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  • Writer's pictureDavid Meyer

Feeling Restricted Like Your Bonsai Trees?

Well, now we know how confined our bonsai feel in a restricted pot, thanks to Covid-19. I think we’re all ready for a transplant into more space and fewer costume effects. Our Board is hoping to put together a meeting in October, at the Women’s Center. Maybe we can call on Pres. Greg to give us an extensive lecture on basics of horticulture and botany, to bring us all up to date for our crazy seasons.

As we approach Labor Day, it seems to me that we’ve had three months of June, with very little monsoonal moisture. Maybe Labor Day will kick off the season we should have had with July 4th? I fully expect more rain this fall and winter, as our seasons in the desert seem to be changing. I’ll be doing my summer potting in September, as we get some cooling down and maybe more moisture. I’ve logged just one inch of rain since June 1. I do hope that 2021 will offer our annual bonsai exhibition (this is the first year since 1972 that we didn’t have one), and Basic Bonsai Classes to follow. Stay tuned!

I bring you two photos of recent bonsai that I have begun to work on; these are not specimen trees, nor are they imported exotics. These are ideal for those starting out, to develop in the coming months and seasons. The bougainvillea was purchased at Home Depot last summer (about $22), trimmed and potted at that time. I did not wire it, just shaped it by pruning. This is a good time to shop for both of these, and both are from 5-gallon can sizes. The crape myrtle was selected at Mesquite Valley Growers, (about $38) in the spring of last year, 2019. It was wired, pruned, and potted in January of this year. Is that a cool pot, or what? I discovered that pot at a California bonsai convention several years ago, and I had never seen a purple bonsai pot, nor did I have a clue what I would ever use it for. It works!

My point here is to show our members what can be done in a very short time, to get a decent result for developing an attractive bonsai. Other good subjects are olive, evergreen myrtle, Texas Ranger, boxwood, and others. I will wait until mid-October to prune and repot my junipers, when daytime highs stay below 100 and nighttime highs stay below 75. They will respond to your due diligence with new growth as you cut back the leggy and often brown summer growth. If you are new to our club, you can get assistance at our mentor tables, available at our next meeting. If you’re repotting a tree, make sure that your potting mix is consistent with that used by our mentors and teachers, containing no fines and good drainage material, such as cinders, pumice, coarse sand, or chat. Of course, we want to observe our rule not to fertilize for at least 30 days after repotting. For established trees, we can now resume with our granular balanced mixes of 10-10-10, 12-12-12, or even 14-14-14, with expected cooling of days and nights in September.

After we have tested and approved vaccines for the Corona virus, followed by widely available distribution of these products, we may return to a “new normal”, whatever that means. We hope to resume our bonsai activities, with limitations on “up close and personal” in our meetings, workshops, and classes. It will mean that your mentor/teacher may not have hands on your tree, as in the past, and that you need to learn more by watching techniques applied, which is the method used by the bonsai masters in Japan.

Due to my respiratory problems and age, I will probably not be attending meetings or programs for the remainder of this year. I continue to welcome your email inquiries and phone calls, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

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