December 2014


December 2014, Vol. 40, Issue 12



  • President’s message
  • JT’s Tree Tips
  • Editor’s Note
  • GSBF Gallery
  • November Meeting Recap
  • December Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

Presidents Message

JT PictureHeading into the holidays, I’m thinking back on the last two years with fondness.  This will be my last month as Midori’s president and I want to thank you all for a wonderful ride.  Especially I want to thank the board and all those who helped do the big and little things that make the club work smoothly.  You’ve made my job pretty easy.  The new board will be voted on and installed and we need to give them all the support we can to continue in Midori’s great tradition of excellence.  They will need your ideas and manpower to bring the club the best programs and skills in bonsai. There will be a planning meeting in early January to set programs and events up for the coming year so join us and put your two cents in as well. One great idea, submitted by Jim Wallace, is to have a special club bonsai that will be worked on and developed at the club and photographed regularly.  It will be taken care of by the president or other designated person, and shown at periodic events and maybe even as a logo tree.  We can all discuss these ideas at the meeting.

J T’S Tree Tips

Winter is a great time to wire and style your conifers (ex. bald cypress and dawn redwoods). You can clean out the crotch growth unless you need a new branch to replace a weak older one that won’t back-bud. Also clean out and trim back excessive foliage in the upper part of the tree to allow sun to penetrate into the lower branch interior.   Weak branches should not be stripped of interior foliage so that they can gain strength with the heavier load. We will cut back to this interior area later to create back budding. Start from the top so that you create a pyramid shape where no upper branch is shading the tips of the next lower branch. Hardened pine needles can be thinned out without harm to the tree. Multiple buds from this summer’s candle pruning should be reduced to two.   Remember that you need to stimulate new budding close in to keep the tree healthy, happy and compact. It allows light in and also gives you room to apply wire. Also remember that June candle cutting is done on more refined trees to increase ramification, not on trees that need basic branch structure. We candle cut when we have set the branches in place and want to ramify from close-in to the trunk.

Once half your leaves have turned color, strip the remaining leaves off your deciduous trees. We want to work on them as they are going into dormancy, not when they are totally dormant. They tend to bleed when fully dormant. If you cut back when you strip off the leaves, the shoot shouldn’t bleed. If the wound does drip sap excessively you should wait until late winter to cut back when you transplant. The next month will see almost all of the leaves down from your surrounding landscape trees as well. Get them off your bonsai. You don’t need or want hiding places for over wintering bugs and slugs. It is always a mess this time of year and I have to clean them up and get the weeds, which never stop, out of my pots.

Regardless, its a good time to study the future of your trees and decide which branches to eliminate and which to keep. Leave a little stub when cutting back at this time of year.

Rotate your trees. Give all sides access to the Sun. The Sun is very low on the horizon and will give you one-sided growth if you don’t turn the trees.   Watering is important especially to evergreens because the foliage mass acts as an umbrella just like in large trees in Nature and sheds the water out to the drip line. In our case the drip line is outside the perimeter of the pot. So make sure you check your plants water needs regularly. Put a block of wood under one side of your pot to help drain excess water. Alternate the block from side to side every other week.

If you haven’t done it yet, put super phosphate on the soil. But don’t forget that some nitrogen is needed to enable the other components to work. Some fish emulsion or cottonseed meal should be enough.   Pay attention to any trees that have young growth pushing or are semi-tropical varieties. Again, the freezing cold weather may cause some damage, so protect them.

Dormant spray. Start it now (Thanksgiving and Christmas and Valentines).   I like to spray the foliage and trunks with Ultra Fine® oil or a fixed copper spray like Microcop® or Bordeaux® dormant spray for peach leaf curl prone plants like, stone fruits and pomegranate as well as on deciduous trees. A few years ago, Barry Coate thought very highly of using the oils as a preventitive measure. Separately, you can use lime sulfur (Orthorix ®) except on Ume (flowering apricot). I spray three times: at Thanksgiving, New Year and Valentines Day just before bud breaking. (P.S. Lime sulfur will turn your copper wire black but shouldn’t hurt the tree.) Do your spraying now and you won’t have as many problems later.

Mix your soils and clean your pots for transplant season next year. Ask Santa for a few bags of akadama. Gear up for transplant season right after New Years Day.

Enjoy the Holidays.

Editor’s Note

Hey Folks,

Danny here, you’re new newsletter editor.  First of all please join me in thanking Adam for his dedicated service for longer than I can remember.  His diligence, attention to detail, and punctuality has been appreciated and will be missed and we wish him and his wife the best in Japan.  I’ll do my best to continue on in his tradition and keep the content coming.  With that said I’d appreciate everyone’s help in continually sending over any pictures, videos, or content you think would be interesting to share with everyone.  Please reach out to me directly at and keep it coming!

Golden State Bonsai Federation Show Gallery

Here’s some photos from the GSBF show last month, thanks to Jack for providing them!

November Meeting Recap

This past meeting we had Peter Tea demonstrate heavy bending on a large Rocky Mountain Juniper he brought in.  He was able to get a large old branch bent down over 90 degrees.  Thanks again to Jack for providing the photos.

December Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

December  4th – Annual Holiday Party & Auction

This months main meeting begins with our annual Christmas party.  We will be setting up early at 5:30, food at 6pm and begin eating at 6:30.  Please bring your shared food items, cups, plates, and silverware, and be ready for a great holiday feast.

Jack Christiansen will be conducting the voting and installation of the board.

And then, we have our annual Christmas auction.  This will be conducted by Gerry Fields with the assistance of auctioneers Larry White, Dave Butt and John Thompson.  Please bring in bonsai related items you would like to contribute; trees, pots, accents, stands, tools, etc.  Bring your checkbook so you can bid for and bring home some marvelous items to start off your bonsai New Year.  It’s always fun and is the major fundraiser of the year for us.  The better the items, the better you and the club will do.  Be as generous as you can.  And have a great time!

2014 Meeting Schedule

Month 1st Thursday 3rd Thursday
December Annual Holiday Party and Auction Pork chop workshop

Set-up & Refreshments and Formal Tree Display

Month Formal Tree Display Set-up & Refreshments
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 Danny 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

December 6, 2014, Fresno, California 
Fresno Bonsai Society: Seventh Annual Bonsai Yard Sale at 736 West Browning. Set up begins at 8 AM. Everyone is welcome to buy, sell or trade. Sales include pre-bonsai, finished trees, pots, supplies, stands, books, suiseki and accent plants. Lunch will be available. Great bargains and great fun! If you need a table or more information, contact Ralph Schroeder at or Peter Schaffert at


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