November 2014


November 2014, Vol. 40, Issue 11



  • President’s message
  • JT’s Tree Tips
  • 53rd Annual Midori Bonsai Show Pictures
  • November Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

Presidents Message

JT PictureCongratulations everyone!  We had a great show at the Northside Community Center.  The trees looked awesome!  Thank you all for making it a great hit.  Juan did a bang-up job on the demonstration juniper.  Thank you all for the effort you made to put it together Friday night, set the display on Saturday and bring it all down by 6pm on Saturday.  A huge amount of work: backdrops, skirting, publicity, trees in training, display trees, tokonoma, shohin, medium and larger trees, vendors, workshop, raffle, welcome table and security, club sales, signs and lunch – BRAVO!!!

– JT


J T’S Tree Tips

Style, wire, pluck needles, big bends – You can work on practically everything now.

The growth that has been coming on since summer should be hardening and will no longer snap like a bean if you bend it. But try this – Exercise the branch before you bend it. By this I mean pre-bend it, using the fleshy part of your fingers and palm supporting and twisting the branch in the direction you wish to ultimately bend it before actually putting the wire on. Trust your fingers to tell you if you have gone far enough. They are actually more reliable than your eyes. You can get much more acute bends this way. If it still resists you may need to use raffia to support it. Spray the bent branches with an anti-transpirant like Anti-Stress 2000® or Cloud Cover® or Wilt-Pruf®. This is an ideal time to fashion those branches before they harden off totally over winter.

Deciduous trees should be wired when most of the foliage has fallen off but before they become brittle later into the winter dormancy period. Remove the foliage when about 75% of the foliage has turned color. If you wait until December, any cutting will cause the tree to bleed excessively.

You can still style and transplant those junipers (they really love fall transplanting) and early flowering trees but protect them from frosts if we get some cold weather.

For most trees, now is the time to clean off the top layer sphagnum moss we had on during the hot summer season and the top soil that has accumulated weed seeds and is growing seasonal moss now and make sure it doesn’t get up into the bark of your trees. Silver moss that you used for the show can be taken off and put in your landscaping where it will get early morning sun and regular water. You can grow a new crop for next year. Clean off dead leaves and remove weeds. Add some super phosphate to the top soil and any transplanting that you do. Mid-November, discontinue the regular feedings of nitrogen fertilizer.

Be sure to clean out the foliage in the crotch areas and allow the sunlight into the interior to stimulate new buds and expose bugs

December is best but if the pine needles have hardened, clean out the old needles on your trees to let the sunlight in. Leave on more needles on the bottom branches 10 to 15 pairs and 7 to 10 on top. At this point we want to encourage as much sun as we can. Later we’ll thin out even more. But watch that you don’t damage tender needles that haven’t hardened. Use tweezers. Days are getting really short and cooler.

Remember to make your first application of dormant spray at Thanksgiving. Ultrafine® oil, Neem Oil, copper and lime sulfur sprays do well. Do not mix them together!

Water your trees when they need it. This means that you should wait until the upper soil has dried and is lighter in color before watering. Then water thoroughly. Don’t keep them too wet and remember that as they slow down their growth they use less water. If too much water is accumulating in the pot, tip the pot up on one side with a board to help drainage.

Whatever shade cloth you had for your trees can be eliminated at this point. The hours of sunlight and angle of the sun are approaching their minimums so the trees need all they can get. Also, tropicals have to be protected as the temperatures get down below 45º.

– JT

53rd Annual Midori Bonsai Show Pictures

Congratulations everyone on another successful show! Here’s some pictures of some of the trees from Jack.

November Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

November 6th – Extreme Bending with Peter Tea

This month’s meeting will have Peter Tea working on a members conifer.  He will be talking about how this time of year is good for radical bends and styling and techniques he learned here and in Japan.  If you have trees that have had or need big bends, bring them in to share and discuss with Peter and the club.

November 20th – General meeting

No special program this 3rd Thursday. Grab a tree or two and come down to work on your trees, and get advice and help from other club members.


2014 Meeting Schedule

Month 1st Thursday 3rd Thursday
November Extreme Bending with Peter Tea General meeting
December Annual Holiday Party and Auction Pork chop workshop

Set-up & Refreshments and Formal Tree Display

Month Formal Tree Display Set-up & Refreshments
November Seiji Shiba 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 Adam or myself (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

October 30 – November 2, 2014 Sacramento, California
GSBF-37: Golden State Bonsai Federation and American Bonsai Society presents 2014 Convention XXXVII “Bonsai Visions of the West” at the Double Tree Hotel, 2001 Point West Way. Reservations for hotel 916-929-8855. Headliners include Peter Tea, Kathy Shaner and David De Groot, ABS Learning Seminars with Ted Matson and Jack Sustic, Joshua Roth New Talent Bonsai Competition, and Special Tribute to John Naka – 100 years (b. August 16, 1914). Demonstrations, seminars, critiques, workshops, excursions, benefit drawings, vendors, and much more. More information available at


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