My bonsai tree is dying, please help

Jessica38June 27, 2011

My bonsai is dying, the leaves are turning brown and I really need help knowing what to do, as this is my very first bonsai tree. I believe my bonsai is a juniper, it didn�t say this on the tag but I have looked at some pictures and that is what it looks like. It came with instructions but I�m not really sure what I am doing wrong. It says�

"Sun exposure- have the plant in the direct morning sun, and filtered afternoon sun, partial shade in desert area. May be taken indoors one or two days a week. In the dessert, you may bring it indoor during the day by the window and bring it out during the summer nights.

Watering- Keep it moist. Soak the bonsai every one or two days (depend on the weather) for twenty minutes each time. Soil cannot be dried out completely.

Feeding- Fertilize 20-9-9 every two to three months except in January and February.

Pruning- Prune anytime by pinching or cutting back new growth as desired. Wires of any kind should be taken off within a year.

Hardiness- Hardy to 20 to 100 degrees F."

I live in Arizona so I am at 7000 ft, which is a lot closer to the sun then the place where I bought it: Phoenix, Arizona at the Chinese Cultural Center. I was watering it everyday at first but I cut that down to every other day when I noticed the brown was spreading and it seemed continually damp. Also I am watering with filtered water because the water in our neighborhood is known for its unreliability and high chlorine levels, but I don�t think the filtered water has high salinity or anything. I was keeping it indoors because I think flagstaff is a semi-desert area, but again, I started to take it outdoors when I noticed the browning. Before that though it lived in a window that got direct sunlight in the morning only. I have not fertilized it in the approximately 2 months I have had it, and I have also not pruned it: if that could be what�s killing it. I have kept it in the right temperature so I don�t think that can be the problem, though for a little while there was an air conditioner blowing on it. The pot is small with two draining holes at the bottom, I have been watering it so that water comes out of the two holes, and it has a large rock sitting on top that was there when I bought it but i do water underneath it. Sorry for all the excess information but I thought maybe it would help, also I�m sorry if I�m missing some extremely obvious problem. I am trying to get a good picture of the tree and put it on the site asap. Thank you for your time.

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Also one more thing, is it possible that I over watered for too long and now the tree has root rot? If so what would I do about it and can I do anything about it at this time of year? Should I check for it?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 2:38AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Keeping it indoors is probably what did it in.
These trees must be outside.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 10:08AM
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Thank you, if I keep it outside do you think it can be saved? No leaves are falling off yet and most of them are still green and soft.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 5:36PM
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If the leaves are still green and attached and the branches are still green and pliable, move it outside STAT - it is not too late!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 8:43PM
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okay, I will, thank you! Do I have to move it out slowly to get it used to the temperature or can I just bring it out? I heard something about sunburn on leaves too I think. Sorry for all the questions but thanks for helping, I really appreciate it.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 9:42PM
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everyone else is correct, bring it outside asap. i'm not sure where you are in arizona, but you are probably close to zone 7. your tree is most likely a japanese juniper, these really prefer to be in a colder zone, but as long as you pay close attention you can make it work.

you will want to check the soil several times a day. gently dig down an inch or so and if it's still moist then let it be. if it is dry, give it a good soak. as you are watering it don't worry about getting it too wet, the soil and pot are designed to not hold too much water. misting it once or twice a day is not a bad idea either.

here is a good reference for general care:

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 7:25PM
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Agreed it would prefer a colder climate. Ease it into the sun, but definitely take it outside.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 7:51AM
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