My first Juniper Procumbens Bonsai getting some foliage dieback

I did dig up a Juniper Procumbens ( unknown variation) from a garden and did try to make a bonsai out of it.

My problem statement:

I do see every week some foliage dieback (going brown) what I do remove it. But it looks it is not stopping yet. So getting worried now

The dig up was on the 12th of March and did do a prune and styling and a repot the same day. Maybe too eager do do all of it in 1 go. The next 2 pictures or from the 12th of March

Today I did decided to do my first post here in the forum to seek for suggestions of my mistake or explanations for the foliage dieback.

I did not prune or style further towards the smaller branches as I want the tree to survive at least the next year or the spring season at least
The next 3 pictures or from the 3rd of May

Happy for any suggestions

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There is a high probability that it wont make it through the summer’ :grimacing:
Too much work was done. After collection, the tree should not be left alone to recover. I wait at least 2 seasons for my collected trees to recover.
A lot of foliage was taken off, so the ability to produce new roots is very minimal.
Keep it in the shade, away from wind and mist a few times a day. The soil should be left to almost dry out before any more watering.
The balance of water and oxygen supply to the roots is very crucial right now.
One big part of the art of bonsai is patience.
Good luck :crossed_fingers:t2:

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AND… no fertilizer now.


Thanks both for your great feedback. Will adjust asap. And hope for the best. I always understood to reduce the foliage is good when collecting. But maybe this count more on deciduous trees when collecting.

Remember that in junipers, the vigor is in the foliage. Ryan once mentioned that, with junipers, it’s usually a better idea to repot first, while leaving the foliage on. That way the tree has a lot more foliage to grow roots with.

It’s counter to what we may do with a deciduous, where we are more worried about excessive transpiration.

I’ll pile on to the advice though. Get it out of direct sun, watch the water, and don’t fertilize. Once the tree starts to show growth, gradually move it back to brighter sun, but give it time. Hopefully, it recovers well, and even if you lose some branching, you’ll have some nice jin’s to work with and tell its story.

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Thanks, all actions done; will update this posts after some weeks when having good or bad news. Spring is very late this year so maybe it helps a bit.


I find with Procumbens that I always get some die back of weak branches on initial potting. On re-pots there typically are no weak branches so it’s less of an issue but I’ll loose just a bit of foliage on the weakest branches. The other thing to consider is that this time of year Procumbens typical shed foliage too as the new growth is hardening off and they get rid of shaded foliage. Even my healthiest ones can be shaken right now and a ton of dead needles will drop out because of this.

Be careful with watering too much for the first few weeks but then be sure to keep them watered well. How much will depend on where you are. The tree will make it with reasonable good care, I just hope you won’t lose a branch but my guess is you probably will.

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See 10 Days later, looks like I even see new growth. - Shall I put it back in the sun now ?
Thanks for all the feedback, keep you posted.

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Slow and steady wins this race. No rush. If what you are doing is working, keep doing it for a while longer. This is still a very stressed tree…dug up, potted up, cut up, wired up…all in the past few weeks. The tree will tell you when it is strong again. Even then you will need to transition into full sun. Morning sun will be best. Protect from afternoon sun and WIND. It is the real enemy.

Good work so far.


Looks it is still alive, I am getting into some morning sun.

So far so good I think.

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I would disagree with some of the comments I have seen so far. You can cut off as much as 1/3 from the foliage, which I dont think you came close to, but having said that, I wouldnt have repotted AND styled the tree heavily in the same year. Dieback of some foliage is to be expected, when the tree can’t facilitate the energy to keep the foliage alive, if there is no proper root mass to ensure that. Ryan said “Trees don’t have a credit card” They can only build and sustain what they can get from its roots.

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