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Club Meeting April 2015

by Dorothy Franz

Trevor opened the meeting by welcoming guests and reminding the members of upcoming events.

Yvonne's tip to improving one's tree is to look at the branch structure which is best done by the taking of black & white photographs where there is no colour or flowers to interfere with the image.

Jan-Jurie in his slot extreme makeover brought along a Chinese juniper he had been working on since May2014 and by a series of illustrations walked us through the progress he had made and explained what he intended to do in future.

Trevor in Bonsai Basics explained that the 5 basic bonsai styles all had their origin in nature. He then went on to point out the characteristics of each of these styles. He ended by quoting John Naka "Bonsai should look like a tree and not a tree look like a Bonsai"

Viky's, the judge, for the evening brought up three trees from the tables all with a different nebari pointing out how important the nebari is in Bonsai design.

The main talk given by Terry was on Pines. This species seemed the most daunting one to bonsai growers and although lovely to work with it is not the easiest species. He gave and overview of Black, Red and White pine and explained the different methods used in Japan.

The Japanese like a powerful trunk and interesting bark texture which comes with maturity. He explained that pines prefer a dry mix as a water retentive mix produces coiling roots. The growth after repotting is strong. One should never remove more than a third of the root mass and the tree should be secured in the pot to prevent the finer roots from being damaged.

At great length he explained how and when de-candling should be done and the effect of this.

One should feed well before this procedure and the very weakly after one month. Organic fertilizers should be used to ensure that the mycorrhiza is not affected. Needle plucking allows the inner buds to live and distributes the energy of the tree. He suggested that old needles should all be pulled out in Autumn to allow the tips of the branches a place in the sun. Pines prefer a deeper pot.

There were many questions from the members. A most enjoyable and informative evening.

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Haiku

Pools in the rocks

Softly tinted russet red and brown

Autumn is near

Random Bonsai Tip

If surface roots are unequally spread around the trunk or if they are lacking completely you can drill holes and insert match sticks or make deep scars around the base of the trunk on the side where the roots are needed below soil level. Apply hormone powder and sphagnum moss; cover with plastic and keep moist. Leave for 6 months to 1 year for the roots to develop.