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  • The Bonsai News of H ouston A Monthly Newsletter of the Houston Bonsai Society Inc.

    Blooming cherry trees symbolize human life, transience and nobleness.

    The next meeting of the Houston Bonsai Society will be at the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion in Hermann Park, off of Hermann Park Drive, Houston, TX 77030. Refreshments at 7 PM, meeting starts at 7:30 PM.

    Wednesday, April 6th, HBS Annual Club Auction: This is our annual fundraiser, so please bring your donations and your checkbook. What a great way to economically pick up a new project or two! No credit cards accepted. REMEMBER – YOU MUST BE CURRENT ON YOUR DUES FOR 2016 TO PARTICIPATE. There are two kinds of auctions: 1. A Live Auction of trees, pots, books, tools, etc. that are donated. (HBS receives all of these proceeds). 2. A Silent Auction of better trees, pots, etc. The Silent Auction has a minimum starting bid of $100. (The proceeds will be split 20% to the HBS and 80% to the owner).

    Upcoming Events April 2, Shohin Society of Texas - Saikei by Stephen Hendricks. See ad for details.

    April 9, Saturday Study Group at Timeless Tress, Rosenberg, TX. 9 AM – 12 Noon. Free, refreshments provided.

    April 8-9, 17th Annual Southwest Louisiana Garden Conference & Expo 2016 at Burton Coliseum from 9-5. Set-up will be on Thursday, April 7 starting about noon. April 15-18 Kathy Shaner Seminar in Buda, near Austin. See ad for details.

    Friday, April 22, LSBF Texas Tour Speaker/Artist Rodney Clemons, 6PM – 9PM, at The Tracy Gee Community Center, 3599 Westcenter Drive, Houston, TX 77042.

    Saturday, April 23, Rodney Clemons BYOT workshops, Morning session 8AM- 11AM; Afternoon session 12 Noon – 3 PM, ($30 per session or $50 for both) at the Judson Robinson Community Center - 2020 Hermann Drive, Houston, TX 77004. See Pete Parker or Terry Dubois to sign up.

    Volume 45 Number 4 April 2016


    Upcoming Events HBS Annual


    Showcase of the Month

    Flowering Bonsai

    April Bonsai Care

    John Miller

    President’s Letter

    LSBF Texas Tour 2016 Artist

    Rodney Clemons

    Kathy Shaner Seminar

  • Spring bonsai colors

    April Bonsai Care

    Do the math! Bonsai is a study in mathematics. You start with triangles in the design of individual trees and forest plantings. You use the golden rectangle or Fibonacci series to proportion the tree and pot. Powers of two show you the multiplication of twigs with proper trimming. Fortunately, you do not need to be a math whiz to do good bonsai, just follow the rules and it will look good, without you having to know why.

    Most trees will do well in the full sun at this time of year. However, if you have had them in partial shade, be mindful when moving them directly to full sun. They need to be acclimated gradually. Too much wind will cause the leaves to burn. Some damages may not show up until hot weather.

    Repotting for most hardy bonsai has ended. Very late budding species like oaks may still be repotted, depending on your local climate. I would also repot dwarf yaupon and olive now. It’s still too early for the tropicals. They should usually be held until the night temps are in no danger of going below 60. Now is time for trimming, feeding, trimming, checking for insects, trimming, shows, trimming… You get the idea. Trimming (which is pinching, plucking or whatever of new growth) is the process that both develops refinement on your tree but is also vital to keeping their desired shape. Pruning is not cutting branches, which should not be done when there is a strong sap flow that starts when the tree breaks dormancy. That flow continues until after the leaves harden or even later. A good organic program takes care of both the feeding and the insect problems. I recommend a mixture of 1 tablespoon each of fish emulsion, molasses, liquid kelp and apple cider vinegar to a gallon of water. (A commercial product called Garret Juice, which is to be used the same way, uses compost tea, dried seaweed, water, molasses and vinegar. As a fertilizer, this should work the same but I don’t know about the dried seaweed versus liquid kelp as an insecticide.) I use the mixture both as a foliar spray and as a soil drench fertilizer. As a weekly foliar spray, it keeps aphids and mites under control as well as any other insect I’ve had. The prime requirement is to cover the entire plant, top and bottom of the leaves with a fine mist sprayer (no hose end stuff). I try to drench soil twice a month partly because I don’t think the plants can absorb all the minor elements they need through their foliage. Fungal diseases can show up with damp weather. Leaf spot can be serious on Catlin and Chinese elms, and on hollies. Mildew will show up later with warmer weather. Check out commercially available organic fungicides, potassium bicarbonate or baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) at organic nurseries or in bonsai publications ads. A 1% solution of hydrogen peroxide (dilute the standard 3% store bought stuff with 2 parts water to each part of peroxide) is also recommended but it may injure new foliage. Be sure to check your soil each day for proper water content. It is easy to assume that the soil has plenty of water when the days are cool or there has been some rain. It’s also too easy for a tree with full leaves to shed water outside of the pot or a good sun and low humidity after a front to dry the soil. I suggest that you remove most of the moss, so that you can see and feel the soil in order to determine how dry it is. Caution: Moss growing on the trunk or roots will cause the bark to rot. An automatic watering system will be an aid but you should not

  • rely on it to replace hand watering which allows you to adjust the watering for each tree individually. Also most automatic systems use a drip system which only waters a small spot in shallow containers. If you have early blooming azaleas, remove some of the buds. Most azaleas have way too many buds to look good, or for each flower to have space to open fully. Varieties that bloom on newly growing tips (like crepe myrtle) can grow out of shape quickly. You may have to prune a bit hard during dormancy and then let them grow out when blooming. Normally the best fertilizer to use is cakes made of organic material. They should be spread around the soil surface so the plants get a bit of food each time you water. April weather can vary from freezes to a hot sun that may heat up your pots. Be observant and take necessary measures. And last but surely as important as the rest if you want to learn bonsai, get to the LSBF 2016 Convention - Bonsai: Living Art, hosted by the Corpus Christi Bonsai Society at the Emerald Beach Hotel, 1102 S. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi, TX 78401 from October 13 to16. For more information, go to John Miller John Miller, who writes a monthly column for the Bonsai Society of Dallas and Fort Worth Bonsai Society, has agreed to share his column with us. We need to make adjustments for our warmer and damper climate, with earlier springs, longer summers, late fall and erratic winters.

    600 variations of Cherry blossoms frame Mount Fuji in the Spring.

    A few shades of the signature Sakura blossoms of Japan

    President’s Letter

    Spring is arriving tooooo quick! Our brief warm winter and early spring are great for many things. However, there is never enough time to get everything repotted. Everything is leafing out earlier than normal. I wanted to get so much more accomplished.

    The April meeting will be a big change from the past. We will hold our Annual Club Auction at the April Meeting on April 6th. This is our annual fundraiser that helps pay for the activities, speakers, supplies, website, that we provide.

    We generally have two types of auctions: 1. The main live auction is for donated

    trees, plants, pots, books, tools, and anything else you want to donate. All the proceeds go to the Houston Bonsai Society.

    2. A separate Silent Auction: The material should be worth $100 or more. These should be much nicer trees and pots. Minimum bid will be $100. The highest bid will take the item. The proceeds will be split 20% to the Houston Bonsai Society, and 80% to the individual club member.

  • You must be a paid up member to bid on items, or to place a tree in the silent auction.

    The club will provide the bidding paddles.

    We just had another great class with Pedro Morales. He has taught many people in our area how to think outside the pot and make slabs and Kuramas for bonsai. His classes on deadwood, phoenix grafts and prosthesis are the only ones I know of in the U.S. Many more people have learned his great new techniques. I can’t wait to see their new creations.

    Rodney Clemons will be coming in April as the LSBF Texas Tour speaker. He will have a lecture/demo on Friday evening, April 22nd from 6 PM -9M, at the Tracy Gee Community Center - 3599 Westcenter Drive, Houston, Texas 77042.

    Rodney will have two bring-your-own-tree workshops on Saturday, April 23rd, 8 AM – 11 AM, and 12 Noon – 3 PM, at the Judson Robinson Community Center, 2020 He