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bonsai questions

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by enma daio-sama on May 26, 2004 07:59 AM
I'm brand new at bonsai, I've only been doing it since the beginning of the season, but I've got a bunch of plants and with them a bunch of questions...

1)I'm getting some algae on the soil surface of one of my plants. Besides it being unsightly, is it a problem? How should I get rid of it?

2)I just fertilized my plants for the first time about 2 weeks ago using bone meal. The trees are fine, but I'm having some small problems with mold. I'm getting whitsh stalklike mold on the surface of the fertilizer, but only when it doesn't rain. Once it rains, it goes away. How should I take care of it?

3)I have a schefflera I purchased at the local target and I've had it for like a year now but its not branching at all. I've been pinching and pinching but to no avail.

4)How do you tell when a Juniper is dead? I've got a cascade style I also bought at target, repotted it with proper soil, and it seems to be alive, but I'm not sure. There are no visible signs of new buds, and there are a few brown spots, but the needles are still soft and feel alive. I probably just need to be patient, but help is good too.

Whooo...ok, I think that's it for now, but who knows, I'm a worrier...
by Will Creed on May 31, 2004 02:30 AM
To eliminate the algae, cut back on the water and the fertilizer. Algae will not harm the plant.

Scrape off the fungus growth and also the surrounding soil. You may need to do this repeatedly before you get all of the spores that are producing the mold. The fungus is also harmless to the plant.

(Apparently, the soil in your plants was not properly sterilized and that is why you are geeting fungus and algae.)

Scheffleras do not branch easily and don't respond to pinching. Sommetimes pruning off a branch will lead to some branching. But there really is not much you can do to control its growth habit. That is why growers commonly put mutiple plants in a single pot.

When your Juniper is mostly all brown, then you know it is dying. It will delay putting out new growth until after it fills its new pot with roots. I assume that you know that Juniper will not survive indoors in the winter. It must have a cold winter dormant period.
by apples on June 02, 2004 05:05 AM
I'm relitivly new to bonsai also, I got a bit of adventure befor winter but this is my first real growing season!
Their's a posibility that the juniper was dead befor you got it. Their tough trees, which is why they do good outside but commercial imperial companies don't care about trees they care that bonsai is "in". Junipers can survive two or three winters indoors as the low light somewhat switches them off but after the seccond winter it won't know what to do.They also die from the inside out, slowly. Maby(hopefull) yours was just sitting in a store this winter and has already put out all the new growth it could for a while. Keep it in a slightly shady spot for awhile and don't fertilize it! Since you repoted it's roots need time to recover and feed will just burn them. keep it just moist and if not dead it should do a little growing in a month or two then you can start to feed it again. If it is outside and you put fertilizer blocks on it, take them off and they should be fine.
The trick to bonsai it seems is to give your trees as much time as possible and in all that time that your waiting look at them and read as much as you can! Not only will it make things less stressful to your trees but alot less stressful on your self and you'll feel alot more confident doing some of the things you'll need to in time!
One other thing, lot's of beginers to pot culture mistake build ups on the compost for mold and algee, is it possible it's that? Do you water with tap water? If so that's probbly the stuff on your fertilizer (cubes?) .
Hope this helps you and good luck with your new hobbie!

* * * *
The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.

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