Olives Workshop – Jerry Carpenter and Marsha Mekisich

September 15, 2017 @ 7pm

Got olives? Love them but not sure what to do, or is your olive looking more like a bush than a tree right now? Bring your tools, wire, and of course your olive tree(s) to our September meeting. Jerry and Marsha will share highlights of olive care then the rest of the meeting will be roll up your sleeves and get to work time. This will be an interactive workshop with focused time to work on your tree(s), get advice, share and learn together. If you want to do some carving that's fine but hand tools only this time.

Don’t have an olive, feel free to observe and/or jump in and share your knowledge. Please remember to bring appropriate table protection, etc. The goal of this meeting is to have both you and your tree leave the meeting in better shape than when you arrived and have fun doing it. As always if you can arrive early to help with setup that would be greatly appreciated.


Club News

Next Beginner Bonsai Class, October 21

Members new to bonsai should mark this on their calendar for Saturday, October 21. The class will run from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon in Palo Alto. A nominal fee of $10 payable to Kusamura will be used for class supplies. Contact Lynne O’Dell to sign up. If you're not a member of the club yet see Join Our Club. You may also contact us for more info.


Timely Work Schedule

Each month there are a number of tasks you need to do to your bonsai - from repotting, to fertilizing to spraying for pests. We have put together a checklist, customized for the San Francisco Bay Area to help you. This checklist is adapted from earlier work by Mitsuo Umehara.

This month: September Tasks

August Garden Tour Recap

It was hot if you were in the direct sun but two-dozen or so members and guests had a wonderful time on the club’s annual garden tour. Half of us started out at Sean’s home and were really impressed with both Sean’s bonsai and his wood working talent in building bonsai benches and beautiful furniture.

Our second stop was at the home of John and Sandy where we got to see thousands of bonsai including a Chinese Indigo ‘indigofera incarnata’ in bloom, a beautiful tokonoma setup by Sandy especially for the tour and their pet turtle hanging out by the pond. It was lots of fun investigating all the many “hidden” places for reflection and retreat within John and Sandy’s lovely garden and the countless varieties of bonsai.

Our final stop and barbeque was at the home of Gordon and Kamrin's home. Seeing Gordon’s collection was like being at a museum, of course. Again we’re talking about another large collection of trees

It was obvious that all our garden hosts are passionate about bonsai and each of their collections provided plenty of inspiration.

Again, the food at the barbeque was awesome! The club thanks Jerry and David who served as Grill Masters and Diane Churchill and Idris Anderson who made sure our thirsts were quenched and we had all the necessary staples and condiments on hand. Add all the fabulous side dishes, salads, and desserts brought by fellow club members and everyone ate, ate and ATE! The club also extends a big THANK YOU to Sean and Gloria, John and Sandy, and Gordon and Kamrin who all went the extra mile to open their gardens for the tour. Good friends, great food and fabulous trees! It was truly a fun event.

Club members discussing trees they've seen
Club members discussing trees they've seen


Gordon with his Hinoki Cypress seikai
Gordon with his Hinoki Cypress seikai


Jerry at the grill
Jerry at the grill


August is Time for Spider Mites

By David Curbow

During hot, dry weather spider mites can be found on any plant species but especially pines and shimpaku. In our area we tend to see the red variety, but there are about 1,200 species. They are tiny, less than 1mm in size.


Red Spider Mites
Red Spider Mites

Mites are related to ticks and spiders and may spin protective silk webs. They generally live on the undersides of plants. Mites pierce the leaf surface and suck out the sap. The tiny holes allow excessive water loss and the leaf / needles then dry out. If you look closely at a yellow pine needle you can see the tiny holes, usually as brown spots. Some mites even inject toxins into the leaf.

Damaged needles (Photo from University of Maryland Extension)
Damaged needles (Photo from University of Maryland Extension)


Mites prefer a warm, dry climate. Trees that are well watered will be less attractive to mites. As prevention, occasionally spray the underside of foliage to knock off any mites that may be there. See Watering Basics for more info.

Testing for Mites: Every week or two you should do a simple test to discover if you have spider mites living on your trees. Hold a sheet of white paper underneath the branch and shake the branches for a few seconds. It may seem easier to just tap the top of the branch, but don’t do that to pines. That can injure the needles.

There may be a surprising amount of debris on the paper, dead needles, flakes of bark, dead insects, etc. Look for tiny moving red or orange specks. If there are just a couple then you can try washing them from the foliage next time you water. But if there are more then you should spray as soon as it’s cool.

Use one of the oil-based sprays, such as All-Seasons, Ultra-Fine or Neam. Be sure to read the label because these oils will damage some trees, such as Spruce. Remember to move sprayed trees to a shaded area for a week to avoid damaging the tree. Bug sprays will only kill the bugs that have hatched. The eggs are unharmed so you must spray at least two or three times at ten-day intervals to kill any eggs still hatching. Also, these bugs have a very short reproduction period so if you miss spraying once you may have a bunch of new eggs laid.

Insecticidal soap can be used but it’s not as effective as oil-based sprays. Caution - If the soap concentrate has turned brown it should not be used. Oxidized soap can burn plant foliage.

Caution - Using other pesticides can actually make the spider mite infestation worse! Mites develop resistance to pesticides quickly and might not be killed by the pesticide, but mite predators will be killed.


Club Calendar

October: Program on “Fruiting Trees” such as quince, ume, etc (proposed)
November: Program on Redwoods (proposed).

Other Events

October 7, 2017   @Cupertino
Midori Bonsai Club: 56th Annual Bonsai Show at the Quinlan Community Center, 10185 N. Stelling Road, from 10 AM – 5 PM. More details to follow as the date approaches. www.midoribonsai.org

October 14 - 15, 2017 @Oakland
East Bay Bonsai Society: 56th Annual Show will be held at the Lakeside Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave., Lake Merritt. Show hours are 10 AM - 5 PM on Saturday and 11 AM - 4 PM on Sunday. Headliner is bonsai artist, Peter Tea, who will conduct a free styling demonstration on Sunday from 1 - 3:30 PM. The show will feature over 50 tree varieties and ages and will also feature a plant sale and raffle. There will also be a "Kid's Corner" both days from 2 - 3pm where kids can create their own bonsai for free. www.eastbaybonsai.org

October 25 - 29, 2017 @Riverside
Golden State Bonsai Federation (GSBF): 2017 Convention 40 "Bonsai New Horizon" at the Riverside Convention Center, 3637 Fifth Street near Main. Headliners: Kunio Kobayashi, David Nguy, and Boon Manakitivipart. Guest Artists: Ted Matson, Tak Shimazu, and more. Demonstrations, seminars, critiques, workshops, benefit drawings, vendors, etc. For more information, please visit gsbfconvention.org.

See GSBF Calendar for additional items

We Accept Donations

As a non-profit, we happily take charitable donations to sustain our club. In exchange, we will will get you a receipt to include when filing your taxes.

For more info see Donations

Articles We Recommend

Intro to Bonsai
About Your New Tree
Pine Pests

Other Sites We Recommend

Michael Hagedorn's blog
Bonsai Tonight
Peter Tea's blog

Check us out on Facebook.

Facebook badge