Peter Tea - Demo on Maple Branch Development

July 15, 2016 @ 7pm

Peter Tea

We're happy to announce that Peter Tea will be visiting our club for a demonstration on how to improve branching on our maples and other deciduous trees.

About Peter Tea

"2001 is when I first became interested in the art of bonsai and I have been practicing and refining my skills ever since. My first extended training with a professional artist started in 2003 when I met Boon Manakitivitpart. After working with Boon for several years I decided that if I wanted to take my bonsai knowledge and collection to the next level, I would have to travel to Japan to further refine my skills and truly understand the art form itself.

In 2011, I became an apprentice at Aichien Bonsai Garden in Nagoya, Japan under the tutelage of Mr. Junichiro Tanaka. My time in Japan really changed the way I saw bonsai and I became a more fluid artist. With Mr. Tanaka’s blessing, I fulfilled my five-year apprenticeship in two and a half years and returned to Northern California in 2013.

Since my return, I’ve been working with many groups in California and visiting different clubs and clients throughout the United States. My goal as a bonsai artist is to help increase the visibility of the art form through my bonsai creations and my client’s bonsai creations. The hope is that by focusing on creating beautiful bonsai and helping people gain more knowledge and skill in the art form, I will have done my part in elevating the art of bonsai in the country.”

Club News

High Temperatures for a Few Days

The weather has been very cool so far this year but now we're about to get some high temperatures. The leaves of maples, birch and many other deciduous trees can get badly burned so consider moving them to shadier parts of your yard. You can provide shade by using shade cloth (available from Orchard Supply and similar stories).But don't drape the fabric directly on the leaves - leave some space between it and the tree's leaves because the fabric can get very hot, especially if you buy the black version. Alternatively you might place a layer of shade-cloth just over the top of your soil, making sure it overhangs the pot a bit.

Shade Cloth

You'll probably need to water at least every day now, and perhaps even morning and late afternoon. See our article on Watering for more information about how to check on your trees and when to water.

There's additional valuable information in Bonsai Care in the Time of Drought.

August Bonsai / Garden Tour and Potluck

This annual event will take place on Sunday, August 21. Michael Greenstein has graciously volunteered his home for the last stop and potluck. Thank you Michael! We are looking for two additional volunteers to open up their gardens for the tour. Contact John Mekisich or Rita Curbow if available.

New Treasurer

The club is happy to announce that Hal Jerman is our new Treasurer. Hal was nominated and elected at our June meeting and will be sworn in at our July meeting along with several other officers and board members who didn’t make the June meeting.

The club extends a big THANK YOU to Suresh ‘Mo’ Mohan for his five years of service in this capacity

Redwood Empire Bonsai Society Show

Shade Cloth

The Redwood Empire Bonsai Society show in Santa Rosa is always a highlight of the year for our club. Great trees, great demos, things to buy...

Unfortunately it is the same weekend as our annual garden tour / picnic, so you might have a busy weekend. See the sidebar for details about this show.

Sponsorship of Club Member for GSBF Convention

The GSBF39 “A Bonsai Convergence: Gather at the Rivers” Convention will be held in Sacramento from October 27 thru October 30. Kusamura will sponsor ONE of our members with a paid full registration to the convention.

Full registration includes entry to all demonstrations, Headliner Bonsai Events, Suiseki and Viewing Stone Exhibit, GSBF Judged Bonsai Exhibit; eligibility to participate in the Benefit Drawing; Friday Banquet, Saturday Lunch, Saturday Banquet, Sunday Lunch; silent observer in all workshops; convention logo pin and a goody bag. You will also receive a 1-year complimentary subscription to Golden Statements Magazine.

Check out for more details and contact Rita Curbow to apply for sponsorship. Only members who have never attended this convention are eligible for this sponsorship.

Harry Hirao Annual Scholarship

This scholarship is offered for use toward your education and development in the art of bonsai. As the recipient you would have 12 months in which to spend the scholarship to pay for work you do with a recognized California bonsai artist. Funds cannot be used to purchase bonsai or materials.

The deadline for applying for this $1,500 annual scholarship is July 15. For additional info, go to and click on Education

What Tools Do I Need?

Bonsai tools are specialized, and there are a lot of different ones out there. If you're new to bonsai it's difficult to know which ones you need to begin - and which ones you might add later. We've got an article to answer those questions. See Tool Basics

2017 Show Dates Announced

Due to renovations at Lucie Stern Community Center, our 2017 show will be held June 23 – 25. This is almost two months later than our normal show time of April. So keep these dates in mind when making vacation plans for next year and choosing and prepping your trees for show.

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.

If you haven't cut candles on your pines yet, you should do it soon. See our Black Pine Basics article for more details.

This month: July Tasks

June Meeting Recap

The idea of this meeting was for members to bring in trees that had originally been grown by Bill Scott, but now were owned by others. Some were in great shape, growing well after being repotted, fertilized, etc. Others still have a lot of work in their futures. But all have great trunks and are worth the effort.

Michael Greenstein talked with each owner about their tree, how they saw their tree developing and then used the tree for an audience discussion on the alternatives available.

For Dave’s shimpaku juniper, Michael pointed out that while there is lots of interesting motion in the trunk and lower branches the lowest branch needed to be ginned to keep it in the design. The only other option was to do about 25 approach grafts!

John Planting brought in a shimpaku in the Yamadori style (squashed juniper look) and it was thought that this was Bill’s tree from a class he did in the 1980s with John who is considered the father of this style in the United States. That was an interesting bit of history to those of us who didn’t know this.

Chris was shown how she could tilt her tree to obtain the desired literati style for it. Those of us who take care of the bonsai at Filoli enjoyed seeing Charlene’s Juniperus X davurica ‘expansa Variegata’ (aka Parson’s juniper Dahurian juniper). Michael pointed out how Charlene could get a dramatic result by ginning one branch in particular.

Richard was acknowledged for achieving some really tight growth on his Shimpaku but he needed to make a difficult decision in selecting the front of his tree before moving forward.

When discussing Stephanie’s oak, Michael reminded everyone that when pruning an oak you always cut the branch exactly where you want it to start growing. This is different to deciduous maples for example, where you prune expecting growth to happen behind where you cut.

Michael suggested Alan remove a specific tree from his grove of Shimpaku when he repots it next spring and place the grove such that the largest tree in the grove is in the desired location – up front but off center. Michael pointed how you don’t have to break up all the trees but can keep the desired trees together and repot them as one unit. The tree removed could then become a separate bonsai.

For Donna’s shimpaku, the audience liked the idea of removing a number of branches and going with a “bald-cypress” look for the tree that could turn it into a spectacular bonsai.

Sean had done quite a bit of work on his black pine and the result was some awesome branch ramification. Sean discussed how he had fed the tree often and followed the recommended rules for candle pruning.
Michael told how he had removed the pom-poms from his San Jose juniper and created lots of gins coming straight at you in the front of the tree. This technique didn’t necessarily follow the rules of good design but the result was spectacular. Michael had also repotted his tree a number of times changing the pot each time. It was suggested that he even consider another option.

Michael did a great job that evening helping everyone with their trees. Thanks again Michael!

Michael Greenstein
Michael listens as Richard describes the amazing amount of new growth on his tree
Michael Greenstein
Michael talks about how he's transformed this tree

Club Calendar

August: Club bonsai and garden tour on Sunday August 21.


Other Events

August 6 – 7, San Francisco
San Francisco Suiseki Kai: 35th Annual Suiseki Exhibit at the Union Bank Community Room, Japan Center, 1675 Post Street. Show hours are 10 AM – 5 PM Saturday and 11 AM – 5 PM Sunday. Show coincides with the 43rd annual Nihonmachi Street Fair, so come early and enjoy your day in San Francisco’s historic Japantown. Suiseki and stone sales. For more information about our club, contact or visit San Francisco Suiseki Kai.

August 20 – 21, Santa Rosa
Redwood Empire Bonsai Society (REBS): 33rd Annual show at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Avenue. Show hours are 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and 10 AM to 4 PM on Sunday with demonstration by Bonsai Master Artist Kathy Shaner from 1 to 3 PM both days. Demo trees will be raffled. See the largest bonsai exhibition. Large bonsai vendor and member sales. Exciting silent auctions or “buy it now”. Free refreshments by the Bonsai Café. Free admission and parking. For more information visit our website Redwood Empire Bonsai Society or contact Bob Shimon at (707) 884-4126 or

See GSBF Calendar for additional items

Articles We Recommend

Intro to Bonsai
About Your New Tree
Redwood Basics
Pine Pests

Other Sites We Recommend

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

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