August 2015


August 2015, Vol. 41, Issue 8

Procumbens Juniper Nana - Gerry Fields

Procumbens Juniper Nana – Gerry Fields


  • President’s message
  • JT’s Tree Tips
  • Editor’s Note
  • July Meeting Recap
  • August Meeting Topics & Club Calendar
  • Pictures from the North Bay Nursery Tour
  • Tree Profile – Cascade Juniper
  • 2015 Meeting Schedule
  • Northern California Bonsai Events

Presidents MessageIMG_3634

 I can’t believe its August already, with our October 10th Bonsai Show just two months away we need to get that information out to the people that want to come.  This will involve everyone in our club this year to sharing the promotion of our show with those interested.  Family members, friends, fellow work mates, people we interact with throughout our weekly routine are all potential attendees if we only act!  Mailers and flyers are now being put together to help us with this club activity, so when they come available please take a few and do your part to circulate them.  Beside, its alway a joy to see someone for the first time at our show and be able to share your knowledge and show them around.  We work hard as individuals putting together our trees and making the show available to the public, so nows the time to act.

For the next two months there will be a sign-up sheet circulated at our meetings for the various tree sizes and positions available to display your trees this year.  If you need help with making a decision as to where your tree would be positioned I would be glad to help out with that information.  If your undecided as to what trees you would like to put in the show, our September workshop meeting that evening will allow everyone to bring in their trees for examination and recommendations. So nows the time for that final push to get those trees show ready!

Hopefully everyone had a great time with our North Bay Nursery Tour this past few weeks.  We had 14 club members along for the trip and we where able to stay right on schedule threw out the day with plenty of time to look around at each location.  I really had a great time with everyone drooling over Jim Gremel’s wonderful trees!

Each year our club puts together what we call our Back Yard Tour, usually we visit club members homes and get a chance to see their trees and backyard arrangements. This years program is under consideration as to where we’ll go and who’s place is available for visit.

If you would like to share your place for a visit please contact me ASAP! ( 408 280 7539 ) We need to firm up our program for this years tour and arrange for it to happen sometime in the later part of August.

For our first Thursday meeting in August everyone in our club will get a chance to vote on a matter that has come up regarding our third Thursday meeting format.  This year for the first time we have included in our workshop program additional side topics or themes where we have had various people in our club do a short demonstration and include time to make suggestions regarding the tree you brought in for that demonstration.  The problem that some in our club sees is that it takes time away from those that want to just work on the tree they brought in and not be interrupted by a side demonstration that they may feel obligated to attend.  So everyone in our club needs to review in their our minds the benefits a side demonstration provides or just simply keep our meetings to a informal workshop as in past years.  Its up to everyone in the club, and we will vote on it next meeting.

Everyone, have a great August working with your trees!

Jack Christiansen

JT’s Tree Tips

Like Last year, this has been as long a sustained hot period.  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.

Our show is coming! our show is coming! October 10th our show is coming!!

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.


Editor’s Note

Hey Folks,

The next few months are going to be quite busy for me so bear with me if the newsletters are delayed.  Just to keep things going here’s a great video of a juniper styling here.


July Meeting Recap

This past month we had Kathy Shaner do a demo on accent plants and Larry come in and give advice on everyone’s boxwoods (photos below).

August Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

August 6th – Carving Program with Mehrdad Chavosh

I am so excited to have a carving program/demo in this month’s first meeting.  I will go through different carving styles, reasons for carving, different tools, and of course there will be a very old, very ugly box wood to carve.  It is sure to be a lot of fun so come to the meeting to learn some new techniques and have fun transforming ugly to lovely. In other words, just come to enjoy BONSAI.

August 20th – Bunjin style with Seiji Shiba

For the third Thursday meeting Seiji will be organizing a discussion on Bunjin style trees.  Everyone bring your bunjin’s in to show off and discuss.

Pictures from the North Bay Nursery Tour


Tree Profile – Cascade Juniper


I just repotted this Tree into a cascade pot last week from a 5 gal. nursery pot.  I’m waiting to see how it responds to the transplanting and then plan to apply the large wire along the full length of the long main shoot that will allow me to put the twist and turns needed.  After that it will be necessary to start my branch selection as to what needs to be eliminated and what stays. I had already eliminated 50% of all the new internal growth after repotting that I new needed to be cleaned out that was just congesting things.  So now its more opened up so side  branches are more distinct. Fortunately this plant has a nice sized branch that goes vertically that will make for a nice apex later.    Next month in our news letter article I’ll include photo’s of how I put the bends and turns in the main shoot and see what branches I kept and what branches I cut off.  Its best to keep more branches than you think which will allow you to have more options down the road.   So stay tuned for continued work on this nice Cascade Juniper plant.

Jack Christiansen


2015 Meeting Schedule

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
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

August 1 – 2, 2015, San Francisco, California
San Francisco Suiseki Kai: 34th Annual Suiseki Exhibit at the Union Bank Community Room, Japan Center, 1675 Post Street. Hours are 10 AM – 5 PM both days.Show coincides with the 42nd 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 about our club, contact or visit

August 18, 2015    Ross, California
Marin Bonsai Club: Annual Auction at the Marin Society of Artists Building, Marin Art and Garden Club, 30 Sir Frances Drake Blvd. Preview opens 7 PM, Auction starts 7:30 PM. Bonsai, pre-bonsai, pots, tools, books, stands and more. A great opportunity to take home some bargains. Member sales area as well. Checks and cash only. For more information email us at

August 22 – 23, 2015   Santa Rosa, California
Redwood Empire Bonsai Society (REBS): 32th 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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