Somewhat new to Bonsai.

JustinBoi

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Hello, My name is Justin. I am from Clearwater FL.
I own 11 Pre-Bonsai and 2 Bonsai. 2 junipers, Ligustrum, Ginseng Ficus, 2 Ficus Benjamina, Eastern Red Cedar, Willow leaf Ficus, 2 Ilex, Red Maple, and Crape Myrtle.
I've had a slight problem with my Ginseng Ficus, I have been watering all my plants once a day (which I thought would be okay since they are in 80 degree heat and 90% humidity.
It's new buds are turning a yellow-orange color and then yesterday I noticed some leafs have closed together from one side to the other.
I opened a few up and noticed little black bugs. Slender. And white specks next to them (which I suspect are eggs).
This morning I took into my hands to spray with a soapy spray.
I sprayed the leafs and the soil just in case.
And a few of the plants around it.
Am I over-watering my plants?, What are these bugs?, Was the spray the right decision?
 

rockm

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You are probably overwatering all your trees. Such high humidity means the plants are not respiring moisture through their leaves, which means the water is staying in the soil (your soil may also be playing a big role here if it retains too much water).

The yellow orange color indicates a root problem to me. With so much water it could be root rot.
 

JustinBoi

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I also believed it to be some root problem too.
I have re-potted two of my plants in the last few weeks.
I have one soil that is made up of pine bark, calcined clay, and spagnum peat moss.
The other I use is Miracle Grow Moist Control and Spagnum peat moss.
The ficus is in the same starter pot I got it from Walmart 4 months ago.
Should I re-pot it?
Chance of root rot, would it help to re-pot?:confused:
 

Mike423

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I would say the best type of mixtures are two parts inorganic (one part porous one part non porous) and one part organic. The percentage of each component you will need to use will vary from location due to local weather patterns and there for how long it will take fore the soil to dry. The best mixtures will dry in a day or two, but if it take longer than three days you can then begin having problems associated with unwanted prolonged soil moisture.

I would recommend using Haydite, granite, gravel etc.. for you inorganic non porous component.
Turface, Lava rock, Akadama, etc.. for your porous portion component
and Fir bark, Pine bark or in some instances Peat most (sifted to get all the fine powder out)
On the other hand if you have the money akadama can be used as a great soil by itself.

Also be sure to sift all components prior to mixing and using them as particles that are too small will impede the soils drainage and will be hard on the roots as well as promoting the soil to stay wetter longer.
 

treebeard55

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Welcome to the forum, Justin!

You've been getting some pretty good advice. I would only add two things.

First, I'd get the Ficus out of the Wal-Mart soil ASAP! Check the base and roots for any signs of rot: bark coming loose and/or an inflamed-looking pink color (not sure how else to describe it) are two things to look for. Cut away any infected tissue. (Most Ficus throw new roots like Congress throws around money, so don't hesitate to be sure you've removed any infection.) Repot in a well-draining mix, put the tree in the shade and baby the heckoutuvit for a couple of months.

Second, keep in mind that whenever soil -- of any kind -- goes into a container, its drainage characteristics change. I won't load you down with the science of it -- if you want that, send me a PM -- but that's the reason for using potting mixes with particles bigger than what you see in garden soil. That's why Mike said you need to sift your mix components. I agree with him 100%.
 

JustinBoi

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Thanks for all the advice, I truely appreciate it.
Thanks for the welcome treebeard55 :)
I have been looking for places that I can buy stuff to make my own but unfortunately I come out short.
All that is available to me is top soil, miracle grow, compost, moltan, and.. spagnum peat moss.
I should invest in a shifter.. hmm.. any other household material that could work to be a shifter?
I want to re-pot my tree as you mentioned treebeard55 but I am worried it will do worse in the soil I can provide at the moment.
To mat's post, yes, it is thrips.
Not sure how to get rid of but all I did was soak it in soapy water.
I have made a schedule to water my plants every 2 1/2 days which is convinent. (bad spelling)
What would your advice for me who's in this weird predicament.
 

cubbie

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there are lots of clubs in your area. Eric Wigert's is in North Fort Myers, and I only use his pre-mixed soilless, always good luck with it. Eric also has beginner's classes and a great nursery. he is on the internet and on facebook. www.wigertsbonsai.com also, make plans to attend the Bonsai Society of Florida's annual convention in June...... lots of vendors, demos, exhibit, workshops, and great people to talk with. Florida is a great place for bonsai!!!
 

JustinBoi

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I didn't think anyone knew about his place but actually I'm visiting his place this summer.
I can't do any classes though since they start at 9am and my parents have to bring me. (I AM ONLY 14)
I have talked to Erik and Andrea (his wife) about coming this summer. They will be meeting with me, helping me while I'm there, I will be buying a new tree, supplies, and a few pots.
I think I might be attending the June thing and I might go to his place in November for something like that.
 

Fimbrethil

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Hey Justin, As for soil. Do you have a Napa auto parts around? I use their oil dry, which is 100% diatomatious earth (fossilized diatoms). its about 6 bucks for a 50 lb bag (the last time I purchased). Sift out all of the fines (wear a mask, the dust is harmful if breathed), mix it with approx 50% composted pine bark and you have soil on the cheap. I use it in my ficus and junipers and have never had a problem.

...Also, Haydite mixed 50/50 with composted pine bark. The nice thing about haydite is it never breaks down and is relatively porus.
 
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JustinBoi

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You mean the Genuine Parts Company?
And I guess I'll go look for that stuff.
There is no where near me that has 'composted pine bark'.
But I know Home Depot sells 'Pine Bark Nuggets'. Is that the same?
And unless I buy haydite online, there is nowhere near that sells it.
Any substitutions that can be found in a small town in Florida? :)
 

treebeard55

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Justin, thanks for posting your age, because we now know that certain suggestions aren't as workable for you!

"Pine nuggets" are usually too large. What you want are particles in the 1/8"-to-1/2" range: big enough for good aeration, small enough that the mix doesn't dry out faster than you can keep it watered. You can order partly-composted, pre-sifted pine bark from some on-line places -- North Star Bonsai comes to mind -- but you do then have the cost of shipping.

You could also do what I do, tho it's more work: buy hardwood mulch at a place like Lowe's or Home Depot, and sift it yourself. You can order sifters, a.k.a. soil sieves, from places like Joe Bonsai in TX (where I got mine.) Or you can build your own.

If you build your own, I recommend making two. Get, or make, a bottomless wooden box. (One friend of mine uses empty wine-bottle crates.) Something 18" square by 3"-4" deep would be about ideal, but you can work with what you have. Fasten ordinary window screen across the bottom of one, and 1/4" hardware cloth across the bottom of the other. Voila! You have two sifters, in workable sizes. Keep and use the particles that go thru the 1/4" but not thru the window screen.

NAPA may not do business in Florida, but there probably places there that sell the same product under other brand names. What Fimbrethil refers to is made of calcined clay, and looks like Turface; it's fired at a somewhat lower temperature than Turface, so doesn't last quite as long. But it will hold its structure for several years of being wet, at least, and that's all you need. Just be sure not to get something with any additives!
 

JustinBoi

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I thought I posted my age before but I guess not. :)
I did some looking around, non of the hardware stores or Lowes/Home Depot had anything small enough like Hardwood mulch...
I guess I'm out of luck...
I could make a sifter if I had something to sift.:confused:
 

treebeard55

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Justin, the Lowe's here sells a product called "hardwood fines," in the outdoor garden center. Maybe I didn't make it clear, but much of what is in the bag is too big for bonsai use. I'd say about 1/3 of the contents of a bag are in the right size range to be an ingredient in bonsai mix. What's too big I use for landscaping mulch, what's too small I use for a soil amendment (in the ground.)

You might also look for "pine mini-nuggets," but I think with them, the percentage of usable pieces would be lower.

You can, of course, always buy ready-mixed soil from a bonsai supplier. North Star Bonsai, Wigert's, and a number of others offer it. Because of its weight, shipping costs will be something to take into account; for that reason, you probably want to order from a vendor nearby.

In an emergency, you could get some "cactus soil" at Lowe's; it at least is made to be more free-draining.
 

JustinBoi

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I guess I can go out today and look.
I know people say that Moltan is helpful.
I can buy Cactus Soil and mix it with the Moltan for now.
Then when I go to Wigert's this summer, I think I'll buy atleast 5 galloons of soil (just to hold me to after christmas).
So I can then buy bulk of things online to make my own.
Also, quick question.
If you have experience with either of these trees, let me know. (Dward Black Olive, Fukien Tea, Bougainvillea, or Tropical Mimosa)
These are all Tropical trees/shrubs and I didn't know if any of you people that probably don't live in Florida had any experience.
But I wanted to know if any of them are difficult to grow, don't like re-potting, pruning, different soil, and which one is the best to make Bonsai out of? :cool:
 

Jrbrown4

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For fine pine bark in small quantities go to the pet store. They sell bags of pine bark for reptiles that are all under 1/4 inch dont need sifting. They cost a little more since they have to sterilized for the animals but in a pinch they work great.
 

yamins

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Justin, the Lowe's here sells a product called "hardwood fines," in the

You might also look for "pine mini-nuggets," but I think with them, the percentage of usable pieces would be lower.
Treebeard, you're right, the percentage is much lower -- I just sifted a big of pine mini-nuggest, and got about 10% yield between 1/8-1/2". ...

But I can't find hardwood fines anywhere. None of the Lowe's near anywhere I can get have it, nor the Home Depots. Does anyone have a suggestion of where to get fines (or anything else that would yield a reasonable percentage of the proper-sized pine bark pieces, with some sifting if needed) in the New York city area? In large quantities, without have to ship from far away?

thanks
D
 

JustinBoi

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But I can't find hardwood fines anywhere. None of the Lowe's near anywhere I can get have it, nor the Home Depots.
Same here. I don't know where you can buy pine fines in New York. Sorry.:eek:
 

Pine Barron

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Don't get your panties in a knot if you have to repot and can't find and pine bark. I have never used it and my trees look fine. On the trees that I want to keep a little more damp I will use chopped up, long fiber sphagnam moss that you can get at just about every hardware store/regular plant nursery. I make sure it is long fibered and I do the chopping. Where gloves and I generally wet it so I don't breath in the dust. This link will show you what you are looking for if you click the second picture.

http://www.mosserlee.com/page/What_Is_Sphagnum_Moss.aspx
 
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Bill S

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You could hit a supply yard that sells stone, mulch etc. go with your buckets and screens and sift out a couple of buckets and pay a minimum fee. If you tell them you want to buy thier mulch, and do the work at the pile, I'd be willing to bet they wouldn't have a big problem, and it wouldn't hurt thier pile of mulch any either.
 
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