April 2014


April 2014, Vol. 40, Issue 4

Rock Planting by Jack

Rock Planting by Jack


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

Presidents Message

JT PictureWell we finally got a little late season rain.  Not much but better than nothing.  We have Cherry Blossom Festival at the end of this month (April 26th and 27th).  Many people signed up at the third Thursday meeting but there are still some slots for both days.  Its loads of fun and you get to work on your own trees and answer questions from the public.  And enjoy your bonsai buds.

I hope everyone got a chance to see the nice demo that Jack Christiansen did at the third Thursday meeting.  A Juniper he had styled  on a great Rock.  Jack walked us through all the steps, and it turned out great!!  Thanks, Jack.
We are making arrangements for our show to be held at the Northside Community Center on Saturday October 4th so make plans to help us and prepare your trees.

J T’S Tree Tips

Most trees have been transplanted and are coming out nicely. I always have 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 actually got a little rain this past week. Thought that had passed us by. 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® whose 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.

March Meeting Recap

Last month we had the great pleasure of hosting Boon Manakitivipart to teach us all about grafting. Here’s a few shots from the meeting.

April Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

April 3rd  – Tree Improvement Program: “To The Next Level!”

In the April 3rd meeting, I will be facilitating Midori’s “Tree Improvement Program” (TIP). Members are encouraged to bring in 1 or 2 trees. We will all try to help you with taking your tree to the next level.  The emphasis for this session will be on continuing to develop your tree for your ongoing enjoyment. This can be a long  range project…Tree to be developed within the next five years or on a tree that is close to your satisfaction point.  The aim is to continue the journey for the trees we have.   In other words, an open forum with any tree welcome.

So bring your tree(s) to the April 3rd meeting and let your fellow members help you take them on their journey. I’m sure you will get some great input.

Hope to see you all there,

Gerry Fields

April 17th  – Getting Started with Cascade Bonsai

How many of us were blown away by Jim Gremel’s presentation with cedars a few months ago? Jim had brought in many fine examples of cascading cedars, beautiful examples that took many years of developent. Personally, I find cascades one of the most elegant forms of bonsai out there.

Well, this third Thursday in April, I plan to help everyone interested in getting started with their own cascade. I’ll be bringing in many examples that I started over the past few years with a variety of plants that will help you see ways to get a show ready cascade, in only a few years. If you already have a cascade bonsai in your collection, please bring it in and we can discuss it along with the plants I have. This passion I have for cascade bonsai is infectious, and I hope you take the time to see what’s possible that evening with me.

Jack Christiansen

2014 Meeting Schedule

Month 1st Thursday 3rd Thursday
April Tree Improvement with Gerry Cascade Junipers with Jack
May Soil, Fertilizer, and Water with JT Soil Mixing Workshop
June Annual Silent Auction Photo Shoot with Danny and Jim
July Choosing Nursery Material with Jim (Currently Open)
August Wind Swept Bonsai with Mehrdad (Currently Open)
September Shohin with Juan Cruz Annual Midori Bonsai Show Tree Prep
October Boxwood to Oak with Larry (Currently Open)
November Extreme Bending with Peter Tea (Currently Open)
December Annual Holiday Party and Auction Pork chop workshop

Set-up & Refreshments and Formal Tree Display

Month Formal Tree Display Set-up & Refreshments
April Ray Stagner Ed Frigon & Tung Dao
May Gerry Fields Roger Geerts & Sebastian Girard
June June Auction, no formal display Mark Garrett & Don Lintz
July Carol Fairchild Gerry Fields & Debe Kahn
August Tim Rostege Alex Loughry & Danny Powell
September George Shoptaw Jeff Quast & Tim Rostege
October Larry White Seiji Shiba & Kathy Sloan
November Seiji Shiba Jim Wallace & Larry White
December Holiday Party, no formal display Everyone!

Notice about Set-up & Refreshment Duty

Hello Everyone, it’s Ray Stagner, in charge of facilities. For our club meetings to be successful, it is important our members participate and share in some of the responsibilities. We ask our members to help in the monthly duties of setting up and tearing down for both first and third Thursday meetings. Members who attend meetings regularly, are asked to help. Please arrive 1/2 hour before the meeting starts. I will be there to direct you. It’s very important, if you are unable to help on the days you are assigned to please contact Adam or myself (408-209-5654). As well as helping with set up, we would like you to bring snacks of your choice to both meetings. If everyone participates, our meetings will start on time so we all can enjoy the activities planned for that evening.

Lets make this a great year of good Bonsai.

Northern California Bonsai Events

April 5 – 6, 2014 Sacramento, California.
Bonsai Sekiyu Kai: 37th Annual Bonsai Show at the Sacramento Betsuin Buddhist Church, 2401 Riverside Blvd. Show hours are Saturday Noon – 5 PM and Sunday 10 AM – 4 PM. Demonstrations at 2 PM on both days. Amenities include refreshments, light snacks, door prizes, raffles, and a silent auction. Member and vendor sales of plants and bonsai-related items will also be available. For more information go to bonsaisekiyukai.wordpress.com.

April 12 – 13, 2014 Fresno, California
Fresno Bonsai Society: Spring Blossom Festival and Annual Bonsai Exhibit, Shinzen Friendship Garden at Woodward Park, 7775 Friant Road. Gates open 10 AM to 4 PM. Bonsai will be displayed in a beautiful outdoor setting amidst the spring blossoms, koi ponds and wild peacocks. Local artists, including bonsai potters will display. Very large plant sale. Japanese cultural events including koto drummers, tea ceremony and continuous bonsai demonstrations. Contact Ralph Schroeder at ralsch@sbcglobal.net.

April 12 – 13, 2014, Sacramento, California
American Bonsai Association of Sacramento (ABAS): Annual Spring Show
will be held at the Shepherd Garden and Arts Center, 3330 McKinley Blvd. Hours: Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM and Sunday 10 AM – 4 PM; demonstration both days by Kathy Shaner at 1PM. For further information email Paul Holtzen at pbholtzen@sbcglobal.net

April 26 – 27, 2014, Modesto California
Modesto Bonsai: 33th Annual Spring Show at Park Inn by Radisson – 1720 Sisk Road. Hours: Saturday 11 AM – 5 PM; and Sunday 11 AM – 4 PM with demonstrations both days at 2 PM by Sam Adina. Raffles, Auctions, Exhibit, and Sales of plants, pots, tools. Free Admission. For more information visit ModestoBonsai.com

April 26 – 27, 2014, Palo Alto, California
Kusamura Bonsai Club: 54th Annual Show. Location is Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA 94301.  Show hours are Saturday, Noon-5PM and Sunday, 11AM-5PM. Demonstration each day at 1:00PM, with special guest demonstrator Saturday.  Club member sales available. For more information contact Mark O’Brien at 650.327.0450, mobrientrees@hotmail.com.  Please see www.kusamurabonsai.org for more details.




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