Timeline of Dying Bonsai

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This doesn't exactly pertain to me at the moment but very well might in the coming weeks. I recently collected some sort of Juniper and made the rookie mistake of not retaining the original soil in the root system when I potted it.

If the tree were to die of shock (it's getting great care otherwise) what signs should I be looking out for, and how long might it take the tree to fully die of shock? I wouldn't want to waste time caring for a dead tree that looks living. I'm asking specifically about this species but generalizations are also welcome, as I can't even guess at an answer.
 

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The branch tips look a bit droopy. Usually means a lack of water but depending on the exact species that could be it’s growth habit.

Looks like you shaped the tree with wire as well. How much foliage came off during the whole process? Also, when was this tree collected?

It’s a great help for others on the forum to know whereabouts you are located. That way you’ll probably get better advice. And you’ll eventually hear from someone who says “I have that same species and I live near you. I do A, B, C and have had success in this climate”. There’s a little spot in the edit profile section and if you put a location it’s easy for us to see.
 

RKMcGinnis

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It’ll brown and die quickly if the roots can’t adjust. Several weeks of browning. That’s what happened to me at least before.
 

penumbra

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It’ll brown and die quickly if the roots can’t adjust. Several weeks of browning. That’s what happened to me at least before.
It has probably happened to just about everyone who has had a juniper at one time or another. If it hasn't happened to you, you haven't tried enough junipers. And this is from a mostly non-juniper guy.
 
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The branch tips look a bit droopy. Usually means a lack of water but depending on the exact species that could be it’s growth habit.

Looks like you shaped the tree with wire as well. How much foliage came off during the whole process? Also, when was this tree collected?

It’s a great help for others on the forum to know whereabouts you are located. That way you’ll probably get better advice. And you’ll eventually hear from someone who says “I have that same species and I live near you. I do A, B, C and have had success in this climate”. There’s a little spot in the edit profile section and if you put a location it’s easy for us to see.
The tips always looked that droopy - the foliage is dense and heavy compared to the branches so it's pulling down pretty hard.
It's sitting in Akadama, pumice, and lava rock. It gets watered daily if the soil gets almost dry to 1" below the surface.
I removed quite a few branches and pruned a few shoots that I didn't want.
I threw it in the pot right after I collected it, my impatience showing.
I'll update my profile too, thanks for the heads up! I'm in Eastern Pennsylvania, USA.
 

Shibui

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I recently collected some sort of Juniper and made the rookie mistake of not retaining the original soil in the root system when I potted it.
Not a mistake IMHO. Everyone rants about garden soil not being suitable for plants in pots then tells us that collected plants should retain the garden soil? Where is the consistency?
I always shake off as much soil as will fall off without further damage to the roots. Getting the roots into well drained media as soon as possible is the best start you can give a transplanted tree.

Junipers, in particular, don't show much sign of death until it is far too late. If the foliage turns brown it is probably dead. I don't count juniper transplants as successful for at least 6 months after collecting as they can look great for a long time but have no roots then start to decline.
Just continue care unless the foliage turns brown.
 

JackHammer

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Not a mistake IMHO. Everyone rants about garden soil not being suitable for plants in pots then tells us that collected plants should retain the garden soil? Where is the consistency?
I always shake off as much soil as will fall off without further damage to the roots. Getting the roots into well drained media as soon as possible is the best start you can give a transplanted tree.

Junipers, in particular, don't show much sign of death until it is far too late. If the foliage turns brown it is probably dead. I don't count juniper transplants as successful for at least 6 months after collecting as they can look great for a long time but have no roots then start to decline.
Just continue care unless the foliage turns brown.
I second this. I have a few transplants that I have given up on and finally when I go to recycle the soil, I see active roots. Transplants can take a lot longer than expected. That being said, if I am able to catch a branch with a bunch of new growth, those can start new buds in 2 weeks. It is amazing.
Junipers in general seem to have a high rate of success for cutting propagation.

Ps, I am fairly close and have a similar climate as you.
 
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Not a mistake IMHO. Everyone rants about garden soil not being suitable for plants in pots then tells us that collected plants should retain the garden soil? Where is the consistency?
I always shake off as much soil as will fall off without further damage to the roots. Getting the roots into well drained media as soon as possible is the best start you can give a transplanted tree.

Junipers, in particular, don't show much sign of death until it is far too late. If the foliage turns brown it is probably dead. I don't count juniper transplants as successful for at least 6 months after collecting as they can look great for a long time but have no roots then start to decline.
Just continue care unless the foliage turns brown.
I think its because the goal of collecting a tree is to retain the mycorrhizae in the root system, and removing all the soil also removes the beneficial fungus that the tree was growing with. But I do agree that there are a lot of competing opinions about what soil to use after transplanting. I'm a complete novice but my intuition tells me that if you need to put the tree into new soil, why not just use the standard bonsai mix that you're going to use in the future anyway?
 
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On a side note, when I pruned and wired the tree I plucked off the single needles that were growing on the trunk and any of the branches...but when I did this, they almost came off like hangnails. It wasn't just a pluck, but more of a rip. Was that a big no-no for this tree or does that not matter much? In the back of my mind I couldn't help but worry that I was damaging the tree by ripping needles off and exposing small bits of raw trunk.
 

sorce

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On a side note, when I pruned and wired the tree I plucked off the single needles that were growing on the trunk and any of the branches...but when I did this, they almost came off like hangnails. It wasn't just a pluck, but more of a rip. Was that a big no-no for this tree or does that not matter much? In the back of my mind I couldn't help but worry that I was damaging the tree by ripping needles off and exposing small bits of raw trunk.

Ryan or Bjorn talked about that being stressful to the tree, so I don't do it anymore.

"Transplant Shock" is a Home Depot explanation to DIYers why their shrubs died.

Anyone planning on caring for what can be thousands of dollars, or equally sentimentally valued trees, would fare well erasing that term from memory and use IMO.

Sorce
 

Shibui

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I think its because the goal of collecting a tree is to retain the mycorrhizae in the root system, and removing all the soil also removes the beneficial fungus that the tree was growing with.
Removing soil will not completely remove fungi, especially mycorrhiza. Mychorizza lives in close association with the roots, often in the roots. Some parts of the fungi will undoubtedly be broken when bare rooting but fungi are great at reproducing from any small pieces. Given good conditions it will just grow back.
Completely bare rooting and washing the roots might remove enough fungi to cause problems but without washing the roots clean there will almost always be enough left to recolonize.
In addition, soil in a pot causes drainage problems. We know roots do not like this and neither do most fungi. They will recover much better in the good conditions offered by modern bonsai soils and if the tree does not survive there's no point in preserving the fungi so always aim for best conditions for the tree to recover.
All trees can manage without fungal association for a while. Most species can do without fungi permanently if all their nutrient needs are met by other means. In almost all cases I get recolonization of fungi soon after trees are potted up from remnants or from spores colonizing the new soil.
Fungal removal as a result of bare rooting is another myth IMHO
 

HorseloverFat

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They (junis) ALSO need a “beat” after root disruption to figure out exactly HOW to compartmentalize.. which branches (if any, MOST times at least SOME) to kill off.30036A5C-8E3A-4E59-8658-349EA0C12D7B.jpeg
(No garden soil here..) 🤣
 

Bonsai Nut

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Don't forget, when a juniper droops after its roots have been disrupted, it is usually a sign of not enough water entering the roots to keep up with the rate of transpiration from the foliage. But the solution is NOT to water the tree more - since the roots have not healed and do not have the capacity to absorb more water than they already are. The solution is to slow down the rate of transpiration - by keeping the tree out of direct sun, protecting it from wind, keeping it in a high humidity environment, and watering the foliage (misting).
 

RKMcGinnis

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Don't forget, when a juniper droops after its roots have been disrupted, it is usually a sign of not enough water entering the roots to keep up with the rate of transpiration from the foliage. But the solution is NOT to water the tree more - since the roots have not healed and do not have the capacity to absorb more water than they already are. The solution is to slow down the rate of transpiration - by keeping the tree out of direct sun, protecting it from wind, keeping it in a high humidity environment, and watering the foliage (misting).
High humidity environment like the southeast 😂
 

Bonsai Nut

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High humidity environment like the southeast
I have been struggling for the last two months with grass seed because it was been so dry.

This weekend is the NC that I know and love! Rain... two hour break... rain... two hour break. My trees are loving it!
 

Japonicus

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I have been struggling for the last two months with grass seed because it was been so dry.

This weekend is the NC that I know and love! Rain... two hour break... rain... two hour break. My trees are loving it!
I don't think I raised the watering can this week since Sunday come to think of it.
Hinoki look the best they have in a while. Gold tipped ones shine like a light at dusk all aglow.
 

RKMcGinnis

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I have been struggling for the last two months with grass seed because it was been so dry.

This weekend is the NC that I know and love! Rain... two hour break... rain... two hour break. My trees are loving it!
Had that two plus weeks of sun then a week of rain. Good luck with the grass! It can be a pain. Are you growing without irrigating?
 

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