How to revive a dead bonsai tree

Things come up, or you go out of town, and watering your bonsai tree slips your mind. There are a hundred ways to make your bonsai tree die. For instance, a single branch may die off while the rest of the tree is healthy.

So even if you see warning signs, your tree might still be alive. But if the foliage on your tree begins to change for no apparent reason, it could be cause for concern. On conifers, like Junipers, you may see the lush green color of the leaves start to become pale and dull. If this trend continues, it will eventually turn a yellowish brown color.

For deciduous trees, like maples, discoloration in the foliage could be caused by continued exposure to the afternoon sun. This is known as leaf burn. Alternatively, like the conifers, under watering a deciduous tree will caused the leaves to dry up and eventually fall off completely. Changing consistency of foliage, going from soft and pliable to hard and brittle, is another red flag of trouble. Brittleness can also appear on branches.

Branches that were once soft and pliable that become brittle could be dying. Conifers keep their soft foliage year round, even in winter. Brittle foliage could be a sign of under watering. For deciduous trees, brittleness follows discoloration and happens before the tree starts dropping its dried up leaves. If this is happening outside of the normal cycle of the tree e.

how to revive a dead bonsai tree

If your tree is discolored or brittle, the next step is to check to see if the tree is still alive. Look at your tree. The bark of your tree protects the life underneath it. To see if your tree or a particular branch is still alive, all we have to do is remove a small portion of the top brown bark to see if the next layer of the tree is green.

Green is the color of life. Start in an inconspicuous and scrape off a small portion of the bark with your fingernail. When checking a brach, start with the tip first. Sometimes branches die from the tip back, and if the end of the branch has died, you can cut back to the portion that still shows green.

If a branch on your tree has died, it might not be a bad thing after all. In fact, all of the most famous juniper bonsai in the world have considerable deadwood incorporated in their design. The deadwood is dyed white to contrast the living tissue that remains.

Even if your bonsai tree has died, all is not lost. Now you have a new pot for your collection, and hopefully some knowledge of what you did wrong so you can change how you approach bonsai tree care next time. Is Your Bonsai Tree Dead? Here are the Warning Signs. Checking for Life If your tree is discolored or brittle, the next step is to check to see if the tree is still alive. The Fingernail Test Look at your tree.

Dead Branches as a Feature If a branch on your tree has died, it might not be a bad thing after all. Conclusion Even if your bonsai tree has died, all is not lost. At Basic Bonsai, we use cookies to deliver a great online experience. By continuing to use this site, we'll assume you're happy to accept all cookies.Bonsai, the ancient art form developed in China and Japan, combines miniature trees, graceful shaping and distinct characteristics to create a piece of living art.

Bonsai uses very careful pruning, wiring and small containers to maintain the size of the trees. Like all trees, bonsai can die because of disease, insect infestation or poor cultural care.

how to revive a dead bonsai tree

A dying bonsai requires immediate attention to save it. Check the bonsai for any signs of insects, insect damage or egg masses. Possible species that harm bonsai include scale insects, blackfly, caterpillars and leaf miners. Remove any egg masses and visible insects by hand, place them in hot soapy water and dispose of them.

Treat the tree with a systemic insecticide, which enters the sap, for up to three weeks. Follow the manufacturer's dosage recommendations. Follow-up with routine monthly treatments starting every spring and ending late in the summer. Look for signs of disease in your dying bonsai, including curled leaves, white powder, yellowing foliage and discolored spots, which could indicate diseases such as leaf curl, powdery mildew or cedar rust. Remove and dispose of infected leaves and spray the tree with systemic fungicide following the instructions on the packaging.

For leaf curl, use a fungicide that contains copper for the best results. Continue to use the fungicide on a monthly basis to prevent further problems. Re-pot the bonsai in a bigger planter if it has been in the same planter for more than two years, as it could be dying from lack of room for healthy root growth or a build up of salts in the soil from fertilizer.

Cut back any long, thick or dead roots before placing the tree in a new planter. Trim the root mass to ensure it fits comfortably in the new planter and to stimulate new root growth.

Use a bonsai potting mix that allows proper air flow and drainage. Place the bonsai in the planter and fill with the soil to one-half inch from the top rim of the planter. Water thoroughly.

Give the bonsai a balanced, water soluble fertilizer following the package directions on dosing to encourage new growth.

Bonsai planting mixes contain little to no nutrients, but providing water soluble fertilizer every time you water gives the bonsai immediate access to the nutrients it needs to recover from any possible cause of its decline, including lack of fertilizer, disease or insect damage.

Prune any excessive growth. An under-pruned bonsai is more susceptible to damage from insects and disease and the extra foliage growth also takes vital energy and nutrients that the plant needs to recover.

Use sharp scissors to cut back leggy branches and thin leaf growth. Save any shaping or wiring until the tree renews its health. Discover what species of tree you have if you don't already know. Provide the light, water and temperature requirements for the species. Most bonsai need at least six hours of sunlight every day, water when the soil dries in the top layers and temperatures that mimic the native habitat of the species. Good air flow and the proper humidity levels better the chances of survival.

Kit Arbuckle is a freelance writer specializing in topics such as health, alternative medicine, beauty, senior care, pets and landscaping. She has training in landscaping and a certification in medicinal herbs from a botanical sanctuary. Skip to main content.

Home Guides Garden Pest Control. Tips Contact your county extension agency for any regulations on the use of insecticides and fungicides.

how to revive a dead bonsai tree

Make sure that hardy bonsai receive the proper amount of winter dormancy.If your bonsai is getting full sunlight, it might be asked to water once daily. Indoor bonsai are all bonsai that are cultivated for the indoor air. Olive bonsai is not hard to watch over and very powerful so that it is a suitable selection to be used as bonsai. If you are in creating your own first bonsai, attempt boxwood. For enhanced effect, the bonsai may be placed in enclosures, like terrariums, which are humidified from inside.

This bonsai needs to be near the surface of the listing for novices. Bald cypress Bonsai has to be guarded from frost. Many distinctive styles can be made through pruning, together with minimal work. Despite its delicate appearance, it is not challenging. A huge reason is because they are quite simple to raise and take care of. Or, prepare yourself to change the climatic conditions of your house to make it even more appropriate.

Little white flowers bloom through the year and at times create tiny red berries. In addition, the leaves can easily be reduced in bonsai culture. The little leaves are a great asset. There are essentially two types, a little leaf and a little bigger leaf. When you are just going to grow a bonsai, you need to know bonsai tree types. Other forms of bonsai trees are somewhat hardy and are ideal for outdoor bonsai, often allowing for bigger varieties and bigger shapes.

Also, there are plenty of forms and the bonsai tree can be formed in many of fashions. The tree, together with its dirt, should be taken from this pot. Bonsai trees are only stunning and provide a visual centerpiece and focal point, either within your house or in your own garden. The main reason is that Bonsai trees are planted in miniature pots and thus have limited storage for water and nutrients.

In reality, the majority of Bonsai trees ought to be placed outdoors, where they are exposed to the four seasons exactly like normal trees are. The instructions below are just the fundamentals and, thus, I advise that you purchase one of those many fine books available on the discipline. The dimensions of the fruit is dependent upon the cultivar. The perfect height to see each of the specifics of a bonsai tree is about two feet. In the event the soil looks dark and feels wet then it does not require pruning.The ficus species contains over 1, different types of plants.

Most ficus plants have rubbery limbs and do not require much attention to thrive. If you have a ficus plant, it may either be an inside or outside plant. Occasionally, a ficus may begin to wilt and die if it is getting too much or too little sunlight or water. Depending on the species of your ficus plant, follow the recommended instructions on the appropriate amount of sunlight and water for your plant. If that does not help to revive your ficus, you may try another option. Test the limbs to see if they are truly dead.

The limbs may have dead leaves but the limb may be alive. Either bend the limb to see if it snaps off or scratch the bark with your fingernail to see if it peels off to reveal fresh green underneath or if it is dried out. Water the ficus and then add additional soil as the water compacts the soil.

Continue to add soil until the roots are completely covered. Purchase a fertilizer appropriate for your ficus and follow the instructions for use with your plant. Based in Columbus, Ga.

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. A wilted ficus may just need help to be revived. Step 1 Test the limbs to see if they are truly dead. Step 2 Cut away all dead leaves and dry limbs. Cut the limbs up to the trunk of the tree using shears. Step 3 Re-pot the ficus. Remove the ficus from the pot and dispose of the soil.

Step 4 Shake off any soil that remains on the ficus' roots. Step 5 Wash the pot out with a mild soap and water. Step 6 Pour fresh soil back into the pot and place the ficus back into the pot. Step 7 Water the ficus and then add additional soil as the water compacts the soil. Tip Purchase a fertilizer appropriate for your ficus and follow the instructions for use with your plant.

Share this article. Ashley Hay. Show Comments.Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! A dying bonsai plant can be saved. Pay close attention to its symptoms. The most common cause of bonsai death is incorrect watering. Watering too much or not enough can cause loss of vigor, yellowing or wilted foliage and branch shrinkage. A few simple steps can help revive the bonsai. Remove the bonsai tree from its potting container and trim its roots.

Use sharp shears or scissors that have been sterilized with wood alcohol. Trim away any black or decaying roots. Do not remove any healthy roots. Prune away the dead and wilted foliage, stems and branches. Make sure you sterilize your pruning shears to avoid spreading bacteria or disease to healthy parts of the tree.

Prune only the unhealthy parts. Re-pot your bonsai in a fresh container that is slightly larger than the original container. Before adding soil to the container, sterilize the container with a small amount of wood alcohol. Allow the container to air dry completely before re-potting your bonsai.

Make sure the bonsai has new soil. Use a quality potting soil that includes low phosphorous, potassium and low levels of nitrogen. Bonsai trees prefer sandy loams, so mix sand in the potting soil. Make sure your bonsai has direct sunlight for at least 6 hours each day. Keep the room at a moderate temperature if the tree is kept indoors. Your bonsai uses a combination of sunlight and water to produce nutrients. If the bonsai does not have access to these basic necessities, poor health is sure to follow.

Water your bonsai lightly. Start with a half cup of water applied around the roots. If the soil feels dry, your tree needs water. If the soil feels moist, do not water. If you find that the tree requires water daily and is showing signs of revival, increase the amount of water you give it and reduce the number of days each week that you water. Share this article.

Things Needed. Water Soil Sand Fertilizer Potting container. Indoor Bonsai Care.My Bonsai tree is dying! So it was time a guide on reviving a dying Bonsai was written. I take you through the steps needed to rescue your bonsai.

How To Rescue A Dying Bonsai Tree

I hate to bring it to you, but trees don't generally die of old age, so probably you messed up the care for your Bonsai. And now that you finally found this page, quite likely you're too late. Well, there's hope we can save your tree. Bonsai care is really not that difficult. Follow the steps below to succeed at growing a bonsai tree. First of all, you need to know what tree species you have.

An indoor Bonsai has entirely different needs compared to an outdoor Bonsai. You need to adept the care for your Bonsai to its specific needs. Most likely, you have a Juniper tree. If not, you might have a Ficus tree. If you're not sure, use our guide on " Identifying my Bonsai tree " opens in a new screen. In the previous step you have identified your tree, now you need to understand how to take care of your tree.

If you have a Ficus or a Juniper, click on the links under the images above to read more. If your tree isn't one of these, identify your tree here and read more about your tree species before continuing with the next step. When you adept the watering, fertilizing and position of your Bonsai to its specific needs you are on the right way to keep it alive! Most likely, now that you have read about your specific tree-species, you know what you did wrong. Here are your options:.

Bonsai trees are planted in small pots, so they don't have much reserves in terms of nutrients and water. If you forget to water your Bonsai until the soil dries out completely, the tree's roots dry out and die.

Within days you will see the leaves of your tree wither and fall off, or in case you have an evergreen its foliage will slowly turn yellow. If the roots have dried up completely you can't save the tree.

If the roots didn't dry out completely you can rescue the tree by watering it properly from now on. So how often do you need to water?

How to Revive a Dying Bonsai Tree—Solutions That Work

This really depends on your tree and the soil it is planted in. I can't give you a rule; you need to check the soil of your tree and water when it gets slightly dry. Most cheap Bonsai trees are planted in a clay-like soil this is the only way they can be imported from China in large containersthis soil doesn't absorb water quickly so when you water your tree shortly chances are the water ends up under the pot, instead of in the soil.

Check on your tree when watering and do it thoroughly. With thoroughly I mean you should water your tree, wait a few minutes, and water it again, to make sure the entire soil-mass is watered. When your tree recovers, repot it in a proper soil mix.

Read more about watering Bonsai trees and about repotting your bonsai. The Juniper is one of the most common Bonsai trees for beginners, but it is an outdoor tree. When placed inside, its needles will turn yellow and the tree will slowly die. Now that you have identified your tree species, you know where to put it. In general, place indoor Bonsai at a window facing the south and place outdoor Bonsai at a bright spot somewhat protected from strong wind.

Bonsai Quick Fix Demo' by Graham Potter

Read more on Indoor Bonsai and Outdoor Bonsai care.The first step in reviving a dying bonsai tree is getting to the root cause of why it is actually dying. There are a few reasons why a bonsai may need to be revived, some much more common than others.

The most common reason a bonsai tree will be dying is due to forgetful owners not watering it. Bonsai trees have access to only a small amount of soil and nutrients, so they get thirsty and run out of water extremely fast. A lot of new owners tend to treat these trees like succulents, only watering them once in a blue moon and wondering why the foliage is turning brown. Learning how to properly water a bonsai tree is crucially important or the tree is going to get in the exact same situation again.

I would say the second most common reason for a bonsai tree needed to be revived will be over-watering. When the soil is constantly watered or not allowed to drain properly, the soil will retain a huge amount of water. The roots are going to be sat in the water and starved of oxygen.

This leads to the death of the roots, which will then start to rot away. Over-watering can also be caused by the soil not being a proper bonsai soil mix. Bonsai soil is specifically designed to have the right level of water retention to avoid killing the roots. Bonsai trees need exactly the same conditions as they would be getting if they were growing out in nature. What does that mean? Well, the sunlight, temperature, humidity, frequency of watering, all of these need to mirror the outdoor world!

Growing a subtropical bonsai tree, that in nature would be exposed to warmth and high humidity, in a cold rainy country is going to be extremely hard to do! Likewise growing a tree that thrives in the cold, indoors in warmth is going to be impossible as well. Some love full sun all year round whereas some need partial shade… If you have been growing your indoor tree, outdoors for example, there is a possibility that it can still be revived successfully.

Trees, much like humans, can get diseases that really damage or even kill them. These diseases can range in severity, some leading to small steps like repotting, or some just leading to the death of a bonsai.


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