Sick shimp

Dwight

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Any ideas what this could be. I suspect overwatering or underwatering. The soil , for some reason , has broken down or the drain holes are pluged due my not sifting the soil well enough and the tree doesn't drain real well. It is pushing new growth but not all of that is surviving. It is in a mixture of 1/3 Miracle grow and 2/3 oil dry. Thats probably wrong also but everyone else seems to love it.

PS sorry for the poor picture quality
 

Tachigi

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Hi Dwight,
Bummer! I won't lecture you on the soil seems you know right from wrong. I don't if this is a cause of drowning a plant. Which it could very well be, if the water isn't draining. It could be, just might be, chemical burn. If your feeding the plant fert and you have miracle grow in the soil, it is conceivable that the tree got its tootsies burned. I had that happen a week or so ago. My AG rep talked me into a new fert and didn't disclose all the facts about the fert. So I have about 50 shimps in the ground for sale that are a lovely shade of bronze.

I would hedge all bets. I would take a chop stick and in a circular motion free the soil up to try and improve drainage, don't feed it, and only water if your sure the soil is dried out.

Good luck (btw you might want to consider changing your soil recipe)
 

Dwight

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Tom , I really don't know what the hell I'm doing with soil so a good recipe would be nice. I got this off the Web somewhere and it " seems " to work but.....

As for fertilizer , I've stopped feeding this guy for just the reasons you give. I also try to wait till the tree really needs water but a lack of experience could be a problem there. I'm tempted to repot but am afraid that would kill it for sure.

Funny thying is it is growing like mad , all kinds of new stuff on healthy branches. It's almost as if the cambium layer that suplies the brown part of the tree was damaged. Think I'll let it dry real good a few times and see if it slows down the dieback.

Thanks
 

Tachigi

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Hi Dwight, I just took another look at your picture. I missed the wire before (sucks getting old). Did you do any serious cranking on the trunk? Your statement about cambium damage made me go back and look at the picture and well could be a cause.

Great, inexpensive, soil recipe for conifers ...... 2 parts lava, 1 part turface, 1 part bark (use 2 parts if you got tumbleweed outside your back door;) ) this is the most generic mix you can make. Later as your skills and confidence develop you can amend this with akadama, kanuma, or jelly beans if you like.
 
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Vance Wood

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I have made mention before about Oil Dry that I do not like it. It breaks down too fast and I suspect that is what has happened here. I would wager if you were to take the tree out of the pot you would find a layer of slime at the bottom. Oil Dry is a calcined clay product, but because it is not sold as a soil amendment per say it is not fired consistently enough to make the results predictable one bag to another. Its cheif reason for existence is to absorb grease and oil off a garage floor. You would be better off using Turface, Terra Green, of Shults ceramic soil conditioner. These products wont break down after two or three years. The Red Lava stone is excellent and composted Pine Bark Mulch. However with all of that it is a good idea to add some garden charcoal to the soil to prevent it from becoming sour.

With the tree as it is now I would suggest moving it into a partially shaded location. They grow the most compact foliage in full sun, but sometimes they turn yellow. A season in the shade will probably help it a lot. They are generally real hardy and you have to go out of your way to kill one. This looks like it might be an emergency issue and I would think of repotting it into a better soil. Having said that be aware that Shimpakus take about three seasons to recover from a heavy repot. It's not that the tree is at risk during this time but it probably wont grow as fast as you are used to seeing it grow during this time.

I posted a few of my Shimpakus just so you would know I do have them.

PS. After looking at your picture again I am thinking you might not be watering enough, oddly enough though, in the end the over all effect of over watering and under watering are the same, the tree dies because it can't get enough water, believe it or not. One because of availability, the other because the roots are so damaged that it no longer can take up water.
 
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grog

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I've found that not all Oil Dry products are created equal. Oddly the one I've found that works is here in my backwoods town. Minimal sifting, been in pots almost a year and still maintaining structure. On the other hand I've bought some from other places that made short work of some collected hackberry and j. virginiana. The stuff almost literally disintegrated after a couple waterings. A couple elms are still managing to eke out existence in the sludge, hopefully they pull through as they're too newly dug and it's too hot to try repotting. The Oil Dry that's worked is white and very light. The other is more a grey'ish color and much denser.
 

Rick Moquin

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Interesting observation about the oil dry. It's not the first time I have heard this either. I hope your tree makes out all right.

In the past the explanation for using oil dry is that it was cheaper, I don't think we should be skimping on our soil components which is the lifeline of our trees.
 

Vance Wood

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I have in the past used Kitty Litter with the same results----mixed and unpredictable. The only Kitty Litter that I consider usable is Hartz Mountain, at least that I considered (past tense) usable. I haven't used this stuff in years. Calcined clay is essentially baked or fired granulated clay. Clay makes up the majority of the bulk of most soil mixes (most not all), with sand and some sort of humus or organic element, usually composted Pine bark, though this is not graven in stone. Of the clay products available the Schultz product is the most dependable, it is slow to break down. As to break down you have to think in terms of holding its structure for at least five years, if you are growing conifers, one of which is the Juniper. Because of the modern inconsistencies of most calcined clay products the red lava stone has become, for me, a viable alternative.
 

BonsaiRic

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The only "oil dry" I use is ditomaceous earth. I get it at a Nappa Auto parts store for about $6/25lb bag. It has worked well for me for about 2 growing seasons.
 

rlist

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First, with regards to Oil Dry, Grog seems to state what I have found. I used a product that is sold through my local auto parts store (can't remember their exact name - but can get it if anyone really cares) for two years. I found that it broke down and left the sludge at the bottom of the pot, but after two years it was still relatively stable. More so than akadama. I did an expiriment and put some in a jar of water for 1 year, shaking it every month or so. It left a nice layer of silt at the bottom of the jar, but the individual granules were still the same consistency - some resistance when squeezed. So, for those that use oil dry products - test and use with caution.

With regards to Miracle Grow and Oil Dry Mix Dwight, well, it is a bad mix but everybody here has used their share of bad mixes. Don't sweat it too much. Go with what Tom recommended and you'll be safe. In your neck of the woods, error on the side of moisture retention - and hope you don't get 19 inches of rain like your neighbors.

As for this Shimp, well... Wasn't there a bunch of hub-bub about this tree on another site last year? Where did it come from? What root work was done? What wiring? What foliage? I suspect that this tree might be suffering from a variety of issues and it might be difficult to narrow it down to soil or sun or wiring or whatever.

Don't sweat it. It is part of the learning process...
 

Dwight

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OK now I have a head ache. I'm beginning to wonder what the hell is going on. Today I noticed another of my shimps is browniing at the tips so maybe the soil is the problem. The wierd part is that all my other trees seem real happy , growth everywhere , nice colors , etc. I'll move both these shimps manana ( it's already dark here ) first thing. I think I'll put them under my afgan pines with the only maple I have. It stays cooler there , almost no sun and the humidity is almost double digits under these old trees.

PS , thanks everyone and thanks for treating me as a bonsai hobbyest and not some stupid kid of 61. :)
 
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Tachigi

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I found that it broke down and left the sludge at the bottom of the pot, but after two years it was still relatively stable

OK Rich I'm confused. Why would you want sludge in the bottom of your pot. Even if the product was stable/firm. Why not spend the 13 bucks for good ole 50 pound bag of turface and not worry about the sludge? I'm not hacking you here just trying to shove a little more information in to the dark matter between my ears :)
 

Dwight

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And mine too.

Just remembered something ( today has been a struggle for my old body and brain ). When I misted this tree this AM , there were spider webs all over it. I didn't think much of it at the time but ...........

PS , where do I get Turface ??
 
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Tachigi

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Dwight, don't read to much into your spiders webbing. Its moist which I would guess is a good thing down in El Paso, so the spider found a great place to kick back. Turface .... farm supply stores carry it, its used by gold courses and ball parks for maintenance. So with that knowledge stop by and ask a grounds keeper at your public coarse or park where they get it from.
 

Rick Moquin

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Here is the link for Plant Prod, the manufacturer a quick phone call and they will tell you who stocks it in your neighbourhood.
 

rlist

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OK Rich I'm confused. Why would you want sludge in the bottom of your pot. Even if the product was stable/firm. Why not spend the 13 bucks for good ole 50 pound bag of turface and not worry about the sludge? I'm not hacking you here just trying to shove a little more information in to the dark matter between my ears :)

Oh, sorry. I don't want either immediate break down or sludge - I do now use turface and not oil dry. My point was that there are different grades of oil dry, some better than others. Also, because of the different grades you can get more life out of the product and there isn't instant death as some had implied. This tree was potted less than a year ago, and if it is a better grade of oil dry, I would guess there is just a thin film of sludge on the bottom of the pot. Troubling, but not deadly.
 

Tachigi

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I don't want either immediate break down or sludge
Gotcha, I new there was something I was missing:)
 

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