Monday, October 18, 2010

July 2010

Well things are starting to move already and potting time is here. We will still get some cold snaps, but all your deciduous trees are asleep so they wont know a thing!


You should be preparing to repot all your trees soon. (This is assuming you are in Qld.) We are in the process of repotting the entire nursery. Some can be left to later such as pines, figs, but your elms, maples junipers etc are ready to go. What happens with the old soil is that it becomes drained of all its nutrients, we can continue to fertilise but this is not the optimum. Much of the humus has broken down, and can become quite mushy. Also the bulk of the pot will have filled up with new roots so there is little room left for new roots to develop and water retention is very difficult. It is vital that the mix you use is “open”, and “sharp”. By this I mean it is free draining, and that much of the mix is sharp in content, such as sand and gravel. The purpose of this is to cause the roots to divide constantly. The roots travel along, hit something sharp and split. This is what we are after. The better the root system, the better the foliage. That makes sense doesn’t it! Unfortunately we pay little attention to the soil or the roots, out of sight, out of mind eh?


Now is a good time to do some wiring. Many of your trees will have less foliage on them now. This allows wiring to be easy, as you can see more of your branch structure. Also take the time to remove any branchlets that are shooting out the wrong way. You can be fairly severe on elms, maple etc. cut them back hard, it will give you greater branch ramification in the future.


Now is a really good time to do some pruning and refining. Trees such as elms, and maples will respond really well to hard pruning now before leaf bud. By pruning back hard now you will create greater ramifications on your branches. There is nothing better than an elm or a maple that has hundreds of tiny twigs all exposed in winter, so now is the time to cut them back while you can see them. Keep cutting back to 2 leaves (or buds) on each branchlet and over spring and summer you will get fantastic growth. It is easy to just let them grow as they will look good, but winter will find you out with long stringy branchlets.

Take some time to assess your trees whilst they are defoliated, see what changes need to be made. Maybe its time to thin it out and remove some major branches! You may decide to reshape the whole tree, this is all part of the journey!

Its also worth noting that whilst you are trimming your trees to keep your tools sharp and clean. If your tools are blunt they may appear to be cutting but in actual fact be crushing the branchlets. This will cause die back, back up the branch. Also a cleaning block will keep rust and sap of your tools, as it is very easy to transmit virus or disease from tree to tree. These blocks are designed to eliminate this.

See you all soon,
Happy bonsai-ing,
Chris and Sam

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