October 2017 Newsletter
Richmond Bonsai Society 2016 – 2018 Officers
President: Ron Edwards Vice President: Jon Warkentin Treasurer: Jack Frye Secretary: Thomas Sones
Board Members At Large: Betty Lou Lages
Regular Meetings, unless otherwise noted, are held the 4th Monday of every month at 7 pm in the Community Room at St. Mary’s Woods, 1257 Marywood Ln., Richmond VA, 23229.
Bonsai information, common questions and answers, monthly growing advice, and bonsai links can be found here.
RBS 2017 dues are $25 per person or $30 per family, which includes PBA membership. Checks should be made out to RBS and can be paid at a meeting or mailed to our treasurer (email us for address).
In this issue…
Secretary’s Message by Thomas Sones
It has been a great year for trees. We had an early warm spring, a mild, wet summer, and this recent lingering heat has given my trees extra time to grow and set buds for next year. Some have even put on late flushes of fresh leaves. For black pines whose shoots were cut off in the summer, this type of weather gives them plenty of time to develop that second flush. For most of my trees, fall colors haven’t even started to set in yet. That being said, I am anxious for my gingkos, who’s buds swell in the fall more than other trees. This year, they may swell too much. Once before, they had advanced so far that they were damaged by the deep freezes of winter, so I may need to protect them extra this winter. None the less, I am looking forward to their bright yellow leaves, which then, all drop on the same day.
One word of caution: as temperatures cool, don’t be lulled into complacency. You trees can still dry out and need watering. As we prepare for winter, keep in mind that there are monthly tips on our web page and members active on our Facebook page are helpful too.
The RBS board is working on a lineup of events for next year so watch for updates and don’t miss out. Just as a forewarning, we have decided to participate in the Arts in the Park Show the first weekend of May as a way to attract members. We will also be vending starter trees to pay for the booth and will need member help preparing them to sell. Also in May at our annual picnic, we will be electing new officers for the following 2 year terms and will need members to volunteer for those positions. Lastly, we have decided on upgrades to our website to enable on-line payments. We intend to use this as a primary method for paying for membership, workshops and other events. While there is a cost associated that will need to be passed on, this will greatly reduce the work load of the Treasurer.
Calendar of Bonsai Events:
Richmond Bonsai Society Events
Oct. 23 Regular Meeting BYOT Workshop and Yard Sale, 7 pm
Oct. 28 Nursery Crawl: A Wise Gardener Nursery, 1 pm
Nov. 27 Regular Meeting: Wiring Workshop, 7 pm
Dec. 10 Annual Holiday Celebration, 5 pm
Dec. 2-3 Winter Silhouette Exhibit, Kannapolis, NC www.winterbonsai.net
Recent Activity Reports
September Meeting: Ponderosa Pine Lecture and Demo with Chris Schmuck
Chris, past president of the Peninsula Bonsai Society did a demonstration and lecture about Ponderosa Pines.
RBS Annual Fall Bonsai Show
Once again, The Great Big Green House hosted a Fall Bonsai Show on September 30 and October 1st. Members exhibited their favorite trees, did demonstrations and lectures, and gave advice to anyone interested in Bonsai. We met lots of new people interested in bonsai and hope that they will join us again.
Andy Smith Workshop
The Potomac Bonsai Association brough in Andy Smith of Golden Arrow Bonsai for a member workshops on October 6th. Andy is well known for collecting and designing conifers, especially old ponderosa pines.
Upcoming Event Details
October Meeting: BYOT Workshop and Member Yard Sale. Monday, October 23, 2017. 7 pm. St. Mary’s Woods’s Community Room. Now is the time of year to do any minor pruning in preparation for winter. It is also a good time to wire or carve on your trees. It’s also a great time to clean out things that you don’t want or need, so members are invited to bring trees that they want to work on, as well as needed tools and other materials to work on them. In addition, members can set up a “Yard Sale” table and try to move bonsai trees, pots, or other related things that they no longer want or can store for winter.
Nursery Crawl: A Wise Gardener Nursery. Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. 1 pm. John Wise of A Wise Gardener has invited to visit his nursery. He has a section of ornamental and native plants and trees in various sizes. A Wise Gardener is located on the 300 block of Bland Street, 2 blocks off of Forest Hill Avenue behind Crossroad’s Coffee near Forest Hill Park.
November Meeting: BYOT Wiring and Carving workshop. Monday, November 27, 2017. 7 pm. St. Mary’s Woods’s Community Room. We will have demonstrations on wiring and carving and members should bring trees that they need to work on, as well as tools and other needed materials.
Holiday Dinner Party: Sunday, December 10th. 5 pm. Maldini’s Restaurant, Forest Hill Ave. More details to follow.
Article: Thinking of winter already. By Thomas Sones
I’ve learned to prepare for winter early. You may think it’s just the start of autumn and there’s months to go before the first freeze, but for me, it’s never too early to think about winter. Most importantly, there are things that you need to do long before your plants even start into dormancy. Second, you never know when a cold snap will hit, so it’s better to be prepared now than have to scramble and make mistakes that could damage your trees.
Repotting. While it’s not generally advised to repot this time of year, you may have a tree in a pot that’s too small to protect the roots or too delicate of a pot for winter storage. Get that plant carefully into a new pot now before its too cold for the roots to recover any damage done.
Pruning. I have a lot of trees that I let grow out this season. On some trees, it was just a particular branch. However, I’ve found that these trees may be too big or have limbs of a really awkward length for easy winter storage. Get them pruned early so that there is time to recover and heal before dormancy. I learned the hard way that if you trim trees too late in the year, especially maples, you will get hard die-back and nasty scars. I always trim my maples before the 1st of October. Actually, some suggest that autumn is the ideal time to prune maples since they won’t bleed sap this time of year, thus reducing stress on the trees.
On your junipers and other evergreens, you may need to open up the tree a bit to let in some sunlight, but be careful not to trim off too much green since it’s won’t re-grow until spring. Also, consider the structure and strength of the tree. You may need to prune the canopy a bit so that heavy snows don’t break the limbs.
Storage: There are many different ways to store your trees for winter. I have great success mulching them into my raised beds or building some shelter around the larger ones to protect he pots and roots from the wind. Just keep in mind that an early cold snap could leave you scrambling for materials to protect them with, so have a plan and purchase materials early.
Spraying: Many people spray their plants for pests before they go into winter storage, but some treatment cannot be applied once the temperature gets too low. Investigate treatments now, check the application parameters, and have a plan.
Tropical trees: They don’t like the temperature tango (in and out, in and out) any more than we enjoy dancing it. Don’t wait until the temperature outside to get to the lowest tolerable point to move them inside for the winter. This is a sure way to shock them, especially those ficus trees. Move your tropical trees when the temperature, humidity, and light inside your home is about the same as it is outside. When you have the windows open, enjoying the nice weather is an ideal time. This will guarantee a smooth transition and avoid the shock and leaf loss from the relocation.
Marking trees: Since I basically bury my trees in much, it can be difficult to find trees that I want to wire during the winter, show at the February exhibition, or that need to be repotted late winter and early spring. No matter what method you use for winter storage, make sure that you can locate those trees that you will want to pull out before winter is over. I use some gift wrapping ribbon or colored tape tied to the top most limbs, and position them together so that I can find them. I use different colors for the February show, trees to wire, and for early repotting.
Photos. While waiting for leave to drop gives you the best view of the tree structure and that year’s growth or other changes, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out in the cold and wind, placing my trees into winter storage, and trying to snap a decent photo in the cold December light. Get you trees documented early while the light is good and you have time to set up a good shot.
So while some people say that spring is the busiest season for bonsai enthusiasts, there sure is a lot to do before winter hits. It never really slows down, does it?
Other Announcements and information
Donate a Book or Magazine: RBS maintains a lending library available to members. The lending selection includes many magazines, books, and some videos. If you have books or magazines that you no longer enjoy, please donate them to the club.
PBA mailing list – PBA is compiling an email list to make communications more streamlined. Sign up here.
Mixed Bonsai Soil -regular and shohin soil (fine) 5 gal bags. Call Lee (804-869-1257) to place a special order.
Pumice (as a planting medium). Randi has pumice in two sizes, 3/8 and 5/16. Both sizes are priced the same, a 79 pound bag is $93 otherwise the pumice is sold at $1.25 per pound. Contact her for orders. firstname.lastname@example.org
Notice: RBS mails printed newsletters upon request. We encourage members to update their member records and switch to electronic versions of the newsletter when possible. If you receive a printed version, but would prefer electronic, please inform the club secretary or reply to this mailing.
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