Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 2009

What a great time of the year! If your trees are not growing at the moment, take up knitting. I mean, you couldn’t stop your trees from growing even if you hid them inside. We seem to be returning to the old weather patterns of summers storms. This produces ideal growing conditions, with high humidity, good rainfall, and lots of UV (sun).

I know I am always going on about watering, but if you want to make the most of this weather, keep the water up. I see more sick plants from lack of water than anything else. You may find you need to water twice a day on very hot days. If you are growing stuff on in pots or boxes, it’s a good idea to mulch them with a good mulch. Use tea tree mulch. I find this doesn’t pack to tight (stopping water penetrating) and seems to have a natural repellent to pests. (its also cheap!) But it mainly will keep moisture in your pots from evaporating. Just a thought!

Whilst we have all this fantastic growth, don’t let it go to waste with growth in areas that you don’t want.

The idea of a good bonsai is a tree with lots of fine twiggy branches. If we are to let growth run unhindered, we are likely to get a tree that has just long thick branches. This is ok if you want to develop the trunk further. This is called a “sacrifice branch”. The idea of this is to choose a branch that you do not want and allow it to grow uncut until the area of the tree you are trying to thicken has grown to the desired thickness.

This may be part of the apex. By allowing part of this to grow, you will find the rest of the trunk will thicken, (kind of common sense when you think of it eh?) and when you have reached the desired thickness simply remove it. This can be done anywhere on the tree, to thicken the bottom of the trunk use a lower branch, to thicken a branch just allow it to grow. The only point here is to ensure that if you are thickening a branch it is a variety that will shoot back on old wood. (black pines do not).

Getting back to good branching (ramification) it is important that you continue to cut back each shoot after it has produced 2 or more shoots. This is assuming you have created the basic outline shape for that branch. By constantly cutting back you are doing 2 things, 1. your are forcing the tree to produce more buds. There is a hormone in the growing tip, and once removed sends a message to the tree that it must produce more leaves (or it dies) and away it goes. (isn’t creation wonderful!!) 2. By removing shoots you are allowing more light and air into the inside of the tree, which again will help produce new growth. If your trees interior is constantly shaded it will not produce new shoots as they are not able to receive any light which is crucial for the tree to operate. That’s why most trees have all the growth on the extremes of the branches.

Just as an aside, make sure you are turning your trees every 2-3 weeks to ensure even growth. Again I have seen many trees nice and healthy on one side and weak on the other. This is from allowing the tree to receive light on one side only.

Another point on creating good ramification, is again fairly common sense.Keep your roots healthy! Guess what, healthy roots, healthy tree. Lots of roots, lots of leaves!!

If you were to take your tree out of the pot, there should be a direct correlation between root mass, and foliage. This is not done by just allowing your pot to fill with roots, it is done by, you guessed it, root ramification! This is done by removing larger roots at the time of repotting and creating smaller more effective roots.

Many of the fertilizers that are on the market are extremely high in nitrogen. This can and does produce amazing results, causing your tree to burst into lots of new green growth. But this can pose a serious problem. If just the leaves are growing, what is supporting this growth? Nitrogen does not cause root growth, so the new growth is not even. You need to have a balanced growth were new root growth is producing good leaf production. The other point is that often these fertilizers are chemical, and can kill the good bacteria in the soil paramount to healthy growth. I personally use recommend and sell “Healthy Earth fertilizer”. It is a completely natural all round fertilizer and is safe to use on all trees. (including natives)

Often we disregard the roots because as the old saying goes “out of sight out of mind”. I hope this helps you all with understanding your trees a little more.

We have also just received a shipment of books. The last shipment of these sold out very quickly.These are Shohin Bonsai, a superb book on miniature bonsai,Penjing Worlds of wonderment, a detailed book on bonsai landscapes translated from Chinese,Bonsai Masterclass a fully detailed book on Bonsai from all around the world including all the tips you could ever want to know.
As I said get in quick as they will go quickly especially at this time of year.
Also in limited numbers we haveBonsai its art science and history, and Australian book which is like a text book,F icus in the Temperate climate, if you grow figs this is the book, written in and for Australia, Growing Australian natives as bonsai ,Growing bonsai in Australia, 101 Bonsai tips, So plenty there for everyone!

Kathy, Sam, Barry and I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you all a superb Christmas, and a awesome new year. Thank you to all who have supported us here at the nursery. Nurseries are hard work, and it is very much appreciated when we are supported so well locally!

THANKS!!Our opening hours leading up to Christmas will be 7 days a week, 9-5 Tuesday to Saturday, and 10-4 Sundays and Mondays. We will be closed from Christmas eve, (hopefully a little early!) and will re-open January the 12th. Gotta have a break!