May 2013


May 2013, Vol. 39, Issue 5



  • President’s message
  • JT’s Tree Tips
  • April Meeting Recap
  • May Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

Presidents Message

JT Picture

We have been having ideal weather for developing our trees.  Things are at the point where we can wire up those long shoots and get some great benefit from it.  Hope you had a chance to see the Cherry Blossom Festival in Cupertino with our display of trees and ongoing bonsai work.  Thanks to all who participated.  We will need to start work on our September show and that will require a night of tough work at the Hickory Pit.  Tough work but someone has to do it!  Date and time to be announced at the May meeting.

Ray will be leading us in a meeting about multi-trunk trees but will rely heavily on what we bring in so bring in your show ready trees as well as multi-trunks and rafts and groups in training to discuss what to do next.

We will be assessing the club library.  Many items will be offered to our members next month in the silent auction.  Be thinking about what you would like and would use if the club purchased it and share that with us at the meeting.  Let us make the library really work for us this year.

Thanks to Danny, Adam and Jim for all the work they are doing with the member bonsai gallery photos, which they shot last third Thursday.  Great job guys!

J T’S Tree Tips

May is a big time in bonsai.  For all but the show ready refined trees, we want to wire the first few inches of the new shoots once they have hardened off.  This is the area that we will cut back to in the fall.  This is the beginning or continuation of ramification for the branch and will pay big dividends later on.  Don’t cut back and pinch these shoots now.  This will help to thicken and set the movement of the branch.  Watch the wire so it doesn’t cut in.   You may need to remove the wire and rewire with a larger size to keep the shape.  If you didn’t cut back to where you need the branch to start, do so now and then when a new shoot appears and then hardens, wire it and follow the above procedure.   On trees that have the shape you want, let the shoot extend to four or five leaves and then cut back to one or two.  Or when there are shoots extended, cut back beyond the beginning of the shoot and into the woody branch and wire any new shoots that pop from there into the new branch tips.  Many times we need to do this to get the taper back under control.  On developing trees that need thickening of trunk or branches, loosely wire the beginning of the branch and let the tips run wild.  This should give you a section of branch that you can cut back later that will have shape and girth.  But watch out for the wire digging in.  It may only take a matter of a couple of weeks while it sets.

Black Pine: Pinch off 1/2 of overly long candles.  We will cut the candles from the end of this month through next month depending on when the needles come about half an inch out and pull away from their sheaths.

White Pine: Pinch off all but 4 sets of needles on succulent healthy candles and none on weaker ones.  We will not be cutting the candles entirely off as in Black Pines.

Spruces, cedars, Redwoods and the like: Pinch off 2/3 of the succulent new shoot as it emerges with the fleshy parts of your finger tips (not the nails).

Azaleas: if you wish to enjoy the flowers, wait until they have finished about 3/4 of the blooms before stripping all the buds off and cutting back to two shoots and two leaves.

I have noticed that sometimes on the same branch, there are shoots with short internodes and some with longer internodes.  Sometimes the shorter ones don’t extend out.  If they don’t extend, don’t bother to pinch them. But if they are elongating, do pinch them short.   Shoots are elastic.  The buds contain all of the new leaves when they first push out, but as they grow out into a shoot, the inter-nodal distances between the leaves stretch out like a rubber band.  Before the internodes get too long, you can pinch them.  This will stop the elongation process and start the hardening process of lignification (wood formation).  After they have elongated they form wood and can no longer be pinched and must be cut with scissors.

This is a big time for pest and weed control so be prepared to do battle with everything from aphids to snails and dandelions to oxalis. Spray and bait for those critters.  Barry Coate suggested something with Merit in it like Bayer’s 12 Month Tree and Shrub.  While pinching, examine your tree for any signs of stress, disease or insects.  Remember to look on the underside of the leaves, as there are many sneaky pests that hide there.  Mealy bug, spider mites, moth and beetle – a small number of bugs can wreak havoc and ruin the foliage before you know it.  Scale, aphids, beetles, etc. are best dealt with now before they burrow and suck your tree dry.    When watering, spray from the bottom and all around the tree to wash as many as possible away.  Pick off those that are stubborn. If you still see signs of their presence, spray with a solution of Malathion®.   On bonsai, even a re-emergent weed killer is not a bad bet after weeding.On healthy trees in pots fertilize continuously with organic fertilizers with an intermittent shot of Dyna-Grow or some other water soluble fertilizer.  We have discussed this at various meetings.

April Meeting Recap

We had a great demonstration at the first Thursday meeting last month. Bob Shimon gave us a great demonstration, and an encyclopedia worth of knowledge about redwood bonsai.


May Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

May 2nd – MULTI-TRUNK with Ray Stagner

Hello everyone!  This first Thursday meeting, I’ll be leading a open discussion on the multi trunk style.  I will be reviewing the basic multiple trunks growing side by side, the raft technique, and finally the clump technique. Bring in your trees that represent this style and share them.

Ray Stagner


Bring in your boxwoods, for a good ol time. I’m sure we’ll have our resident boxwood maverick, former Midori Club President Larry White, on hand for all your burning boxwood questions. And if you don’t have a boxwood (or 20), just ask around and I’m sure someone in the club has one they would be willing to part with. Because if you’re working on boxwoods, you’re just not doing bonsai!






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