Welcome to the Bonsai4me December Newsletter!
We’ve hit one of my favourite times in the bonsai calendar, the dropping of the leaves from our deciduous trees here in the UK.
Now is the time to get to see the structure of our deciduous bonsai and to take advantage of this period to prune and wire them in anticipation of next Spring.
If you really want to up your game, increase ramification and the general quality of your bonsai, it’s fairly important to prune them now.
Here in the uk, we have relatively mild winters that rarely drop below -5C and it is not necessary to worry about trees that have been worked on during this period, just don’t do any pruning or wiring while the soil is actually frozen.
My Acer palmatum/Japanese Maple bonsai in its winter guise after autumn pruning. Now in development from a cutting for 19 years, . It stands at 86cm in height.
Almost every primary and secondary branch has been wired and de-wired at least once, but now the tree carries no wire and is just clipped-and-grown!
The full story of its development from a skinny cutting, being field-grown and then developed in various pots since 2007 is covered in depth in my book Bonsai Inspirations 2, of which there are still copies available. The purpose built bonsai pot is by Victor Harris of Erin Pottery
I will be displaying this bonsai at the Swindon Winter Image Show on Sunday 11th February 2024
BioChar and adventitious rootgrowth.
This growing season I’ve been using a surface dressing of BioChar from ProBio Carbon along with the surface dressing of fine akadama that I like to apply for deciduous trees. The purpose being to keep the soil surface from drying out in the sun and encouraging adventitious rootgrowth in those upper levels of the soil structure.
As well as its already appreciated values as a soil component that encourages a healthy biosphere and keeps the soil sweet, BioChar holds a relatively high amount of moisture despite still being fast-draining. This has led to some very strong and healthy moss growing the soil surface of even my most thirsty trees, and during the late Summer into the autumn, adventitious root growth along the soil surface in the area of the nebari was particularly evident!
Personally I think this effect will go a long way to encouraging strong lateral root growth in our trees, as well as reducing watering requirements during the summer, without a reduction in the fast draining qualities we require in our bonsai soils.
Although I won’t be selling general bonsai soils this Winter/Spring, we are stocking plenty of BioChar in large 15kg bags as well as small .5kg bags.
BioChar can be applied to all bonsai soil mixes upto 5% by volume, or raked-in to the soil surface of the those trees not being repotted.
Top quality BioChar from ProBio Carbon can be purchased here at the Bonsai4me.com/store
|Prunus domestica subsp. insititia/Damson bonsai after Autumn pruning. This super strong tree has been in development for just 4 years including 2 spent thickening a new leader. Damson are closely related to the Blackthorn and are much under-rated as bonsai. Bonsai pot by Thor Holvila.
|UK Bonsai Association (UKBA)
UK Events Diary for December 2023-onwards
Things really slow down during the Winter but I have included a few of the late Winter/early Spring events here as well. Just to whet your appetite!
Ayrshire Bonsai Club Winter Image Show
Alloway Village Hall, 36a Alloway,
Ayrshire. KA7 4PY.
Adm: Free. Times:1330-1700.hrs
Contact: Jeff Banning 07799.477895
20Jan24 Sat (Confirmed)
Middlesex Bonsai Society Winter Show
South Harrow Methodist Church,
Walton Avenue, South Harrow,
Middlesex. HA2 8QU.
Adm: Free. Times:1000-1300.hrs.
Ctc: Mark Moreland 07850.771201
04Feb24 Sun (Confirmed)
Twickenham Bonsai Club Show
Percy Road, Whitton,
Twickenham, Middlesex. TW2 6JW.
Adm: tba. Times:1000-1600.hrs
Contact: Tony Ulatowski 07956.362743
11Feb24 Sun (Confirmed)
Swindon Bonsai Society Winter Image Show
Grange Leisure Centre, Grange Drive,
Stratton St Margaret, Swindon, Wiltshire. SN3 4JY.
Adm: £5. Times: 1000-1600.hrs.
Contact: Paul Bowerbank 07982.401103
17&18Feb24 Sat & Sun (Confirmed)
Limburghal cv, jaarbeurslaan 6, B-3600 Genk, Belgium
25Feb24 Sun (Confirmed)
Doncaster Bonsai Experience
& The Spring Bonsai Exhibition
Markham Grange Nursery,
Longlands Lane, Brodsworth,
Doncaster, South Yorkshire. DN5 7XB.
Adm: Free. Times: 0900-1500.hrs
Contact: John Skill 07818.110978
The Slug’, a Ulmus minor/English elm bonsai, collected by apprentice Sean Stolp, and in development since in 2018.
Featured in Bonsai Focus magazine last year, the bonsai pot is by German bonsai potter Roman Husmann Bonsai Pots
Please forward the Newsletter to fellow enthusiasts and club members. They can also subscribe for themselves via the Form on the Bonsai4me.com homepage.
Enjoy the Autumn!