Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => White Pine Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Bonsaiguru on June 04, 2011, 06:22 PM

Title: JWP....Help!
Post by: Bonsaiguru on June 04, 2011, 06:22 PM
This is a white pine that was recently repotted. It was imported in 2008. I noticed the new growth from the top was going dead. I am sure I lost the top, but I can see that the middle and bottom is pushing new growth (a relief!). My question is what cause the top growth to died? I was thinking maybe root rot, or some type of fungus? When I noticed the die back, I remove the cakes and have not fertilizer. I just recently water it with seaweed and B! Vitamin solution.

I figure if I lost the top I have a new apex right below the overhanging branch from the top. I can also make the dead branches into Jin and shari
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: T-Town Bonsai on June 04, 2011, 09:38 PM
My guess would be your zone, I lived in 7 and it was too hot and dry for white pines.  Don't think mine even lasted a year in OKC. 
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: Bonsaiguru on June 04, 2011, 11:17 PM
I am in 9a zone (SF Eastbay) It does it hot, but not that hot. I have kept JWP with no problems out here, but I also have lost some few. I think it is fungus.
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: MatsuBonsai on June 05, 2011, 04:36 PM
My first thought would be fungus too, but it's difficult to tell from the photo.  What leads you to believe it's fungus?  Any signs, etc?  What are your growing conditions, soil, watering habits?
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: Bonsaiguru on June 05, 2011, 05:26 PM
I know JWP like to be on the dryer side, so I usually allow it to dry out a bit before watering. Though it has been grafter on JBP, I still think it prefers to dry out a bit before watering.

One of my problems watering, is knowing when. For example, I have check the soil with chopsticks and sometimes my finger, at times it is hard to tell if it needs watering. Lately, I go but the weight of it. As most of my Pines are in Plastic training pot I can see the difference in weight when it drys out. For instance, when picking up the pot, as it drys out, the bottom stays heavy and the top lighter, when it needs watering the bottom tends to balance out with the top. Again, I don't if the method would work for the long run.

When checking the soil I try to get to an inch and see if it needs watering, but even with this method it can be tricky (for me). I guess that is why they call it the "Art of Watering"....

I thought it was fungus because when I  remove the died needles they were dried out even the new growth from the top were dry out not burned.

I was told on another forum to use Capton fungicide once or twice a year as a precaution. Don't if anyone here has used it in the matter.
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: MatsuBonsai on June 05, 2011, 06:31 PM
What kind of soil?  How do you water?
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: Bonsaiguru on June 05, 2011, 07:32 PM
It is done in Japanese mixture from large particles at the bottom to smaller ones at the top. The bottom has large hyuga rock and the middle is medium akadama,  and at the top is small akadama, red and black lava rock.

I usually water it with a water can or a water hose (shower).

I think the Japanese mixture is great, but great in Japan. I prefer to have a uniform mixture with the only exception of having large hyuga rocks at the bottom.

By the way, Thanks MastuBonsai for helping me. I had read some of your post and no doubt you have a lot knowledge of bonsai.
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: MatsuBonsai on June 06, 2011, 09:29 AM
Pure akadama in the middle layer might be holding quite a bit of water, unless the granular size is quite large.  Are all the soil components sifted?  When you water, are you watering the foliage also?  That might contribute to some fungus growth. 

Are there any other affected bonsai on your bench?  Any yard trees in the area?

I also wonder if there might be some embedded wire still in/on the trunk that finally constricted the top?
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: Bonsaiguru on June 06, 2011, 10:24 AM
The soil was sifted, but you may right about holding a bit more water in the middle due to the med. Akadama.

I do water the foliage, by misting it when I water.

I don't have any other trees infected.

Interesting about the wire theory, I think you may be right about it. There is wire holding down the tree and it is coming across the the trunk, but the tree was repotted this spring so I don't if it makes a difference
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: MatsuBonsai on June 06, 2011, 10:30 AM
How was it repotted?  Who repotted?  When exactly was it repotted?  Have you seen Boon's repotting DVD?  Wired into the pot is common practice, and not what I was referring to.  It looks like there are very deep grooves in the trunk high up.  Any wire still in there?

I would recommend against watering/misting the foliage of trees that you suspect are susceptible to fungal infections.

Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: John Kirby on June 06, 2011, 12:15 PM
John, usually the embedded wires leave a route for Phloem and Xylem to communicate up and down the trunk. The akadama layer in the middle is concerning. I would suggest looking up Bay Island Bonsai and seeing about joining and learning the fundamentals in a very positive environment. John
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: MatsuBonsai on June 06, 2011, 01:22 PM
Agreed.  Squinting at the picture it looked like a lot of very tightly spiralled scars at the top that concerned me, with what looks like wire sticking out at the top.
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: Bonsaiguru on June 06, 2011, 03:01 PM
Actually no wire on the top, and I have not misted since I noticed the dry up needles.

Agreed, I will be joining Bay Island Bonsai, just need to work out my work schedule.

What do you think about using Captan fungicide?
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: Bonsaiguru on June 06, 2011, 11:30 PM
It was root rot....damn it! Today, I decided to look under the soil and noticed that there were chucks of akadama clogging some of the roots. I spray some multi-fungicide (on roots), remove the bad roots and planted in pumice and lava rock only. Water the soil with B1 and seaweed extract. We will see if I am able to save it.

I only remove all the chucks of akadama and loosen the roots and spread them out.

time will only tell....

Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: tanlu on June 10, 2011, 01:23 PM
You did the right thing by checking the roots. Judging by the photo the rest of the tree seems to be healthy, but one can never be too sure unless you're there. I think turning the dead apex into a jin will add more interest and character to the tree.

I personally think that akadama is too soft and breaks down too fast. Look for a medium like turface that holds water well, but has less dust and doesn't break down so quickly.
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: John Kirby on June 10, 2011, 01:33 PM
Guru,
Get with Boon and the BIB crew, use the soil and techniques that work in the area. Good luck, John
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: bwaynef on June 10, 2011, 03:51 PM
When the akadama is surrounded by particles that don't break down, like pumice & lava, the effects of the breakdown of akadama is minimized.  I'd try something like that before I'd recommend Turface, which doesn't seem to drain nearly as well (or produce the same quality of roots).
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: John Kirby on June 10, 2011, 08:17 PM
Wayne-
Clay King, Aoki, and b,b,b,boon's mix, for example
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: Bonsaiguru on June 14, 2011, 05:21 PM
Thanks for all your comments. I am going to hook up with Boon and the BIB in the fall. I agree that akadama is great, but it does breakdown quickly. My mixture is similar to Boon. The only difference is that I don't use akadama in my mix, I use pumice, lava, and crushed granite, and charcoal.

I think for the bay area geography , akadama is not the best of choices. I used to use akadama, but I noticed that my pines would not thrive when raining season came and lost some to root rot. Then I took out akadama and bang, my pines were loving it!

It appears that I was able to save it from doom, lost some branches, but I noticed some new growth and no more dry ups needles.
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: tanlu on June 16, 2011, 12:35 AM
Soil is just one of those things that really depend on personal preference and local climate. Someone in my area, Westchester County New York, has been growing his pines in akadama for literally decades and swears by it, but I found a perfectly good low priced substitute at an Auto Parts store used to clean oil spills. It's kinda like turface, but it's Montmorillonite clay. Drainage and water retention balance is excellent.

It looks like you've found what works for you. I look forward to seeing what you do with your dead wood!
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: jferrier on June 16, 2011, 11:17 AM
I'm curious, did you get this tree on ebay? My JWP was from a guy on there and looks like they might have come from the same guy since the pot and soil mix looks the same and the tree is very similar. Mine has wire cuts up high as well. Just wondering if I might end up w/  the same issues.
Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: Bonsaiguru on June 18, 2011, 01:46 PM
It is probably from the same seller, but you should not worry. I would check the soil with a thin chop stick and see if takes some pressure to stick it through. If it does, you might want to repot it or allow it to dry out a bit longer. I have another JWP from his nursery and I allow it to dry out longer then usual and it is actually doing really good, with a lot of new growth. However, I think next fall I might repot without using akadama.


I know the seller personally as I have gone to his nursery in Sacramento throughout the years. He is one of the few that are able to bring in JWP in the country legally. He has also one the best stock for CA juniper which he goes every few years to dig out and makes a few into cuttings. He has a outstanding nursery and the prices are quite reasonable and he will actually negotiate price with you while examining tree you are interested in. 

Title: Re: JWP....Help!
Post by: John Kirby on June 18, 2011, 05:30 PM
Tell Yuzo hi for me the next time you are there. You will still need to use some akadama, in a mix. See Boon.