Is my bonsai dead?

1 month ago Nebby 0

Source: Growing Bonsai Blog.

The validity of bark scratching So.. One of the questions often asked when growing bonsai is “Is my bonsai dead?”. Invariably, someone will suggest the bark scratch test. The reasoning being: You scratch off the bark. Below the bark is (often) a light green layer which people think is the cambium (It is not). This layer of green is not present when a tree dies and dries out. Then it slowly turns brown. I wanted to know what exactly to look for. Is my spruce dead? So I took a spruce that by early summer (June 2019) had not grown any new buds and was losing some needles. With a sharp knife, I cut into the bark and exposed a bit of the layers below it and asked what the chances of survival were. Interestingly, the first answer was that I took too much bark off (Which I did, see above). And second: This tree looks healthy enough. Just be careful with watering, spray with a fungicide and it will be right as rain. I was a little confused, but accepted the advice. Downside of the bonsai bark scratch test Plants that are weak, have a hard time defending itself against infections. In a way, it is no different from you, laying in a hospital bed, and the doctor passing by, cutting your skin to ensure you still have blood. You would not appreciate to have more things to fix on your body than the infection already roaming around. So…

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