November 15, 2013
by Lynne O’Dell
Our November program is all about pests and diseases of bonsai. Barrie Coate, a seasoned bonsai enthusiast and horticultural consultant heading a firm in Los Gatos will be our guest speaker. Early on Barrie worked for Pete Sugawara at his nursery and was a founding member of Midori Bonsai Club in San Jose. Barrie has been active in his professional association, his community and obviously his bonsai community. Members are encouraged to bring their questions.
Also see our website page on this topic
Show and Tell
The weather is turning cooler and that means autumn colors on deciduous trees. So please bring in your most colorful trees this month.
Golden State Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt, Oakland
If you’ve never been to this wonderful garden you should check it out! Many club members work as docents but the garden needs more volunteers. It’s easy to become a docent because you work in pairs – and someone will happily help you learn the ropes. Jerry volunteers on the first Saturday of the month while Lonnie volunteers on the second Saturday. Other members volunteer every Thursday and some times on Friday. They can all use some help if you’d like to ride over with them. Contact Jerry for more information.
Kusamura Website Wins Honor
We're pleased to announce that our website won the 2013 GSBF Convention Website Contest. It's always nice to hear people tell us our site is great. Thank you to everyone that helps produce the newsletter (which feeds this site) and for the extra articles, photos, etc. that we carry here.
"Member Stories" Added to Our Website
Our website has a series of articles covering different bonsai topics. Each is reviewed by multiple people to ensure accuracy. But we also want to include informal content written by club members, for example a "trip report" about collecting trees or visiting a bonsai exhibit. So far we have four stories written by members. We want to encourage everyone to take a look and consider writing something.
To find the Member Stories look under the Resources menu at the top of this page.
Upcoming Potting Party
Our first potting party for the 2014 show will be Sunday November 24 from 10:00AM – 4:00PM. Funds raised at our annual show are used to support the clubs’ on-going monthly activities and pay for the upcoming year’s show.
We will work on material that can be repotted in the fall. Bring trees being held from previous show sales that need improving along with other club owned trees. In addition, each member of Kusamura is obligated to donate three trees or bonsai related items for our annual sale.
A potting party is an excellent opportunity for you to work on those trees and use club soil, wire, pots, etc and get expert advise from other club members to make your donations ready for the show sale. This year the club has trees left over from previous show sales along with donations from Bill Scott. So come out and support the club by participating in this event. You are sure to learn a lot and will have fun with your fellow club members in the process. If you are new to bonsai or a newer member of the club, the potting parties are a great way to meet other members of the club and kick start your learning curve of the techniques for styling, pruning, wiring, and potting/repotting a bonsai.
For those of you who can come early and help with setup or stay late and help with breakdown, your assistance with those tasks will be greatly appreciated too. Remember you don’t have to stay for the entire day. The club thanks John and Sandy for making their home available for the parties. Doughnuts will be provided but consider bringing a bag lunch. Future potting party dates are Sunday, January 26 and Sunday, March 2.
Upcoming Holiday Party
Our December program will be a holiday party to socialize with fellow club members and their families. Each year the club provides a ham for carving, a turkey breast, wine and tables decorated in holiday cheer. We ask that you bring a potluck dish that can be shared with 4-6 others. We will need entries, salads, and desserts. Everyone may participate in the holiday gift exchange. As a club member you have the opportunity to win a club-provided gift. More details about this event will be provided in the December newsletter.
Donna Farmer has volunteered to organize our December holiday party! Charlene Fischer and Jane Iki will assist. I know everyone will be looking forward to this event.
First Potting Party
Our first potting party for the 2014 show will be Sunday November 24 from 10AM – 4PM at the Plantings home. That’s the Sunday before Thanksgiving so save the date. More details will be available in the November newsletter.
Annual Show 2014 News
The club is also looking for a Show Chairman for 2014 and three to four committee members to assist with other leadership tasks. If interested, contact Jerry Carpenter or Lynne O’Dell. The show is scheduled for April 26-27 at Lucie Stern Community Center.
Holiday Party Assistance
The club is looking for a chairperson for organizing the December holiday party. Contact Lynne O’Dell to volunteer.
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: November Tasks
October Meeting Recap
by Charlene Fischer
This month we had another of our “Improving Your Tree” workshops. Members brought in their trees and John Planting, Stephanie North and Jerry Carpenter gave feedback on how to improve them. Here’s some of what they said.
Azalea - Don't allow an azalea to flower if the tree is weak. Cut leggy growth back aggressively in late winter - just before the start of the spring burst. Also, if the soil is going to be changed to Kanuma, do this over time and not all at once. If a tree is root bound, do not bare root it when repotting. Instead pot the tree in a slightly larger pot to allow new roots to grow. When a tree is root bound make holes in the soil by pushing a chopstick into the soil so it can get some water down into the soil. Fertilize monthly but only lightly in the winter months. Azaleas are either a Western garden variety or a Satsuki. The garden variety will likely develop buds in the fall and they will be larger sized while the Satsuki buds will develop later and be smaller.
Amur Maple - Trim in the fall and repot in winter. For a group planting ensure the biggest tree in the group is perfectly straight. Then other trees around the primary tree can be angled more. Offset trees in a group so they are all visible and not hidden.
Black Pine - Look for clusters of branches that need to be thinned out. Thin out branches so that only two remain. Wire branches out to allow additional light into the center of the tree. The old, gnarly bark on a black pine is desirable so be careful during thinning and wiring so you don't dislodge or break it off.
When repotting (in spring) you need to determine if the tree hasn’t been repotted in a long time. If that’s the case replace just pie shaped sections of soil around the tree the first time and then replace the other section next time the tree is repotted until eventually you have replaced all the soil.
Ginkgo - Don't trim back in fall, wait for buds to form and then cut back. Instead of wiring the trees, you can use wine corks to separate trees. Ginkgo naturally grow in a straight, broom style. But if you have some shape, work with it and don't try to make it straight.
Hinoki – Unfortunately these trees do not grow well with South Bay water. Wire branches down. A tall tree should have a wider pot. Trim the tiny centers of each frond of the foliage to make a fan or umbrella type of shape on each foliage pad.
Juniper - If the growth is leggy, cut back ends to a branch and try and get more growth towards the center of the tree. Also pinch back tips to encourage growth as well. Junipers are good candidates for jin and shari. You can also use corks and guy wires to move heavy branches into place versus wiring.
Olive - Only cut back to where you see new growth and also where the branch is light green or purplish. If you wait until it is white or grey it is too late and you'll end up with a black mark at the cut spot. In fall, leave branches long because it is too late to cut back severely. Olives can be brought indoors when weather turns under 40 degrees. Continue to fertilize in winter. It is acceptable to incorporate deadwood into the design of the tree. Spray with a non-toxic spray (i.e. Indoor Pharm) before bringing any trees into the house.
Pomegranate - These can be repotted in spring or even through late summer when the leaves are still on the tree. Cut back growth in fall. Remove fruit to allow tree to continue putting energy toward foliage and roots. They will be successful at back budding if you contain the foliage in a more compact form. Pull curly leaves off. There is a tiny bug causing the curl.
Quince - Repot in fall. If the leaves never fall off, then manually remove them and trim tree in late fall. Do a heavy prune before the spring push. Avoid trimming during the hottest part of the year. Thorns have a bud usually hidden right at the base, so just cut back and leave a little bit of the thorn so the bud is not lost. A quince won't heal well from wire marks so watch for wire damage and remove the wire before it digs in.
Spruce - Clean up jin work with a Dremel and use wood hardener. Sort out heavy foliage and remove unneeded. Cut foliage that goes down. Wire the remaining foliage into various pads. Wiring should be done in the fall/winter and removed before the heat of the summer.
Oak - Repot and trim in the summer months before any new burst of growth. If you want to eventually change the angle of the tree in a pot, you can put a block under the pot to tilt it to the angle you want and allow the sun to get to the areas that need light.