Black and Red pine issues

New member to the forum I am having multiple issues I believe and the tons of mixed information is a bit overwhelming to a newbie. I will get to the point. I am having needles yellowing and dropping. Sudden die back. And the new growth turning brown and so brittle you touch it and it just disintegrates. My pines are in various stages and I believe I am have multiple issues. Over watering and pests possible fungus. What would be a good schedule for pest and fungus maintenance. Any help would be a great. See if I can figure how to load a pic.
Very sorry me trying to post this is an adventure in its own.
I am located in central Florida zone 9b extremely hot upper 90s with very little if any rain. Water once a day around 11 am mixed media 1 to 3 year old plants are in jungle growth potting soil with 1 to 1 perlite 6” nursery pot. I am guessing on the age of plants based on what they are doing. 3 to seven year old plants are in open basket type air pruning type containers pumice lava looking mix (red pines) by the way all these pines were acquired from a good Bonsai nursery. I got all that he had. Growing to slow for everything he had going on. Friend.
older pines are black guessing 8 to 14 years in bag pots with mix of organics and lava. The big black I am guessing 20 to 30 years old lava mix in Anderson flat.
Hope all this information helps

Confusing I know trying to sort it out myself. The mind of a recluse haha

I think you’re right - there could be several things going on here.

The yellow banding looks like it could be a needle cast. Some research into which needle casts it may be can lead to a plan for treatment.

The dieback doesn’t look good. This might be a tip blight. As above, some research can turn up some candidate pathogens. Once you know what it is you’ll be able to proceed with treatment.

When fungus issues are present, it’s best to avoid overhead watering or over-watering in general.

The use of organic material in the soil will make care challenging, particularly given the hot weather in which I’d expect organic matter to break down quickly. Nothing to do about this now, but it might be worth looking into alternative mixes without organic material when the next repotting time comes around.

I also see what looks like time-release fertilizer. These products can be tricky as many release more nutrients as the temperature increases. This can lead to fertilizer burn on hot days - days when the trees are already stressed out.

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all of this stock will be repotted in January it was on the border of being to late in the year to repot when I got them so rolled the dice with waiting till this next January felt I needed more research on pines myself before diving and killing 50 plus trees. Reported 1 black on February 2 based on the reaction of that tree told me that is about as late as I want to repot. Tree has been stalled out just now starting to see elongated tips and new buds. But I hit the tree pretty hard just to see how much I could actually do. Repotted trimmed back a little wired and needle plucked. I have been fertilizing heavy trying to bring up the health of the trees. To me they looked like they had just been left to grow. With little attention. I use a balance 14-14-14 Osmocote and super thrive tea bag with mycorrhizae alternating every 3 weeks. I will not fertilize at all in June and July do to the heat. Plus trying to break buds on the little guys.

I went back out to the Bonsai nursery to see what kind of issues they may have been having with there black pines and he is fighting the same with the record high heat conditions we are having in Florida at the moment. The browning tips are definitely a bug he called them a tip moth. Burrows in new candles and leaves a lava to hatch out. Doesn’t look like it is going to kill the plant but is definitely reducing candles to early in the season. I will start cutting candles late July first of August still not sure what this bug is really called or what pesticides to use. as for the needle cast I will start a copper spray in January and maintain with Daconil fungicide every 3 to 4 weeks. Here are some pics of the shoot I dissected and larvae

Thank you for your help and hopefully this may help someone else as well. Getting a crash course in Black and Red pines but this is what it is all about. Love the learning and watching them grow.

So far the tip mouth or boring beetle what ever it is has not touched the Red pines seems to only like the Black pines if that makes any sense. I will keep everyone up to date.

That’s great the dieback is due to a tip moth and not a pathogen. Look for caterpillar controls as it’s the larvae that eat the buds before turning into moths.

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Thank you so much for the help. Been reading everything I can here great forum learning so much. And thank you again.

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Phil, If I may, I have learned some difficult lessons in my 45 years in bonsai. If there is a bonsai club nearby, it would be in your best interests to join and listen to the people who are in your zone working with trees like yours. Secondly, I want to give you the best advice you will ever hear in bonsai. Get a moisture meter and use it diligently. I probe at least three places on any tree before I decide whether or not to water it. Also, your soil mix: Jonas is telling you in a nice way that your mix is probably wrong for pine trees. Most experts advise only one part in five or six of organic component to a conifer mix. Heavy fertilizing is good and bad…mostly bad. I understand your enthusiasm as a newbie to GROW THOSE TREES. Too much of a good thing is harmful. Too much oxygen kills people, and too much of any ingredient can harm the health of your trees. Trees were not meant to grow in pots. Therefore, we have to do things to help them adjust and thrive in this artificial environment. Jonas has a series of lectures on Bonsai Tonight specifically on JBP’s. I’m guessing that in Florida, you have had experience with tropicals. They were my first love, BUT they are extremely forgiving and hardy, unlike the JBP. Good luck to you.


Wow, how many trees is this total? You sound a bit overwhelmed, good luck with everything!

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Yes please all advise is always welcome I appreciate any help I can get. I have been doing Bonsai for 3 or 4 years now. And have species from temperate to tropical in my hands. I have recently joined a Bonsai club Kawia Bonsai society. I have been trying to gather information and species of plants that I am interested in. The pines were acquired earlier this year February. I try and research the species before I start working them. I feel I need to be able to keep them alive for most. Pines seem to be in class of there own as far as care and to be able to Bonsai them. I have been trying to come up with a schedule of care for them as well as other species built for the area or zone that I am in.
I will repot all pines in January it was my understanding that repotting of pines this time of year in Florida would not be good. My mix will be made up of 1 part hard Japanese acadama 1 part pumice and 1 part red lava. It is my understanding that this would be a good mix. Please correct me if I am wrong. What I am posting is my understanding of it. I have been gathering soil components and pots for the number of trees in my possession. What you are seeing is how I got them with the exception of one that I repotted as soon as I got them. I went looking for a couple red pines and ended up with 53 Red and another 14 Black on top of what I already had. (Other species) I do not like to loose trees. Out of all my trees I have only lost two in three years and that was do to trying to do to much at once.

I came here looking for information Trying to make sense of the process. Please correct any mistakes you see in my way of thinking.
Thank you for allowing me to be here.

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That all sounds great Phil, thanks! When it comes time to repot, the trick will be determining how much soil to replace. Removing all of the old soil at once can be stressful for pines so a common approach is to bare root up to 50% of the rootball this coming January and then do the other 50% about two years later.

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