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Dear Dr. Bonsai,

I am a 12 year old from NY, wishing to know the answer to my question.... which isnt really about Bonsai Trees themselves... but i thought you guys might know a little about the cultrue of bonsai trees.
Me and my father where in an antique shop and bought a small copper pot, just because it looked cool! Then the owner told us that it was supposed to be used to plant the sacred bonsai trees (The ones that have been alive for like hundreds of years). Now i wanted to know if it was really used for that kind of stuff, and if you would be able to tell me anything about it (rarity, apprasial, and any history about those pots). This pot is a copper planter pot, and it is shaped like an oval. On two ends there are tiny handles resembling those old fashioned doorbells/knockers. It is a Lion, and in it's mouth is a ring, and the ring is supposed to be like a handle or something. Maybe even just for decoration i dont know. And i can tell that something WAS planted in it because the way copper corrodes and that green stuff grows when exposed to excessive moisture. and it had root lines or something to that extent. So i would appreciate ANYTHING you could tell me about it!

- Joe

Hello, Joe

The container may have been used but it is hard to tell. Does it have drainage holes? If it does not then it is unlikely as trees need proper drainage to grow well. It is also unlikely as it is copper and coper in the amount that would be leached into the soil from the container would be toxic to plants. In the same thought process it could have been used for a temporary display of a tree an have only had a tree in it for a wek or so at a time. These displays are called Tokanoma and are changed often. Also it could have been used as a show pot as many trees are kept in growing pots and only put in nicer pots to display. I am not sure if this helps and I do not know of any living experts on Bonsai containers.

- Glen

Dear Dr. Bonsai,

Please have a look at my arbicola forest. It has been looking yellowish for several months. I had thought it was root bound and proceeded to repot the forest by trimming the root system. Is there anything else I can do? Should I bring it in to your shop?

- Paul

Hello, Paul

Looks like possible over water-Was it root bound when you repotted it?

- Michael

Dear Dr. Bonsai,

Well, Not really.
It has not been very happy since I put it outside last summer. I brought it in for the winter, and now it is outside. It has been outside for 1 week.

- Paul

Hello, Paul

When a tree begins to weaken it is very vulnerable to over watering and a further weakening of the roots.
I asked about the roots because you mentioned that you thought it was root bound - But from the photo it looks like it has weak roots, which manifest in weak leaves.eing outdoors is the best thing for it however the main way to get it healthy is to make sure you are watering it correctly.
if you are in the area bring your tree by. I am happy to help , but it looks like your tree will bounce back.
The tricky part about watering is that when a trees roots fill the pot it needs water everyday-however when it is freshly repotted or weak from previous years damage it may not need water for a week- or more however when it needs it you have to know before it dries out. Bring it by sometime this summer.

- Michael