What to do this month

What to do In April

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What to do In April

It looks like Autumn is on its way with days already cooling down with occasional rain.  But beware of warm days.  Watch the watering of your trees.

The growth is slowing down with some bonsai already showing autumn colors and others already bare.  Trees like smooth bark elms, wisteria and white stinkwoods, that were not defoliated, are already losing their leaves.

Pruning

Do not prune your deciduous trees now until it is time for winter pruning.  Pruning them now will force the trees to start developing new buds.  These buds will not harden off before winter and will probably die in winter.  The tree will also spend a lot of energy on developing these buds – energy that the tree will needed to go through the winter.

Fertilizing

New growth on pines should have hardened by now.  You can start feeding your pines from middle of April to build up strength for the winter.

Keep feeding your trees to build up strength for the next season.  Some olives will show a lot of new growth.  Feed them to speed up their development.

Slow-release fertilizers can be used together with fertilizer baskets to keep the bonsai tidy.

There are 2 types of slow-release fertilizers:

Go Organic – It comes in tablet form and is compressed guano.  It lasts for 6 weeks.  It gives of a smell and we do not recommend it for indoors.

Bonsai Boost – comes in a teabag and is an organic fertilizer.  Can also be fitted into baskets or placed directly on the ground.  Can also smell after a while.

Repotting

Do not repot anything now.

Also start looking around for good compost and other ingredients for your soil mixtures so that in winter you know where to find the best soil for your soil mix.

Pests and diseases

Look out for signs of Thrip on your Wild Olives.  On the first sign of marks on the Olive leaves spray your trees.  Look for white fly on the underside of the leaves of Olives.  Spray your olives with a preventative spray for root rot.

White fly – seen under the leaves and leave a sticky residue. –  Treat with Rosecare, plantcare or Koinor.

Aphids – green insects seen under leaves and leave a sticky residue. –  Treat with Rosecare, plantcare or Koinor.

Thrips – Seen on olives as small white marks on the leaves. –  Treat with Koinor.

Styling and design

Check wire on your trees.  Trees are putting down a lot of wood on their trunks and branches and can cause wire bite on your trees.  If wired branches have not set yet and tend to move back to the original position, then wire the branch again but apply the wire in the opposite direction.

Juniper’s development slowed down and you can now work on styling your junipers and bending thick branches. 

Make use of raffia to bend branches.  Make sure you apply the raffia tight around the branch before bending them.  Several tools are available to bend big branches.  If you are not sure how to do it ask one of the bonsai nurseries or senior members of clubs.

General maintenance

Keep weeds under control.

Remove Azalea flowers as soon as they start to fade.  Do not prune Azaleas and Coleonema alba.  New flowers are developing and pruning them now will remove the new flower buds.

When leaves on your Boabab will soon start to turn yellow it’s time to stop watering it and keep it dry till late spring early summer.  Only start watering again when the first leaves appear.

This is an important time in keeping track of the development of your junipers (apex growth).

Now is the time to enjoy your trees, work on deadwood, treat deadwood with lime sulfur, clean pots and display your trees for all visitors and friends to ‘Ooo! and Aaa!’, but mostly for you to enjoy the years hard work. 

Start shopping around for new potential bonsai stock.   Most of the trees in nurseries already stopped developing and are only putting down hard wood, increasing their trunks.  Shop around to be first to find the best stock. 

Scratch around on the internet, books and fellow bonsai nuts’ collections and plan new ideas and bonsai for the next season.  Go around and see what style you like (forest/cascade/leaning trunk/etc.) and set yourself a challenge to create the bonsai that you always wanted.  Then do some research on the subject (tree/style/method/etc.) and start looking for some stock to fit your design.

And while you are at it, visiting other’s bonsai, surfing the net, try to be nice. 

Too many bonsai growers’ only remarks towards other person’s bonsai are usually negative.  Try to say something nice – even if your remark is that the pot is nice.

Stephen

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