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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

Sacrifice branches can be used to thicken up the branches or the trunk by taking advantage of the auxins in the terminal bud. A low branch could thus be used to thicken the base of the trunk and so improve the taper.