New here! Hello & Help!

rustedtrew180sx

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Hey everyone!

Just want to say hi/introduce myself and ask for some assistance.
:)

Been lurking around this forum for some time and learning what I can! Thank you all for the awesome info on this forum. I'm greatful!

I recently got into bonsai and loving it so far.
I visited my local bonsai store and ended up leaving with a juniper nana.
I purchased a nursery plant and a pot thinking I would grow it out and make my own bonsai.. but as I was purchasing it.. my wife asked the owner if he can make a bonsai for us. He kindly agreed to do it for free!
The only thing that struck me was the soil he was using .. he explained that it was a mixed soil and it looks like some sort of succulent soil mix.
Anywho, when we brought it home we kept it indoors for a week.. he suggested we do this since he pruned it and repotted it.. but from my research I think it would of been better to just leave it out.
In the last 3 weeks, I water it every 3 days so the soil always appears not soaked but a bit wet. I have it on my balcony with about 4 hours of direct sun. The temps have been about 88-95 in pasadena heat.
At first, the tree was vibrant green but lately, the tree has been getting a bit brown which concerns me. I thought maybe I need to feed it so I inserted a liquid fertilizer bottle near it's root and kept up with the my usual husbandry.

Just want some feedbacks on what you guys think ... I've seen trees similar to mine on the forum and I fear mine may be on it's way out ..
However, I do see that there is new growth on the trunk which makes me think otherwise ...

Thank you all in advance! I hope as I learn more, I can contribute down the line!

God bless,
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rustedtrew180sx

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So I just did the paper test for spider mites.. don't see any sites moving around.. but I did see this lil crapper!
Can anyone ID this bug?
Thanks in advance!
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sorce

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You can water it every day. Come fall you may need to water it twice a day, I've found that's when they use the most water.

Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 

Bonsai Nut

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Welcome to the site!

What you have there is a small procumbens juniper. It naturally grows in a sprawling, mat-forming manner, with contorted trunk lines, so it is a very friendly juniper to start with when you are learning.

First, you have to be very careful that you aren't underwatering - particularly in Pasadena in the summer. If the Santa Anas are blowing you could water that tree three times a day and it might still dry out. Water when the soil needs it - not based on any set schedule. In December with a heavy marine layer you might water once every three days... but not in the summer.

Second, the piece size of that red lava soil is far too large for the tree. I assume it is top dressing because otherwise your tree would be long dead because that soil won't hold any water. I would put your tree on a towel or something to catch the soil, and gently brush off that red lava to see what lies beneath. I assume you will find a block of nursery soil that is root-bound... but you won't know without looking. Once you see what you are dealing with you can sprinkle the red lava back on top. Note - DO NOT repot the tree right now. It is the wrong time of the year for that work. You simply want to look at what soil you are dealing with. When you hit roots... stop.

Third, in the summer it is ok to prune junipers pretty aggressively and they will respond with strong growth as long as you leave some green foliage on every branch you wish to keep. If you remove all the green on a branch it is dead and will not rebud. However the person who pruned your tree didn't really do you any favors. He just hacked it up quickly like a topiary, when what you really want to do is open up the interior of the tree and clean it out so the interior buds get light and air, and you reveal the structure of the tree while improving the ramification. You definitely want to take this tree to a workshop or somewhere where a knowledgeable person will show you how to properly maintain the foliage. Good news is that in Pasadena you have a lot of options - starting with the events they hold at the Huntington Gardens.
 

rustedtrew180sx

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Welcome to the site!

What you have there is a small procumbens juniper. It naturally grows in a sprawling, mat-forming manner, with contorted trunk lines, so it is a very friendly juniper to start with when you are learning.

First, you have to be very careful that you aren't underwatering - particularly in Pasadena in the summer. If the Santa Anas are blowing you could water that tree three times a day and it might still dry out. Water when the soil needs it - not based on any set schedule. In December with a heavy marine layer you might water once every three days... but not in the summer.

Second, the piece size of that red lava soil is far too large for the tree. I assume it is top dressing because otherwise your tree would be long dead because that soil won't hold any water. I would put your tree on a towel or something to catch the soil, and gently brush off that red lava to see what lies beneath. I assume you will find a block of nursery soil that is root-bound... but you won't know without looking. Once you see what you are dealing with you can sprinkle the red lava back on top. Note - DO NOT repot the tree right now. It is the wrong time of the year for that work. You simply want to look at what soil you are dealing with. When you hit roots... stop.

Third, in the summer it is ok to prune junipers pretty aggressively and they will respond with strong growth as long as you leave some green foliage on every branch you wish to keep. If you remove all the green on a branch it is dead and will not rebud. However the person who pruned your tree didn't really do you any favors. He just hacked it up quickly like a topiary, when what you really want to do is open up the interior of the tree and clean it out so the interior buds get light and air, and you reveal the structure of the tree while improving the ramification. You definitely want to take this tree to a workshop or somewhere where a knowledgeable person will show you how to properly maintain the foliage. Good news is that in Pasadena you have a lot of options - starting with the events they hold at the Huntington Gardens.
Thank you so much guys! I appreciate the advice and info! I really do!

Yes, the lava rocks are top decorations for the soil. I inspected the soil more thoroughly.. and I from the looks of it... It drains well so it must be some sort of cactus/potting soil mix.. it's definitely noy bonsai soil.. as long as it drains well... I'll leave it but will repot it into a more suitable soil after it recovers..

Wow! Huntington gardens do workshops huh?? I need the check that out!!!

Hmm... So makes me wonder if the branches are brown because I'm underwatering.. the soil always seem to be wet..

Anywho, I did spray it down thoroughly last night with bonide. And covered the soil with a towel ( read a member do this to protect the soil from the drips of the spraying)
Saw that several caterpillar-like bugs fell down from the eradication last night! ☠️

Gonna have to take this to a bonsai store in lakewood for a check up. House of bonsai.

Anyways, thank you guys for the help!
 

Potawatomi13

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Don't repot until proper season. Normal time most trees just as Spring growth starts. Present problem likely too little H2O. If wanting any bigger trunk will need to get into bigger growing container or ground until trunk is that big AFTER it recovers well from present condition. Bonsai pot is last thing needed until trunk is adult size.
 

rustedtrew180sx

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Don't repot until proper season. Normal time most trees just as Spring growth starts. Present problem likely too little H2O. If wanting any bigger trunk will need to get into bigger growing container or ground until trunk is that big AFTER it recovers well from present condition. Bonsai pot is last thing needed until trunk is adult size.
Understood!
Will baby it and water it more.
Wish I had a backyard to plant it on the ground.. I need to get a big pot to grow it out.
But of course, after it recovers..
Thanks again!
 
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Welcome aboard!

I look forward to seeing your future posts, especially would be interested if you find you way down to Huntington Gardens.
cheers
DSD. Sends
 

Bonsai Nut

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Gonna have to take this to a bonsai store in lakewood for a check up. House of bonsai.

Anyways, thank you guys for the help!
Not so sure how Victoria will treat you. She doesn't always have the best bedside manner... to put it lightly. I hope you catch her on a good day!
 

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