Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Newsletter January 2007

special welcome to all the new readers of the newsletter, I hope you are in some way inspired and encouraged to keep going further with one of the greatest pastimes known to man…..BONSAI. (Well one of the great pastimes!)

SUMMERWhat summer? you are probably saying, well you are right, we are having very unusual weather up until now. At this time of year we are we are normally experiencing long hot days with late afternoon storms or showers. These can be great times of good growth as long as the periods of intense heat are not to long. There are unusual problems occurring with growing owing to the unseasonal temperatures.

I still think the summer season will come, just a little late. Please don’t blame global warming!! We have had record low temperatures around Australia, as well as record levels of rain. (this is another story that I wont get into here) But as someone famous once said “be carefull of what you hear!If you need to you could even sneak some repotting in now if you must, just be careful of exposure for a couple of weeks after you have repotted. BUT keep in mind the weather can swing at any time so if you don’t need to, avoid it unless you are well experienced.There are trees that should not be done this time of year, trees such as pines, cedars, azaleas etc. Interestingly enough, there are some natives that can be done. The thing with natives is to watch for the tree to go into dormancy, ie no new growth appearing, then get to it. A word of warning though go very easy with the roots, they don’t like them to be drastically cut as a rule!

Usually with the onset of summer we may experience a period of dormancy. This is the trees way of protecting itself from those hot spells where the tree is unable to supply enough moisture to the leaves, so any new growth is very susceptible to die back.For this reason pull back on your fertilizing especially your fertilizers with high nitrogen content, as this will promote new growth artificially and cause your tree to struggle in the heat. Move you more delicate trees into a bit of shade, azaleas, maples etc. Maples tend to burn around this time of the year, and the leaves can look pretty ordinary, all brown and curled up. The other thing is when autumn comes around instead of having a tree with beautifully coloured foliage its just a crinkled misery!
PESTSI have noticed a lot of trees coming into the nursery lately with major pest problems. On trees such as junipers, often it is to late as these trees tend to die from the inside out, in other words the last thing to turn brown is the needles.

Figs on the other hand will show it in their leaves first so we are often aware earlier of the problem.Most of the problems seem to be with the sap sucking variety. These are usually either white louse scale, or red spider mite, two spotted mite.These insects will attack most trees. Junipers usually begin to turn a slight olive colour, and there bark becomes a bit wrinkly. Some of the tell tale signs are very fine webs, also very small whitish specks at the base of the leaves or needles.The best way to treat these is with either Folimat, or Confidor, both available at the hardware store. Be careful spraying these, keep the can well away from the tree as the aerosol can burn the foliage.

It is also important to keep your trees healthy, and your area where they sit clean.If your trees become weak through neglect, they become a target for pests, this is their job! Also keep falling leaves etc away from your trees because these will also harbor little nasties. More often than not, if you follow simply practices you will have minimal problems with pests and disease. If your are having problems and you are going to bring your tree, just bring a small bit in a bag as I don’t like having every disease and pest brought to the nursery, as you can imagine!

We have had some great stock come in lately. We have some really nice ground grown corky bark elms. These have been grown from root cuttings so already have great bark and trunks, and also good shape, they are about 40-50mm thick. We have some nice cedars, big pyracanthas, these have a lovely flower, followed by red berries. We also have some nice chunky black pines, some huge Chinese elms, (250mm + trunks!) some good sized maples, some awesome little stumpy olives, very unusual. Also some good sized seiju elms ( these are like Chinese elms only they have minute leaves).I am still unpacking pots and putting out new styles all the time, so if you are after something special have a look.I have also started selling “Bonsai Europe” This is an outstanding bonsai magazine, probably one of the best publications I have seen. I initially got one for myself and was that impressed decided to import them for resale at the nursery. It is printed once every 2 months and is a very classy magazine done in full gloss from cover to cover, It is full of hints tips and inspiration, and of course some amazing trees.I only have 25 copies each delivery. They are only available from the nursery I cant post them out. They are $15 and the only other place I have seen them was Brisbane and they were $19.95.

Reading this magazine you realize how big bonsai has become in the western world. I don’t think we have really started to scratch the surface here in Australia. I know just from the trade at the nursery that it is beginning to explode here. The inevitable will come out of this, higher demand bringing higher prices. But with this will also come the expansion of knowledge shared, techniques improved and greater enjoyment for all.What an exciting time to be involved with bonsai!

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