Bonsai Suddenly Deteriorating - Pls Help

Hello Jonas,

I am new to the Bonsai world and my Bonsai (of 1 year) has suddenly taken a turn for the worst. I have researched quite a bit of possible issues, however, I am not confident enough with this plant and I want to get it right.

I contacted the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park for any possible assistance and they referred me to you. I’ve attached a few pics and if you have a moment or it is something you do, I would very much appreciate your feedback (I live in San Francisco)

Thanks for the photos! To help figure out the next steps we may need some more info. Can you tell us where you keep the tree (inside or outdoors, how much sun it gets, etc.) and how often you water? It could also help to know when the tree was last repotted and when you started seeing the foliage turn color.

At a glance I don’t see signs of insects or pathogens - the tree simply looks weak. I like the green tips in the first photo, but the gray foliage in the second photo doesn’t look as good.

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Hello Jonas

The tree is kept outside on the patio facing East/Oakland. This time of year, the morning sun is from about 8:30 to about 2 and I water when the top soil is dry (typically every other day.)

I received the bonsai late summer '18 and has been repotted once Aug 6 2019. The foliage started changing at the beginning of this year 2020.

Attached pics taken Aug 25

, 2020 and as u can see, the color has faded quite a bit from the previous pics taken in June (for referrence, last pic is the Bonsai the day I received it in Aug 2018)

Best, David

It sounds like its location was appropriate and that improper watering - too much or too little - is the most likely candidate for the decline. If the watering is off one way or the other the tree is more likely to succumb to fungal problems, either in the roots or on the foliage.

Depending on how much soil was removed when the tree was repotted last year, that could have contributed to the stress.

At this point there isn’t much to do beyond making sure the tree doesn’t stay too wet or get too dry. Ideally, the tree would dry out about 60-70% between waterings if you check the soil about 1/4"-1/2" below the surface.