Author Topic: Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!  (Read 3426 times)

Joagraha

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Hello, I could really use some expert advice on a fantastic Juniper I recently found at a local nursury here in Austin, TX.

It was poorly potted in a plastic garden center pot. When I bought it (3-4 weeks ago) I noticed it had some pale yellow (almost blond) needles, but wasn't too concerned as they were not brittle and brown like I've seen in dead or dying Junipers. As you can see it's got some age on it and has lived through some abusive weather. It survived last summer's severe drought.

Here are the variables to consider:

POTTING: Once I got it home I immediately repotted it in a large bonsai pot so that I didn't need to take much of the roots off. I probably removed 10-20% of the roots

PRUNING: I am always reluctant to over-prune new junipers. I clipped approx. 10% of the branches and only those that were very small/weak and under the main canopy. I did not remove the any primary or secondary branches.

SOIL: The soil is a mixture of turface, orchid bark and perhaps 15% potting soil with sphagnum moss covering the any exposed soil level root bases (down here I feel even junipers need some organic soil to hold water once the 3months of consecutive 100 degree heat comes).

CURRENT WEATHER: Since buying it, the weather has been mild (high 60s at night to low 80s during day)

SUN EXPOSURE: having some experience collecting or repotting junipers here, I've been careful not to expose it to constant full sun. I've kept in a partially shady spot exposing it to only a couple hours of full sun and Partial Shade the rest of the day

WATERING & FEEDING: I've been trying to only water as needed. After an initial solid soak I've been watering every 3 days. I have not fed the tree with any fertilizer yet.

In summary, since buying and repotting the tree I've not seen much improvement in the color at all, in fact it's likely gotten worse. I've lost junipers in the past and do not want to lose this beauty as I think it has wonderful potential.

Please check out the attached pics. I think the topdown image best shows the condition I'm speaking about. Can anyone advise on what they believe the cause and potential remedy is?

Personally, I think it's received adequate water and sun. I wonder if the soil is holding too much water, but I don't know whether that is a cause of pale yellow needles. I'm nervous about repotting again in only turface and bark, unless I'm confident that this is the problem.

Please advise! Would these yellow needles most likely be due to poor soil, overwatering, underwatering, disease, pests??

Thank you for your help!! Here are the image links (had trouble uploading the files)

http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l110/joagraha/Bonsai/BaonsaiDeadwoodatpurchase.jpg

http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l110/joagraha/Bonsai/BonsaiDeadwoodToday.jpg

http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l110/joagraha/Bonsai/BonsaiDeadwoodtopdown.jpg
 

MatsuBonsai

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What kind of bonsai experience do you have?  Any training, workshops, clubs, mentors, etc?  

Original soil looks bad.  New soil sounds equally bad.  

How many trees have you repotted?  Is it solid in the new pot?

Do you know the particular variety of this particular juniper?

Why so much shade?
 

Joagraha

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Matsu,

Thank you for the reply.  Below are answers to your questions. In turn, if you have any suggestions or answers to the questions I asked, that would be much appreciated.

Bonsai Experience:  2 1/2 years. I've not attended any workshops, nor do I have a mentor.  Everything I've learned to date is self-taught, through reading books, sifting through internet sites and forums and personal trial and error.  I'm open minded and willing to listen and learn from seasoned bonsai enthusiasts (presumably someone such as yourself).

Soil: Agree on both counts. Original soil and potting situation. New soil may be "equally as bad". I had wanted to compensate for the coming intensity of summer, hence the addition of potting soil. as mentioned, my gut is that this mixture isn't good. Any constructive advice you have would be appreciated. I've come across no shortage of opinions on "the right" mix...many are similar, many more are contradictory.  What would you suggest?

# of Trees Repotted: 7-10.

Is it solid in new pot:  Yes.  I've secured it with wire and it does not move or shift

Why the Shade: again, most of what I've read tells me to avoid direct sunlight for a period after repotting.  Do you think otherwise?

Thanks in advance for your feedback and advice.
 

Jay

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Greetings....may I suggest you go to the profile section above and fill in a bit. You mention above you are from Austin Texas, but if you post to a different thread no one will know. It just makes it easier and friendlier.

Again Welcome......

Jay
 

MatsuBonsai

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I think the soil will be a problem for you. I would suggest looking into Boon's DVD series, starting with repotting. The juniper DVD is quite good as well.

As to the variety, what did the nursery tell you?  You mention the needles aren't dead/dying. It's tough to tell from the photos but it doesn't look like they are old yellowing needles ready to drop. Could this be a variety with naturally occurring yellow highlights?
 

kostas

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« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 12:52 PM by kostas »