August 2013


August 2013, Vol. 39, Issue 8

Sierra Juniper-JT

Shimpaku grafted on Sierra Juniper, by JT



  • President’s message
  • JT’s Tree Tips
  • Midori Member Photos
  • August Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

Presidents Message

JT PictureWhat an opportunity!! Juan Cruz let us know that his senpai, (senior at his bonsai studio), Masashi Hirao, was going to be in the area for our August meeting and would be available to do a demo. we jumped at the chance.  Read Juan Cruz’s Description for the meeting.  There will be a raffle of the tree plus other items so bring in items that we can use to boost the raffle.
The Show Committee will be holding a meeting at Armadillo Willies on El Camino in Sunnyvale on the second thursday, August 8th at 6 pm.  Be there to help fill out the jobs necessary to produce a great show.  The still a couple of slots open in the large and medium back drops.
I would like to thank each and every club member who attended the back yard tour organized by Jack Christiansen, and the hosts, Mehrdad, Tim and Nancy , JT and Cindy as well as Jack and his wife Linda, for hosting the afternoon Steak picnic  at his home.  Bravo!! great time had by all.  Next year lets go see YOUR trees and back yard.  Volunteer, its fun and is great incentive to clean up your place for the Summer.

J T’S Tree Tips

Rotate your trees.  Get them looking good from every direction.  The sun is getting lower in its trajectory through the sky so it can really make a difference.

Pinch, groom and keep working on your show trees so their ready when show time comes.  Any one who has a supply of sun moss, the kind that has a silvery look to it should be saving it for the show.  I have a few clumps of moss that I put in a flat container on top of carpet padding which I keep watered each day as I water my trees.  This really works to keep the moss growing and lush green.  Mine gets morning sun and afternoon shade.   Don’t let the moss dry out!.   Prepare your fine top dressings and start looking for accent plant material.

Thorough watering in the morning is best for your trees but check them in the afternoon on these ultra hot days.  Its not a good idea to water the foliage after dark as a moist condition on the leaves can lead to mildew in the warm summer evenings and it can damage later flowers and developing fruit.  But, you can still water the soil.

Deciduous tree Alert!!  Watch your wires.  The explosive growth we have had since spring is expanding the branches rapidly and the wires may be cutting in to the bark.  If so, unwrap the wire rather than just cutting it off.  If, in removing the tight wires, you cut into or expose any cambium tissue, dab it with a little tree seal so it won’t dry up and form a weak part of the branch.  When you later wire that branch with the weak part and try to bend it, it can break right there and you’ll be wondering why it happened.

Branches that you are developing from  scratch must be wired down and allowed to run and thicken to develop that first critical movement out from the trunk.  Let it run til the fall when you will cut back to start your next segment of the branch next year.  On your refined trees for the show you will notice that the growth usually slows down around now with the high temperatures.  If you have been pinching throughout the season you probably notice that it is not quite as quick to throw out vigorous new growth about now.  Let the growth elongate a little.  We will be having another growth spurt at the end of the month and cut back before the show and do some show wiring to dial the tree in.

Watch out for signs of insect and fungus damage.  Honeydew, a shiny and sticky substance on leaves, is a sign of sucking insects in the aphid family.  They can’t digest all the sugar they get from the plant and deposit it on the foliage.  Many time ants, which love the honeydew, will cultivate the aphids, whitefly and scales, which produce it.  You also might see a dirty substance called sooty mold, which grows on the honeydew.  This readily washes off but the insects may not, so spray with Malathion® or Diazinon®, an oil like Ultra Fine® or Neem oil, or a systemic insecticide like Orthene® to control these problem insects.  Scales are resistant because of their hard shells, but this time of year we see young ones called crawlers moving out to new locations and, because they haven’t produced their protective shells, are susceptible to these sprays.  Apply any spray in the evening to minimize damage to your trees.


Midori Member pictures

This month we have a couple of pictures of a very nice cork bark black pine from club member Carol Fairchild.



August Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

August 1st  – Special demonstration with Masashi Hirao

This month we’ll be having a special demonstration by Mr Masashi Hirao. This is not a meeting you will want too miss.

In addition, Mr Hirao will be at the GSBF Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt on Thursday August 2nd, and Juan wanted to pass the word along.

From Juan Cruz:

As I walked along my Bonsai journey there have been very few people that I consider as “true” bonsai artists.  One of them has been Mr. Masashi Hirao (Hirao-San as I am accustomed to call him).  Hirao-San will have a long layover (5 days) on his from Italy to Mexico so he has decided to spend some time visiting California.  When I was working with him in Japan he mentioned he wanted to see the giant redwood, so I will be taking the time to take him there on this visit.  But, as it just happens, our Midori general meeting will also be taking place during his stay and he has agreed to do a demo for us.  Not only that, he has also agreed to volunteer at the GSBF Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt on Thursday Aug. 2.

I had the pleasure of working alongside Hirao-San at the famous Mansei-En Bonsai nursery where he was my senior and lead artist.  He has been awarded the title of Japan Cultural Envoy by the Japanese Government for the year 2013.  He was also chosen to be the Japanese representative for the 2013 World Bonsai Friendship Federation Convention.

After graduating from the department of economics at Kyoto Sangyo University, Hirao-San took an apprenticeship with Mr. Saburo Kato at Mansei-En.  He finished his on the job training in 2008, at which point he took up the position of professional bonsai manager and artist at Mansei-en.

Hirao-San, was the last student to graduate from the late bonsai master Mr. Saburo Kato.  Hirao-San was tasked by Mr. Kato as his last disciple to take over his dream of spreading bonsai around the world.  He was also awarded Saburo Kato’s golden scissors to ensure his legacy lived on.  Hirao-san has taken up the samurai code and to ensure he follows his master’s wishes.  To this end, Hirao-San is visiting 10 countries, 20 cities, in 120 days to promote bonsai and Japanese culture.

I hope that you make an effort to join us for his demo on Aug 2nd at 7:30 PM.  He is a very good artist and great performer, so come and enjoy your time and hopefully we can all learn something new about bonsai.


(click to enlarge calendar)





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