July Meeting

July 18th @ 7:00PM

Boxwoods Workshop - Larry White from Midori Bonsai Club will share his expertise and knowledge of boxwoods and demonstrate how a boxwood tree can be styled as an oak tree.

Larry has practiced the art of bonsai for over 20 years. He took his first bonsai classes from Johnny Uchida and joined Midori Bonsai Club in 1994. He has taken many Master level workshops and has given numerous bonsai demonstrations and presentations. Over the years, he has found that he likes junipers (especially Procumbens Junipers), oaks, redwoods, cypress and boxwoods. Larry enjoys urban collecting of bonsai material. His current collection consists of about 75% collected trees.

Larry will first discuss the proper collecting methods for boxwoods and then demonstrate styling techniques using two trees that will be included in the benefit drawing. He will also bring several trees from his personal collection to show how the demonstrated techniques mature over time.

Larry’s other interests include designing and creating custom gold leaf glass signs. You can see some of his work at http://www.walljewelry.com

As always, if you can arrive early to help with table setup that would be greatly appreciated

Club News


GSBF Convention Logo

Kusamura will sponsor one of our members paid full registration to attend the upcoming convention in Sacramento, October 30 through November 2. Headliners this year are Peter Tea, Kathy Shaner and David De Groot.

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); convention logo pin and a goody bag.

There are also several workshops and seminars that are additional cost, and not covered by our sponsorship - but you are allowed to be a silent observer in all workshops.

You'll also receive a 1-year complimentary subscription to Golden Statements Magazine. Check out www.gsbfconvention.org for more details and contact Jerry Carpenter to apply for sponsorship.

You will be responsible for transportation and hotel expenses.

East Bay Bonsai Society’s Annual Auction

Wednesday, July 9th at 7:30pm (preview opens at 7:00pm) to get your hands on loads of bonsai trees, pots, tools, and accessories. Minimum bid amount - $10. Sellers are welcome to auction their items too (20% percentage of sold item proceeds donated to EBBS).

The event will be held at the Lakeside Garden Center, located at 666 Bellevue Ave. Oakland, CA. 94610

Sei Boku Bonsai Styling Competition

On Wednesday, June 25 Jerry Carpenter, David Muir, and Richard Phillips represented Kusamura at Sei Boku Bonsai Kai’s recent styling competition. Midori also sent a team, making it a three-way competition. Three very lucky winners took home the trees. Ironically a member from each club won a tree. Great job guys!

Here are a few photos from that event.

Getting started What do we have to work with? Big wire!
More big wire! It looks better a bit shorter Creating a new leader
Fine wiring Finished! Discussing the tree's transformation
Winner of the tree    

Photos by Donna Farmer

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: July Tasks

June Meeting Recap

by Karen Greenstadt

The attendance was great with members bringing in a large number of pines to participate in the workshop. Lonnie McCormick began the program by showing us a black pine he won in the club raffle last month. Lonnie used this tree to demonstrate the steps he was taking to create a healthy bonsai – styling, fertilizing, repotting and general care. Lonnie distributed a couple of informative articles on pines, one of which is available here - Black Pine Basics.

Members were encouraged to bring in trees to get specific advice on how to improve their trees. Here are some of the things Lonnie talked about.

Pines are top dominant. That means they grow more vigorously at the top than the bottom of the tree but we want the growth on top and bottom to be of similar size. Two important techniques to accomplish this are needle thinning and cutting candles. The Black Pine article on our website discusses these techniques but Lonnie had some additional hints.

Needle Thinning

You should have removed excess needles, aka needle thinning, between December and February but if you missed that window you can still do it now. We remove excess needles so that sunlight gets to the branches and cause additional buds to pop.

One member brought in a Cork Bark Pine approx. 60 years old. This allowed Lonnie to talk about the importance of always cutting needles on this variety. The rationale is that cork bark pines have a thin cambium layer and is easily damaged when pulling needles.

Cutting needles may be a good idea even for regular black pines. That’s because it is often easier, esp. if the needles are thick. And, it reduces the chance that you will accidentally remove any buds hidden inside the sheath.

Root over Rock Maple
Cutting Needles

Also, be careful about how you handle the branches as you pull needles. New buds may be on the branches, but they’ll be very small bumps. You don’t want to accidentally remove them by being too rough. That’s why we recommend not to wire branches at this time of the year but to wait until fall when the buds have grown larger and less likely to be knocked off.

When removing needles consider using long tweezers to reach inside the tree. The best tweezers have serrated edges at the tip to grip the needles tightly. They will get gummed up with sap, so use alcohol occasionally to clean them. Jerry recommends Novo Surgical Dressing Forceps, 8” (available from Amazon).

Removing Candles

Now is the time to cut candles. The candles should be fully open but the candle still green. As you remove candles you need to think about the future shape you want your tree. You don’t have to cut all of the candles off a tree.

Other Hints

Lonnie’s basic fertilizer choice is Apex - 1 tablespoon per tree. Lonnie uses a 14.14.14 product made by Best which is similar to Apex but is a slow release. Osmocote is good but now is not a good time to apply fresh Osmocote because it will release too much fertilizer at temperatures above 90 degrees. Add more fertilizer at the end of August.

Black and Mugo pines love the sun, although when it gets very hot they need to be moved into afternoon shade. White Pines grow in cooler climates and so need afternoon shade. Watch wired trees in the hot sun and hot weather. The wires can get so hot that it will burn the cambium layer.

When cutting off a branch leave 1/2” stub. You will likely get some die back and leaving a stub means that it is less likely that a part of the tree you want to keep will die back. In a few months you can remove the stub.

Remove any cones as soon as you see them as they take energy from the tree. But note that they may indicate that the tree may be root bound and is trying to reproduce.

To help members identify the different pine varieties John Planting assembled a table display. John recommends styling a pine in winter when the tree is dormant. But if your pine is already leggy you should cut candles and style it now because the tree will continue to grow leggy.

To promote trunk growth without putting it in the ground, pot your tree in an oversized pot and fertilize in concentric circles around the tree gradually moving out to the edge. Roots will grow toward the fertilizer. When the roots get larger, the base of the trunk gets larger. To save a root bound tree, put it in an oversized pot. But DON'T disturb the roots at this time.

For new and seasoned members alike, the Pine Workshop gave us some new insights or validated concepts already known. It was a great teaching opportunity and a great program. Thank you to Lonnie for his presentation and to John for his pine species display.