Actually the Juniper probably the most common tree found in any Bonsai collection. If you want to get started in the art of bonsai, I would strongly suggest a Juniper. They are not that demanding and requre less attention than most. If you can spare a few minutes in the morning and few in the afternoon that is enough to keep this tree alive for a long time. To help you take care of your juniper bonsai tree, here I offer a couple of tips.
Watering the Juniper:
Watering your juniper everyday is very important. Without lots of soil to absorb moisture any bonsai can easily wilt and die. The juniper has one exception, it may look alive and be dead. When you see it’s needles turning brown it is usually too late for any hope for revival. So, to make sure your Juniper stays healthy and strong, you need to at a minimum keep its roots moist. Never let the soil get completely dry. Make it a habit to water in the morning and in the afternoon. Use the following watering tips as a guide:
- Let the water trickle from the top of the tree gently. Do not just pour a lot of water directly onto the soil. This will avoid washing away the soil and it will be a more natural way for the Juniper to receive water.
- Make sure you wet all the needles and branches to prevent insects from establishing a home. Insects do not like wet environments so if you wet the entire tree everyday, insects will be less likely to make their home in your tree.
Repotting the Juniper:
You need to repot your juniper tree at regular intervals. Repotting is especially important while it is still developing. No, repotting will not kill your Juniper. In fact, repotting can make your tree look better and healthier. Repotting not only prevents the tree from becoming root bound to the pot but encourages the tree to grow new feeder roots. New feeder roots allow the tree to absorb more moisture and they help the tree grow more evenly in the pot.
To repot your Juniper, remove the tree gently from the pot and then gently comb its roots. Only prune a small amount of roots each time you repot; no matter how often. Just don’t let too many large roots get established.
After pruning, arrange the roots by spreading evenly inside the new pot after covering the bottom with about 1/2″ of soil. Next use wire to anchor securely to the bottom then add another 1″ of soil with a light sprinkle of water and continue adding 1″ of soil until pot is filled back up to the base of the trunk. Be sure to apply a light sprinkle of water to each 1″ layer of soil. Do nothing more than your morning/evening watering routine for a month to allow it time to completely recover the stress of repotting.
If you see some of the needles turning yellow and starting to fall off a few days after repotting, add another 1″ of soil and keep your tree in the shade for a few days and cut down on the amount of water you are giving. Yellowing can also be a sign of too much water.
I occasionally find a good bonsai information resource that I recommend to all my Creating Bonsai subscribers. You are invited to check out my latest bonsai resource discovery “Internet Bonsai Club” it’s a good place to ask questions about your bonsai.