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#97107 January 20th, 2007 at 07:25 PM
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Hi Everyone....I posted a pic of my Hawaiian Umbrella tree so I guess you have all seen it. I've only owned it for a little over a month and I never had one before so I am full of questions.
Upon the advice of some bonsai experts I added aquarium gravel to my humidity tray and kept it moist on a daily basis. The tree itself only seems to need watering on a more weekly basis. When the leaves developed a white looking powder I went to my local nursery and the girl in the bonsai dept. told me it was too moist and I should stop using the wet humidity tray. I cleaned off the tray and put dry stones there...but I wonder if it should just have NO stones. I also inquired about fertilizing and the bonsai people at the nursery told me not to fertilize it as it is not supposed to be encouraged to grow alot! I also inquired about pruning some long stems from the top and she said I could do that....so I did. Now my questions are: how do you feel about the humidity tray? what about the white powderlike substance on some of the leaves? and should i be fertilizing and pruning at this time of year? Thanks again for any advice you can give me. I do NOT want to kill this tree....it is way to special to me!
Liz wink Duh

#97108 January 24th, 2007 at 12:05 AM
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Not knowing much about that particular tree, I may not be able to help much until I have time to do a bit more research on it but... I haven't heard of a humidity tray harming a tree. I assume that it's a tropical variety, and if so it probably needs some decent humidity. I have mine set up on a little patform in a tray filled with water so there is no danger of the roots being submerged and the plant still gets the evaporated water. I don't think stones make a difference other than raising the tree off the water line. Again, if it's a tropical tree fertilizing it shouldn't hurt, but I would go considerably weaker than the suggested dosage.

The white powder sounds more fungusy than a water issue but I don't really know on that one. Or if you are watering from the top it could be mineral deposits from your water source. You could try bottled water to wash it off if you wanted. A picture would help and it seems your previous picture isn't working for whatever reason.

#97109 January 24th, 2007 at 02:27 AM
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[Linked Image]

I tried to post a photo of my tree...dont know whether it will work. I am using imageshack, but something happens to the photo and it disappears from the post!! Anyhow, I think the white marks on the leaves are due to the misting I had done. When I wet my finger and rub the leaf the marks come off. I have put it back on the humidity tray and I fertilized it with Miraclegro today. I hope that these procedures will make my tree strong and healthy!!
Thanks for your help. I really appreciate any and all information!
Liz smile

#97110 January 24th, 2007 at 05:35 AM
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The picture worked this time, that's a neat tree!

I had similar issues when I was misting my trees. It is almost definately mineral deposits. It's not a huge issue, but it may be worth while to you to really give your tree a good soaking and misting with purified water once a month (or more frequently if you can afford more purified water) to remove those deposits. The main concern will be that the deposits may eventually clog you soil, so if you soak it good you'll hopefully wash the deposits off. Make sure the tree drains very well when you do this though, you don't want to drown it or have root rot.

As far as the fertilizer, I think you are ok, because if you are training the tree properly you'll cut back any major growth that you don't like and in theory be left with a stronger, more robust bonsai, not neccesarily a bigger one, despite what the nursery says. Again, just to be safe make sure you keep the fertilizer light and not more than once a month or a little less often than that to see how the tree reacts.

I may suggest, if you have the ability, to get a bigger tray as well. The theory is that the water in the tray will evaporate and humidify the area just above the tray and the tree will soak in the moisture. The tray you have it on now looks like it might be just big enough, for what that is worth. I've seen people use lunch trays to a nice effect. Also, make sure that your gravel isn't blocking drainage holes...

As far as pruning, if it's a tropical tree it should be in a fairly stable, warmish environment, so pruning whenever shouldn't be a problem. The "No more than a third of the plant at a time" method should also work out for you. But a lot of times a third of the plant is a lot, so I don't do that much pruning most of the time. Also (again! smile ), keep in mind that after a pruning you'll want to give the plant time to restabilize, so don't do drastic prunings often, though it doesn't usually hurt to go snag a large leaf or two when needed.

I hope this helps!

#97111 January 24th, 2007 at 07:48 PM
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Hi aighead,
Thanks so much for all your wonderful suggestions....I will certainly invest in some purified water and treat my little tree! When I water my tree, I give it 3 soakings...the first soaking usually takes a longer time to start draining. The second and third soakings follow at 15 minute intervals. The water drains freely from the drain hole. I have been careful about sitting the tree on the gravel so that it doesn't touch the water....but I wonder if I would be better off with the larger river rocks. Perhaps I wouldn't be so apt to close off the drain holes with larger rocks. What do you think? The tray came with my tree....my tree was a gift from someone very special.

My tree is tropical so I dont think I will be putting it outside since I live on Long Island. It stays inside all the time, right? Even in the summer? I sure wouldn't want any animals to destroy it outside!!

I cut two very long stems from the top of the tree since it was ruining the effect of a miniature tree. But those are the only ones I pruned. I don't want to do anything drastic to it to ruin it!

I fertilized it with the MiracleGro and will wait a month to do it again....Meanwhile I have been watching it for any adverse effects.

Thanks again for your advice. I'm trying to learn as much as I can about the art of bonsais so any and all help is most welcomed.
Liz

#97112 January 24th, 2007 at 10:40 PM
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You could put it outside in the spring and summer if you are so inclined, and they are supposed to love it, but they should be fine if kept indoors all year. Ideally, it'll spend a bit outside but I understand not wanting it to be messed with and I feel the same way.

The larger rocks will just gaurantee that the the bottom of the pot doesn't touch the water but if your gravel is already taller than the edge of the tray gravity will solve those problems...

#97113 January 25th, 2007 at 12:31 AM
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AIG

i just clicked on the photo and it enlarged for me ..........
No problem
that is one healthy looking speciman.. Good luck and happy gardening.

d kit kit

#97114 January 25th, 2007 at 02:31 AM
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I was speaking of a picture on a different post... Thanks though! smile

#97115 January 25th, 2007 at 02:41 AM
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Well I tried...... sca sca sca

#97116 January 27th, 2007 at 02:24 AM
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And a good try it was! wink

#97117 January 30th, 2007 at 01:20 PM
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You are not suppose to prune this type so much.. you are going to want to remove only the limbs that you "feel" don't belong to the shape you want to create.. (use care some Bonsai can only be trimmed in the spring or fall or during dormancy)
The humidity tray is a great idea.. I will usually spray mine down in the sink with the hose... it helps to get dust and deposits off... I will then spray everyother day especially in the winter ... Distilled water is great for it without leaving spots on the leaves..

#97118 January 30th, 2007 at 07:22 PM
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Hi Springfever....When you say "spray" do you mean misting the tree? And if so, you do that every other day? I refill the humidity tray every morning because the water all evaporates during the day. It gets a good watering when it needs it which usually is about once a week. I misted it twice, but the water left some deposits on the leaves, so I will get distilled water for that purpose. I am still unsure if I should be misting it regularly if I am following the watering "regimen" that I told you about.

As far as pruning is concerned...that is still a big mystery to me. I did take off two shoots from the top that were very long. I just snipped them off with a scissor. Since I am afraid of hurting the tree, I haven't done more than that.
Any advice is always welcome,....I am new at this and I want to be successful!! So thanks again for your advice....you are so helpful to me...

#97119 January 31st, 2007 at 12:42 PM
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I hose it down with the sink sprayer...it helps clean off the leaves just not a hard spray.. then I Mist it every other day...

On my tree which is different..I can chop it any time... yours being different I would use a bit of caution.. just remove the limbs or leaves where they don't look appropriate.. I would only do a few at a time I would worry about the tree weeping. Or going into shock..

#97120 January 31st, 2007 at 09:33 PM
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angell What kind of tree do you have, Springfever? wink


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