October 2015


October 2015, Vol. 41, Issue 10


  • President’s message
  • JT’s Tree Tips
  • Editor’s Note
  • September Meeting Recap
  • October Meeting Topics & Club Calendar
  • American Conifer Society Display
  • 2015 Midori Backyard Tour
  • Jack’s Cascade Tree Profile
  • 2015 Meeting Schedule
  • Northern California Bonsai Events

Presidents MessageIMG_3634

   I’m really excited, our yearly bonsai show is but a few days away and my entry trees are already primped and ready to show.  This seldom happens for me at this early date, but this year Gerry Fields and myself were asked to put on a bonsai display at our National Conference of the American Conifers Society held in Petaluma last week.  I’ll include a few photos of the display and how it all turned out in this months news letter.  We got tremendous reviews!  There where 16 trees all together and accents.

This months first Thursday meeting will be a workshop dedicated to our show trees by putting on the final touches and getting last minute suggestions from our long time friends in bonsai.  Remember to keep the trees slightly on the fuller side making sure your pots are clean and given a light coating of oil.  If you don’t have a stand or appropriate material to place the tree on you either need to acquire that or make arrangements to borrow something from other senior members.  Now is the time to make those arrangement!

Also that evening we’ll be assigning various work assignments to club members that will perform the needed functions to assemble our show table displays and other needed projects.  If everyone gives a helping hand that morning with the show set-up everything should go smoothly within the allotted time frame (7:00am – 10:00am).

We’ll have five 6ft tables outside on the side walk that will serve as our tree staging area and whatever else you brought to the show that morning.  The inside area will be reserved only for show display set-up until we’ll be ready for tree placement, and then we’ll ask for the trees to be brought in. Often times its good to bring more than what you think you may need regarding stands, accents, Scrolls or other supporting show materials since other members may need help.  So keep that in mind!

If you didn’t get a chance to attend our Clubs Backyard Tour last weekend you really missed out!  My goodness, the people and bonsai trees where amazing.  In total we saw around 700 bonsai trees in pots.  Everyones backyard was inspirational, not a weed to be seen and trees all having an organized staged place.  We had a total of Sixteen club members on the trip that morning and I’m sure they all had a great time as I did.  Our final stop was at my home in San Jose.  The afternoon was on the warm side but once we all got settled and our stomachs filled with BBQ steaks and wild salmon it all some how didn’t matter.  The food that everyone brought for our potluck luncheon was scrumptious and much to select from. Thanks everyone for attending and supporting this years Backyard tour!  This news letter will include photo’s of our trip together.

I just wanted to congratulate Danny Powell, who has been doing our news letter now for some time, on getting married, and since he’s on his honey moon as we speak he’ll probably need to rest up for a bit once he returns. So the news letter will be coming to you a few days later this month! Congratulations Danny, and your new wife!

Jack Christiansen

JT’s Tree Tips


Its showtime.  It should be a lot of fun.  Because of the hall being used Friday night, we will be setting up on Saturday morning October 10th at 6:30 am.  That’s not a typo! Be sure to bring your trees, show stands and accent plants with a slab or small dai so we can place them after we set up.    It will take time to place the trees and we don’t want to run late.  If you have scrolls we can use those too. Please bring your consignment trees Saturday morning.

After the show we can start transplanting junipers and still have a growing interval before everything shuts down for the winter.  This is a good secondary growing season and we shouldn’t pass it up.  It’s important to have a little time after repotting to let the tree roots grow into their new soil.  At this time the plants don’t have to go through the stressful summer heat so it’s a perfect time for junipers, cypress, live oaks, boxwoods, etc. By transplanting and trimming back junipers now you will not get as many brown tips as you would in the spring and you will still get some good growth in before winter.  JT Picture

Also your early flowering trees like quince and Ume and crabapple can be transplanted at this point. Doing it now reduces the likelihood of getting those gnarly growth-cysts on your apple family trees.

This is also a great time to put in trees for a growing ground. They get a chance to settle in for a big push in the spring.

In late October, as the deciduous trees turn color, they signal that the tree is cutting off contact with the leaves. When most of the leaves have fall color, you can defoliate the tree and cut back to the buds you want to come out in the spring.  You should not get a new growth spurt.  Also the tree will not bleed the way it will if you leave cut back until December or January so do it now or wait until late January/early February.   Continue to fertilize this month and next.  Getting into the high phosphorus type fertilizers (0-54-0) on all of your flowering and fruiting trees in later November.  We already see shorter days and soon will be getting cooler temperatures.(after this blast of heat!)  I just took down my shade cloth as we had the autumnal equinox in late September and the days are getting shorter, and the nights longer.

This is also the ideal time to style and wire these trees. Styling is always easier when the foliage is not there to interfere with the wire. The branches should also be flexible and easy to manipulate.  Later they will become more rigid and brittle.  In Japan, wiring is done October through February at which time transplanting starts.  We get to start transplanting earlier because of our milder climate.


Editor’s Note

Hey Folks,

Greetings from Greece and thanks for your patience with getting this newsletter out.  Hotel Wi-fi isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  I’m sorry I’m missing the show, but looking forward to seeing pictures!


September Meeting Recap

This past month was our show prep meeting.

October Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

October 1st – Show Volunteer Setup Program

October 10th – Midori Bonsai Show!

October 15th – Workshop and grafting demo with JT

American Conifer Society Display

This past month Jack and Gerry created a display with some of their trees for the American Conifer Society.  Nice work gents!

2015 Midori Backyard Tour

Earlier this month Midori had it’s annual backyard tour.  Here’s the pictures from the visit to the Trumm’s home:

The next stop was at the Mekisich House:

And the final stop was the Christiansen house:

Jack’s Cascade Tree Profile

Cascade ( Tree Profile ) Continued

If you followed my original article in the August newsletter (tree Profile) I started with a five gallon nursery Procumbens Nana Juniper that had but one long terminal shoot ideal for a cascade style bonsai tree.  I then repotted it into a cascade style pot that had sufficient volume of soil for the size of the plant.  I further began cutting back unwanted branching and inside growth that didn’t allow for seeing the true branches that will be used in the preliminary stages of development. Photo #1 shows the final results after repotting and cleaning out interior growth.  After repotting and working with the tree its a good idea to allow it to recover for a period of time to adjust to its new environmental home.  Once you see new end growth beginning to pop out then its safe to begin further development.

Now that the tree is up and growing its ready for its preliminary development and wiring after a period of four weeks.  I always like to start with the long main terminal wire that will allow for the bends and curves needed to hold the thick branch in place threw out its length. Since I didn’t have a large enough single wire to do the job it was necessary to apply two #8 wires in line with each other.  Photo #2 shows the two wires at the base of the plant that was applied after entering the soil surface.  Photo #3 shows the two wires rapping progressively down the length of the terminal branch.  The two wires ended about two thirds the length down to a single #8 wire. Then I transitioned to a single #12 wire.  Photo #4 shows this progressive transition. Now that the terminal branch is wired and ready to be bent and worked with you want it to move in a natural style downward with a curving motion. This takes strength and caution all at the same time, remembering to make slow bends sensing internal branch tension as you go. Often times this process of putting bends and curves takes time to learn with thick branches, since you may have to readjust what you did initially until your finally happy. Photo #4  give you an idea as to what I did with this plants movement.  Your bends and curves will be only limited by how large of wire you use and the strength you have to make them. But its often necessary to raffia the really heavy main branch that is likely to snap if overextended.  Photo #5 Shows that I used a extension wire to pull the main shoot down by attaching it to the largest wire and the pots footing.

Now your ready to select your side and top branches that trail on down with your main shoot.  In addition you need to decide what branch will make up your apex that will need the greatest development over time.  Use the largest branch available in the area just after the main bend coming out of the ground that you can train in a upward position. Its good to cut the top part of that branch off to encourage the lower side branches to start extending instead of just the top growing. You will grow a short pyramidal tree from that branch over time. Photo #6 shows this example of a new Apex branch

When selecting your side branches try to use branches that alternate instead of being across from each other. In the upper areas of the cascade just after your apex branch its good to use a center branch or two that extends in an outward curve.  This adds depth and diversity to your branching and tree movement.  Photo #7 shows this example.

Your side branches need to be selected on the bases of your open areas and curves that need to be filled so it looks well balanced. Always keep more branches in the early stages of development then you think, with time and growth you can start to eliminate those that crowd and interfere with good existing branches

Photo#8 shows how the center and side branches where wired, keep in mind that you can add movement to these branches as well.  Over time and with growth the tree will need rewiring and styling adjustments that will add a more finished tree look with age.

Photo #9 & 10 shows the finish preliminary styling and colorful pot.   Good Luck!  


2015 Meeting Schedule

October Show Volunteer Setup Program Grafting Demo with JT
November Forest Plantings with Juan Cruz Display (Out of the Ordinary) with Mehrdad Chavosh
December Annual Holiday Party, Election, and Auction Pork chop workshop

Set-up & Refreshments and Formal Tree Display

Month Formal Tree Display Set-up & Refreshments
October Jack Christiansen? George Shoptaw & Carolyn Davis
November Jeff Excallier 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

October 10th and 11th, Oakland, California
The East Bay Bonsai Society’s 54th Annual Show will be held on Saturday and Sunday, October 10th and 11th. The show hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday and 11:00 — 4:00 pm on Sunday. The show will feature over 50 tree varieties and ages. The headliner of the show this year is bonsai artist, Ryan Nichols. He will conduct a free styling demonstration on Sunday, October 13th from 1:00 — 3:30pm. The show will also feature a plant sale, “Ask The Bonsai Doctor”, and raffle. The show will be held at the Lakeside Garden Center, located at 666 Bellevue, Oakland, CA. For further information, email ebbs@eastbaybonsai.org

October 17 – 18, 2015  Union City, California
Yamato Bonsai Kai: 44th Annual Bonsai Exhibition at the Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church, 32975 Alvarado-Niles Rd. Hours are Saturday Noon to 6 PM and Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM. Demonstrations each day at 2 PM by Johnny Uchida, with Mike Baker and Tony Hayworth. Benefit raffle each day after the demo. Raffle includes the demo tree. Large Vendor and Plant Sales area. Free Admission & Parking. For additional information, call Tony Hayworth at 510-289-5731 or visit our web site at www.yamatobonsai.org.

October 24 – 25, 2015 Sacramento, California
Capital City Bonsai Association: 15th Annual Show supporting GSBF Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt and Sacramento bonsai clubs. Shepard Garden Center in McKinley Park, 3330 McKinley Blvd. Hours are 10 AM – 5 PM Saturday and 10 AM – 4 PM Sunday, with demonstration both days at 1:30 PM by sponsor clubs with bonsai benefit drawings to follow. Vendor and club sales throughout the show. For more information contact Gary Judd at 916-622-8048 or juddbonsai@att.net .

October 29 – November 1, 2015  Riverside, California
Golden State Bonsai Federation (GSBF) presents 2015 Convention 38 “Bonsai
Fusion: Where Tradition Meets Innovation” at the Riverside Convention Center,
3637 Fifth Street near Main. Headliners: Bjorn Bjorholm and John Wang. Guest
artists: David Nguy and Tak Shimazu. Demonstrations, seminars, critiques,
workshops, benefit drawings, vendors, and much more. More information available
at www.GSBF2015.com.



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