Peter Tea - Demo on Maple Branch Development

July 15, 2016 @ 7pm

Peter Tea


We're happy to announce that in just a couple of weeks Peter Tea will be visiting our club for a demonstration on how to improve branching on our maples.

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 shader 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.

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

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: June Tasks

Fertilizer Basics

By Dave Curbow

This is an excerpt from the revised and expanded Fertilizer Basics article.

By now you should have fertilized your trees. If not take a look at our Fertilizer Basics article on the website, it’s been revised. If you haven’t been fertilizing properly you may notice that some of your leaves are yellow.

The proper name for this condition is chlorosis or chlorophyll deficiency. There are variety of reasons for this condition.

Location of yellowing Diagnosis
On all leaves Lack of nutrients - fertilize!
On younger leaves Lack of iron or manganese
On older leaves Lack of nitrogen or potassium
On leaf edges Lack of magnesium and potassium
Between veins Lack of iron and manganese

Nitrogen deficiency will show up as up as chlorosis of the entire plant – leaves and needles turning yellow. Often this will show up on older leaves / needles first. A quick fix is to use a liquid fertilizer.

Phosphorus deficiency will cause a variety of symptoms that are difficult to identify. If the stem or underside seems to be purple, or you see a gray or brown-netted veining then that’s probably a phosphorus deficiency.

Magnesium deficiency may show up as chlorosis of the tip of needles. When the yellowing is seen primarily on new growth then it’s probably an iron deficiency. For magnesium deficiency sprinkle a teaspoon of Epsom Salt to the top of your soil. Because Epsom Salt dissolves so quickly you’ll probably need to do this a few times over a month. For iron deficiency sprinkle a tablespoon of Ironite over the top of your soil. This dissolves more slowly and one application may be enough.

Using a dilute solution of Miracle-Gro or VF11 in a spray bottle and mist the leaves. Do this every two weeks. If you’re using Miracle-Gro make sure you use 1/2 teaspoon (not tablespoon) per gallon of water. If using a typical spray bottle that would be less than 1/8 teaspoon. Fertilizer is made up of mineral salts and too much salt sprayed on leaves can cause them to “burn” or turn brown.

The best time to spray is early morning although you can also spray in the late afternoon. Temperatures are cool, best for absorption and there's less wind to blow the solution back on your clothes! The key is that the air temperature should be less than 80° F. Some articles say that most of the absorption takes place via the underside of the leaves and that light misting is better than heavy spray. The smaller the droplet size, the better the nutrients will absorb. Spray all surfaces of the leaves and stems.

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.

A fuller description will be coming soon, but for now here are a couple of photos from that evening.

Peter Tea
Michael listens as Richard describes the amazing amount of new growth on his tree


Peter Tea
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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