Saturday, April 5, 2008

March 2008

Red Dragon Bonsai

Once again welcome to all the new readers of the newsletter! I hope the it inspires and helps you on the journey of bonsai.

Just remember that because the growing season seems to be over not to neglect your trees especially when it comes to wire. During this time of the year, often your trunk and branches will continue to thicken up. One reason is the optimal temperatures (they are very much like spring) the other is that the tree is starting to store all its goodies before winter in preparation for next spring. For this reason wire can start to cut in quite easily and leave nasty scars. Just check all your trees and have a close look to make sure wire doesn’t need to come of. Keep this in mind if you are currently wiring your tree, it will need to be checked in a month or so.

Another thing to remember at the moment is to not do anymore trimming on your azaleas. All your new flower buds will have formed, and if you cut them you wont have any flowers!
In regard to flowers and fruit, don’t forget to start using liquid potash once a fortnight to produce an abundance of beautiful fruit and flowers come spring.

Its also time to move your deciduous trees into more sun. This will give greater colour as autumn approaches.

I have never had so many enquiries regarding pests since we have been here at the nursery. The most frequent species have been elms and junipers. Most of them arrive either very brown, or having dropped most of their leaves. The problem seems to been prompted by the high humidity (I think) and we saw a mass of infestation of white louse scale, spider mite, and some other nasties. Most trees had the tell tale signs of very fine spider webs. The worst effected trees were those trees that had been neglected, and or had been overwatered, underwatered and not given enough sun. Problems will always occur when a tree is neglected. Nature will just do its job and remove the weakest tree.

The best allround treatment is either “Folimat” or “Confidor”. These come in aerosol cans and will effectively treat the pests mentioned. What is important is to follow the directions on the can and reapply again in 7 to 10 days. This will ensure that any hatching “critters” will also be dealt with. Hold the can at least 25cm’s from the tree as the aerosol can burn foliage.

At this time of the year it is worth checking your junipers for old needles under heavy growth that have died of from not getting enough light. This is only natural as the needles cannot work economically if they are receiving no sun because of the new growth that has formed on top of it. The growth on a juniper should not be much longer than 25 – 30 mm’s, any longer and it will get leggy. The reason for cleaning out this old dead growth is to keep the tree clean and not supply or encourage pests to take up residence using the old needles for their home!

Using a chopstick or similar object get in underneath and stir around until you see the old needles falling. You want to be able to see the branches and branchlets, free from any collecting debri. You may even notice small cocoons with little grey worms in them, these guys will really mess your tree up. Hold your tree up and look underneath, you may be surprised what you can see!!

Another thing to do is when you are watering, aim a strong jet of water up under the foliage pads as this will also blast a lot of the dead foliage out. Doing this will keep your tree healthy as the more air you can get moving around and through the tree will keep it much healthier.

We have a couple of new things in stock (and soon to arrive)
Firstly we have a fantastic book written by Hoy Leong Kwong, a well known Sydney identity in the world of bonsai, and owner of Bonsai Southside Nursery The particular book is “Ficus Bonsai” in temperate climate.

Its wonderful to see a locally written book rather than trying to glean information from something written in a country that has no real relationship to our climate. The book covers everything from styles, cultivation of ficus for bonsai, training and maintainence, development aspects, and a pictorial workshop. I have really enjoyed reading it and gaining new knowledge and insight into this great species used for bonsai. Some of the trees in the book are nothing short of breathtaking. The cost is $39, well worth the money!

Also arriving next week (maybe Thursday are ground grown olives (I know a lot of people have been waiting for, large trident maples, medium and large pyracanthas (these have red and orange berries).

I’ll leave you with a couple of nice trees from China
Happy Bonsai-ing