My Juniper Might be Dying on Me.. Help!

OkieBonsai2424

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I purchased a couple, really good looking Juniper bonsais back in December, and they were healthy as can be..

My original post: http://www.bonsainut.com/threads/juniper-newbie-here-any-advice-welcome.21337/

However, as the weather has turned warmer, I've noticed that my Juniper has turned, honestly, pretty brown (I'll post pictures later to give you an idea of what I'm talking about!). I don't think it's dead by any means, and I do think it can still be saved, but the problem is I'm just not sure what's wrong. I noticed some very fine spider webs all over it, and my first thought was spider mites. So I sprayed it with Spectracide Malathion once a week ago Sunday, and then hit it again about 4 days later to catch any that might have hatched. I don't know if that was really my problem or not, but it doesn't seem to be improving much. It doesn't seem to be getting any more brown either though. I gave the other Juniper to my brother for Christmas, and he's having similar problems down in Houston now too. Is this normal for a Juniper coming out of dormancy to turn a little brown?

My real question is, how would you all go about troubleshooting what might be wrong? Is there a certain thing you try first before then moving on to more drastic steps? The reason I ask is because as you can see in my previous post, there is pretty heavy soil that retains a lot of moisture. I'm afraid that maybe there might be some root rot or something, but I'm afraid to pull it out of the pot to check for fear of stressing it even more, and possible killing it. I just don't know what's wrong is the problem, and it's hard to fix something when you don't know what to fix!!!

Any suggestions, pointers, or advice is greatly appreciated!! Thanks all!!!
 

jeremy_norbury

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Root rot is largely the effect of death and not the cause.
 

OkieBonsai2424

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Root rot is largely the effect of death and not the cause.
Thanks for the info! I guess I was just worried because Dav4 mentioned on my last post that the soil looked heavy and should be changed in the spring. I didn't know if maybe it was that time to change it out for something that drains a little better!
 

jeremy_norbury

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Thanks for the info! I guess I was just worried because Dav4 mentioned on my last post that the soil looked heavy and should be changed in the spring. I didn't know if maybe it was that time to change it out for something that drains a little better!
Good draining soil is the goal of all bonsai growers - and waterlogged soil can drown a tree (lack of oxygen at the root level).

We're really going to need to see a photo...
 

OkieBonsai2424

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Good draining soil is the goal of all bonsai growers - and waterlogged soil can drown a tree (lack of oxygen at the root level).

We're really going to need to see a photo...
Understandable!! I will post one as soon as I get home this evening to show what it looks like. On a side note, just checked out the page of your bonsais and they are incredible!!
 

OkieBonsai2424

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Good draining soil is the goal of all bonsai growers - and waterlogged soil can drown a tree (lack of oxygen at the root level).

We're really going to need to see a photo...
Alright, sorry it took me until today to post the photos, but here's a few. I put it next to that really green weed in our yard just to contrast the color, and I also tried to take a shot of the soil underneath the top soil. I had to put some of my soil that I use on my other bonsais on top of the existing soil due to the wind taking a lot of the old soil away. The very bottom picture is a picture of where I have it on a day-to-day basis. I have it up against the wall to protect it from the Oklahoma wind, but maybe it's not getting enough sun??

Let me know what you guys think and if you have any suggestions on how to save this little guy!!
IMG_4465.JPG IMG_4464.JPG IMG_4463.JPG IMG_4462.JPG
 

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Vin

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Alright, sorry it took me until today to post the photos, but here's a few. I put it next to that really green weed in our yard just to contrast the color, and I also tried to take a shot of the soil underneath the top soil. I had to put some of my soil that I use on my other bonsais on top of the existing soil due to the wind taking a lot of the old soil away. The very bottom picture is a picture of where I have it on a day-to-day basis. I have it up against the wall to protect it from the Oklahoma wind, but maybe it's not getting enough sun??

Let me know what you guys think and if you have any suggestions on how to save this little guy!!
View attachment 98671 View attachment 98672 View attachment 98673 View attachment 98674
Sorry but it's dead and gone. No other way to put it.
 

OkieBonsai2424

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Sorry but it's dead and gone. No other way to put it.
I understand. Doesn't make it sting any less!! :/ Thanks for breaking it to me though.. The worst part about this is that I don't even know what killed it if I were to do it over again. I don't know what I would change so I can't even say that I learned anything from this experience...
 

Vin

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I understand. Doesn't make it sting any less!! :/ Thanks for breaking it to me though.. The worst part about this is that I don't even know what killed it if I were to do it over again. I don't know what I would change so I can't even say that I learned anything from this experience...
These things happen. It's hard to let them go sometimes but you learn from them if possible and move on to the next one armed with more information. It's all part of hobby.
 

sorce

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Take a look at the roots.

There is still a lot of autopsy work you can do for learning.....

It is highly possible the old Chinese man that sold it to you killed it.

If these are vigorous.....you can pull em out the ground....cut the roots off....throw it in a pot.....and it can live for a while....

But it had been Dead.

It ain't your fault.

Learn.....buy stock from reputable dealers....
Or a regular nursery.

Neva eva Eva.....the bonsai man in the bonsai van!

Sorce
 

OkieBonsai2424

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Take a look at the roots.

There is still a lot of autopsy work you can do for learning.....

It is highly possible the old Chinese man that sold it to you killed it.

If these are vigorous.....you can pull em out the ground....cut the roots off....throw it in a pot.....and it can live for a while....

But it had been Dead.

It ain't your fault.

Learn.....buy stock from reputable dealers....
Or a regular nursery.

Neva eva Eva.....the bonsai man in the bonsai van!

Sorce
Thanks for the advice! Since I'm no longer worried about killing it, I'll pull it out of the pot tonight and take a look at the roots and see if I can glean anything. I'm leaning towards maybe I didn't overwinter it correctly, stressed it, and killed it. I don't know if that even sounds plausible to you guys, but I feel like I did everything else pretty well..
 

markyscott

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Thanks for the advice! Since I'm no longer worried about killing it, I'll pull it out of the pot tonight and take a look at the roots and see if I can glean anything. I'm leaning towards maybe I didn't overwinter it correctly, stressed it, and killed it. I don't know if that even sounds plausible to you guys, but I feel like I did everything else pretty well..
What's it planted in? It looks like potting soil with rocks on top.
 

OkieBonsai2424

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What's it planted in? It looks like potting soil with rocks on top.
Hahaha that's a fair assessment... I tried to explain, but I know I didn't do a good job.

As you'll see in my original post, when I bought it, it had just that "top soil" in it. It was recommended that I wait until spring to change out the soil so I didn't stress it and kill it, but over the winter, the Oklahoma wind carried away a lot of that top soil, so I filled it in with the sandy/rocky soil that I already had (I know it just looks like rocks, but it really is more sandy, that all just settled below the rocks). I was planning on switching out all that top soil for the soil that I have that has worked well for my other bonsais. This guy just never quite made it to that point, unfortunately..

I definitely know it wasn't the ideal mix!!!
 

GrimLore

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Hahaha that's a fair assessment... I tried to explain, but I know I didn't do a good job.

As you'll see in my original post, when I bought it, it had just that "top soil" in it. It was recommended that I wait until spring to change out the soil so I didn't stress it and kill it, but over the winter, the Oklahoma wind carried away a lot of that top soil, so I filled it in with the sandy/rocky soil that I already had (I know it just looks like rocks, but it really is more sandy, that all just settled below the rocks). I was planning on switching out all that top soil for the soil that I have that has worked well for my other bonsais. This guy just never quite made it to that point, unfortunately..

I definitely know it wasn't the ideal mix!!!
Honest as long as the soil was draining good and you did not keep it soaked it was good advice. Damp not wet I have kept Junipers in crap Nursery soil for years with no problems. Curious how it was Wintered - seems to me at this point it may have been on the "way out" when you received it...

Grimmy
 

OkieBonsai2424

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Honest as long as the soil was draining good and you did not keep it soaked it was good advice. Damp not wet I have kept Junipers in crap Nursery soil for years with no problems. Curious how it was Wintered - seems to me at this point it may have been on the "way out" when you received it...

Grimmy
If that were the case, even though it would make me upset I bought a dying tree, at least it would make me feel better that I didn't kill it!

As far as the wintering, you'll see as I explain how I did it, that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and also why I think this might be the reason I killed it, if it were me that killed it. For the most part, it was outdoors in a very similar position to the pictures above. I didn't want it to get too much wind, as it can get pretty crazy here in Oklahoma, so that's why it was up against the wall like that. Whenever it would drop below freezing, I would move it into our unheated garage, and then move it back out whenever temperatures rebounded. I think this might be the biggest mistake I made... moving it too much thinking I was saving it. Other than that, I only watered it when the soil got dry, so I don't think I drowned it. The soil actually did drain really well too whenever I would water.

Any insight into what I did wrong will be appreciated!!
 

GrimLore

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If that were the case, even though it would make me upset I bought a dying tree, at least it would make me feel better that I didn't kill it!

Any insight into what I did wrong will be appreciated!!
My honest thought on this is you bought a bad plant, perhaps a cutting with little or no root... I have bought worse from very reputable dealer in this region - disease ridden and to the burn pile in two weeks... It happens.
As I mentioned it is not uncommon to keep Junipers in Nursery sledge for a few years and slowly work the plant as it gets established. A small amount of trimmed and a repot often kills them so many leave the roots be for a good long time. When they are repotted - that is all you do for another whole year, at least in these parts.
I don't see anything wrong with the way you Wintered it either...

Better to get one from a Nursery(perhaps not a Bonsai place) in the future perhaps?

Grimmy
 

Dav4

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If that were the case, even though it would make me upset I bought a dying tree, at least it would make me feel better that I didn't kill it!

As far as the wintering, you'll see as I explain how I did it, that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and also why I think this might be the reason I killed it, if it were me that killed it. For the most part, it was outdoors in a very similar position to the pictures above. I didn't want it to get too much wind, as it can get pretty crazy here in Oklahoma, so that's why it was up against the wall like that. Whenever it would drop below freezing, I would move it into our unheated garage, and then move it back out whenever temperatures rebounded. I think this might be the biggest mistake I made... moving it too much thinking I was saving it. Other than that, I only watered it when the soil got dry, so I don't think I drowned it. The soil actually did drain really well too whenever I would water.

Any insight into what I did wrong will be appreciated!!
Well, moving it around certainly didn't help, and there could be more factors contributing to it's demise that you'll never know. Ideally, junipers live year round outside, and I would have mulched this one in somewhere protected, left it alone and hoped for the best. You were pretty much behind the 8 ball when you got this one so late in the year, and didn't have a solid plan for getting it through the winter. Live and learn...now you have a better idea of what to do in the future.
 

OkieBonsai2424

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Thanks everyone for your input!! I feel a whole lot better now knowing that there is at least a small chance I didn't kill this one myself.. Especially given the fact that the other Juniper I got at the same time that I gave to my brother has also died. I showed him my pictures and he said his is even more brown than that.

I'll use this information to hopefully make my next experience more positive!!!
 

sorce

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Less you moved it by picking it up by the foliage....
You didn't kill it.

http://www.bonsainut.com/threads/1-sorce-8-nanas-7-depots.20709/

There's a few notes in there about my nana search.
If You are not spending $300 plus yet on stock....that's a better place to start than the "bonsai man"!

I'm following Grim advice of leaving them in nursery cans for a while. They are happy so far!

One thing to note.....I killed a few underwatering in nursery soil.
I thought it was too retentive.
Don't be afraid to water!

Sorce
 

OkieBonsai2424

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Less you moved it by picking it up by the foliage....
You didn't kill it.

http://www.bonsainut.com/threads/1-sorce-8-nanas-7-depots.20709/

There's a few notes in there about my nana search.
If You are not spending $300 plus yet on stock....that's a better place to start than the "bonsai man"!

I'm following Grim advice of leaving them in nursery cans for a while. They are happy so far!

One thing to note.....I killed a few underwatering in nursery soil.
I thought it was too retentive.
Don't be afraid to water!


Sorce
That last little bit is interesting, because both my brother and I (without discussing) erred slightly on the side of potentially underwatering vs. overwatering just because it was winter and they were in that "potting soil" type mixture that really held the water. Definitely another possibility of what might have contributed to it's demise!!
 
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