Good stuff or bad stuff in soil?

My gut tells me this is good stuff. But I figured I’d check with people more experienced than myself.

Is this mycorrhiza? This is a lime tree, citrus aurantiifolia, that I received for Christmas.

<I will take a shot at this…:thinking:>
It appears to be a slime mold colony… Technically NOT fungal mycelium (or mycorrhiza). These appear as fine whitish threads under the soil.
Biologically, the 600 or so slime molds were moved from fungal to the Protista kingdome…
They are a colony of single cells that stay together. They do sporulate and colonize. They CAN move as one group. They do not form the thin whitish threads that fungus does, and do not perform the symbiotic swapping of resources with the tree… like GOOD symbiotic fungus does…
Your soil appears to be high in wet organic material (and heavy clay?). Food for the slime mold colony.
MY opinion is… i it WILL NOT hurt the tree… Eventually, the soil will dry out and the colony will just dissapear… It is only interested in the rotting organics.
If you have this in a hothouse, expect it to transfer around…
Watch the basic repotting Mirai videos. Repot in the spring into better soil. Good luck! Let us know how this plays out!
Bonsai On!
When I was a teanager…I once watched a slime mold colony the size of a hardball for several weeks in a wet spring. It slowly moved along a horizontal dead tree limb… intact… for 10 feet. Finally dropped off into the heavy undergrowth… Probably looking for easy food. This was one of the things that got me excited about science! Nature is awsome!


@CamBob If it still worries you, you could carefully scrape the top layer of organics off and replace it with new soil… carefully of the surface roots…Preferably with a friable good draining inorganic mix, like a bonsai soil. Low on organics.
Check with your local garden stores. The usually have bonsai mix available. My local Home Depot had a succulant mix that was acceptable… Order a bag of mixed soil online for spring. Decideous mix.
The National Bonsai and Penjing Museum IS in Washigton DC area… Awsome day trip idea…
Ask if they know where a bonsai artist MIGHT get a bag of bonsai soil… Maybe point you in the direction of a local club…!
Click a photo of the whole tree and post. …! We would love to see it!
Bonsai On!

Thanks for the info Kurt! Though, I can’t help but be a bit bummed out by it. My initial reaction to noticing this stuff was so much excitement! Lol

I’m probably not going to do anything about it, at least not for now. The pot still drains perfectly well, so I’m not going to worry. This tree is already in an ALP mix, the organics you see are the sphagnum top dressing and fertilizer pellets that I moved aside for these pictures. The root ball appears to have a small amount of the nursery soil in it as well. Bulk of the soil mass is definitely ALP though.

I haven’t made the trip out to the museum in DC yet, thank you for the reminder! We were right in the middle of 2020 when I learned it was there, and it was closed indefinitely for covid reasons, so I just kind of forgot it existed. Immediately adding that to the to-do list, I’m sure it’s back open again by now.

Here’s a few zoomed out pictures of the tree, purchased from Superfly Bonsai in my hometown of Harrisburg PA.

Gotta love that clip and grow awkwardness, eh? Lol

Cool tree! Nothing wrong with it. Looks real healthy! I didnt realize the leaves would be THAT small. Now I want one… I prefer clip n go smaller bonsai…!
Your soil sounds good. Do you keep this tree inside?
The John Naka’s Goshin bonsai at the National is worth the time / price of going! It is awsomely inspiring!

I’m also astounded by the tiny leaves! I’ve been looking for more information on lime trees as bonsai since I received this one, and not a single one I’ve seen has leaves this small. I was able to find one sentence somewhere on the internet that said something along the lines of ‘pinching back new growth for a long time will produced smaller and smaller foliage.’ And that’s it. I probably won’t be as diligent with that, personally. I want to get, you know, limes haha

Yes, this tree enjoys a rather cushy winter setup in my garage. It hangs out under a Mars Hydro SP3000. I have a space heater that maintains temperature between 65 and 75°, and a humidifier that keeps the air wet enough that my little baby ficus is pushing aerial roots. The more cold sensitive ones are also on a heat bed that spends most of its time off, and is more for redundancy in the event of space heater failure. Everything I have in my garage is absolutely thriving right now—except my car that’s been relegated to the driveway in favor of trees! I’ll almost be reluctant to bring them back outside in the spring! I suppose I’ve also given this slime mold an environment to thrive in too. Whoops.

I’m very exited to see the national museum, even more so now that you’ve named dropped John Naka. I may hold off until spring though, and go when all of the cherry blossom trees are flowering!

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