February 2013


February 2013, Vol. 39, Issue 2


Exposed root Trident Maple from Joseph Ma


  • President’s message
  • JT’s Tree Tips
  • Library News
  • Editor’s Note
  • Midori Member Profile
  • January Meeting Recap
  • Midori Member Projects
  • February Club Calendar

Presidents Message

JT PictureThis is a time of year when a lot is going on.  Bonsai shows like BIB are starting and they give you examples of how you would like to show your trees in our show this year.  Now is not too early to think of which trees you will be showing.  You can get your trees into new pots and refresh the soil so that they will grow and show well this year.
We have confirmed September 28th as our show date with the Community Center in Japan Town where we had the show last year.  When I spoke to them, they actually had someone there fixing the light fixtures.  How about that!!!  We will have organizational meetings in the near future.  I have contacted Peter Tea with the date change and he can do the demo for us that day.  We need to find a worthy piece of material for him, so be on the lookout for a good piece. Enjoy transplanting on the first Thursday.  I have picked up the soil for those who signed up and it will be there at the meeting.  They are $38 per bag as advertised.

J T’S Tree Tips

Man, its been cold at night.  Hope you all have been protecting your recent transplants and tropicals from the frosts.  Also, don’t forget to water your trees.  Lots of rain but a lot of time in between storms.

Don’t miss this opportunity to transplant your trees.  Do it now!  Healthy deciduous trees can be bare rooted.  Weak deciduous trees should not be bare rooted. Only remove the field soil on ½ or 1/3 of the rootball leaving the rest of the root ball intact. You can get the rest cleaned out when you transplant in a year or two.  Conifers should not be totally bare rooted but at least one section of old field soil should be cleaned out if any still remains like in the weak deciduous trees above.

Grafting time is here for pines junipers and other species. We will discuss this at the third Thursday meeting this month. Keep some shoots toward the side of the tree to use as scions.  But don’t use the very tip of a growing shoot as this can be too strong a scion for the graft to take.  Plan out where you will be putting these grafts.  If you will be grafting deciduous trees, cut some scions and put them in damp paper towels and in the crisper of your refrigerator.  When the tree buds start moving, bring them out and use them for your grafts.  Remember that you will have better success if the under-stock’s sap is moving before the scions does.

Remember the project we talked about several years ago when we were to work on trees at different stages of refinement?  Start on a couple trees now, develop last year’s starters and refine a couple of last year’s developed trees as well as the six you refined a couple of years ago.  When you get multiples of nicely refined trees, keep the best and trade the extras for better and better trees.  The key is to keep only the best of these for your own collection and really concentrate on them.  Lose the rest.  Don’t start another one until you have completed as much as you can on one.

Develop your techniques. Learn from what you did last year.   Practice whenever you can and you will succeed.  Practice on workshop nights.  Practice at home.  Practice in your sleep.

Remember to use dormant spray around Valentine’s Day.  It is best to do it on a day that the temperature will not get above 55º or you could burn the foliage.   Barry Coate has recommended using superior oil like Volk Oil® or Ultra-fine® oil which smothers wintering-over bugs like scale.  Try copper spray or lime-sulfur, except on Ume, spruce, azaleas and tropical trees, to protect deciduous, fruiting, and flowering species.  This will head off big problems later on.

When you cut back on branches this month, leave just a tiny stub for die back.  If you cut an entire branch, do not cut into the branch collar, which is that swollen area where the branch attaches to the trunk.   Remember that the tree is getting active and will soon generate new growth to heal over the cuts.

Now that the pine needles have matured and hardened, if you haven’t already removed them, it is time to take off the all the old needles and some of the newer needles on the plump and healthy shoots.  This opens up the interior of the tree to the sun and airflow that is necessary to generate back budding.  Remember to leave more needles on lower branches and interior buds; and if weak, don’t touch at all.  Watch out for those that have already started new tiny buds.  It would be a shame to accidentally pluck out those tiny buds you try so hard to generate.

Plan to collect some trees this year.  Whether it is a neighbors pyracantha hedge, an oak dig, or a trip to the mountains or desert for junipers, don’t pass up this great way to find super material.  It also gives you a chance to observe the branching and twigging patterns of your favorite trees.  Collect interesting mosses and lichen in flats for use at show time.  The best accent plants for a bonsai are those that are growing up alongside those species in the wild.


Library News

JT and myself are the new librarians.  At this time, we kindly request that all members please look through their personal book collection for Midori library books and return them.  Our future plans for the library includes selling some of the older items to make room for more interesting publications that JT will personally select.  Thank you so much for your cooperation.

Jennifer Beck

Editor’s Note

I just had one thing I wanted to share with everyone this month. If you’re anything like me, you probably just can’t get enough of working on your bonsai trees. Haven’t you ever thought, “I wish there was some way that I could always have a tree with me so that I can take care of it on the go?” Well thankfully, there is finally a solution! All you have to do is download the app Twit Bonsai, available for both Android and iPhone, and you can have bonsai in your pocket to care for and water wherever you go. This app was actually created under the supervision of the Omiya Bonsai Museum in Saitama, Japan, in order to promote the art of bonsai. In Japanese the app is called “Tsui Bonsai,” where tsui refers to the act of doing something that you know is kind of stupid but doing it anyways–I guess twit was the best equivalent term in English they could find. The app is free to download, you can find it here: http://zaq.ne.jp/twit_bonsai/e/index.html.

Adam Butterfield

Midori Member Profile

This Month: Jennifer Beck  Age: not telling.

My age really is not all that interesting but how long I’ve admired bonsai and why I continue may be of some small interest.  I used to wonder how anything could possibly grow in the tiny bonsai pots that I saw in nursery’s; and how in the world did the soil stay in the pot with the large hole in the bottom?  That was when I way 10 years old.  So I guess I’ve been interested in bonsai for a lifetime.

I joined Midori in 1990 after watching Seiji’s bonsai demonstration at the Sunnyvale Nursery, which is now extinct.  I won that particular demonstration tree and still have it.  Shortly after joining the club I participated in a couple of Midori events.  I was so excited about the whole mysterious process of shrinking a nursery juniper into what seemed like a perfect bonsai in a few hours.  It was wonderful and I couldn’t wait for the next newsletter, club meeting and nursery tour.

During the years my tree collection has grown to 2 hours of watering per day (500 trees); most of which are really not bonsai, but maybe one day they will become something remarkable or perhaps they’ll make my landscape more interesting.  In my collection, I will have to say some of my favorite trees are oaks.  Every year I collect acorns and grow them.  Fortunately or unfortunately the squirrels reduce my crop to a more manageable number.  However, some of them are developing nicely with little attention on my part.

I don’t try to force a particular style upon a tree.  Rather, I prefer to let the tree be what it becomes.  If the top dies, well now it’s a shorter tree that is leaning to one side.  To my esthetics, I find naturally developed styles to be more pleasing; by that I mean not only the style being suited to the species but the method of achieving the style to be greatly influenced by nature.  For example, I’ve discovered that piling rocks over the tops of freshly planted acorns (to keep the squirrels out) has produced the most interesting trunks.  It seems that the sprout has to work its way through the rocks to emerge into the sunlight.  They are much more beautiful than if I had wired them.   I guess my favorite bonsai stylist is nature.

Bonsai and Midori have given me a sense of community and many friends that I might not have ever meet.  It’s fun being a part of Midori and I hope all of you feel the same.

January Meeting Recap

We had a great couple of meetings last month. Unfortunately I missed the first Thursday meeting, but here’s a few pictures from the third Thursday workshop.

Midori Member Projects

We have a great project to feature this month. Mehrdad and Larry put together one serious Alberta Spruce group planting. Here’s a few pictures, check out the gallery to see the entire project. Mehrdad’s Alberta Spruce Rock Planting






Great job guys! Can’t wait to see what it looks like after the trees get pruned back and styled!

February Club Calendar






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