April 2015


April 2015, Vol. 41, Issue 4

European Birch- Mehrdad Chavosh

European Birch- Mehrdad Chavosh


  • President’s message
  • JT’s Tree Tips
  • Editor’s Note
  • February Meeting Recap
  • March Meeting Topics & Club Calendar
  • 2015 Meeting Schedule
  • Northern California Bonsai Events
  • Pictures from the club winter photo shoot

Presidents MessageIMG_3634

April is upon us, Spring is in the air, and for us bonsai enthusiast a time to sit back and watch our trees rejuvenate their lush green foliage with branches extending starting to stretch skyward.  A cycle I never get tired of watching yearly especially when we see our labors of years past start to take form and now we see a tree developing and ready for that new show pot we purchased months ago.  Patience and time has its rewards, especially if we followed consistently the principles of good bonsai and teachings we are exposed to at our regular meetings.  This is what our club is all about. Providing monthly demonstrations and materials that is valuable to us that we can use daily in support of the trees we have chosen to develop.

And for many of us club members, we should have a single goal this year in mind, that some day, we will be presenting at least one show tree at our yearly bonsai show.  If that opportunity has escaped you to date, please don’t give up, there are so many gifted club members at our meetings that will be willing to guide you and support you to that goal.  So lets get started! Please talk to me at our next monthly meeting if you need help!

What better way to start this year off then with a tree improvement program at our next meeting in April.  As in past years, Gerry Field’s will be conducting the program. So bring in those problem trees that have you stumped and let our family of experts share their views and suggestions to get you on your way!

JT will be doing a program for our third Thursday meeting with what is needed at this time of year regarding our Oak trees and the new growth they have put on.  So bring in your Oaks that meeting and share yours with the club and get some advice from a real expert!

Its that time of year when our club’s board members begin making plans for this years special events the club organizes and promotes. Events such as road trips to bonsai nurseries, outside workshops, or our yearly backyard tour.  All club members are invited to make suggestions and provide new ideas this year regarding that activity. So please let me know your suggestions or new ideas how to handle what we’ve done in past years. Or, if you as a club member have a backyard you feel would be enjoyable for others to see and visit let me know!

2015 is on its way, and April is a wonderful time of year to watch nature provide its abundance of foliage and growth. Have a great month doing bonsai!

Jack Christiansen

JT’s Tree Tips

Most trees have been transplanted and are coming out nicely. Deciduous trees are flush with new growth except for beeches. Pine candles are extending and evergreens have light green growth at the tips. 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.

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.


Editor’s Note

Hey Folks,

We’re going to start doing  a monthly profile on member’s trees in the newsletter soon.  If you would like to participate please let me know as we’d love to hear the stories about your trees.  Any progressions or interesting stories around a particular tree along with a picture(s) is great.

If you weren’t able to see the Bonsai Society of San Francisco’s show a couple weeks ago there’s a great recap of the show on Bonsai Tonight here.


March Meeting Recap

This past month we had Jim Gremel give a demo on his yamadori style junipers and brought a number of examples for club members to wire up and add a lot of bends.

April Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

April 2nd – Tree Improvement with Gerry

This Thursday our own Gerry Fields will be evaluating member trees and offering advice and suggestions.  Do you have a tree you have no idea how to style? Or want to make sure you’re timing your work properly?  Bring them in for Gerry and the group to discuss.  To make sure we have enough time for everyone please don’t bring more than two trees.

April 16th – Oak tree demo with JT and general workshop

At our third Thursday meeting JT will be presenting a program on oaks; their care, styling, etc. in addition to our normal workshop.  If you have any oaks bring them in to share with the group and get advice.


2015 Meeting Schedule

April Tree Improvement with Gerry Fields Oak Tree Demo with JT
May Rock Plantings with Juan Cruz Developing Cascades with Jack Christiansen
June Annual Silent Auction Photo Shoot with Danny and Jim
July TBD w/Kathy Shaner Boxwood Demo with Larry White
August Tree Carving with Mehrdad Chavosh Bunjin Style Tress with Seiji Shiba
September Judging Trees with Peter Tea Show Prep Workshop
October TBD w/Matt Reel Grafting Demo with JT
November Forest Plantings with Juan Cruz Display (Out of the Ordinary) with Mehrdad Chavosh
December Annual Holiday Party, Election, and Auction Pork chop workshop

Set-up & Refreshments and Formal Tree Display

Month Formal Tree Display Set-up & Refreshments
April Seiji Shiba Carolyn Davis & Gerry Fields
May Ray Stagner Debe Kahn & Mark Garrett
June TBD Roger Geerts & Don Lintz
July George Shoptaw Alec MacLean & Danny Powell
August Gerry Fields Don Dunn & Tim Rostege
September Jack Christiansen Jeff Quast & Seiji Shiba
October Danny Powell George Shoptaw & Kathy Sloan
November Jeff Excallier 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 me (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.

Northern California Bonsai Events

April 11, 12 – Sacramento, California
American Bonsai Association, Sacramento’s 56th Annual Spring Show will be held at the Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park, 3330 McKinley Blvd, Sacramento, CA. Open Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, and Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Headliner Dan Robinson, known as ‘The Picasso of Bonsai’, will demonstrate his skill for adding a dose of antiquity to a tree’s soul. Demonstrations will be held on both Saturday and Sunday beginning at 1:30 PM.  The club is offering a member-led, hands-on beginner workshop Sunday morning.  Those interested may sign up Saturday, or Sunday before 10:00.  The show will feature a large member and vendor sales area with a daily silent auction of quality bonsai and accessories.  Benefit drawings will be held each day after the demonstration to include the demonstration tree and other trees and bonsai-related items. For more information visit http://www.abasbonsai.org/

April 18, 2015  Napa, California
Napa Valley Bonsai Club: Annual Show at the Napa Senior Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Hours are 11 AM – 4 PM with demonstrations at 2 PM with Jonas Dupuich. Vendors, Silent Auction and raffle of demo tree. Huge outdoor sales area with trees, pots, and bonsai related items. For more information please visit www.nvbonsai.org.

April 18 – 19, 2015 Modesto, California
Modesto Bonsai Club: 34th Annual Spring Show and Exhibit, Park Inn by Radisson, 1720 Sisk Rd. Show hours are Saturday 11 AM – 5 PM and Sunday 11 AM – 4 PM with demonstration by Sam Adina at 2 PM both days. Free admission. Exhibit, Raffle, Beginners Workshops and more!! Sales of plants, pots and other bonsai items both days (with auction immediately following demo). For more information contact Peter Camarena at (209) 529-1759.

April 25 – 26, 2015 Sacramento, California
Bonsai Sekiyu Kai: Annual show will be held at the Sacramento Buddhist Church, 2401 Riverside Blvd. Hours are: Saturday Noon – 5 PM and Sunday 10 AM – 4 PM. Demonstration 2 PM both days by Yuzo Maruyama. 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 contact Doug Hamby at (916) 273-2328 or doughamby@gmail.com.



Posted in Uncategorized