The April newsletter was just sent to all subscribers, aptly named ‘April showers, no snow please’ after the the snow showers we had over the past few days. It should disappear by morn!
In this months newsletter we are offering two competitions, one for members offering a selection of Bonsai books and meditation CD’s from Damascus Acoustic Meditations. For non-members we have a great prize if you are a collector of Bonsai books and that is a specially signed copy of one Craig Cousins Bonsai books. To enter see competition page for more details.
A prominent Irish Bonsai collector passed away last September and I have been asked by his family to sell off his collection of over 200 trees. The range of trees is mainly outdoor trees, including a selection of Yamadori. More details to follow in the May newsletter.
Bonsai Activities for April:
Your main focus of activity for April is trimming. As spring has finally started the growth on your Bonsai tree will become elongated and out of form from your preferred design. Trim back the leaf growth and remove unwanted suckers from the base of the tree. The following video will show some pruning techniques as well as showing you how to create a Bonsai from nursery stock.
The subject tree is a Juniper. For more information on Juniper for beginners see the following post.
Winter is a dormant time for your trees, but not for yourself. Their is plenty of planning and maintenance work to be completed.
You will have an exciting year ahead with your trees. So to get this moving you should start by planning how you would like your tree to be styled.
Take a photograph of your tree and sketch over it with tracing paper and modify what changes you plan to make. Visualise the end result. Any pruning or wiring you intend to do must be done in late winter.
Prepare your soil mixtures and pots for repotting. Best to clean your pots with vegetable oil, if you have a tree living in it.
Inspect your tree seeds, especially those that are being stratified.
Maintaining your Indoor (Tropical) Bonsai in the winter.
Light for your tree.
Winter as we all know is a time of low light and giving your tree adequte lighting is a challenge. Their is a temptation to place your tree at a South facing window for good light. This is not a good option as the strong mid-day Sun could scorch the leaves. The best solution is to place your tree on a North or East facing window. Sometimes I use day light bulbs to help give extra light.
Watering you tree.
Less watering is required in the winter months, your indoor tree also has a dormant period. Still use the scratch test.
Humidity for your tree.
Okay it’s -5 outside and the eco heating is on full blast.
Although your plants are tropical they can dry out fairly quickly and being tropical they do need a good rainforest effect. Use a humidity tray as previously mentioned. Get a large flat tray place small pebbles in it, even decorative stones and keep a reservoir of water. Through normal evaporation (and precipitation) this will help keep the moisture level up. You can still mist your leaves. (Great therapy)
Something to try out…
For the Indoor Bonsai novice why not pay a visit to your local garden center and pick out a suitable Indoor tree that could shaped as a Bonsai. The best one to start with is the Ficus microcarpa also known as the ‘Banyan Tree’.
Other suitable trees would be the ‘Dwarf Myrtle’, ‘Jade Plant’ or ‘Heavenly Bamboo’.