Help! is this scale or something else

headive24

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So ever since i got this elm as a gift from a very reputable bonsai nursery near sacramento, it has had these little black dots. I alway thought of these as places where buds either had emerged or were going to emerge. But now it is having problems where the leaves on the ends of the shoots are crumbling and dying and now those black dots are making me wonder. I am postin pictures. in the first 2 you can see the leaf problems, and the 3rd shows a close up on the tiny black spots. They pictures ive seen of scale looked larger and more obviously insect than these do to me. idk. please help !
 

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Shibui

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Pictures are far from clear but I think the brown dots are buds. Dying leaves must be something else.
how long have you had this tree? Where does it live? Watering? Feeding? Any other clues to how you are looking after it.
A location would also help so we know if you are in spring or autumn. Updating the user profile will allow others to check your climate at a glance each time you post.
 

headive24

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Pictures are far from clear but I think the brown dots are buds. Dying leaves must be something else.
how long have you had this tree? Where does it live? Watering? Feeding? Any other clues to how you are looking after it.
A location would also help so we know if you are in spring or autumn. Updating the user profile will allow others to check your climate at a glance each time you post.
your right the pictures are not clear. they look great on my phone, must have been a problem when i downloaded to laptop and then uploaded onto here. ill try to make them better. i will update my profile, but i live in the southern end of the central valley of california (San joaquin valley) in Bakersfield Ca. I have been keeping it indoor mostly, but i sat it out to get sunlight on some mornings.

My first thought was that i might need to repot and put it in a better draining soil. I potted this tree when my understanding of soils was less than it is now and there is probably more loam and clay than I would like. Or do you think that moving it in and out is affecting it? I try not to overwater, because i have read about that, but maybe the difference of soil is holding on to it for a long time.
 

sorce

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Mas Agua!

Sorce
 

Shibui

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I believe that trees grow far better outside where they evolved. I'm a long way from California but Chinese elm is pretty hardy. I think it should be fine outside and will probably do far better than indoors. Way back when I moved some of my subtropicals to different location for winter and summer I thought I saw delayed growth after each move. Now I keep all trees in the same location all year and they seem to do better overall. I know some of you must move trees for winter. That can't b helped if they are to survive but in warmer climates many trees can overwinter outside and will be better off for it. Check with other locals for actual needs.
My first thought was that i might need to repot and put it in a better draining soil. I potted this tree when my understanding of soils was less than it is now and there is probably more loam and clay than I would like. Or do you think that moving it in and out is affecting it? I try not to overwater, because i have read about that, but maybe the difference of soil is holding on to it for a long time.
Soil mix and/or overwatering could be a cause. Trees can grow in almost any mix IF you adjust watering to suit but most of us do not understand water needs properly so trees can be too wet or too dry. Modern, open bonsai mix allows much greater margin for error and minimises risk of root rot.
I can't see or feel the tree so cannot make informed judgement. If you believe the mix is a problem I would repot. Bad soil is likely to cause death. Repotting may possibly cause death. Being outside in sun and wind should reduce root problems as well. Maybe you are sentimental about this tree but it is really only starter material rather than valuable bonsai. Nice to keep it alive but if not, no real loss.
 

headive24

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I believe that trees grow far better outside where they evolved. I'm a long way from California but Chinese elm is pretty hardy. I think it should be fine outside and will probably do far better than indoors. Way back when I moved some of my subtropicals to different location for winter and summer I thought I saw delayed growth after each move. Now I keep all trees in the same location all year and they seem to do better overall. I know some of you must move trees for winter. That can't b helped if they are to survive but in warmer climates many trees can overwinter outside and will be better off for it. Check with other locals for actual needs.

Soil mix and/or overwatering could be a cause. Trees can grow in almost any mix IF you adjust watering to suit but most of us do not understand water needs properly so trees can be too wet or too dry. Modern, open bonsai mix allows much greater margin for error and minimises risk of root rot.
I can't see or feel the tree so cannot make informed judgement. If you believe the mix is a problem I would repot. Bad soil is likely to cause death. Repotting may possibly cause death. Being outside in sun and wind should reduce root problems as well. Maybe you are sentimental about this tree but it is really only starter material rather than valuable bonsai. Nice to keep it alive but if not, no real loss.
I think maybe I will repot in different soil, then leave outside. I agree with you about it being only starter material, but I still like to do all I can to keep them alive, if nothing more, to learn. This one was also a gift. it was purchased in sacramento. i forget the name of the nursery but all the tags say iseli nursery which is an oregon wholesaler
 
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sorce

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I try not to overwater, because i have read about that,
Everything there is to read about overwatering is BS! 4 REAL!

Kids used to overwater grandmas houseplants that were in pots with no drainage. There may be one other scenario, bit it ain't yours!

https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/watering-bs.29657/

https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/what-a-terrible-extended-retreat.34904/

More water makes trees grow more!

Peep that recent Rain thread too!

Sorce
 

headive24

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Everything there is to read about overwatering is BS! 4 REAL!

Kids used to overwater grandmas houseplants that were in pots with no drainage. There may be one other scenario, bit it ain't yours!

https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/watering-bs.29657/

https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/what-a-terrible-extended-retreat.34904/

More water makes trees grow more!

Peep that recent Rain thread too!

Sorce
I will definitely read those, because I am a natural skeptic myself. thanks
 

AJL

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There sure are a load of BS comments on here which is really not helping answer your question!!
I still cant be sure from your photos but If you try squishing the brown dots or scraping a few off you will soon see if they are buds or scale insect !!
 

leatherback

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the regular interval at whcih the brown dot occur are enough for me to say, not scale. Buds.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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There sure are a load of BS comments on here which is really not helping answer your question!!
I still cant be sure from your photos but If you try squishing the brown dots or scraping a few off you will soon see if they are buds or scale insect !!
Maybe, but if the OP wants a good diagnosis, it will require good photos. BS photos = BS responses.?
 

bonsaichile

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Those dots are buds. And your tree looks like a Jacqueline Hillier elm. If that is the case, that tree needs to be outside ALL the time, or it will die.
 

coh

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Those pics aren't very good but if you're talking about the darker lumps/bumps that are regularly spaced on the trunk and branches, they are almost certainly buds.

Can't tell much else. Plant should be outside though, you're definitely making things harder on yourself by keeping it inside.

Edit to add...many of the leaves look yellowish in some of the photos. That could be due to lack of light, too much water, mites...
 

Benny w

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If you had scale you would have sooty mold all over that tree. Sooty mold is scale poo and it is identified by coating leaves black and then you will notice ants will start to invade because ants eat the sooty mold.
Something kinda interesting;
California red scale is one scale that's most prevalent in the San Joaquin valley and in organic citrus farmers release a wasp called aphitus. The aphitus wasp injects an egg into the scale and the egg hatches eats it's the scale from the inside out and when it's done and mature the wasp pops out of the dead scale and flies away to lay its egg in a scale so it can start the process all over again. When there is a huge invasion of scale and ants are feeding on the sooty mold the aphitus wasps arnt able to get passed the ants because they know to protects the scale which is their food source. When the aphitus land near by and search for a scale the ant gets all Bruce Lee on the aphitus and anyways my rant is over.....dude you dont have scale or if you do and I missed it then your pics are no bueno
 

Shibui

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If you had scale you would have sooty mold all over that tree. Sooty mold is scale poo and it is identified by coating leaves black and then you will notice ants will start to invade because ants eat the sooty mold
Sooty mould ans cale are linked but I do not believe that sooty mould is scale poo. Sooty mould is a fungus that grows on the sugary syrup that the scales excrete. Ants are also associated with scale but not because they eat sooty mould. The ants look after the scale and also aphids because they collect that sugary stuff the scales and aphids produce, not the sooty mould.
 

leatherback

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Sooty mould ans cale are linked but I do not believe that sooty mould is scale poo. Sooty mould is a fungus that grows on the sugary syrup that the scales excrete. Ants are also associated with scale but not because they eat sooty mould. The ants look after the scale and also aphids because they collect that sugary stuff the scales and aphids produce, not the sooty mould.
Thx. Considered posting the same thing.
 

Benny w

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You are correct. But the sooty mold wouldn't be there if it wasnt for the excretion from the scale and or aphids....
 
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