Frequently Asked Questions


Tool Care

Q. I have recently purchased your 'Novice Tool Kit - Plus - 9 Piece'...
I absolutely love them. I have a question for your regarding the care of them.
Will it harm them to oil / clean them with WD40 or should I use a
different product?
A. Yes, you can use WD40. You can use any oil type product that is easy to use.
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About returning items that just don’t fit your needs.


Q. This is not a complaint by any means; just a request. I frequently buy products from your online store and I love the service you provide! Your wide range of selection makes your site a must for the Bonsai enthusiast. I recently ordered several pots but they were not what I had expected. Would it be possible to return part of my order to you in exchange for another order? (I will of course pay for shipping and the difference can be billed to me.) If so; what do I need to do? Should I re-order online and process my return as a return only (not request re-order with return) or should I return my current order with a written replacement request? Thank you for your help!

A. Sorry the pots didn't fit your needs! Yes, you can send them back and we will credit your card for whatever the pots cost (less shipping and a restocking charge). All we ask of you is to send any product back -packed very carefully - to the address that is shown on the shipping label that was on the box your merchandise came in. We ask that the merchandise be still new, unused and resalable. Please send a copy of the order to facilitate you receiving credit. As to which way you want to do it, order first, send first, It really doesn't make any difference to us. Do whatever is easier for you. We will process the transactions separately.

FYI: The restocking charge is a $10.00 restocking fee.


Q. I received my order, but need to return it because the person I purchased it for already has the things I ordered. What is your return procedure? Do you offer gift cards? Please let me know.

A. Please send the merchandise to our warehouse address:
4460 West Walnut Street
Suite 218
Garland, TX 75042

We will refund the money on the items (less all shipping charges) if: They are new and have not been used and are resalable. We do charge a restocking fee of $10.00. You must pay the shipping back to us. Please send a copy of the invoice in the box to make it easier to send you the credit.
Yes, we do offer Gift Certificates in any denomination.

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Books
Q. Hi, I am a very much a beginning bonsai buyer, which book do you think I should buy first? Thank you.
A. As a beginner I would buy the Bonsai Basics by Pessy and Samson. It's an all color book and should get you started. From there you can add a book or two as you gain experience and need more help.
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Fertilizer
Q. I need Help regarding fertilizer application. Please advise how to apply fertilizer I purchased from you recently. When I water, I submerge my bonsai. Should I add the fertilizer to the water? If so, how much per gallon?
I ordered: F88 Super Bloom Liquid Organic Fertilizer, and F80 Green King Organic pellet Fertilizer. Thanks for your help from a novice bonsai enthusiast.
A.Yes, you can add the Super Bloom to the water. Read the instructions on how much. Remember that you will have to discard the leftover fertilized water. It can get rancid an smelly after a few days. At first you will waste some this way until you get accustomed to how much you will need each day. The Green King Pellet is placed on the surface, pressed into the soil or used with the fertilizer covers we sell. Please read the instructions provided as to the exact amount you need to use.

Q. Thanks for all the great info on fertilizing. I went to your site where you are selling the fertilizer, but don't know which I should order. Do you have anything written down as to what to use with deciduous and evergreens. I'm a beginner with a lot to learn!!!
A. Thank you for your feedback and compliment!
I would start with the Fujiyama combo and go from there. You need to
consider organic vs inorganic. Liquid vs pellet. But at this stage just
get a good start with the liquid. It's good for all types of Bonsai.

Q. I received the Fujiyama combo yesterday and would like to apply soon. I
read the directions stating 1 capfull per 2 qts of water. Do I cut that in
1/2 if I will be fertilzing every week? Also, do I put BOTH the vitamin
and fertilizer in the 2 qts or vitamin in 2 qts and fertilizer in 2 qts (2
separate operations)? Thanks.
A.Yes cut the Fujiyama combo in half if your going to be fertilizing every week. Either way on the vitamin. You can mix them because they do not cause nutrient lock-up when used together.

Q. I’m in San Antonio and it is just as hot as Dallas, we have had tons of rain though.
Question is I have recently repotted some juniper Bonsai and want to keep them alive.
How do I balance the fertilizer aspect since they are still in intensive care? I want to ensure they make it through the summer but don’t want to shut down the roots. I don’t see any new growth yet and it’s been about 3 weeks. Can I use a really diluted fertilizer?
A. Yes, by all means do fertilize, but at a greatly reduced rate – meaning use 25% strength weekly. Shower your Bonsai with this fertilizer too as it does assimilate about 10% of its nutrients through its needles. Shower it in the early morning or late evening when it will be utilized more effectively by the plant. You should also use a root stimulator like our Bonsai Vitamin or the Japanese product Menedael. The root hormones in these products will spur on new root growth.
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Seeds
Q. The seeds I got from you will not grow and I planted them a week ago and no sprouts are up and I look at the seeds and they look no different than when I planted them. I do not know what to do. I have eight containers with one seed in every container and I move 4 outside and 4 inside and nothing is happening. What should I do? And when they grow can I keep them inside? because were I live it rains a lot. and I want to keep them inside. but I do not know where and the soil I used - I do not know if it is good because it has in it perlite and bone meal and same soil called seed starter. - and I do not no how deep to put the seeds. and the seeds I got are Japanese five needle pine.
A. It takes much longer than a week usually for the seed to germinate. These are outside tree seeds. you can bring them inside for a time, but having fresh, moving air should help them. Be patient. If you have good drainage, rain shouldn't be a problem. The soil sounds good, as long as it's sterile. Basically, you just need to cover the seed with soil, don't let it dry out and in two to three months you will have your babies up.

Q. Concerning the seeds I have - Do I plant them with a plastic bag over the top or just in a pot? How do I plant the seeds – upright? or on their sides or it doesn't matter? And what soil and fertilizer do I use? And can I put the moss on when I plant the seeds? Do I have to use the moss when the trunk comes up? and can I plant them inside? and how long it will take them to grow? You are a big help to me THANKS!!!

A. You can use a plastic bag around your pot to increase the humidity for the first few days of their emergence from the seed caupsule. It doesn't matter what side you plant them on. Just cover them with peat moss or sand. Gravity will make the seed send it's roots down. The best fertilizer is our liquid bonsai fertilizer. Use it at half strength while they are young. The moss is used to keep the soil moist and inhibit fungus attacking the seeds. Once germinated, you need to put them outside in the shade and over a few days, gradually introduce them into the sun.
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Tool Sets
Q. Could you please explain the difference between the 5S1 five-piece black
metal tool set and the 5S5 five-piece tool set from Japan? Both sets
look the same and have similar descriptions on the website. Same
question with respect to 6S1 vs. 6S5. Thank you.
A. The difference in the 5 piece sets are the rake.....T60 and T61. Some people
like the longer rake so I let them choose. The 6 piece is the difference in the wire cutter and rake.......BM26 and BM33 - T60 & T61. The BM26 is known more here in the USA because it is illustrated more in the Bonsai Books in English so I show it on one and the BM33 on the other.
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Tool Selection.
Q. Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing to you from Bangalore, India. I am interested in buying some tools from your site. I basically need:
1. A Wire Cutter - to cut off the wires wound around branches etc.
2. Concave Cutter - to prune branches, which leaves a concave wound,
enabling the wound to heal leaving a less prominent mark.
3. A pair of Shears - to be used across all my plants and bonsais. I have tropical trees like the Ficus benjamina etc. Currently I have a small collection of about 10 bonsais, but I plan to grow this collection over the years. A relative of mine is going to visit us from NY. I will be requesting her to pick up this stuff from your site, so that she can get it delivered within the US, and then she can carry it to India for me. I need your guidance on which tool model I should pick up. Since you have a large variety, it is difficult for me to take a decision over the internet. I would also like to know which material is most durable. Since we live in a
humid climate - the tools shouldn't rust. Awaiting your response on the same.
A. If you worry about rusting then you should choose the stainless steel
tools...The SS36 for a wire cutter.......The SS10 is the standard concave.
The SS01 or SS02 for scissors. However, stainless steel tools can be above some people’s budget – they can be double or triple the cost of the traditional black metal Bonsai tools. If that’s your case then by all means pick the BM33 for a wire cutter, the BM10 for a concave cutter and the BM01 or BM02 as your scissor. The plated ones will slow down the rust problem, but you should be able to control it on the black metal tools by just oiling them as you should anyway.
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Plant Care
Q. I live in Shreveport, LA. My daughter was in Boston in April and purchased a Bonsai which she gave to me for Mother's Day. It looked a little sad when I got it, but I put it on the patio and watered it twice a week as instructed and fertilized it. A few new leaves and one of two shoots came out. The leaves were oval shaped and dark green. My daughter said there were tiny white blossoms on it when she purchased it. Then one day I came home and the leaves and new branches were wilted. It has since turned totally brown and looks very dead. I I am still watering and fertilizing it. Should I give up and start over or is there any chance it will come back?
A. I feel saddened to be the bearer of such an unhappy answer. I think it’s probably dead. However, let’s try a few diagnostic tests to see if there is some life left in the Bonsai. First, try the fingernail test. Does the bark scratch green? If yes, then there is some life left in the main trunk and branch areas. This test doesn’t work well with junipers – sorry. I would water it and give it - say a liquid fertilizer in the range of 25% strength and some root hormones to hopefully stimulate it root growth – this is our Bonsai Vitamin or the Japanese product – Menedael. If after three or four months of steadfastly watering and there is no appearance of any new growth, then your Bonsai has passed on to Bonsai heaven….sorry. If your daughter purchased a Snow Rose or Serissa for you. These are very nice Bonsai plants for indoor. However, some varieties just can’t take our hot weather. I can remember years ago when we brought them in from Shanghai, China, I would go out every morning and see one, two, three or more dead out of 500 we purchased. There was not disease above or below ground. They just couldn’t take our heat here in Dallas, Texas. From your description of the way you took care of it I would say that you did not water it enough. Normally, when a plant wilts it’s because it’s drying out. The day you came home and noticed the new branches and leaves wilting is probably the day after you forgot to water it. Twice a week watering is just not enough. It may be enough in Boston, but not enough in Shreveport or Dallas where we are much hotter and therefore the soil dries out quicker. Don’t give up on Bonsai. Try again. You’ve learned a lot from this experience and will enjoy another one.

Q. I have a bonsai tree that look like palm trees, the leaves are turning brown yet the tree itself is still growing. How do I trim the brown leaves and not kill the tree itself?
A. I hate to diagnose a problem without actually knowing who the patient really is. Please call us from 2 to 5 PM Central time at 972 487 0130 and I will be happy to discuss this with you. As to what kind of Bonsai you have – palm tree – probably not. Desert Rose (Portulacaria afra) possibly. Schefflera – Umbrella Tree possibly. First – the plant …The desert rose is a succulent type plant – meaning – treat it like a succulent plant. A little water in the summer and hardly no water in the winter. The schefflera is a tropical foliage type of plant that requires the environment of tropical foliage – which is a humid atmosphere and moist conditions. What did I just say? You had better find out just what kind of plant you have before you start taking care of it. The plant culture of each one of these is world’s apart. If I were guessing ………. And that’s all I can do…….you have the desert rose. Go to the local public library and look at some plant picture books. That should get you on the right track. As to the leaves turning brown, yet the tree itself is still growing…….. It’s a normal growth pattern to have the lower leaves of a plant to die, turn brown and slough off. If it’s the upper leaves – you’ve got a problem. As to trimming the brown leaves. If they are completely brown they are just waiting for you to trim them off. This will not kill the tree..they’re dead already. You’re just making the plant esthetically pleasing. If the brown is on the tips or edges of the leaves you can cut that portion of the leaf off, but you will still have a brown edge from your scissor cutting visible – it may not be as objectionable as large areas, but it will be there.
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Bonsai Chemicals
Q. Did you once sell hi-yeld , maneb ,9 oz.?? This was for root rot problems in bonsai plants. Finally found some locally but I do not remimber the amount per gal of water.
A. Sorry, we don’t sell any pesticides or fungicides. They are normally regulated by the states and it’s difficult to try to adhere to all the different rules by different states. Just too much. As to the dilution rate for Bonsai. It would be the same as for any plant listed. Remember – just get the understanding down to the plant level. Your Bonsai is a plant. Read the instructions for that type of plant....Juniper, pine, whatever. Don’t try to dilute it more than what the instructions call for. It won’t be effective.
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The Credit Card Processing in our Dallas Bonsai Garden software.
Q. My order # xxxx
I had attempted a few times to place an order on http://www.dallasbonsai.com/ but I would get a page that said there was an error that the address doesn’t match the card. I had only intended to make 1 order but I see 3 charges of $48.55 to the card I entered. Order #xxxx is the only one that went through when I was trying to order. I received an e-mail that my order has shipped - tracking # 1Z75640E03xxxxxxxx.. Please cancel any other orders you have for me.
A. Firstly, thank you for your order! We only processed one order.
Let me explain how this credit card software works. The credit card processor is one of the largest in the world. We get approval to use their software/link on our pages. They control all of the processing. I don't get an order until they have approved the credit card. I don't even see the order/orders that are not approved. (I can go to their website and log on and see all that stuff, but I don't go there unless I feel I have a problem with something.) What will happen is that the two other charges will fade away in a few days. It's basically a hold on that amount of money on your credit card - but I only get the money from the approved orders. We set this process up with the credit card processor to make it faster to get your orders out. I used to get finger cramps punching in 35 digits of your card number (15 or 16)/expiration date (4)/address (1 to 5)/zip code (5)/and finally the amount in 4 to 5 digits. This system has sped up the process and is certainly a lot more accurate than my finger punching. If you have any problems with this please contact us and we will get it cleared up immediately.

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Pruning Compounds

Q: Please tell me your thoughts on pruning compounds....what do you recommend if buying....some texts say is not even needed....i've done it both ways....suggestions

A: Yes, I’ve heard all the theories about doing it and not doing it. I think it’s a extremely good product to protect your Bonsai and here are the reasons:

1. Protects your Bonsai from Decay. Of course you think of your Bonsai as a tree in miniature. And, yes, it is. You’ve seen larger trees or larger tree branches, especially fast growing ones, that have been brought down by wind storms or rain storms. Check out the interior of the tree and quite often you will see dead or decayed interiors. The tree has rotted out from the inside and with the stress of strong winds has just broken apart like a wishbone. Had some type of protection been given this tree when the decay had started it would still be up and growing.

2. Protects your Bonsai from Insects. You and I live in quite a sanitized environment. But your Bonsai’s environment is much more natural – which means it does live around insects. These insects can eat your tree, hibernate within nooks and crannies and lay their eggs there. If you use a pruning compound you will at least lower the chances of insects using your Bonsai as a home.

3. Fungi. This stuff is all around us and we can’t see it. An open wound is a perfect place for fungi to attach and grow. Cover up the wound and you Bonsai should be able to fend off any infections from this.

4. All these products contain antiseptic ingredients.

Now after all this – Just which one should you purchase?

We have 4 major products from which to choose.

First let’s separate them by consistency:

1. Toothpaste consistency. These 2 are Calusmate and Kiyonal. Because of their fluidity they are easier to use.

2. Cutpaste – Green Cap and White Cap. The products are the same except for the color of the product. The Green Cap is to be used with evergreens and the White Cap is to be used for deciduous (lose their leaves in winter) Bonsai. The consistency of this product is similar to spackling compound. It is more difficult to use, but it will be there forever. When we have imported Bonsai from Japan that had voids in the bark this product was always used.

Which ones do we sell most? Kiyonal….and then purchases of both of the Cutpaste to have just the right color.

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Spray Nozzles

Q: Please explain to my simple mind how your spray nozzles (SN75-77), attach and work

A: Here is one of those good and bad news answers:
The Good News: These spray nozzles have an extremely fine spray head for watering and showering your Bonsai. The holes on the spray head are so tiny that you cannot use a regular straight pin to penetrate one of them. The hole size is more like a very fine sewing needle or acupuncture needle.

The Bad News: There is no garden hose thread fitting at the base of the spray nozzle to attach it to your garden hose.

Now don’t shake your head in disbelief. Let’s try to understand just why the spray nozzles are the way they are. Many places in Japan have their water tanks on the roof of their homes. You can imagine how much pressure that gives them. Their hose bibs are smooth, meaning that they don’t have the garden hose threads that we have here in the USA. Their water hoses are more like a piece of tubing just pushed onto the hose bib and the spray nozzle pushed into the opposite end of the tubing. With such low water pressure there is no fear of the tubing separating from the spray nozzle or hose bib. We normally have 45 pounds of water pressure here in the USA. If we used this form of attaching we would get a shower every time we turned on the water because the tubing just wouldn’t stay put on the hose bib.

What’s the answer? Well, we don’t have anything that even comes close to this product here in the USA. That means we really don’t have any substitute for this Japanese Spray Nozzle. So, we need to go to the closest big box hardware store and get you a stainless steel clamp. Then most of us have old and leaky water hoses around. Cut off one of the female garden hose thread fittings and about 2” of hose. Stuff the spray nozzle into the water hose and clamp it down with the stainless steel clamp. You’ve been a good boy/girl scout and now have a very excellent way of watering you Bonsai.

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Faux/Fake Bonsai Tree

Q: Faux/Fake Bonsai Tree. We need a large ( if it was real it would cost from 2 to 5 k ) style
tree for office space. or can we commission it ?

A: Yes, they are available. We have seen some extremely beautiful ones in the southern part of Japan. In Japan they are used in restaurants and entry areas of large buildings. The ones that look really real are the ones that are dead Bonsai that have had all their needles replaced. Just imagine a truly beautiful Bonsai that is dead with its few remaining needles falling off. These dead Bonsai are cleaned up and repotted into a fine pot. Then this sweet lady of 70 or so years puts on plastic needles one by one by hand. The cost is equal or more than the cost of a live Bonsai. We’ve seen cheap imitations from China and they look like cheap imitations. If you want a fake one you need to think of prices equal to or higher than a live one.

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Miscellaneous

Q: I tried calling, it must have been too late in the evening. I am putting
together a 7-tree pine forest in a size E oval pot and am looking for
soil recommendations as well as quantity needed. Also overwintering info
for my trees. I have a large (24" tall) Japanese Maple and an 18"
Juniper, I live in Minneapolis, MN. (It gets pretty cold). I have been
overwintering them in a nursery, but that's no longer an option.

A: 1. Soil Recommendations- For pines the best soil we have is Akadama. This is a volcanic soil from Japan. Excellent drainage which pines need. The downside to this is of course that you do have to water more often.

2. 2. Quantity needed. We sell our soils by volume not by weight. Think of a 1 quart milk carton and you have the 1 quart size. The 5 quart size – think of a 1 gallon mike carton plus some for your 5 quart size.

3. Overwintering in cold areas. We had a booth in the International Bazaar of the Minnesota State Fair for about 10 years during the 90’s. We did (and still do) intently listen to our customers and their comments on their way of doing things. Of course, one of the most important items we discussed in Minnesota was what to do with your Bonsai during the winter. The most successful methods was a coldframe or an unheated room for this stressful period. Even in the neighboring state of Wisconsin didn’t have the extremes of temperatures that the hobbyists endured in Minnesota. (We did the Wisconsin State Fair during that period also). The problem with healing in Bonsai outside – A. the pot would break and the roots would dry out. B. Varmints would eat the branches and roots for their food source. C. The cold was just too much for the Bonsai to endure. The most successful method of caring for your Bonsai is an unheated room – which means temperatures will stay slightly above freezing. Deciduous Bonsai require little light during this period. Evergreen Bonsai will require some light either natural or by plant lights hung to within one foot of the Bonsai.

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