ninibonsai

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Hi there! I am completely new to the bonsai world, and DESPERATELY need immediate help. I was recently gifted an "8 year old satsuki azalea bonsai" that shipped from Connecticut.

I live in Seattle where the weather is currently in the 60's, cool with some sunlight. I have my bonsai outside on a covered balcony where it gets some sunlight during the day, but not too much direct sunlight. It came with some nice pink flowers in late August, but ever since I've had it the flowers have all slowly withered away. I am spraying the leaves and giving the soil plenty of filtered tap water, making sure not to let the soil dry out. The hairy leaves started to turn brown and grew spotty (signs of an unhealthy plant I read). On some branches there seem to be growth of new buds but the surrounding leaves are all starting to turn brown and crisp as well, and I'm unsure the buds will sprout. I have pruned it once, cut off the dead leaves and flowers but the good leaves are still turning brown and spotty. I'm not sure what is happening, but it looks to me like my bonsai is dying. Are the leaves supposed to come off with the change in season? Would fertilizers help? Should I be cutting the withering leaves/flowers or just let it fall off naturally?

I attached some photos, and I am really hoping fellow bonsai lovers and experts can help me save my bonsai. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, and thanks much in advance!!!

Cheers,
Nini
 

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cbroad

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Welcome to Nut House!!!

Hmmm... First pic looks like sun burnt leaves but doubt that's the case since it's on a covered balcony and doesn't get too much direct sun. Also kind of looks like fertilizer burn but I don't know your fertlizing schedule, but I doubt this is the case either. Fertilizer burn would look like light brown crispy leaf margins and tips, but then I noticed the darker brown leaf tips and spots and that definitely is fungal.

Pretty good chance this is a fungal issue, especially given your location. High humidity or excess moisture would definitely cause these kinds of problems. This problem could be compounded by poor air flow around AND especially through the plant.

Just noticed you said you've been spraying the leaves, that is more than likely the cause of this issue. Shady, cool, high humidity and dense foliage, and spraying the leaves is almost guaranteed to cause fungal problems.

The cure: stop spraying the foliage (really really important), pick up all dead leaves in the pot, pick off majorly affected foliage and bag them up (fungi will survive on dead foliage and transfer or reinfect plants). Use a fungicide ( I like Daconil) and completely drench the plant (especially the undersides of the leaves) and do this about every two weeks.

All the foliage affected will stay that way until they are replaced, but you can keep it from spreading by using a fungicide. I would leave only slightly affected foliage on the plant.

Also, keep in mind the soil composition and how well it's draining; there could be roots issues too if it drains poorly.

Wait for other people to chime in also.

Good luck!
 

cbroad

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Also, evergreens eventually/continuously shed and replace older foliage. The azalea shedding a few leaves is normal but a big shed would indicate some issue, probably is from the fungal issue but keep in mind transplant shock could cause this also (being shipped across the country, being moved to a new macro/micro climate, different sun exposure...), just a new environment in general can cause plants to drop leaves.

I probably wouldn't fertilize it this late in the year and fertilizing a stressed plant could tip it over the edge...
 

GrimLore

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Do everything @cbroad stated... I mentioned in another post here that some plants like Satsuki here require being damp, not wet along with low light levels. The proper conditions for growth are the perfect conditions for fungal issues.
After you clean it up a bit do as he stated and in addition get rid of a bit of small interior foliage. Treat it normally but spray the interior branches, foliage and substrate surface with Daconil every 10 days for the remainder of the season. Cut the treatment in half for the Winter. In the Spring you should both be in good shape(you and the plant) ;)

Grimmy
 
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Bonsai Nut

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I agree with cbroad. The give-away is spotting on the leaves, and the inconsistent nature of the damage.

Rotate through several fungicides (like Mancozeb and Clearys 3336), remove the dead leaves and parts of the tree, keep the foliage dry, and keep it in an area with nice air flow.
 

GrimLore

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Here is a Tsuki No Shimo Satsuki Azalea that I have been treating and growing since April 19th today. It looked as bad if not worse then yours 5 months ago and is just fine today, needing a bit of thinning.

IMG_1447.JPG

IMG_1445.JPG

Grimmy
 

GrimLore

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Here is a Tsuki No Shimo Satsuki Azalea
@Bonsai Nut This is the one I pictured above, another oddity like the Quince and a few others here :confused: Here is a picture of a Bloom, the right colors BUT a Rose-In-Rose :eek: -

IMG_1151.JPG

It also throws normal blooms -

IMG_1219.JPG

Grimmy
 
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GrimLore

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Rose-In-Rose :eek:
EDIT: I don't know why but I have made that typo a LOT of times, and in my notes as well:oops: I would like to say it is an age thing but I have been doing it for years :p That should have been a Semi-double hose-in hose;)

For those of you that may be interested here is a simple reference showing the six basic types -

Azalea petal types.jpg

Grimmy
 

ninibonsai

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I've taken your advice, cleaned up my bonsai and have been applying fungicide to it!! Also being extra careful not to over or under water. The tree looks a lot more barren (a lot less leaves) but it's looking green and healthier and the buds are starting to bloom too. Attached some photo updates. I'm feeling hopeful; thank you so much - You're a true bonsai savior!!!!!!!

Welcome to Nut House!!!

Hmmm... First pic looks like sun burnt leaves but doubt that's the case since it's on a covered balcony and doesn't get too much direct sun. Also kind of looks like fertilizer burn but I don't know your fertlizing schedule, but I doubt this is the case either. Fertilizer burn would look like light brown crispy leaf margins and tips, but then I noticed the darker brown leaf tips and spots and that definitely is fungal.

Pretty good chance this is a fungal issue, especially given your location. High humidity or excess moisture would definitely cause these kinds of problems. This problem could be compounded by poor air flow around AND especially through the plant.

Just noticed you said you've been spraying the leaves, that is more than likely the cause of this issue. Shady, cool, high humidity and dense foliage, and spraying the leaves is almost guaranteed to cause fungal problems.

The cure: stop spraying the foliage (really really important), pick up all dead leaves in the pot, pick off majorly affected foliage and bag them up (fungi will survive on dead foliage and transfer or reinfect plants). Use a fungicide ( I like Daconil) and completely drench the plant (especially the undersides of the leaves) and do this about every two weeks.

All the foliage affected will stay that way until they are replaced, but you can keep it from spreading by using a fungicide. I would leave only slightly affected foliage on the plant.

Also, keep in mind the soil composition and how well it's draining; there could be roots issues too if it drains poorly.

Wait for other people to chime in also.

Good luck!
 

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ninibonsai

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Bonsai is looking a lot better; photo updates above. Thank you so, so much!!!!!!

Do everything @cbroad stated... I mentioned in another post here that some plants like Satsuki here require being damp, not wet along with low light levels. The proper conditions for growth are the perfect conditions for fungal issues.
After you clean it up a bit do as he stated and in addition get rid of a bit of small interior foliage. Treat it normally but spray the interior branches, foliage and substrate surface with Daconil every 10 days for the remainder of the season. Cut the treatment in half for the Winter. In the Spring you should both be in good shape(you and the plant) ;)

Grimmy
 

ninibonsai

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Things are lookin up! Photo updates above; thank you so much!!!!! Wouldn't have done it without the suggestions, and so happy to have found this community.

I agree with cbroad. The give-away is spotting on the leaves, and the inconsistent nature of the damage.

Rotate through several fungicides (like Mancozeb and Clearys 3336), remove the dead leaves and parts of the tree, keep the foliage dry, and keep it in an area with nice air flow.
 

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