December 2016


December 2016, Vol. 42, Issue 12



  • President’s message
  • JT’s Tree Tips
  • Editor’s Note
  • Board Members needed
  • December Meeting Topics & Club Calendar
  • 2016 Meeting Schedule
  • Setup, Refreshments & formal tree display
  • Northern California Bonsai Events

Presidents MessageIMG_3634

   As I write this club message after eating mucho turkey yesterday I can’t help but wonder where the previous eleven months went this year. They say that as you get older this happens ,time just speeds along, and for most of us life just seems like constant catch-up.  But really we have much to be thankful for and its at this time of year as we bring in the new year it’s good to reflect upon the freedoms and monetary blessing we have.  Plus I’m so happy that bonsai came along in my life when it did!  And our Club has been a major reason for the joy I’ve found that keeps me excited about bonsai and its art form.

This month we have our Christmas Party and Club Auction Monday Dec. 1st, where we  all can sit back and enjoy each others company and extended families. Our meal that evening has always been special for me since club member have always shared great food and fellowship that extends right into our club auction. Please be generous with your bonsai offerings you bring for our auction, since the club receives 100% of the auctioned item.  Club expenses this year with our new show location where much greater than previous years, so help us out if you can! Since we received so many enthusiastic positive responses from our show location this year we want to make this spot a yearly program.

For our third Thursday meeting this month Peter Tea once again has volunteered to make it a Pork Chop Workshop.  So bring in your trees to work on and at the same time enjoy some great Chinese Food to chew on.  Thanks Peter for your friendly support for this Club’s workshop and reason to get back on the aerobic machine!

As a heads up, I just wanted to remind everyone that Club dues this year will be increased, $40.00 for individuals and $50.00 family.  We need to do this in order to keep ahead of our overhead and monthly bills.  So I hope everyone is good with this!  And please take care of this matter after our auctions is over that evening.

This presidents message will be my last as the Club President, since my two years now has elapsed and as always a new President will be voted in. I must say that I have learned to appreciate those that take the lead with club functions.  But at the same time a privilege to be able to have control of the reigns that leads hopefully with good insight and understanding for all those in our Club.  As I now leave after my two years as President, I want to thank those in our club that were there as a support and helpmate that got me threw it all.  And what a great support we all witnessed at our shows set-up and tear-down this year.  Thanks Club Members!

Jack Christiansen, President

JT’s Tree TipsJT Picture

Our Christmas party is early this year (on the 1st).  Its time for our yearly auction of trees, books, tools, pots and other things bonsai.  Dig out those trees you think someone else will want and you cant figure out. Books you’ve read and enjoyed and extra tools you would like to donate.  Bring your checkbook and please be generous with your bids.  This comes right back to you in the form of programs and events.  Also its a good time to pay your 2017 dues.

Once again, we’re actually getting rain early this year.  I hope for enough cold weather to set good flower buds on apples and such.  Check trees for water needs.  Some aren’t using much water and others are really thirsty.  Move and rotate your trees so those trees needing more water are together. All shade cloth should be put away til spring.

Winter is a great time to wire and style your conifers (except bald cypress and dawn redwoods).  You can clean out the crotch growth in conifers, deciduous and broad leaf evergreens 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.  Broad leaf evergreens like oaks, citrus and olives can have their upper leaves cut in half to allow more sunlight into the interior core of the tree to strengthen interior branches, thus preventing them from weakening and eventually dying. Weak branches should not be totally 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 preventative 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.  Ask Santa for a few bags of akadama.  Gear up for transplant season right after New Years Day.

Enjoy the Holidays.


Editor’s Note

Hi Folks,

In light of the time of year here’s an article from Jonas on pine needle pulling.



Board Members Needed

Every two years our club has the opportunity to elect new board members that take the lead in organizing and running club functions. This year 2016 is another election year where at our yearly Christmas Party we hold the nominations for our newly elected board members. Many board members choose to remain in their elected positions and others choose to step down with new opportunities for other club members to step forward and fill those positions.

Having the opportunity to be President over the past years has been very fulfilling and insightful. And having active and responsible board members that take their job seriously in support of our club has made my job even easier. Thanks to those that have done so!

This year my job as President is completed, along with other openings on the board, so the call goes out for others in our club to step forward  and fill those positions. In addition the clubs Secretarial position has a opening. Board Members, if there’s other positions open and I have not been informed please do so by the end of July.

Some of the board members positions need assistants that can step in for them when they are gone, so if you would like to share in that capacity please let me know sometime this month.  Midori has been a great place for all of us to come and enjoy each others company and share our hobby together. A well organized club benefits everyone with great meetings that fulfill everyones bonsai knowledge regardless if your a new member or old.  I have enjoy every minute that I’ve been a club member throughout the many years as Vice President and now as President. Please, if you would like to step forward and take on a position with the club let me know and we can get you started!

Jack Christiansen, President

December Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

December 1st – Annual Holiday Party, Election, and Auction

   The Holiday Season is upon us and with that our Holiday Christmas Party is but a few days away.  So I felt it necessary to bring Club members up to speed as to what will be taking place this year and the times.  We encourage all club members and their families to arrive around 5:30pm for the pre-social, those that would like to share in the set-up of the room and tables 5:00pm.  We ask that everyone please provide a dish that can be shared by all for our dinner meal that should not arrive later than 5:45, dinner at 6:00pm. Soft drinks and water and Champagne will be provided by the Club if you plan not to bring your personal wine or other alcoholic beverages to enjoy. We encourage everyone to please bring your own plates and utensils and glasses.  And if your dinner dish you brought needs a serving spoon or spatula please bring that also.  This once a year event is always a great time for everyone in the club to sit back and enjoy a fabulous meal together and bring in the Holiday Season.
  Now for our Club Auction, a time of year for everyone to search through their bonsai related items like trees, pots, soil, periodicals, all bonsai items are fair game so be generous and support our clubs yearly financial fund.
All items auctioned off that evening the club gets 100% of the sale.  Everyone that evening will receive a card with a number on it and all you’ll need to do is raise that card up when you want to make a auction bit on any item.  All the auction items will be available for viewing at the beginning of the clubs social at 5:30.  So bring those auction items in early so we can organized the tables for the presentation viewing.
   Regarding our Club dues for 2017,   After reviewing this years financial status our club feels it necessary to increase our club’s yearly dues.  The cost of a single club member is now $40.00, Family $50.00.  If you have already paid for your 2017 dues we will honor that as fully paid.  We encourage everyone to please include their club dues payment along with their purchased items that evening.

December 15th – Pork Chop Workshop

Bring in your trees to work on and your appetite.

2016 Meeting Schedule

Month 1st Thursday 3rd Thursday
December Annual Holiday Party, Election, and Auction Pork Chop Workshop

Setup, Refreshments, & 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 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

December 3, 2016 Fresno, CA
Fresno Bonsai Society: 9th Annual Bonsai Yard Sale held at 736 West Browning Ave. from 8 AM till 3 PM. Bonsai, pre-bonsai, accent plants, new and used pots, stands, books, suiseki, and supplies. Everyone is welcome to buy, sell, or swap all things bonsai. For more information about the event visit us on our Facebook page or



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