with when the tree stabilizes.

This is a perfect example of the teaching of always leave more than what you need on junipers. Especially on first stylings.

Rob
 
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davetree

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So do you think your location is the problem if its not the soil ? You have everything else under control.
 

october

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As far as location, my location is not the greatest for bonsai. First, it is almost always windy at my house. Many times, trees have to be tied to something or taken down off the ledges/tables. I have to be around because the wind will blow the tree right off the ledge. Just another thing with shohin.

Next, it is cooler at my house than everywhere else. If you travel like a town over, it is 5-10 degrees hotter. Also, in this area, we don't get a Spring. It was in the 40's up until the beginning of June. At the end of June, it was in the 80's. My tree don't really start growing until the middle of June.

There has always been scale in this area. That I have under control. However, the fungal diseases are relatively new here. Only in the last 2 years. Also, I have never had a mite problem until this year.

I had mentioned in another thread that I had discovered a new nursery about 20 minutes from my house. It is a regular landscape nursery. About 60-70% of their juniper were decimated. Pale, yellow, brown and bare. After seeing that, I am thinking that it is the area. Maybe not with this particular tree, but in general.

Rob
 
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davetree

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I'm sorry to hear that. I have always admired your juniper work.

I have killed a few nice trees over the years to find that certain species don't grow well where I live. I have killed every ponderosa pine and a few Rocky Mountain juniper, and a Utah juniper, where I live ( about ten nice trees ). I am in the Mississippi River valley and am only 600 ft above sea level. It seems that high altitude trees do poorly here. A couple of ponderosa slowly dying was like a knife in the heart, to watch such old mountain trees die in front of you.

I am sure that if you can't grow juniper easily in your location, that your skills will readily transfer to whatever species works for you.
 

John Ruger

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Definitely one of the nicest junipers; I hope it pulls through without anymore grief.

It's been pretty odd lately with regard to the problems junis been having; can't figure it out. I have 11 in total and all but 2 seem to be doing well (knock wood). The weather hasn't cooperated at all in PA. Today is the first real sun in almost 2 weeks, plus it has been incredibly wet.

I haven't noticed any scale or mite problems, but they don't seem to be as vigorous as they've been. So who knows only time will tell.
 

october

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I'm sorry to hear that. I have always admired your juniper work.

I have killed a few nice trees over the years to find that certain species don't grow well where I live. I have killed every ponderosa pine and a few Rocky Mountain juniper, and a Utah juniper, where I live ( about ten nice trees ). I am in the Mississippi River valley and am only 600 ft above sea level. It seems that high altitude trees do poorly here. A couple of ponderosa slowly dying was like a knife in the heart, to watch such old mountain trees die in front of you.

I am sure that if you can't grow juniper easily in your location, that your skills will readily transfer to whatever species works for you.
Wow.. That is a lot to lose. As you said, to just have to watch it slowly happen, makes it worse.

Rob
 

october

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Definitely one of the nicest junipers; I hope it pulls through without anymore grief.

It's been pretty odd lately with regard to the problems junis been having; can't figure it out. I have 11 in total and all but 2 seem to be doing well (knock wood). The weather hasn't cooperated at all in PA. Today is the first real sun in almost 2 weeks, plus it has been incredibly wet.

I haven't noticed any scale or mite problems, but they don't seem to be as vigorous as they've been. So who knows only time will tell.
Thanks John. That's how it kind of started a year and a half ago. 2 trees got fungal diseases. Meanwhile, there was the usual scale on a couple and some just started to get stressed. That started the ball rolling. It took a whole season to get rid of the fungus, now this year, mites. First time I have ever seen mite damage on my trees in 15 years.

Basically, I am going to have to check trees at least twice a week and spray continuously from April to October. This is the only way I think that continuing bonsai in this area will be possible. I do hope that one day, maybe these problems will run their course.

Rob
 

davetree

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Wow.. That is a lot to lose. As you said, to just have to watch it slowly happen, makes it worse.

Rob
Well only three were expensive nice trees but it was devastating none the less. I have no ponderosa pine, rocky mt juniper, or Japanese white pine in my collection. Scared off I guess.
 

tmmason10

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Sorry to hear of your troubles rob, this is jus such a nice tree. I hope that it lives on and gowns vigor.
 

JudyB

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It's getting tough out there, hope you get this one through. Mites on my CBS only in the soil, but scary....
Nowhere near as nice as this one of yours.:(
 

october

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Well only three were expensive nice trees but it was devastating none the less. I have no ponderosa pine, rocky mt juniper, or Japanese white pine in my collection. Scared off I guess.
It doesn't hurt to try again. Now, you have more experience. Might be worth it to get one of those species again and see what happens. :D

Rob
 

october

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It's getting tough out there, hope you get this one through. Mites on my CBS only in the soil, but scary....
Nowhere near as nice as this one of yours.:(
Thanks Judy.. Watch out spider mites. Before you know it, they are on a whole bunch of trees.

Rob
 

Jaberwky17

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I have killed a few nice trees over the years to find that certain species don't grow well where I live. I have killed every ponderosa pine and a few Rocky Mountain juniper, and a Utah juniper, where I live ( about ten nice trees ). I am in the Mississippi River valley and am only 600 ft above sea level. It seems that high altitude trees do poorly here.
I'm just starting out with this hobby, up in the Red River Valley (MN). One of the seedlings I found is a Japanese White Pine, and my sister in southwestern Utah is bring some Rocky Mountain and Utah Junipers when she visits in August. Now you have me nervous. My hardiness zone is a solid 4 in the "valley" here, and I'm only a few miles from central MN pine and bog country. I would think this area would be great for pines... If it helps I'm a whopping 857 ft above sea level (I think I'm getting a nose bleed right now).
 

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