We have a juniper bonsai tree purchased last year. One of the branches appears to be getting sick and dying. Need assistance to revive and best growing practice
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners for assistance with your Bonsai.
Bonsai trees can be challenging as they require two layers of care: First your plant will be subject to all of the growing conditions required for the species, in your case Juniper Juniperus. It might be helpful to determine exactly what species of Juniper you have, as conditions may vary species to species.
Secondly, you must provide your plant with the added protection needed for its specialized care, its limited growing space and size.
In other words your Bonsai may be ailing due to conditions it would find if grown in nature such as pests or disease, or there may be an issue with the care particular to Bonsai. Either way, below you will find information that may help you.
The difficulty you may be having with your tree branch may be caused by many factors; Have you seen signs of infestation? Junipers, although generally pretty hardy, are susceptible to aphids, bark beetles, leaf miners and mites. It does sound as if your tree is experiencing what is called “Die back”. Where branches of an otherwise healthy plant slowly deteriorate and die off. The causes of this condition are many, here is a link to the University of Illinois website which describes this condition and offers some suggestions.
I would like to offer two other links; Here is the Master Gardener’s guide on caring for Bonsai, and also a link to the Toronto Bonsai Society which meets at the Toronto Botanical Garden.
They are a most welcoming group and I am sure you will not be wanting for advice about Bonsai from its members.
Good luck with your Bonsai