Bonsai Medicine: Common Cures For Your Tree's Woes

21st Jun 2016

Sick Bonsai Tree

Like all living things, Bonsai trees are susceptible to a wide range of diseases and maladies. While few of these are so serious as to be fatal, many can permanently disfigure your tree or shorten its lifespan. And, of course, no one wants to have a distressed tree when it's possible to make it better!

So today, we wanted to take a look at some of the medicines available for Bonsai, and when they're useful. Some of these are for preventative purposes, and others are for very specific applications. Either way, you'll want to be familiar with these as you grow and shape your Bonsai over the years.

I. Preventative Medicines

1. Myconox Mycorrhizal Inoculant

While many forms of fungi can be harmful to Bonsai trees, that's not the case with Mycorrhizals. These fungi have evolved to have a symbiotic relationship with plants, living among their roots and helping them digest nutrients much like the bacteria in our stomachs help us. Myconox Mycorrhizal Inoculant contains a wide variety of spores, ensuring there's at least one species which will find a new home among your Bonsai's roots.

2. FRIT Trace Elements

FRIT is basically vitamin supplements for your Bonsai. Just like most creatures, Bonsai need a wide range of micro-nutrients for optimal growth. FRIT contains 28 such vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and is easily dissolved in water for application. It can be a preventative measure, or a go-to medicine that can help with nearly any malady a tree can suffer.

3. Moss Spores

As we like to point out, moss is one of the best possible additions to a Bonsai planting. Besides adding to the natural look on a Bonsai, it provides a range of great health benefits. Moss helps keep the soil moist, reducing watering needs, and also acts as insulation. It keeps the roots cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter, making it amazing and beautiful all-around protection.

II. Specific Medicines

1. Cut Paste

Cut paste is one of the most basic tools in a Bonsai-owner's toolbox, and something nearly all growers should keep on hand. Like a band-aid for Bonsai, this paste is intended to be spread over areas which have been recently trimmed. It encourages healing, while protecting the wound from the elements.

2. Shin-Kiyonaal

Shin-Kiyonaal is a more specialized version of cut paste, intended for larger wounds -such as pruning a large branch- or when you attempt a grafting. Beyond protecting the wound with a putty seal, it contains a range of insecticides and fungicides to ensure the wound doesn't become infected during the sometimes-lengthy healing period.

3. Lime-Sulfur Compound

Jin Seal Lime-Sulfur products are specifically for use when trying to preserve deadwood on a tree, for a more aged/worn look. It preserves and bleaches the deadwood, preventing damage from being done to the living parts of the tree, while making the deadwood more prominent. But be careful - use plenty of eye and skin protection when working with it, since it can be extremely caustic, and follow all packaging directions.

4. Root Gel

Dyna-Grow Root Gel is designed for those attempting to transplant cuttings. It seals off the cutting in a protective gel full of nutrients, basically acting as replacement roots until the cutting can begin growing its own. This keeps the cutting safe during its most vulnerable period, and greatly increases the chances it will thrive.