How to Revive a Juniper Bonsai Tree

Juniper is one of the most commonly grown and shaped bonsai trees. This is in part because they can be shaped more creatively than many other trees.

There are many species of Juniper trees used in bonsai, and you can grow and shape them yourself or purchase one that has already been shaped by an expert. 

The care for a Juniper bonsai tree changes as it grows so you should be aware of steps to take at different points. Read on to find out more about how to fertilize, water, prune, and repot a Juniper bonsai if it needs to be revived. 

Reviving a Juniper Bonsai

How to Revive a Juniper Bonsai Tree

Juniper bonsai are extremely popular for all levels of bonsai growers. They are versatile within the environments they thrive in and can be shaped more readily than many other trees. There are many types of Juniper trees so you have many options to choose from if you are looking to revive one for your personal use.

Like other hobbies, there are difficulties in growing Juniper bonsai. If you do not provide it with the proper care, it will begin to die. Once a bonsai is dying, it is harder to revive it than to keep a healthy plant alive. 

You can take several steps to revive your struggling Juniper bonsai tree:

  • Ensure it is receiving the right amount of water
  • Create an environment where the type of tree you have is known to thrive
  • Prevent shocking the roots

Overwater and underwatering are common mistakes when it comes to taking care of bonsai (and other plants). If you think your Juniper may be suffering because of the amount of water it is receiving, be careful to record how often you are watering it.

Also pay attention to how dry the soil is in between waterings. It is important to find the sweet spot between these two.

Juniper bonsai are popular with beginners in part because they are sturdy and flexible to multiple environments. Juniper trees can be found all over the world, from the Arctic to tropical Africa, and they have adapted to survive in extreme places.

However, if you have a variety that thrives with a certain amount of sunlight, be sure to meet those needs for your tree. You can always move it nearer a window or outside if that helps.

When plants experience drastic changes, sometimes their roots go into shock. This can occur for a variety of reasons, but it frequently happens during transplant, improper watering techniques, or extreme weather.

If the roots of a plant are shocked, the plant is unable to receive the nutrients it needs to survive and will need to be revived to prevent it from dying.

Proper Fertilizer and Water 

If you are caring for a Juniper bonsai tree, then you will need to make sure that it has the appropriate fertilizer and water, just like a fully grown tree.

A common cause of death and rot in bonsai is when they are not receiving the proper fertilizer or amount of water. Restoring your bonsai to healthy conditions is a key part of enabling it to grow strong again.

Juniper trees grow all over the world, and they are relatively flexible in the type of fertilizer you use. Juniper bonsai trees typically grow more rapidly from Spring through early fall.

At this time, you can provide extra nitrogen in the fertilizer if you would like to see even more growth. If your Juniper bonsai was not receiving the proper fertilizer, providing it with the nutrients it needs may be enough to start the revival process.

Watering your Juniper bonsai can be a little tricky, and until you master the skill, your plant is more likely to go into shock and need to be revived. Junipers prefer soil that is slightly dry but not entirely so in between waterings. 

If you water your Juniper bonsai too often, the roots will probably become rotted. This prevents them from receiving nutrients. It helps if your bonsai is in a pot that drains well so the roots do not become waterlogged.

If you water your Juniper bonsai too infrequently, the dryness will also send the tree into shock because it is unable to take nutrients through the ground without water. 

Keeping your Juniper bonsai watered properly will start to revive it. If some of the roots are too damaged when you notice that your plant needs to be revived, you may have to prune parts of it.

Prune Juniper Bonsai Regularly 

If you are a bonsai owner, you are responsible for at least mild pruning on a regular basis to keep your plant healthy. Wiring is more complicated and can be learned over time.

Together, you will be able to maintain the shape and health of your bonsai tree. If you neglect these tasks, it is likely that your bonsai is suffering and needs to be revived. 

When you are pruning your Juniper bonsai, you should be careful to make sure you do not cause damage to your tree:

  • Use high-quality shears
  • Prevent shock while pruning roots
  • Repot in a healthy environment

The best time for pruning your Juniper bonsai plant is in the dormant season, winter. This is because it is less stressful so your revival will happen more quickly.

If you prune your bonsai during the growing season, you are causing stress and damage which are harder to revive from. If you choose a different time, your bonsai may not revive until the next year’s growing season or be too stressed to revive at all.

Junipers are strong trees so you can prune them somewhat aggressively. When you are pruning, be sure to use shears that are sharp and effective. You should sterilize them if possible before use.

Junipers also do well if you pinch them for pruning. If you see any dead or rotting roots, you should remove them immediately. If you have cut branches until they are bare, you will be unable to revive these areas of the tree.

While you are pruning the roots, you want to make sure your tree does not go into shock. This can cause it to suffer even more and will be counter-intuitive if it needs to be revived.

When you are preparing the container to repot your Juniper, gently rest your tree in lukewarm water. Make sure to repot it carefully with the proper soil after it has rested to prevent further shock.

Repot Juniper Bonsai 

As your Juniper bonsai grows, you will eventually need to repot it. Because the bonsai is a living tree, even though it is small, it is always growing.

If you do not repot your Juniper bonsai tree when it has grown, it will need to be revived. If your tree already needs to be revived, it may be because the pot it is currently in is not a good fit. 

Repotting is intimidating because it can be hard on the tree and send the roots into shock. It is important to repot: 

  • at the appropriate time 
  • with the proper instruments
  • into a pot that fits the size of your tree

You should repot your Juniper bonsai at least every two years to keep it healthy. If you fail to do this, the roots will become so compact in the smaller pot that it will be unable to get the nutrients it needs from the soil. 

When repotting your Juniper bonsai, even tiny root breaks can send your bonsai into shock. It can take time to recover from this, and the best way to care for your tree is to continue giving it the proper care.

Make sure you are gentle with your Juniper bonsai and repot it with instruments that are made for this. You should only set your bonsai in clean containers and prevent it from being submerged in water.

How to Grow Wisteria Bonsai might be an interesting article for you.

Conclusion

It is tempting to choose a pot that is too large for your bonsai so you do not have to repot it as often. To a certain extent, this is a good idea because a larger pot will hold more water and make it easier for the bonsai to grow.

However, a pot that is too large is also unhealthy because it will retain the water so well that your plant will be at risk of root rot from overly damp soil.

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