Species Specific > Japanese Black Pine Bonsai Discussion

Need a Little Help

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I think this implies a root problem. A guy in Alabama had a similar problem. He submerged his pot in a malathion solution until it was saturated and then resumed normal care of the tree. His tree recovered, just as one would expect if it was a root-bug problem, like the root aphids that got some publicity this past spring. Maybe it is your tree's problem as well - just a thought. :)

John Kirby:
You probably need a fungicide that will work at the level of the roots. A drench like , and a systenic that can clear the "tubes" . Additionally, a look at the roots may just reveal a problem like root aphids. Using a granular sydtemic insecticide should clear them as well.

Repot it and lets see the roots.

Good soil mix.

Leo in NE Illinois:
I'm no better than the previous at identifying the cause of your situation, but like the others, you need to act fast.

Root mealies, you could use a drench of a contact insecticide, like Malathion, Mavrik or Decathalon (both are synthetic pyrethrin types), Diazinon liquid, or any of the many others. Be sure mealy bug, and or soft body scale are listed as targets on the label. Submerge pot in a bucket of this solution. Repeat at the interval suggested on the label. Usually 7 to 10 days, but read label. The repeat is important to eliminate larva that hatch from eggs that did not get killed.

Outside chance of borers, in which case Merit - imidiproclid is active ingredient, or other systemic that lists borers, and it probably will work for root mealies, definitely will work if mealies are on the label. Read label carefully and do repeat at interval suggested. You can alternate, Malathion soil drench one week, followed by a Merit soil drench or dose at the repeat time for the Malathion. Don't repeat the Merit until the recommended Merit interval has passed. READ LABELS. There is important info on use in the fine print.

I doubt what your are looking at is spider mite, if so it is an extreme case. No webs in photos. But if you ever have to treat for spider mites, this is my suggestion.

Spider mites, flat mites, false spider mites. These all are insidious bastards, and often their damage is difficult to identify, there damage is often mistaken for some other cause. And they themselves are too small for my tired eyes to see. Use a miticide, often the miticide can be mixed with the insecticide. (called a tank mix in the nursery trade, you mix several types of chemicals into the same tank for spraying) The Pyrethrum type insecticides will be moderately effective against mites, but not 100% effective, a miticide will work. I personally have used a tank mix of Decathalon, Pentac, and Enstar II, for mites and mealies with good effect.

Enstar II - it is a juvenile growth hormone inhibitor, by itself does not help much in controlling insects, but when tank mixed or sprayed after a pestacide with good knock down, or kill effectiveness, really helps to clean up difficult infestations. The tank mix above the Decatholon is the knock down, Enstar II is the juvenile growth hormone inhibitor. Any larva that survive the 2 treatments, 7 to 10 days apart, will never be able to mature and breed.

Merit - and other Imidiproclid type neonicitinoids are not effective against spider mite at all. So if this is your go to for a systemic, you will still have to treat for mites separately. Avid is a miticide that is on the market that might be a good substitute for Pentac.

Now for the fungicides.

I use a systemic, granular Cleary's 3336. About a tablespoon per gallon of media, sprinkled on top. For pots of various shapes you will have to approximate the volume. This seems better than most other fungicides I've tried, Daconil is a close second best. There are many others, these are the two I've used.

The 2 fungicides I've used lately are both granular products, to be applied to the soil for systemic use. Merit and Cleary's 336 can be applied the same day without harm.

None of these chemicals are cheap, the Enstar II is in particular quite expensive, $100 for 4 fluid ounces. But when you have thousands of dollars worth of trees, its money well spent.

Thomas J.:
Well I just did a repot before I posted this thread and don't recall seeing anything out of the ordinary, but then I wasn't aware of there possibly being a root problem for this so naturally I wasn't looking in depth for anything. I will probably go back and pull the tree out and see if there is anything that I can see for sure, but I'll also continue to use the Daconil for now also.

Bill Valavanis' "International Bonsai" has had several series of articles about care and management of black pine.  Call or e-mail him for issue numbers. Back issues are cheap.  The current issue (2015 #3) has Part I of a series by Julian Adams. 

I'll get Part II, but then I'm letting my subscription lapse.  It's unlikely I'll see them all. 


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