Help me save my new Bonsai (Japanese White Pine)

Ben Wilson

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Hi all,

I recently acquired a Japanese white pine (五葉松) as my first Bonsai tree. I got the tree about three weeks ago.
I live in Northern Japan in the Tohoku region, where it is quite cool - and it is fall here at the moment and trees everywhere are beginning to shed leaves and show their autumn colours.

The problem: I think I may have overwatered my new tree. I was watering it every day up until this point, but a quick search online has told me that I should have only been watering when the topsoil appeared dry. As such, some of the needles on the pine have turned brown, with others yellowing. I have posted a photo below so you can see the condition of the tree. I have had the tree placed outside every day since I got it. It also came with wires wrapped around the trunk and some of the branches - when should I remove these wires??

What can I do to rectify this problem? Should I just cease watering until the soil dries out properly?
 

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sorce

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Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 

Ben Wilson

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Hey, thanks for your swift reply.

Are you sure? I read that the appearance of some yellowish needles was a normal process for the tree as it prepares for the winter, but as you can see in the second picture, there is a big bunch of clearly brown needles. I also feel like
these appeared fairly rapidly, as everything was completely green when I got the tree a few weeks ago.
 

LanceMac10

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Old needles, should be no problems.
Do remember the tree will need less water during dormancy.
This is an outdoor tree, how will you be wintering it?
 

Djtommy

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Looks to me like they are needles om the outside so most likely old needles.
They should be getting this color where you at now.

Did you get tree from a bonsai nursery or regular home center/garden center?
I would guess from home center, if so and you like bonsai you really should go to visit some nursery in your neighbourhood. Likely for same price they have better choices.
Grtz
 

Djtommy

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You can cut those needles off by the way, need to leave this years growth though.
Dont just pull them off, its not so good for white pine.

Wire you can remove if the branch stays in the position you want or when the branches getting thicker and start getting wire marks, some wiremark is no problem for this tree, it will grow out when getting bigger
 

Adair M

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Pine trees drop old needles every year. In spring they grow new ones. During the summer, the tree appears full since it had new and old needles. When fall comes, the old needles turn yellow, then brown. Then they fall off.

You don't have to cut them off. They'll turn brown, and once they do, they'll fall off at the slightest touch.

In winter, the tree will look a little bare until spring when a new flush of candles come in.

If the wire starts to get imbedded, you can remove it. But, then, replace it! Pines will always need to be wired. They produce new growth every year, right? When you rewire, try to place the wire on a different part of the branch, and not in the old groove the old wire was in.

There's a great Tutorial on the Craftsy.com website by Colin Lewis. It's free but you have to register. Once in, use their search feature for "bonsai". He explains wire, and demonstrates how to apply it.
 

Ben Wilson

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Old needles, should be no problems.
Do remember the tree will need less water during dormancy.
This is an outdoor tree, how will you be wintering it?
Thank you for your reply! I have a large garage outside and I was thinking of putting it in their for the winter as I expect that I will be heating the house to a temperature that would be unnatural for the tree.
It snows heavily in this area and will get quite cold, what are your suggestions??

Looks to me like they are needles om the outside so most likely old needles.
They should be getting this color where you at now.

Did you get tree from a bonsai nursery or regular home center/garden center?
I would guess from home center, if so and you like bonsai you really should go to visit some nursery in your neighbourhood. Likely for same price they have better choices.
Grtz
Actually my girlfriend had it delivered to me from a Japanese bonsai store. I believe this was the site http://www.bonsaimyo.com/

Pine trees drop old needles every year. In spring they grow new ones. During the summer, the tree appears full since it had new and old needles. When fall comes, the old needles turn yellow, then brown. Then they fall off.

You don't have to cut them off. They'll turn brown, and once they do, they'll fall off at the slightest touch.

In winter, the tree will look a little bare until spring when a new flush of candles come in.

If the wire starts to get imbedded, you can remove it. But, then, replace it! Pines will always need to be wired. They produce new growth every year, right? When you rewire, try to place the wire on a different part of the branch, and not in the old groove the old wire was in.

There's a great Tutorial on the Craftsy.com website by Colin Lewis. It's free but you have to register. Once in, use their search feature for "bonsai". He explains wire, and demonstrates how to apply it.
Thanks so much for the advice - so I should just leave them for now?? I'll definitely check out that tutorial.



@All

I was also provided with some fertilizer, what is the feeding protocol for this type of tree in the autumn/winter???
 

Ben Wilson

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Hopefully you don't have this problem!!

View attachment 84223

But seriously, you can see older needles starting to discolor!
It's not a reflection off my progeny....
Haha! Wow, that's such an awesome tree. What did it look like when you started?? I read that the white pine grows quite rapidly compared to other trees.
 

JudyB

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As you live in Japan, I would suggest that you check with others in the region you live in to find the best answers to your overwintering questions. It's hard to give advice such as this with little knowledge of your general climate, and your specific micro-climate. I would guess that a club or knowledgeable bonsai market could help you get your feet under you with this. As far as feeding, I feed mine pretty well during fall, until the tree is basically dormant for the season.
 
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Thank you for your reply! I have a large garage outside and I was thinking of putting it in their for the winter as I expect that I will be heating the house to a temperature that would be unnatural for the tree.
It snows heavily in this area and will get quite cold, what are your suggestions??



Actually my girlfriend had it delivered to me from a Japanese bonsai store. I believe this was the site http://www.bonsaimyo.com/



Thanks so much for the advice - so I should just leave them for now?? I'll definitely check out that tutorial.



@All

I was also provided with some fertilizer, what is the feeding protocol for this type of tree in the autumn/winter???
Not much help but green with envy. That website reminds me of my last work trip to tokyo where a local nursery had several hundred chojubai selling for $40-75 that would be $500 -$1000 trees around here.

I've had good experience with: 20151018_101632.jpg
 

LanceMac10

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Thanks, Ben. I think you and I may be the only two folks that like these "S" shape jobs!!
Haha, It's an IMPORT I found at New England Bonsai Gardens here in the states!!
Growth rate will depend alot on how you treat it, I believe.
Lots of feed and water and a JWP will flourish, maybe a little too much!

And Judy is correct, ask around a bit, I mean, your in JAPAN!!!
Heheheheee..me? I have some frames covered with about 12 mm poly that I scewed into the attached porch on my place!!

It's cold here, bro, and stuff is gonna' freeze outside of spending $ to bring stuff to a nursery or heat mats.
Usually lose something here or there, dwarf elms and tridents are sometimes tricky with my setup.
 

MidMichBonsai

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I concur with the above. And actually the snow helps to insulate the tree. My guess would be that you could keep it outside, on the ground, close to a building all winter long and have no problems. That being said, ask some of those doing it locally (as previously suggested). Also, coming from a bonsai grower, it should be in fairly good shape. From what I can see, the soil looks appropriate for bonsai so I wouldn't be too worried about it just yet. If all of the needles were browning, that's a problem. I think yours are just old needles.
 
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