CategoriesUncategorized

Bonsai Things to do in Cape Town – June 2021

What to do in June 2021

June is the start of a very busy period for bonsai, with many time sensitive activities:

·      Clean and disinfect your benches.

·      Remove dead leaves from pots and under benches as they encourage re-infestation of Summer’s pests, put down bait for slugs and snails.

·      Check that drainage holes are clear and that your pot is draining properly if not angle it on a wooden block making sure it is secure, and then correct the problem in Spring.

·      Spray Lime Sulphur twice, at weekly intervals, 35ml per 1litre, cover unglazed pots I don’t spray my evergreens as some people do, because I don’t like the awful colouring the lime sulphur tends to leave on the trees. I prefer to use Rosecare, Seizer + Eco Oil, Koinor or Plant Care.

·      If you develop Black Algae on your soil surface Copper Oxychloride WP works well without killing the moss.

·      Don’t let moss get anywhere near acacia, pine or cork bark elm trunks.

·      Time to shoot select and needle pluck multi flush pines and embark on a feeding program to build them up before candle pruning in December. Adelgids and mites seem very prevalent. I use the chemicals mentioned above in point 4.

·      Time to reassess the design of your deciduous bonsai, transition your branches from thick too thin to give you better taper, remove unnecessary growth, wire carefully.

·      Dead head azaleas (once the flowers have died remove them).

·      Check watering, Bonsai are extremely sensitive to drought and cold.

·      Potting time is soon here so gather all you may need and prepare your soil mixture.

CategoriesHow to Care for Bonsai

How to Care for your Bonsai

How to care for your Bonsai

Years of loving care have gone into creating a bonsai. With a few minutes of daily attention, it will develop, improve and give you a great deal of pleasure for many years.

If you have acquired a healthy and well-established bonsai, there are six golden rules for maintaining it.

POSITION 

OUTDOORS

  • Bonsai areeasier to care for if kept outdoors and they do better outside.
  • The tree should receive 3 to 4 hours of morning sun.
  • Bonsai may be brought indoors in the evenings or for a few days in order to display them.  If returning them outdoors after a few days inside, put them in the shade initially.

INDOORS

  • Wild figs, brush cherry, Chinese snow rose are some of those making good indoor bonsai.
  • Bonsai need to be placed where they receive direct sunlight but not against the window, allow 30 centimeters from the glass. Afternoon sun can be very hot, watch that your bonsai does not burn.
  • Keep an eye out for pests as they are susceptible due to lack of air movement. 

WATERING  

Incorrect watering is the commonest cause of the demise of bonsai. Good sound common sense is needed. Trees should not remain bone dry for longer than 8 hours, equally well, soil should not remain sodden. 

OUTDOORS

  • In summer daily watering is required.
  • Trees must be thoroughly watered and water should be allowed to run out of the drainage holes. 
  • Occasionally trees may be dunked in deep water for a few minutes.
  • In the winter rainfall region: Trees do not use as much water in winter as in summer.  If there is no rain, water 2 or 3 times per week.  

INDOORS

  • Water 3 to 4 times per week depending on the temperature of the room.
  • Create a humid environment by placing the bonsai pot on a tray filled with pebbles, water running through the drainage holes will dissipate between pebbles and create humidity. N.B. On no account should the pot stand in water for any length of time. 
  • Keep foliage dust free with hose or mist spray.     

FERTILISING

  • Feed deciduous trees once a month in growing season with Hortisol, take a break in mid-winter for a few months.
  • Fertilize evergreen trees once a month throughout the year.
  • Flowering and fruiting trees; August to June once a month with Hortisol or 3:1:5.
  • Follow instructions on package carefully in order not to damage bonsai. Do not fertilise ailing trees.  The dilution ratio for Hortisol is on the wrap around label on the bottle which you need to peel off.

DISEASE AND PEST CONTROL

PRUNING

  • Due to the fact that you are supplying the tree with all its requirements viz. light, water and fertilizer it will periodically grow and this new growth should be trimmed to keep the tree in pleasing shape. 
  • Bonsai continue to grow and should improve for the first few hundred years of their lives. 
  • An important aspect of their development is the formation of a fine network of small branchlets. This is called ramification. In order to achieve this ramification, the soft new growth needs to be frequently nipped back. Through this nipping back of the tips of branchlets the development of new and maybe, even extra little branchlets are encouraged. 
  • Due to this process reduction of leaf size will also occur. On a number of species of trees, the first leaf on a new branchlet is smaller than the subsequent ones, therefore, that if the branchlet is cut off after this little leaf, subsequent leaves will be even smaller.
  • The top of the tree (apex) and the end of branches grow faster than others. If these ends are not continuously controlled by nipping or pruning there will be thicker branches at the top than at the bottom of the tree, instead of the other way around which would be correct. It is vitally important that the top of the tree is meticulously controlled and maintained. In addition, the upper branch networks should be thinned out and/or removed to prevent lower branches being deprived of light, a lack of which will cause them to weaken. 
  • Branches that emerge from the trunk of the tree are called primary branches. Those that emerge from the primary branches are secondary branches, those that emerge from the secondary branches are tertiary – the entire structure is referred to as the branch network. 
  • When branch networks are viewed from above, they should conform – broadly speaking to the overall shape of the tree when it is viewed from the front. This means that those secondary branches nearer the trunk should be longer than those at the end of the primary branch – they should be progressively shorter.
  • As a rough guide, branches growing directly upwards or downwards should be wired laterally or radically shortened. Generally, there should be spaces between branch networks. See the section in our manual; CREATE YOUR OWN BONSAI by Lionel Théron, which refers to branch placement and shapes of branch networks (pages 26 – 29).  The manual is available for purchase in the nursery. 

RE-POTTING

When you purchase your tree from us you are given a care sheet with a repotting date, the time of year for repotting is limited to certain seasons or months, so if you miss your approximate time you need to wait until the following year. Bonsai should be repotted every 2-3 years but not necessarily into a bigger pot.

CategoriesWhat to do monthly

Bonsai things to do in Cape Town in May

MAY  

MonthMean Rainfall mmRel.  Humidity %Daily Sun­shine HrsTemp. Max CelciusTemp. Min Celcius
May76,7806,3209,5
POSITION Some showers and cooler weather are on the way. Some bonsai may have to be moved into sunnier spots or shade cloth may have to be removed.
WATERINGAs usual watering needs to be watched, especially if the weather is cool and overcast but no rain has actually fallen.
FERTILISINGThis is the last opportunity for feeding as with lower temperatures and shorter days plants do not take up much in the way of nutrients.
DISEASE CONTROLMany pests are going into hibernation but snails and slugs are active.
PRUNINGDo not prune deciduous plants as stimulating growth is undesirable in winter, plants need a rest period.
POTTINGToo late for autumn potting and too early for deciduous trees. 
REMARKSA balmy month as a rule and the last chance to mix soil in reasonably dry conditions. Mosses are starting to appear remember to leave small pieces when collecting so that regeneration takes place.  
CategoriesWhat to do monthly

Bonsai things to do in Cape Town in April

APRIL  
Month Mean Rainfall mm Rel.  Humidity % Daily Sun­shine Hrs Temp. Max Celcius Temp. Min Celcius
April 55,5 76 7,8 22,8 11,8
POSITION  Early autumn and a delightful time of year and some showers may be expected. The sun is no longer so fierce and days are getting shorter.
WATERING Bonsai tend to dry out and watering is still a priority.
FERTILISING Fertilising has to be done diligently if bonsai are to thrive and also to promote autumn colours.
DISEASE CONTROL Pests are active and control is necessary.
PRUNING Maintenance pruning may be done this month.
POTTING Nearly all evergreens can be safely potted at this time of the year with post potting recovery usually good.
REMARKS As the days get shorter and the weather is milder it is a lovely time to be in the garden.