COLD / HEAT DAMAGE
Fuku-Bonsai ships to all states throughout the year whenever low temperatures are above
freezing in the destination area. Weather patterns throughout the country are fairly
predicable if you follow it at least twice per week. If the low temperature are
rising from below freezing for a week or two, it's generally safe for us to ship the week
after low temperatures are above freezing. There's a higher risk when temperatures are
above freezing and getting colder or when a severe cold front hits the southern states
where there are generally no problems. Other cold damage occurs when parcels have been
pre-approved to be left at a sub-freezing location.
But we goof too! Fuku-Bonsai's 10-day limited satisfaction and safe arrival warranty
is our commitment to get the plants to you safely. We have never had any quality
control problems as we tend to use photos on the lower end of our quality range in our
sales materials and consistently ship equal or superior. But if plants arrive in
unsatisfactory or damaged condition, the terms of the warranty require the recipient to
notify us as soon as possible. Here's the story of one such damaged shipment, but
first, I'd like to introduce Ray Vaughn:
|Here's a space that I'd love to have a
photo of you with the plant in a polybag with the vapor 100% humidity. Don't worry if the
plant can't be clearly seen.
|| Ray: Here's
some space for you to introduce yourself and to summarize our project. I hope you'll
include the hope that we'll all benefit from this experience. Please go to Loredana's Page to see the
"Model" of what I'm planning.
- COLD DAMAGED HD8(S&G) SENT TO
- January 12, 2003: Fuku-Bonsai
received a direct PayPal Payment and order for an HD8(S&G) with full payment and the
- "I saw
your trees at the Hilton Waikoloa this past week and want to order the HD8 for my office.
Beautiful Plants. PLEASE SHIP FOR ARRIVAL ON OR AFTER JAN 21ST."
- January 13, 2003: By email, the order was
acknowledged, a day phone number was requested as required by Federal Express and the
shipment was scheduled for Monday, January 20 with expected arrival on Thursday the 23rd,
but possibly on the 22nd, subject to shipping weather. The True Indoor Bonsai
Beginner Handbook was recommended.
- By email, Ray
confirmed the shipping date and forwarded another PayPal Payment for the handbook.
- January 21, 2003: By email, a
confirmation was sent that the parcel was shipped on Tuesday, Jan. 20 (as Monday happened
to be Martin Luther King Day) with expected arrival on Friday, Jan. 24 with the FedEx
tracking number and information on how to track the parcel. To this point, the order was
going along routinely.
- January 26, 2003: Email from Ray:
"David, I'm sad to report
that the bonsai I recently ordered from you arrived very frost damaged. I don't
think it is going to survive. I am including the FedEx tracking report below so you
can see what occurred. The south encountered the coldest weather in the past ten
years last Wed through Sat. The plant arrived on Friday with outdoor temperatures in
the teens and low 20's . . . Is there anything I can do to save this
plant? I'm willing to work with it if you suggest . . . Please
- Reply to Ray: "Aloha Ray and thank
you for the note. It's always a risk shipping plants in questionable weather and my
staff goofed on your shipment. Generally we should be able to predict the
temperatures if we check temperatures a few days ahead and the previous week. We're
usually successful if the temperatures are rising and shouldn't be shipping when we're on
the borderline and the temperatures are falling. That makes my head shipper a bit of
a weather forecaster and I think she was paying more attention to the northern states and
wasn't watching your area enough!
- Let's use this as
an opportunity to learn and teach and I request your assistance. Can you take a
clear photo ASAP and again in a few days? Generally, a cold-damaged plant will have
very dark leaves that turn a mushy black within a few days. In extreme cases, the
trunk turns black too and the plant is gone. But if your trunk color is okay, we may
be able to save it.
- Trim off all
leaves except the youngest and second youngest on each branch and take another photo
showing the same side. Place a plate into a large ziplock bag to help spread out the
bottom, soak the plant, then place it into the bag, blow it up, and seal. Place it
in a warm location (70 degrees + if possible) in bright window light where it may get
a hour or two of sun. Removing some of the leaves will reduce the load. 100%
humidity will further reduce the load and give the roots the best chance to recover.
- If your
leaves don't turn black, you've got good odds. If you'll assist and allow me to use
your comments and photos on the website, I'll send another similar plant when it
warms up a bit and you can have some fun comparing the growth rates of the two plants sent
under different conditions. There are so very few problems in the past year so we
try to use each as an opportunity to learn more.
the old days, we shipped only when low temperatures are above 50 degrees F. But as we got
better, we became more adventurous and now ship whenever low is above 28 degrees F. (but
to stable or warming areas) . . . Hope all of the above is okay. I
look forward to your thoughts . . . I'm very fortunate to be able to
live my lifestyle so setting a goal of 100% customer success is a good
"pay-back." . . . In the coming year, more
will become corresponding members of our study group with their own page on our
site. I hope you'll be one too! Regards and mahalo! ~~~David
Ray: "Thanks David. I'll certainly
do as you ask and will take photos tonight. The trunk hasn't turned dark at all and
I'm hopeful we can save the plant. I'll keep you posted . . . I
will certainly give you permission to post any pictures I send and any success in
restoring the plant. Maybe it will work. Ray"
27, 2003: David, here are the pictures I took
last night. I'm going to send them in two emails so I don't overwhelm your email
download. You can see the trunk in these and it looks to me like it is salvageable. I
understood your email below that I should wait a few days before I trim the leaves.
I soaked it again last night for an hour - the rock seemed dry to the touch. I'll
send pictures again in a few days. Ray
Aloha Ray and thank you for sending great photos! Your photos visually
show me what other customers have described. Please trim off any of the leaves that
are obviously cold damaged including the discolored ones or those whose leaf stems have
collapsed. Trim about 1/4" away from the trunks. But leave one or two of the
ones that have stems that have not collapsed but show that have that oily look.
- Soak the rock
planting one more time, then place it in a sealed large ziplock bag, place it in a warm
location and place it where it gets bright indirect light. The bag should sweat and the
100% humidity will help it recover. Keep it sealed for at least two weeks with no
additional watering needed. If you see the newest leaves developing, the
crisis will be over. I am confident it will survive. Regards and mahalo!
I should mention that Rayford B. Vaughn is an Associate Professor at the Department
of Computer Science at Mississippi State University and I look forward to him being a
28, 2003: David, I trimmed the plant and bagged
it as you suggested. I'm sending photos again - the first is of the plant and the
trimmings. The other These photos should
correspond to the same views that you had earlier before the leaves were trimmed. I'll continue to photograph from these same three
WOW! Ray, the photos are GREAT! First notice the quality of the HD8
compared to the sales photo at Gift
List #1! You lucked out and got a tree that greatly surpasses and is
much older than our model standard. They're almost the same age as the more costly
"Restaurant Special" that are used as centerpieces on the dining tables at the
Palm Terrace at the Hilton Waikoloa where you first saw our plants.
Although the first set of photos were discouraging, when the damaged leaves were trimmed
per instructions, the tree looks pretty good and has an excellent chance that it will
survive! Trees that are cold damaged, fall into three categories.
MILD DAMAGE: Leaves are wilted and droopy but show no "oily" or black
spots. Give it the 100% humidity first aid treatment and plants will likely be okay
in a week or so. But contact us in the event that your plant doesn't respond quickly.
MEDIUM DAMAGE: Ray's tree falls into this category. Stay tuned to see how it
- 3. SEVERE
DAMAGE: Leaves and trunks are BLACK! The first time that I heard of this, I
could not believe it. All parts of the plant including the roots were completely
frozen, there's no life at all, and the trunk becomes soft and mushy! Plants exposed
to extreme heat during the summer will have a similar appearance. Contact us immediately.
If you send a photo, we may not require return of the plant for replacement.
In all of last year, we lucked out and did not have a single plant that had this
level of "medium damage" and NONE with "severe damage." So we
try to follow up with every possible one to try to keep improving! We really
appreciate customers like Ray and invite others to participate in learning and
sharing! The two requirements: Being able to take clear photographs, and being
able to correspond in a reasonable prompt manner.
In this case, I'll be sending Ray another similar plant because he's an outstanding
photographer and correspondent and willing to continue this report. I've got some
experiments in mind, with the first showing comparative growth of this plant vs. the one
I'll be sending in warmer weather. This may determine whether there will be 100%
recovery of the cold damaged plant.
Mahalo Ray! ~~~David
|| To be continued.
- FUKU-BONSAI CULTURAL CENTER & HAWAII STATE
- Olaa Road (PO Box 6000),
Kurtistown, Hawaii 96760
- Phone (808) 982-9880;
FAX (808) 982-9883; Email: email@example.com
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