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Safe use of lime sulphur

Q: In a previous KAI NEWS I read that one should treat the newly made jin with lime sulphur. I have used lime sulphur before on plants with alarming results. I would therefore like to know what would happen if some got onto the live trunk or leaves?

A: Lime sulphur is a combined fungicide and insecticide for control of scab, curly leaf, mildew, black spot and scale. The recommendation is 1 : 20 as a dormant spray - scabs and scale 1 : 40 at bud movement for curly leaf and mildew and 1 : 100 at young leaf stage. It should not be applied on cool-cloudy days or when temperature reaches over 30 deg C as both weather conditions will cause burning of the leaves and possible tender bark. When treating a jin therefore, great care should be taken not to brush lime sulphur onto living bark or leaves, nor should it come into contact with the soil. Your use of lime sulphur with alarming results would possibly have been caused by either too concentrated a mixture or by having been used at the wrong time or wrong temperature.

A jin should be brushed twice a year in early Spring and Autumn to preserve it from beetle and rotting.

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Random Bonsai Tip

When a tree has reversed taper or a narrowed 'waistline' above the nebari, you could do an airlayering just above the narrow section; or you could damage the cambium layer by either hammering gently with a mallet or by piercing the bark right into the cambium with a sharp object eg. scissors or an awl. You could also make deep incisions along the grain of the bark, where the healing process will cause scarring which would then thicken the trunk.