July 2016


July 2016, Vol. 42, Issue 7



  • President’s message
  • JT’s Tree Tips
  • Editor’s Note
  • Board Members Needed
  • Sei Boku Kai Styling Contest Results
  • July Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

Presidents MessageIMG_3634

Everyone in the club get your calendars out, and mark the date, this years Clubs Bonsai Show will take place on October 1st, at the Quinlan Community Center in the city of Cupertino.  This is the same beautiful location where we have the Cherry Blossom Festival each year but now we have the whole large Cupertino room and entryway leading into the room. In addition we have a nice stage area where our demonstration will take place along with a roomy patio just outside with tables.   This will be a complete show, with a vendor area, a beginners workshop, a club tree sales area and doctor bonsai, and at 1:00PM our tree demonstration will take place with our own Peter Tea working his magic.  This past Thursday a group of our board members and I had an opportunity to meet at the center and review the room and how we can utilize the space most efficiently.  This room provides us with the best lighting ever, and allows us to separate the venders outside in the entry area.  I can’t imagine a better place for a fine display of bonsai to be presented to the community than what this facility provides us, we’re very lucky!

Now, we have a few issues that needs to be confronted, at best we have only two hours of set-up time before our show opens at 10:00AM.  This means that we will need to be well organized going into the facility that morning at 8:00AM the earliest we can be there. In the past we did all of this on Friday evening, now in order to accomplish this we will need a full staff of volunteers available and knowledgeable of what to do and how to do it. So club members we will need your assistance and willingness to take this challenge and be supportive of our situation. Some of our monthly workshops will be devoted to organizing and clarify who will do what, usually a teams effort.  This means that we will all have a full day of activity with setting up and breaking down at 5:00PM.  Every year our club for its size puts on one of the finest shows in the Bay Area, this year will be no different.

In addition we plan to have room for more trees this year, utilizing our row display backdrop on both side.  So club members, July is here, we’re but a few months out from our show date, now is the time to start selecting what trees you plan to show and make ready to be displayed.  Do you have access to moss, what about a show table, are your pots clean and the mineral build-up able to be cleaned off?  If you don’t have many of these things other senior club members may be willing to loan out various needed items, but you need to plan now for that to happen! This is a exciting time of year for our club, there’s always much to be done but the rewards are fantastic when everything is completed and set-up  and we see our displayed tree for everyone to see. Whats a great feeling!

New this year we plan to invite the Ikebana and Suiseki Clubs that we share a space with at the Cherry Blossom Festival to be included with our show this year.  The Cupertino Community is primarily Asian, so we thought that a combined display of Fine Asian Art would generate a greater audience and appeal locally.

We feel that the Cupertino room that we’re renting will provide us with adequate space for all clubs involved but this show will primarily be a bonsai show with side features for all to enjoy!  At present the Ikebana Club has committed to sharing our show with us with great enthusiasm for the idea.

At this time we’re have hand bills and flyers generate for the promotion of our show this year, by next month we should have them available for the club to pick-up and to be passed out.   Promoting this show is everyone responsibility and passing them out to potential attenders and organizations will go a long way in generating a fully attended show for all to appreciate.

Have a great month everyone working with your trees and getting them ready to be shown at our yearly show!

Jack Christiansen

J T’s Tree TipsJT Picture

Its vital for us all to work on our trees that we want to show in this year’s show and also if we want to sell in the members sale area.  Use every opportunity to improve the trees like third Thursday meetings and workshops.  Ask knowledgable members of the club for help if you can’t get your trees past a certain point.  Attend workshops and get your trees to the point you want to show them.

Day to day temperatures in the nineties points out how stressful it is for your trees.  Allowing your trees to go limp is probably recoverable but it damages the tree’s ability to grow vigorously.  It takes energy and time to recover, time lost to training the branches as you want them and makes them more susceptible to weakness in the future.  So, don’t let your trees dry out.

You might consider shade cloth (30%-50%) to protect your trees.  Also some shade cloth on the surface of the soil extending out farther than the edge of the pot can help keep the pots cooler  in the direct sun.(see below).  or put some sphagnum moss on the surface of the pot to keep moisture available to those surface roots we try so hard  to nurture.

If you haven’t done it already..Its de-candling time for your black pines.  Start decandling your standard sized and large black pines.  For shohin black pine, hold off for a week or so. See below. The longer you wait, within reason, the shorter will be the new candles and needles on your tree.  Wait too long and if we have a cold overcast summer, you wont get enough growth on the new candles over the summer.  Its always a balancing act. One caution: Don’t decandle trees, or specific branches on trees that are weak, or branches tips that need to be lengthened or fattened in your design.

Typically, we start on the largest pine trees first and end with the shohin.  The reason for this is that the early decandling will yield longer needles than the  later decandling (longer time to grow before hardening).  All things being equal, larger needles are more in scale on large trees and small needles look best on shohin.

Cut all your candles at the base and leave more needles on the weaker branches and fewer on the strong branches to equalize the strength.  Pull the fertilizer off the decandled trees until the new candles are pushing toward the middle of August.

Turn your trees regularly to keep growth even.  If all of your bonsai look like windswept style trees its probably because you haven’t turned them.  Foliage grows toward the sun.  You can defoliate or leaf-prune (cutting leaves off but leaving leaf stems on) deciduous trees except beech. Usually pulling half the leaves is sufficient to kick in a new crop. This will kick in a new set of leaves.  This can be accomplished by cutting off the big leaves, every other leaf, the outside leaves or a select area of leaves of the tree.  There are many ways to do it depending on your intended outcome. Be sure they are healthy and vigorous before trying this technique. It is usually best to remove most of the leaves on the top and outside of strong branches while leaving more of the inner leaves to strengthen this weaker area.  Remember: pinching and defoliating, while helping to ramify, weaken a strong tree.  Don’t do it to a weak tree. And don’t do it every year.

Keep pinching new growth on trees you are refining.   When you see the growth spurts slow down, as it probably will this month or in August, let the growth go and return energy to the tree.  We can trim it back prior to the show.  The trees will naturally go through another growth season in the early fall.

For those trees in development, where you need movement and length for styling or to strengthen a branch, let the shoots grow after first wiring them.

You can still air layer your trees but please don’t defoliate them at the same time.  The more foliage load on the tree, the faster the roots will develop.

This is also a good time to take cuttings on hardened shoots.

Spider mites, aphids, scale suck the life out of your trees.  Look for them on the tree or tap a branch over white paper then smear whatever drops on to it.  If you get a red smear, guess what?   Spider mites most likely.  Try spraying them off with a hose and/or nuke ‘em! Try 3 applications spaced 7 to 10 days apart using your concoction of choice.  UltraFine® oil, Neem oil, Malathion®, Diazinon®, Orthene®, Isotox®, and the like to stamp out the critters.  Spray from underneath and on top.  Use a spreader, a few drops of dishwashing detergent, to make it stick to the trunk and branches and foliage.  The same goes for fungicides like Daconil or Cleary’s 3336 WP for tip blight problems or Benolate®, which can control mildew which breeds on the foliage when you have a combination of warm Summer evenings and moisture (from watering to late in the day) as well as other fungal problems.

Keep feeding your trees as we outlined last month. Remember black pines need more than most other trees.  Add more fertilizer in tea bags, or rapeseed cakes or cottonseed meal balls until next month.  Or continue the water-soluble fertilizer as you have been doing.

Prevent heat damage to the roots.  Sphagnum moss on the surface of the soil can help cool down these areas. Overhead shade cloth is another aid in relieving summer heat stress on trees. However it does restrict sun to the trees manufacturing plant – the leaves. (My shade cloth goes up in June and comes down in mid-September).  Try 30% – 40%  shade cloth, available through www.catalogclearinghouse.com , to just dampen the effects of the scorching sun without giving up the growing power the sun provides.   In my microclimate this seems to be the perfect amount of shade.   Most shade cloths available are 60% to 70% (available at OSH or Home Depot).   These are more suitable to cooling the patio for people rather than helping bonsai grow.  Growth under these darker cloths seems to be leggy and stay succulent longer.  The internodes tend to stretch out and the tree can lose the compact foliage we fight so hard for.  However, if you cut up pieces of 60% – 70% shade cloth and put them on top of the soil and covering out past the edge of the pot and you have a great cooler for your trees.  I use this myself in stead of the moss covering.

Check your trees a couple of times a day.  Water only those trees that need it.  When you do water, make sure that the water penetrates completely through the soil.  If a crust has formed the water may just be flowing off the top and down the sides without penetrating the root mass.  Use a chopstick to agitate and break up the soil.  Adding a little dishwashing detergent acts as a surfactant and helps the water to penetrate the surface soil area. Don’t water the leaves in the evening as mildew can form in the warm conditions at this time of year.  Early morning is the best time for thorough watering.  Watering in the evening tends to also cool down the soil when it could benefit from steady warmth.

If your deciduous leaves dry up on an extremely hot day, don’t panic.  The safety system of the tree sloughs off flowers, fruit and leaves when it is distressed to protect the core life zone in the tree, namely the vascular system.  You may loose some of the ramification in the branches but you should be able to build your tree up again.  Many times the tree will sprout new buds as if a new season were beginning.  Keep moist, but don’t over water as you may drown the roots which have been weakened.  Again, shading the soil with shade cloth or sphagnum moss covering should make this problem very rare indeed.


Editor’s Note

Hi Folks,

I hope everyone has a great fourth of July weekend.  Here’s a video on a species we don’t see a lot, hawthorn’s.  There’s 3 available, hope you enjoy them.



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 throwout 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

Sei Boku Kai Styling Contest Results

I wanted to thank three of our club members that participated in the Sei Boku Kai’s yearly styling contest that took place last Wednesday evening. Larry White, Mehrdad Chavosh, and Dave Butt rose to the occasion and hovered over a rather large Procumbens Juniper cutting and bend and wiring that took place over a period of 90 minutes.  Three clubs Kusamura , Midori, and Sei Boku where invited this year to form a three person team to go head to head at the Sei Boku Kai meeting for a style off. This fund raiser, organized by our own Gerry Fields, is a real blast for all three clubs and all three teams where up for the competition.  Our club that was presented with a three foot long Juniper decided to really cut back the tree and make it into a struggling windswept only about 12 inches in length in its final stage.

At the end of the 90 minute time allotted all three teams concluded with their version of the rather lengthy and rigid Juniper.  All three teams came off winners based upon the purchased tickets that where bought and distributed equally for all three teams.  Great job everyone, and since I purchased the winning ticket for the Midori styled tree I came home a winner also.  I’ll bring the Midori styled tree to the next meeting!

Jack Christiansen

July Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

July 7th – Working w/collected material w/Mike Pistello

Our first meeting will be Mike Pistello talking about working with collected material.

July 21st -Photo shoot with Danny & Jim

Please bring in 2-3 trees that you would like photographed.  They can be new trees or one’s we have photographed in the past as this is a great opportunity to document the profession of your trees.  If you have any stands you can bring in for us to use please do so.

2016 Meeting Schedule

Month 1st Thursday 3rd Thursday
July Working with collected material w/Mike Pistello Photo Shoot with Danny and Jim
August Progressive Pine Development w/Jonas Dupuich Show prep workshop
September How to apply moss properly w/Juan Cruz Show organization program and show prep workshop
October Final show prep workshop Show review and workshop
November TBD Open workshop
December Annual Holiday Party, Election, and Auction Pork Chop Workshop

Set-up & Refreshments and Formal Tree Display

Month Formal Tree Display Set-up & Refreshments
July Gerry Fields Alec Maclean & Danny Powell
August Mehrdad Charosh Lewis Comba & Kent Bell
September Jeff Escallier Carol Fairchild & Seiji Shiba
October Seiji Shiba George Shoptaw & Kathy Sloan
November Danny Powell 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.


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