The next Cascade Bonsai Society meeting is scheduled for March 20 at 7 at Eastwood Baptist Church PM
Click here for directions and map.
NOTE: meeting is in main building library. Use side entrance to church.
Agenda items include:
1- MGF on May 2,3 and 4
If you are planning to enter a plant(s) in the exhibit Jan will need to know the particulars.
Those unable to attend the meeting should get your info to Jan so she can make the signs.
From Dallas Nursery monthly enews and blog
Naka’s March Bonsai Tips courtesy of the John Yoshio Naka Family
Our monthly Bonsai tips are brought to you, by special arrangement, courtesy of the John Yoshio Naka Family. You can find the full year’s guide and a whole lot more in the book Bonsai Techniques I by John Naka. We have both of Mr. Naka’s books, Bonsai Techniques I and Bonsai Techniques II, available for immediate purchase.
Most bonsai begin their growth cycle during this month, and consequently require more care and attention than when they were dormant. Also, like February, March is a month of possible extremes in temperature, and if these occur, extra care is in order.
By now, all bonsai that have been kept in storage or a sheltered place should be brought out in the open where they can receive more sunlight. Especially the deciduous trees which up to now have shown no new sprouts.
If the weather turns unseasonably warm at this time, any tender new growth may become sunburned, and it would be better to place the bonsai in partial shade until the new growth is hardened a bit. However, it should not be kept in the shade too long during this stage or the new growth will become too long and get weak ad spindly. Do not place the bonsai too close to each other on growing bench. Trees should be well spaced so the branches will not touch each other and grow freely.
The general rules of watering apply during this month, but special attention should be given to deciduous bonsai. Most of them will be in a period of extreme growth, and that, in conjunction with the warmer weather, will exhaust the moisture in their pot far more quickly than otherwise would be the case.
It is during these early spring months that one can control the growth of bonsai by the judging and withholding of water. It is risky, however, and one should be quite familiar with each bonsai before trying this method. After the tree has been allowed to dry just enough to wither the tips of the new sprouts, put in a shady place, and do not water the soil. In the evening give the foliage a light overhead sprinkling with a mist spray. The following morning the soil may be watered as usual. Over watering this month can cause dead branches and twigs in the summer.
Trimming & Pruning
The flowering and fruiting bonsai will be in bloom by now. After 80% of the buds have blossomed, remove all flowers and remaining buds from the branches of any flowering tree. This will prevent the tree from dissipating too much of its strength in blooms. Do the same with any fruiting trees, except a few blossoms may be left on to form fruit for decorative purposes. The berries may be left on.
Any long sprouts which have destroyed the planned bonsai shape should be cut back now by leaving two or three buds if they are firm and strong. Premature pruning of these will only cause them to die.
March is still too early to fertilize with usual nitrogenous fertilizers. If the past months have be scanty rainfall, the soil in the pots will probably be quite alkaline from salts built up after so much tap water. This now can be neutralized by such additives as soil sulphur and iron tone. Those bonsai, among whose characteristics is vivid autumn leaf color ( maple, ginkgo, oak, elm, sumac), should also be given these additives. Alkaline soil tends to lessen the colors in the leaves of the trees. If the rainfall caused more acid soil, apply wood-ash or gypsum lime to sweeten it.
Generally the period between March and June is the best time to transplant, replant or change soil. Of course, no two species are alike, not for that matter are any two individuals of the same species, but a good rule of thumb to follow is: change the soil or transplant a little late than too early on most deciduous trees as well as pine, juniper, and cypress. It is better to wait until later before disturbing roots on cedar, spruce, hemlock, fir, larch, yew and podocarpus. Transplanting from one pot to another is generally done for aesthetic reasons, but soil changing is necessary for the health of a bonsai. Rapidly growing deciduous bonsai should have its soil changed annually. Very fast growers like willow and tamarix may need it twice a year, once in late spring and again in late summer. The slower growing conifers and evergreens may not need their soil changed more that three or five years.
However, the best indicator of a need for soil change is not time, but the condition of the bonsai. A vigorous, healthy bonsai does not need its soil changed and should not be disturbed. Soil changing invariably brings about new problems in the culture of a particular bonsai. New shoots appear which may spoilt a planned shape; growth stimulation from the new soil may result in over long needles or too large leaves; an aged looking trunk may even lose it appearance of antiquity. It is best to change soil when it is required for the health of the bonsai.
Still a good time for cuttings, especially any large branches of plum, pomegranate and willow.
This is the best time to start grafting deciduous trees.
Root Pruning: Don’t wait until the last minute.
The delay won’t kill you, but certainly could damage your Bonsai.
If you haven’t already done your root pruning for the year…. then, by all means do it right now! However, If you don’t need it then don’t do it just as a ritual. We spent a day last week root pruning our Bonsai and it took nearly 3 hours to do 6 large Bonsai in our collection. It’s a task of love. For by doing this you will keep your Bonsai with a fresh, new and youthful root system that will carry it through for a few years to come. Normally, the tropical Bonsai like ficus and snow rose will need root pruning more often than the temperate climate Bonsai like junipers and maples.
Why? It’s a matter of the length of their growing season. Temperate climate Bonsai have a rest period in which they do not grow where tropical Bonsai have two periods of growth (which means they grow all the time) in their native situations: a dry season and a wet season. Still, both are growing seasons.
Depending on the size of the pot you may need to root prune your tropical Bonsai from every year to every three years. Temperate Bonsai need root pruning every three to five years. We normally remove about 1/3 of the root mass and remove any roots that don’t appear to be helping the Bonsai.as for instance – dead roots or roots that have just grown so big or so long as to be growing out of the holes of its pot.
The new Cascade Bonsai Society website was created to serve as a resource for sharing our passion for bonsai. We encourage you to send in your comments, tips, great links, photos or anything else bonsai related.