Shohin Japanese Red Pine

Randolph

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Hello everyone, I need some advice about what could be going on with my pine. I am keeping it outside in mostly full sun, possibly overwatering a little just to make sure it doesn't dry out. Its starting to lose its bright green color and the needles are turning brown in segments, I suspect a fungal infection and if I'm correct what type is recommended?
 

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Bonsai Nut

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Welcome to the site!

I don't want to sound presumptuous, but who told you that was a Japanese Red Pine? It looks like a Japanese Black Pine to me(?) Red pines have much finer needles...

Can you give us a little more information - your location, what the soil looks like and how long it had been since the tree was repotted?
 

Randolph

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Welcome to the site!

I don't want to sound presumptuous, but who told you that was a Japanese Red Pine? It looks like a Japanese Black Pine to me(?) Red pines have much finer needles...
Thank you! I was told it was a red pine but I wont argue that it could be a Black pine. Any advice for what could be going on?
 

Bonsai Nut

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I suspect root problems... but it will help a lot if you could tell us what you know about the conditions of the soil. If you just repotted it last year into good soil mix, it probably isn't the roots... but if you received it from someone else, or bought it from a dealer, it could have been a while since it has been repotted.

I'm going to assume it is a black pine - and it is very clearly a quality one. You can get into trouble with black pines if you have poor soil combined with excess watering. The roots get distressed and may die or rot, and the sign is often yellowing of the needles from the bud to the tip, eventually turning some or all of the needle a pale green to yellow.
 

Randolph

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It appears to be an organic type soil. I bought it from a dealer and I'm not certain when it was last repotted. I'm not certain about the timing of repotting pines, is it similar to deciduous trees in the respect that there is a narrow window?
 

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It appears to be an organic type soil. I bought it from a dealer and I'm not certain when it was last repotted. I'm not certain about the timing of repotting pines, is it similar to deciduous trees in the respect that there is a narrow window?
The soil surface and trunk show signs of algae i believe. If that is true than that is a clear indicator that it is staying to wet. If that has been going on for some time than the roots will be compromised. Pines like dry feet, the black bottom of the trunk and soil surface look too wet.
 

Randolph

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The soil surface and trunk show signs of algae i believe. If that is true than that is a clear indicator that it is staying to wet. If that has been going on for some time than the roots will be compromised. Pines like dry feet, the black bottom of the trunk and soil surface look too wet.
what would be you advice to correct the issue at this point?
 

River's Edge

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what would be you advice to correct the issue at this point?
Get an experienced Bonsai person to check the roots. It takes an experienced person to recognize what they are looking at and what to look for. Until then back off on the watering, let it dry out a bit between watering. Use a wooden chopstick and put it into the soil approx 1 inch. Leave for a few minutes. If it comes out dry then water thoroughly and wait for it to dry out before watering again. If it comes out wet, do not water. After a while you will have a better understanding of when it needs water and when it does not. That is a small pot and likely a small amount of soil, the correct drainage and aeration will be very important.
The one picture looks like a before ( perhaps when acquired) and the other two after too much watering.
 

Randolph

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Get an experienced Bonsai person to check the roots. It takes an experienced person to recognize what they are looking at and what to look for. Until then back off on the watering, let it dry out a bit between watering. Use a wooden chopstick and put it into the soil approx 1 inch. Leave for a few minutes. If it comes out dry then water thoroughly and wait for it to dry out before watering again. If it comes out wet, do not water. After a while you will have a better understanding of when it needs water and when it does not. That is a small pot and likely a small amount of soil, the correct drainage and aeration will be very important.
The one picture looks like a before ( perhaps when acquired) and the other two after too much watering.
Thank you very much, that was very informative. Should the needles that are turning colors be removed?, I noticed "banding" on the needles and wanted to make sure that can happen with over watering and that its not likely a fungal infection
 

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Thank you very much, that was very informative. Should the needles that are turning colors be removed?, I noticed "banding" on the needles and wanted to make sure that can happen with over watering and that its not likely a fungal infection
Wait for any further response until an experienced eye can examine. Remove dead needles only at this point.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Looks like it could be freeze damage. Are you in a cold climate?
Red pines are very sensitive to wet soil, but like others have said, it looks more like jbp.
 

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Sadly with pines, they are slow to show problems, and they are slow to recover. Sometimes by the time you see they are suffering, the tree is already under a great deal of distress.

If it were my tree, I would remove it from the pot as gently as possible and inspect the roots. If the tree is extremely root-bound, it may be difficult to get it out of the pot, but that will tell you right away that you have a problem :) I don't know your experience level, but the tree may be wired into the pot as well, so check the drain holes on the pot to see if the tree is wired - and cut the wires in order to get the tree out.

A lot depends on the condition of the roots. If the roots look good and the soil is good, you can return the tree to the pot and we can go with "plan B".

If the tree looks severely root bound or you can see dead and rotting roots, I would then try to open up the root ball without cutting any roots, and check to see whether the roots are getting enough drainage and oxygen. Then I would gently transplant the tree into another pot/container that is about twice the size of the current one, in a good bonsai soil mix. This wouldn't be a permanent repot, rather an emergency "hospital" situation where you are trying to get the pine to recover and strengthen. Then I would leave it alone for a year and hopefully it will recover.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Yes Northeast US
You don't have to be specific, but can you give us a state? Japanese black pine is hardy to zone 5, but with all wintering trees they have to be allowed to slowly adjust to cold weather, and then slowly come out dormancy in the spring. Sudden fluctuations in temperature can have a negative impact if a tree isn't ready. Even cold hardy trees can get cold damage with the sudden onset of winter, or can be caught by a last minute storm after they have come out of dormancy in the spring. Roots are more susceptible to damage than trunks or branches, but bonsai trees, being in containers surrounded on all sides by the elements, can be particularly vulnerable.
 

Randolph

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Sadly with pines, they are slow to show problems, and they are slow to recover. Sometimes by the time you see they are suffering, the tree is already under a great deal of distress.

If it were my tree, I would remove it from the pot as gently as possible and inspect the roots. If the tree is extremely root-bound, it may be difficult to get it out of the pot, but that will tell you right away that you have a problem :) I don't know your experience level, but the tree may be wired into the pot as well, so check the drain holes on the pot to see if the tree is wired - and cut the wires in order to get the tree out.

A lot depends on the condition of the roots. If the roots look good and the soil is good, you can return the tree to the pot and we can go with "plan B".

If the tree looks severely root bound or you can see dead and rotting roots, I would then try to open up the root ball without cutting any roots, and check to see whether the roots are getting enough drainage and oxygen. Then I would gently transplant the tree into another pot/container that is about twice the size of the current one, in a good bonsai soil mix. This wouldn't be a permanent repot, rather an emergency "hospital" situation where you are trying to get the pine to recover and strengthen. Then I would leave it alone for a year and hopefully it will recover.
Thank you, you've been VERY helpful!
 

Randolph

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I want to thank everyone for the input, I had an experience person look at the tree and that think that it has needle cast, probably from over-watering. Placed in a "hospital pot" , placed undisturbed roots around new soil and spray cooper fungicide on needles. Hopefully it will recover.


image1 (2).jpeg
 

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