May 2016


May 2016, Vol. 42, Issue 5



  • President’s message
  • JT’s Tree Tips
  • Editor’s Note
  • Photos from the Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Workshop at Machine
  • Companion Plant Talk
  • May Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

Presidents MessageIMG_3634

Well, our Cherry Blossom Festival for this year is history and I wanted to thank everyone who participated and brought it all together in what I considered the best show we have ever put on display.  For the first time we where able to extend our display area at both ends which allowed for more room for trees to be displayed ( 18 total ).  All the trees brought in by members just some how fit together nicely in a well balanced and wonderful display of bonsai of all types, sizes, and colors.  Our center display table with our clubs literature was accented quite beautifully with a display of smaller items along with JT’s flowering bougainvillea that really set off our promotion materials.  But best of all we had great participation with our on going workshop from club members working on their trees they brought in so attendees could see us in action.  This was very encouraging for all of us that got to answer the many questions about bonsai and what we where doing at that moment. My only regret was that we saw very few club members stop by and check out our display and get a chance to see what a great venue this festival offers our club.

This years show location and date is set in stone as of this month. Our yearly show is scheduled for October 1st and we will be utilizing the large room that our display at the Cherry Blossom Festival was in (The Cupertino Room).  This facility is called the Quinlan Community Center and we are very fortunate to have this wonderful place to present our bonsai display this year.  In addition we have the area outside in the entry of the room that will be used along with a large stage area platform that will facilitate our tree demonstration that afternoon.  We have asked Peter Tea to be our tree demonstrator for this years show and he has agreed to do that for us.  A real highlight for this years show is that the facility has up-graded the lighting fixtures in the room and now it is the best we have ever experienced with great lighting.  But there are many issues we need to work out regarding what we can have regarding outside vendors and how money exchanges will be allowed during the show.  But I’m really excited about this years show location and the opportunity for our shows attendance to be increased.

A highlight for this month revolves around an all day workshop at Larry Whites facility Saturday  ( May 7th, 9:00am to 5:00pm ). This is a fun day for all, bring in your trees that need to be worked on and get a chance to see Larry’s old Cowboy Town he himself built over the years.  In addition there will be a luncheon cowboy style and all you need to bring is a piece of meat you yourself can BBQ.  This is a great opportunity to check out other club members trees and get some questions answered that we can all share together as a club. So round up those trees, wire, and tools and head on down to Larry’s place, the eatings will be good and the camaraderie even better!  Further details regarding this event will be in this newsletter.

Have a great month doing bonsai everyone!

Jack Christiansen President

J T’s Tree TipsJT Picture

The weekend of April 23/24 was our Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival and it was a great success.  We had lots of new and old faces participating both days and we thank you one and all.  The displays were great!  Plus, we a reporter/photographer stop by from Metro so hope to see something on our part of the festival.

We actually got some rain in April.  This is a goofy year for weather so lets hope we get some more in May.  We are all watering now, in earnest, as the growing season is in full swing.  I’m about to put  some shade cloth up as the Sun is now at a high angle.  Tomatoes and beans are going to town and so are all of my trees.

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: Don’t worry about overly long candles.  We will cut the candles from the end of this month through June depending on when the needles come about half an inch out and pull away from their sheaths.  Feed up to the time you candle cut.

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 (imidacloprid) in it like Bayer’s 12 Month Tree and Shrub or Bayer’s Merit 0.5g granular insecticide.  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 healthy trees in pots fertilize continuously with organic fertilizers with an intermittent shot of Dyna-Grow or some other water soluble fertilizer.

John Thompson

Editor’s Note

Hi Folks,

A short video this month, but a very impressive tree.  I can’t imagine how they dug it up.



Photos from the Cherry Blossom Festival

Thanks for taking these and sharing them Mehrdad!

Workshop at Machine

On Saturday, May 7th, Midori Bonsai Club will be having an all-day bonsai workshop at Larry White’s place of business, also known to many as, The Town of Machine. This workshop will be a “Bring your own trees, tools, and supplies” event. It will be from 9:00AM until 5:00PM, with a break for a BBQ lunch. The lunch will be a, bring your own item to grill, with the sundry fixin’s supplied by a chosen few. The invatation is open to all Midori members.
There won’t be any formal instructor at this event, but the old hands will be there to answer a question or two, or to give a little advice. We will be taking a head count of how many participants will be attending at the May 5th General Meeting. If you want to attend, but won’t be at the meeting, please RSVP to Larry via email ( There will be workstation space set up for everyone. It looks to be fun day.

Companion Plant Talk

On May 11th, Kora Dalager will be presenting the program Companion Plants: The Ultimate Small Container Garden. The meeting consists of a plant discussion (interesting plants brought in by members) the speaker and a plant sale.Western Horticultural Society meets in The Multi-Purpose Room at the Hillview Community Center, 97 Hillview Avenue, Los Altos. It’s very near the Los Altos Library, off San Antonio Road. Our meetings start at 7:30pm, the doors open at 7.  There is a $5 for non-members. For more information go to

May Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

May 5th – Redwood Demo w/Larry White

Our First Thursdays meeting for May this month will be centered around Redwood Trees, Larry White has agreed to work on a nice selected tree the club purchased for his demonstration and it will be raffled off shortly after its completion. Larry has had great success with redwoods and has displayed many of them over the years at our shows. There are many secrets revolving around why so many people have failed with this type of tree in our locality.  But Larry has proven that it can be done and he will share that information with us that evening so plan to be there and win the completed raffle tree.

May 19th – Redwood Workshop

Our Third Thursday meeting workshop will continue with those that have redwoods so bring them in that evening since Larry will sit down with everyones tree and make suggestions for further development. If you don’t have a redwood bring whatever you planned to work on that evening and there will be senior members there to help you.

2016 Meeting Schedule

Month 1st Thursday 3rd Thursday
May Redwood Demo w/Larry White Redwood workshop
June Annual Silent Auction Open workshop
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
May Jack Christiansen Bill Obrien & JT
June June Auction, no formal display Roger Geerts & Don Lintz
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.

Northern California Bonsai Events

May 7, 2016, Napa, California
Napa Valley Bonsai: Club 38th Annual Show at Napa Senior Center, 1500 Jefferson St. Show hours are 11 AM to 4 PM, with demonstration by Jonas Dupwuich at 1 PM. Display, Silent auction, Sales, and Vendors areas.

May 7 & 8, 2016Sacramento, California
Sacramento Bonsai Club: 70th Annual Bonsai & Suiseki Show at the Buddhist Church of Sacramento, 2401 Riverside Blvd. Show hours are Noon – 5 PM on Saturday and 10 AM – 4 PM on Sunday with demonstration at 2 PM each day. Demonstration by the well-known bonsai artist Sam Adina, followed by the demo raffle and more prizes. Free Admission. For more information contact: Gary Judd (916) 622-8048.

May 21 – 22, 2016Oakland, California
Bay Area Satsuki Aikokai (BASA): 21st Annual Satsuki Azalea Bonsai Show at the Lakeside Garden Center, Lake Merritt, 666 Bellevue Avenue. Show hours are 10 AM – 5 PM Saturday and 11 AM – 4 PM Sunday with demonstration by Bonsai Master Artist Johnny Uchilda Saturday between 1 and 3 PM. Demonstration tree will be raffled. Sales area with beginner material and imported plants from Japan. Benefit drawing. Free admission. Public parking available. For more information, contact George Haas at


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