Category Archives: bonsai projects

Bonsai bugs!

shutterstock_31707127Bonsai trees are very delicate and are susceptible to decay, disease, damage, and infestations by pests. Lack of proper care is one of the top reasons for these problems, and if your tree gets into trouble you will need to know how to treat the tree without damaging it.

Some of the problems that you may come across include spider mites, scale insects, mealy bugs, aphids, green fly, black fly, and gall aphid. There are also several different types of moths that can attack a bonsai tree. They include the goat moth, leopard moth, geometer moth, and ermine moths.

You will want to watch the leaves of your plant, spider mites and greenhouse mites attack the bottom of the leaves that will leave marks, holes and discoloration as signs that they are present. You may also notice webs on the tree, as there are some types of pests that will leave webs as an indication of infestation. You will need to treat the tree at the first sign of infestation. Spray the foliage, especially the undersides, with insecticides, mild symptoms can be handled with acaricides. You will want to use a variety of acaricides to keep the pest from adapting to the chemical. Red mites and spider mites will also attack the needles of evergreen trees and will need to be treated immediately. With evergreen trees, check the cracks in the bark for eggs, this is the mites preferred location for laying eggs.

The needles of evergreen trees will turn a brownish color when they are infested. Caution is needed though, be aware that evergreen needles will turn this color naturally during its’ winter dormancy period. Look for the webs that the mites leave as an indicator also. If your bonsai is evergreen or deciduous you can wait until warm weather and do further treatment by removing, and destroying the affected branches, and foliage.

Another sign of infestation that you can check is the leaves for the eggs. Most pests will attach their eggs to the bottoms of the leaves, and these will show up as red spots on the leaf. The eggs can be destroyed with oil-based products, or if the eggs are found on very few leaves, you may just remove and destroy the affected leaves.

Japanese Garden, a short history

Though there is evidence that early Japanese Gardens were created long before the reign of Empress Suiko, circa 592 AD, she is most often credited for popularizing these idyllic retreats. These early gardens already had incorporated the ornamental ponds and the gently rolling landscapes that are still very much a part of modern day garden design.

During the Nara period (646 to 794) trade between China and Japan increased. The Chinese influence began to show up in the gardens of Japan’s elite citizens. The trend was to design gardens that were more suited for parties and social gatherings, rather than quiet places to wander. Some of the Nara period gardens added animals, fish and birds to augment the elaborately arranged flowers, trees and water features.

There was an interest in going back to the more traditional Japanese Garden style during the Heian period (794 to 1185) and a form of design known as Shinden became popular. The Chinese influence was still there, but subdued. Gardens during this period were elegantly laid out according popular myths and legends of the times. As an example, an ancient Chinese belief is that all things pure came from the east, while impurities left the land towards the west. Streams put in a garden during this period had to run east to west.

The Shinden style predominated with little change until the mid Kamakura period (1185 to 1392). At this time Buddhist priests started creating meditation gardens. These were less extravagant and usually favoured evergreens, water and stones, with little seasonal variation.

Gardens got even simpler during the Muromachi and Higashiyama periods (1392 to 1573). Gardens began to be designed using only stones to depict various objects in nature. These meditation gardens, known as Karesansui or dry gardens, can still be seen today either on their own or as part of a larger Japanese Garden display. The tea garden was also introduced during this period, which usually added landscaped pathways leading to a small house specifically designed for the formal tea ceremony.

During the Azuchi-Momoyama periods (1568 to 1600), the tea house and garden became more prominent and later, in the Edo period (1603 to 1867) the tea house was complemented by more elaborate stroll gardens that would offer different landscapes at every turn. Owning a Japanese Garden was still limited to the Royal family and high ranking court officials during this time period.

It was during the Meijii Period (1868 to 1912) and to a greater extent the Showa period (1926 to 1989) that the elegant stroll garden was adopted by the merchants and industrialists that had the means to create and maintain them. The combination of the stroll garden and the minimalist Zen meditative design became a garden art form created and enjoyed by all. This design trend has continued into today’s Heisei period.