April 2013


April 2013, Vol. 39, Issue 4

A shot from the garden of Larry White

A shot from the garden of Larry White


  • President’s message
  • JT’s Tree Tips
  • Midori Member Projects
  • March Meeting Recap
  • April Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

President’s Message

JT Picture
Trees are busting out like crazy.  Bonsai Shows are starting to fill the calendar , and were busy as anything just keeping up.  Man, I love this time of year!!  The Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival is coming up at the end of the month and life couldn’t be sweeter.  Sign up if you haven’t already.

Try to identify what you will be showing in the Fall Bonsai Show.  You can make great strides in improving your tree if you start now.
Adam Butterfield and Jim Wallace are ramrodding a quarterly picture taking shoot at the third Thursday meeting so look for an article by them explaining the details in the Newsletter and at the meetings.  Remember to support the San Jose Betsuin Bonsai Club show April 13-14.  Harry Hirao will be doing demos both days and I hope the trees will be won by one of us.  Tools pots and trees are also for sale.

J T’S Tree Tips

Most trees have been transplanted and are coming out nicely.  Always some branches that just die but that’s par for the course.  They are starting to take more water each day as the foliage expands and increases.

We had a long period of cold nights things would start and stop.  With the warmer weather succulent growth and sucking insects will come out in droves. When it is dry for a day or so we need to be thinking of spraying for insects and diseases.  Spray with Superior oil, like Volk® oil or Ultra Fine® to rid ourselves of some of these insects like scale and their juvenile crawlers.  A couple of applications this month in the late evening or early morning (to avoid burning the foliage) should do the trick.

Be prepared to spray for aphids and the like with Malathion® or Diazinon® or even Safer® soap.  Ants are a good tip-off for this condition.  They harvest the honeydew from these insects.  Barry Coate, an original founding member and consulting horticulturist who spoke with us last year, suggested using a systemic called Merit® but that you needed an applicators license to apply it.  I found that Bayer has a product called 12 Month Tree and Shrub Protect and Feed ™ that contains Merit® and will also take out grubs and larva that feed on our roots.  Also, Barry Coate alerted me that it will keep psynipid wasps from laying their gall producing eggs on the foliage of my coast live oak.
See a lot of slime trails around?  Slugs and snails are not only chewing the plants but they are laying eggs in the soil. I have used a product called Sluggo®, the active ingredient is iron phosphate and it is the most effective treatment I have ever used.  A little more expensive than some others but it really works.

Don’t forget the tropical and semi tropical trees that do best when transplanted in the warmer weather of later spring.  And, how about repotting some of the broadleaf evergreens.  I find that evergreen oaks and boxwoods do well when transplanted in the summer.  And here you thought you had escaped the transplanting season.

Now, as the trees push leaves and shoots they start to really drink up the water so be sure you are there to provide it.  Don’t let the tree go the point of letting the foliage dry and droop as this weakens the cells and can retard the growth of the tree.

You should be fertilizing your trees now and continue through November with constant organic fertilizer and monthly liquid fertilizer except for trees being readied for a show or  in the last stages of refinement and some other exceptions.  On finished stage trees, wait until the initial growth has hardened before you cut back and fertilize.  Usually about May.  If you have just transplanted a tree, wait until it throws out leaves by itself before stimulating it with fertilizer.  I believe that a weak application of fertilizer given constantly is more effective and better for the health of the tree than periodic heavy doses.  The tree can take what it needs and you don’t run the risk of turning your soil into a toxic chemical dump.

We will be wiring longer shoots in May and June as well as other chores so stay tuned.


Midori Member Projects

Mehrdad sent me some great photos of a few young pines he’s currently bending into submission for this month’s Midori Member Projects. Great work Mehrdad!

March Meeting Recap

Last month Gerry hosted the always great Tree Improvement Program. Several members were able to get some great feedback on how to take their trees to the next level. Thanks Gerry and everyone who brought in trees!


April Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

April 4th – Redwoods with Bob Shimon

Once again, Bob Shimon from Redwood Empire Bonsai Club will be working on a top notch specimen of Sequoia sempervirens, the Coast Redwood.  His expertise in collecting, styling and caring for these trees is unmatched.  Lets have a show and tell area of redwoods this year and bring in some your trees for advice if he has the time.  Don’t miss it,  it’s gonna be a great demo.

There will be a Raffle this month to augment the nice tree Bob will be working on.  So bring in some bonsai related items for the raffle.

April 18th – Redwoods Workshop

Bring in your redwoods for the third Thursday meeting this month. It will be a great opportunity to work on your trees and put some of the great advice from the first Thursday meeting into practice.






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