Growing a bonsai tree is a truly rewarding experience that anyone can partake in. Growing cedar bonsai, however, should be left to the more experienced of the bonsai enthusiasts. Cedar bonsai are unique, beautiful trees. Four out of the five kinds of cedars can be grown into a bonsai. Here we will be talking about how you should take care of your cedar bonsai. This includes where to place it, how to water and fertilize it, how to train it, and how to handle common diseases and pests.
How to Care for Cedar Bonsai
Caring for cedar bonsai is best left to experienced and patient bonsai growers. As conifers, cedar bonsai do go into dormancy, which means they need to be placed outside all year. It may not look like your tree is dormant because it will not drop its needles, but it is most likely dormant if temperatures are cold enough. Over-watering is a huge problem when dealing with cedars. Let the soil dry out in between watering. Feed your tree every two or three weeks from spring to autumn. Cedars respond better to pinching than pruning, but they handle wiring very well. Many diseases that may occur can be fixed by watering less, and pests can be exterminated using pesticides.
Indoor or Outdoor?
Cedar bonsai are outdoor trees that like lots of sun. They need 6 hours of light a day at minimum. Do not place these trees in the shade. They cannot stand freezing temperatures, so when temperatures drop, place these trees in a greenhouse or something similar.
When in dormancy, cedars will not lose their needles like many other trees do. Their dormancy looks different from other bonsai trees. This is because they are conifers, not deciduous. You may not even know when your cedar is dormant, but when temperatures drop in the winter, it should go dormant.
Allow the soil to dry out slightly before you water. Cedars do not like complete dryness, but overwatering is even less desirable. If overwatering is done consistently, it will be evident in the yellowing leaves.
When watering, water generously, then wait 10 minutes. After that time, water once more. Ensure that not only the soil is fully drenched but the roots as well. House your cedar in well-draining soil. This will help combat any overwatering that may occur.
Use a balanced, organic fertilizer when feeding. Because these trees have a dormancy period, they also have a growth period. This growth period is from spring to summer, or March to September. Feed every 2 to 3 weeks throughout the entire growth period. Once the dormancy period begins and there are no new growths, stop feeding.
Pruning isn’t needed very often, as these trees grow very slowly. Whenever possible, pinch rather than prune. To limit the spread of mold and diseases, use clean or sterile tools. Wounds on cedars heal very slowly, so try to create as few as possible.
Almost any style can be achieved by using wiring. Because of their aged, rough bark, cedars respond to wiring very well. Wire at any time during the year, and at any age. Use tough copper wires and leave them on the tree for about two years.
Cedar bonsai do not respond well to frequent re-potting. Once they do need to be re-potted, do it in the spring. This should be done every 5 or so years, as necessary.
Common Pests and Diseases
While cedar trees are hardy, they are still prone to some pests and diseases. The most common disease found in these trees are fungal problems like mold and root rot. These are caused by overwatering. To prevent this, use well-draining soil and only water when the soil is dry.
Caterpillars and mites are also common with cedar bonsai. Check the leaves and stems for these critters every day. You can rid your tree of these pests by applying or spraying organic pesticides. Even if you see only one or two critters, it is highly likely that there are more.
If you are ready for a bit of a challenge, you will greatly enjoy growing these trees. Cedars can be styled into any way you can imagine, making them very desirable for the creative type. Let the soil dry out before watering, and fertilize throughout the growth period every few weeks. Pruning and wiring can be done at any point of the year. Any pest or disease can be taken care of relatively easily. We hope you enjoy growing your magnificent cedar bonsai!