Thank you Elaine for forwarding the Sept. e-news from Dallas Bonsai. At our last meeting members discussed their personal fall fertilizer regimes. Since this article addresses the same topic we’ve posted it here for your reading pleasure.
Here’s a link to the full e-news. Below is an except regarding fall / winter preparation:
Well, it’s that time again – Winter! Old Jack Frost will be blowing all over the US soon.
There are two things you should be thinking right now: location and fertilizer
For outdoor varieties, like deciduous maples, elms, etc. you have 3 options: leave them where they are; bury them, pot and all, in the ground; or move them to the garage or a cold room that is insulated from extremely low temperatures. If you have quality Japanese pots, and you live in a temperate climate, then you can most likely leave them outside where they are. If you expect a lot of snowfall and freezing temperatures, then you can either bury them in the ground pot and all, or bring them inside. By burying them in the ground, you are utilizing the grounds ability to retain heat. The ground will not freeze as fast, or as deep as the soil in an exposed plant in a pot will. Inside a garage is a good alternative for your plants, but there is usually not a lot of light in garages. True, the plants will be in a dormant, to semi-dormant state and will not use a lot of light, but some varieties still track photoperiod, or length of the day to know when to come out and start growing again in spring.
As to fertilizer, you should tattoo this on your arm if you need to because as long as you grow bonsai you must always remember: six (6) weeks before the first frost, you should start giving your bonsai 0-10-10 fertilizer. The low nitrogen helps the plant focus on strengthening the roots during the winter and prepares it for nice quality growth in the spring. This is an absolute must for winterizing regardless of the variety. I do it with tropical’s too because during the winter, the tropical’s aren’t going to be growing much, there isn’t enough light. So all you are essentially trying to do is keep them happy enough so all the leaves don’t fall off. Again, you need humidity to make sure of that.
So remember, start fertilizing your bonsai now with 0-10-10 and prepare a place to move them, or identify what exactly you are going to do with them over the winter. They don’t need much over the winter, just your protection. If you take care of them, they will pay you back in the spring with lush foliage and fantastic growth – for a bonsai. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!