August 2014


August 2014, Vol. 40, Issue 8

Redwood - Larry White

Redwood – Larry White


  • President’s message
  • JT’s Tree Tips
  • Midori Back Yard Tour Recap
  • Midori Call for Officers
  • August Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

Presidents Message

JT PictureI wish to thank all involved with the backyard tour in July, starting with Jack Christiansen who organized it, Danny, Jeff, Don and Rhonda who graciously opened their gardens to us.  I took away great ideas from each stop and enjoyed the day thoroughly.  It was a terrific Midori event!
Remember the REBS show in Santa Rosa at the end of the month.  Take an inventory of tools, pots and trees you need with you as the vender area is full of bonsai items you rarely see.
Midori Show – October 4th.  We still have a couple of openings for large displays at the show.  Also be sure to bring trees for the shohin and row display and “trees in training”.
Try to stay cool and join us at the August 7th meeting for Larry’s Boxwood to Oak demo.

– JT

J T’S Tree Tips

This has been as long a sustained hot period as I can remember.  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.  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.

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 Neep 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.

Look for splotchy or speckled foliage that might indicate spider mites.  Hold a piece of white paper under a branch and tap the foliage above it. Rub your finger over what ever is on the paper.  If it smears (Yuk!) you probably have spider mites.  Zap them with Diazinon® or Malathion®.  For chewing insects, the above or Sevin® work well.

Mildew and other fungi thrive in the warm moist crevices of the tree when we mist or over spray the foliage.  Daconil® is a good broad-spectrum fungicide that can be very effective on this problem.
Trees that are growing in the ground really benefit by having full exposure to the Sun.  Those in nursery containers need a little shade especially late in the day and those in bonsai pots need considerably more shade and, especially,  surface protection. I have been using a top layer of shredded sphagnum moss to keep the surface soil moist to promote surface roots and to insulate the root system from the Sun.  Also, try using shade cloth (30 – 40%) overhead to cut the Sun and a piece of shade cloth (65%) or insulating material on the soil surface to keep the roots and pot cooler.  Except for Bougainvillea, crepe myrtle, pines, olives and peppers and the like, which seem to drink up the Sun, this will help your trees during this stressful time.  This will help them stay green and show their best.

– JT

Midori Back Yard Tour Recap

This past weekend many of our Midori members gathered to enjoy a morning and afternoon at the three homes we toured. This was not your usual home tour as past years. Our first place, Danny Powell proved to be loaded with hundreds of bonsai plants wrapping completely around their yard and then some. A real bonus was his Dad s project of hundreds of succulent plants outdoors and in their greenhouse. Plants from all over the world were kept in various locations through out their property. We can see where Danny gets his love of plants and bonsai. We also shared a morning breakfast at their home before our next location.

Jeff Escallier s home that morning proved to be a real adventure just getting there, high above in the Los Gatos Hills. Jeff has a beautiful home and an incredible view. Everything has it place at Jeff s home, including his wonderful landscaping and bonsai garden that is so well laid out we thought it was a bonsai arboretum. Every tree had a pedestal, and a walkway that conveniently took you through out the garden spaces. We saw trees that took your breath away, and trunks that took many years to develop. Plus, the brownies and cookies provided were fabulous!

It was then lunch time as we descended out of the Los Gatos hills and many of us gathered at local eating places there in town.

It was early afternoon and getting warmer when we headed to our last location of the day. Don and Ronda Dunn live in the Cupertino hills off 280. Once you step through their medieval gateway backyard, their property seems to go on endlessly. I thought we stepped into a nursery property, wonderful plants everywhere, all cascading to a sloping hillside that extended for hundreds of feet. Many red painted features built of wood through out the property stood out like a glowing beacon. Pathways, arbours, and bridges, made me want to investigate their beauty and function. This was truly a place you could wonder about and see the nooks and crannies designed to stop you to relax and enjoy the many views from on top of the hill.

Once I was down to the lower part of the property next to the house there was a nice gathering of members all talking about how did they do this. So much there to see and enjoy including a beautiful cascading waterfall that descended into a generous sized Koi pond that was very refreshing to see and view on a hot afternoon. Shade was a priority so we sat down and enjoyed the many snacks and the bottles of wine everyone brought for the tasting that afternoon. Don and Ronda are vary special people and host, we truly enjoyed their home and property that afternoon gazing about wondering how all of this came about by the two of them. Thanks to them and all the members that hosted us on our one day excursion. For those that missed this opportunity to take part, all I can say is you really missed out!

– Jack Christiansen

Midori Call for Officers

It’s that time of year when those who have supported our club  to renew their two year commitment and ask new members to come forward and volunteer their talents for open positions with our club board.

Midori Bonsai Club is not run by people that merely show up to meetings and go home filled with information.  It takes men and women that share their time and energy for the benefit of all club members.  After all, we all need organization, creative meaningful meetings that we look forward to attending which expands our horizons and move us forward with bonsai.  Here’s your chance to be a part of that support system and volunteer to help out with running the club.

August is a good month to begin considering a position, and those that have been serving to evaluate the next two years if they want to continue in whatever position they presently hold.  I have volunteered to coordinate this program for the club and need to know where everyone stands regarding the next two years.

Sometime this month let me know where you stand, so we can evaluate what positions need to be filled and if you would like to step forward and fill a position. It seems to me, in recent years our meetings have just gotten better and better, a tribute to those taking the lead.  New blood, new ideas, better ways of handling positions is what it’s all about and we need your help!

So please, take that first step, be a contributor!

– Jack Christiansen

August Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

August 7th – Night of the Living Boxwood!

Surprise, surprise! Mehrdad and I have swapped our demonstration schedules. So rather than Mehrdad’s program on the windswept style, which will now be in October, I will be presenting my demonstration on developing boxwoods in an oak tree style. I’ll be discussing all phases of this development, including what to do and what not to do.

The demonstration will conclude with the raffling of the demo tree. This is a really nice piece of material which one lucky winner will get to take home. If everyone could bring in something to donate to the raffle, that would be great! Also, it would be nice to have a substantial show and tell to talk about while I’m furiously wiring the demo tree, so bring in a boxwood, or anything else for that matter, for the show and tell portion of the meeting. And, go figure, I’ll be bringing in a boxwood for the ongoing silent auction.

Be prepared for a night of everything boxwood! Hope to see you there!

– Larry White


August 21st – General Workshop

There’s no special topic scheduled for out 3rd Thursday meeting. Come down and bring a tree to work on.

2014 Meeting Schedule

Month 1st Thursday 3rd Thursday
August Boxwoods with Larry White (Currently Open)
September Shohin with Juan Cruz Annual Midori Bonsai Show Tree Prep
October Wind Swept Bonsai with Mehrdad (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
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.

Northern California Bonsai Events

August 2 – 3, 201, San Francisco, California
San Francisco Suiseki Kai: 33rd Annual Suiseki Exhibit at the Union Bank Community Room, Japan Center, 1675 Post Street. 10 AM – 5 PM both days. Our show coincides with the 41st annual Nihonmachi Street Fair, so come early and enjoy your day in San Francisco’s historic Japan Town!  Suiseki and stone sales. For more information, contact or visit

August 19, 2014, Ross, California
Marin Bonsai Club: Annual Auction at the Marin Society of Artists building (note new location) at Marin Art and Garden Center. Preview at 7 PM. Auction begins promptly at 7:30 PM. Sales area as well. Join us for this entertaining bonsai acquisition opportunity. More information at

August 23 – 24, 2014 Santa Rosa, California
Redwood Empire Bonsai Society (REBS): 31th Annual show at the Santa Rosa Veterans building, 1351 Maple Ave. 10 AM – 5 PM Saturday and 10 AM – 4 PM Sunday with demonstrations both days at 1 PM by club sensei Kathy Shaner. Large exhibit of members’ trees, vendors’ sales room, members’ sales room, raffle and silent auction. Free admission, parking and treats. Contact Bob Shimon @ 707-884-4126 or


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