What to do this month - Stephen le Roux - April 2019

Submitted by williamdewitt on Fri, 04/05/2019 - 05:50

Autumn appear to be much earlier this year with days already cooling down with occasional rain. But beware of warm days. Watch the watering of your trees.

The growth is slowing down with some trees already showing autumn colors and others already bare. Trees like smooth bark elms, wisteria and white stinkwoods, that were not defoliated, are already losing their leaves.

Keep feeding your trees to build up strength for the next season. Some olives will show a lot of new growth. Feed them to speed up their development.

Keep track of pests as they are active this time of the year.

Check wire on your trees. Trees are putting down a lot of wood on their trunks and branches and can cause wire bite on your trees. If wired branches haven’t set yet and tend to move back to the original position, then wire the branch again but in the opposite direction.

This is an important time in keeping track of the development of your junipers (apex growth). New growth on pines should have hardened by now. You can start feeding your pines to build up strength for the winter.

Keep weeds under control. Use snapshot to stop seeds from germinating.

Remove Azalea flowers as soon as they start to fade. Do not prune Azaleas and Coleonema alba. New flowers are developing and pruning them now will remove the new flower buds.

Do not prune your deciduous trees now until it’s time for winter pruning. Pruning them now will force the trees to start developing new buds. These buds will not harden off before winter and will probably die in winter. The tree will also spend a lot of energy on developing these buds – energy that the tree will needed to go through the winter.

Also look out for signs of Thrip on your Wild Olives. On the first sign of marks on the Olive leafs spray your trees. Look for white fly on the underside of the leafs of Olives. Spray your olives with a preventative spray for root rot.

Start shopping around for new potential bonsai stock.   Most of the trees in nurseries already stopped developing and are only putting down hard wood, increasing their trunks. Shop around to be first to find the best stock.

Also start looking around for good compost and other ingredients for your soil mixtures so that in winter you know where to find the best soil for your soil mix.

Junipers development slowed down and you can now work on styling your junipers and bending thick branches. Make use of raffia to bend branches. Make sure you apply the raffia tight around the branch before bending them. Several tools are available to bend big branches. If you are not sure how to do it ask one of the bonsai nurseries or senior members of clubs.

Now is the time to enjoy your trees, work on deadwood, treat deadwood with lime sulfur, clean pots and display your trees for all visitors and friends to ‘Ooo! and Aaa!’, but mostly for you to enjoy the years hard work.

Scratch around on the internet, books and fellow bonsai nuts’ collections and plan new ideas and bonsai for the next season. Go around and see what style you like (forest/cascade/leaning trunk/etc) and set yourself a challenge to create the bonsai that you always wanted. Then do some research on the particular subject (tree/style/method/etc.) and start looking for some stock to fit your design.

And while you’re at it, visiting other’s bonsai, surfing the net, try to be nice. Too many bonsai growers’ only remarks towards other person’s bonsai are usually negative. Try to say something nice – even if your remark is that the pot is nice.

Also visit our face book page at ‘Stone lantern bonsai nursery’ for more articles, photos and events.  Please feel free to make suggestions on how to improve the page and what you would to know more about.