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  • Writer's pictureDavid Meyer

Where Did My Rain Go?

Where did my rain go? I heard from Gabe and Frank V. that they were underwater, and all that I’ve had are drips. At my house, I’ve measured just under 1” since June 1 – lots of nice sprinkles, but no rain! Well, maybe tomorrow? I have to admit that I enjoyed 4” of rain in April—an event! Our thirsty bonsai and desert plants benefit from the high dewpoint and humidity, while we sweat in the shade! I predict that we will have “isolated showers” into November this year. Hopefully; better late than never. As our Equinox signals shorter days, with a shift in the attitude of the sun, we will begin to experience cooler nights and mornings, even in August, as we approach Labor Day.

Time to check those wires and cut the tight spirals (not unwinding) to avoid scarring. If necessary, we will re-wire in October, winding in the opposite direction. Let’s stay with our summer N-P-K, with lower nitrogen, until mid-September (stay tuned, more in my next blog). Our nights are still hot for the most part (except for you lucky people who had a rain last night), and our little, and some not so little, trees need their beauty sleep.

I’m repotting bougainvillea, natal plum, ficus, etc. to take advantage of the humid conditions, and they respond right away with new growth, as they enjoy being outfitted with new jammies. Don’t forget to drench your bonsai with some white vinegar (save the good stuff for salads) to provide some acidity to your potting mix, and loosen up some of the crud resulting from our frequent watering. One or two tablespoons to a gallon of water should do the trick; just marinate in a tub for about 20 minutes or so. While in the tub (your tree, not you), use an old toothbrush (an electric is not necessary) with some stronger vinegar to clean that calcium crud off your visible roots – good housekeeping to prepare your favorite tree for our Spring Bonsai Expo! Always check for bugs, and scale likes shade – that summer oil will usually take care of that pest, or use a q-tip with alcohol (rubbing alcohol, not the good stuff for drinking) to wipe them out. Often, scale is white in color, but sometimes brown, which blends in with the bark, and is color coordinated.

Don’t miss our program this Sunday; visitors are always welcome! Pres. Rod will conduct a review and critique of evergreen and deciduous specimens, with a view toward showing your tree as a Tier 1 or Tier 2 (not yet ready for prime time) tree. As always, you’re welcome to contribute your two cents worth, as we want to know what you’re thinking! We need to start now, within the next 2 or 3 months, to develop and refine our favorite trees – share them with Tucson! Don’t forget to buy tickets for our raffle!

Finally, our Bonsai Basics class winds up this month as we repot boxwoods, and I’ll be bringing in unglazed pots for this event. Late August, I have found, is a good time to pot boxwood, just ahead of our cooler nights, usually commencing around mid-September, for promoting good root response.

Lastly, have you considered going to the Golden States convention in October? A day trip to Riverside, a great program with good workshops, the convention hall filled with vendors, good food, great demos and lectures, meeting new friends – did I miss anything?

I did. Your attendance.

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