March 2013


March 2013, Vol. 39, Issue 3

Sierra Juniper

Sierra Juniper in El Dorado National Forest



  • President’s message
  • JT’s Tree Tips
  • Special Notice from Midori Member Andy Prophet
  • Editor’s Note
  • February Meeting Recap
  • March Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

Presidents Message

JT PictureMarch, a great month in bonsai.  Everything is moving and growing like crazy.  Shows, like BABA are starting and we are coming out of the cold weather.  Life is great!!  Think about what trees you will be showing at the Cherry Blossom Festival in April and what you will get ready for our show September 28th.  It’s never too early to plan and we have Gerry Fields’ tree improvement program coming this month to get us on track.  Take advantage of any workshop you can get into and start enjoying the process of bonsai.  There’s nothing like it.  Remember to bring in trees for Gerry’s Program.  See you there.

J T’S Tree Tips

It has been a long time between rain storms this year.  Hope you’ve kept your trees watered.   With the non-organic aggregate soils we now use, there is very little chance of root rot so make sure that you keep them moist at all times.

Like a broken record: Transplant!!  Keep transplanting until you run out of trees or the new growth forces you to stop.  All other operations rely on your having an active, healthy tree and transplanting is the best way to accomplish this.

Most deciduous trees have started to bud or extend shoots but you may still be able to do trident maples or beeches or hornbeams.

At the third Thursday meeting last month, I talked and demonstrated grafting techniques and layering.  If you missed the window, you can still layer in May.  Layering lets you get a nice smaller tree from a tree that has gotten out of hand.

Or start on your conifers.  But don’t bare-root conifers.    You could lose them.  If there is any field soil it must be removed but if it is solid throughout, do half of it this year and the other half next year.  The half you do this year will be able to support the tree when you do the other half next year.

Be sure to secure all trees in the pot with tie-down wires.  If the tree is wobbly it will not develop lateral roots but will try to put down one or more tap roots again.  Not what we want.

Broadleaf evergreens such as boxwoods and azaleas as well as junipers, and pines are repotted in February and March.  Needle juniper is an exception that can wait until May.

At this point, return your transplanted trees to a sunny location.  It will warm and stimulate the roots and get them going faster.  Do watch out for late frosts.

You can be styling and wiring your conifers.  Big bends are O K until about mid March.  Then you run the risk of detaching the cambium from the sapwood.

Don’t fertilize yet except for trees you want to fatten and young material in a pre-bonsai state.  Not on mature trees you are refining.

Special Notice from Midori Member Andy Prophet

One of our club members, Andy Prophet, will be moving to Portland in a couple of months, in preparation, he is reducing his collection of trees and bonsai related stuff. He is having a sale at his house in April, please see the information below.

Plant Sale:

Everything must go!  Bargain prices!
Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7, 2013
Time: 9 AM to 2 PM

Bonsai Trees: (Deciduous) See the Midori Web Site for an itemized list and photos:

Bonsai Pots
Miscellaneous pots
Cactus and Succulents
Corse Lava Rock
Empty containers
Canvas tool roll

Andy Prophet
10171 Deeprose Place
Cupertino, CA 95014
Ph. 408-253-6567

Editor’s Note

Spring is here! Time to break out those shovels and start collecting! I did a little scouting around earlier last month in the El Dorado National Forest area, and found some great sierra junipers. For those of you that are into collecting, or anyone that just wants to learn more about California native trees in general, I found a great resource. Check out the following link:

The information in here was compiled in the 70s, but I bet most of it still holds up. There’s a listing for every species of California native tree with some general information, and then distribution maps for each species in the back. As always, make sure to find out the local laws and requirements before you go out and collect. It takes a bit of effort to figure everything out, but if you hunt around enough you can find out what you need to know. I know in National Forests the thing you need to look for is a “Forest Products Permit,” the rules around which regulate what you can collect and whether or not you have to pay any fees for collecting.

Collecting is a lot of fun. Even if you don’t find a tree, it’s a great way to get spend some time out in nature, not to mention get some great exercise!

February 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 grafting workshop with JT.


March Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

March 7th – Tree Improvement Program – “Ready for Show”

In the March 7th meeting, I will be facilitating Midori’s “Tree Improvement Program” (TIP). Members are encouraged to bring in 1 or 2 trees. We will all try to help you with taking your tree to the next level.  The emphasis for this session will be on getting your tree ready for show. This can be a longer range project…Tree to be show ready within the next five years.  But the preferred emphasis is on tree(s) almost ready for show.  The aim is to continue to improve the trees we have in our show.

So bring your tree(s) to the March 7th meeting and let your fellow members help you take them on their journey. I’m sure you will get some good input.

Hope to see you all there,

Gerry Fields

March 21st – Tool Care with Alec

Bring in your tools for a little sharpening service by our very own sharpener of tools Alec!

March 2013




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