Mohawk Hudson Bonsai Society

Dedicated to the art of bonsai

Fall Bonsai Chores

Indoors

As leaves drop from semi hardy deciduous trees, wait an extra week or two and then put them in the greenhouse if you have one. Leaves from tropicals (already in the greenhouse) will fall and must be cleaned up immediately. Set out bait for slugs and mice to prevent winter problems. No fertilizing is done in the greenhouse now.

If you have a light room, prepare it for your tropicals and semi-tropicals. Water trees frequently. Many features of a light room include a fan to circulate air and a humidifier to provide moisture. Plastic sheeting can help humidity levels stay higher.

Light can be provided by LEDs or flourescents (grow lights), and reflective foil will increase light. Metal halide lights give intense light but also throw off a good deal of heat which some trees may not like, and they also use a great deal of electricity.

Outdoors

Leaves are falling and temperatures drop. Prepare the winter storage area. A secure place out of the wind for hardy trees (perhaps with some sphagnum or similar to protect roots), and a cold area (above freezing) for frost-sensitive species, like a garage or breezeway. Winter temperatures between 34 and 40 degrees are ideal for many trees.

Stop fertilizing. This is the month to start major work in pines. Pines may be potted but waiting until early spring is best.

Outdoor trees which are frozen require no water, but above freezing do not let them go dry. Cover with snow or ice cubes which melt above freezing.

Indoor hibernating trees require less water than in the growing season, but don’t let them dry out completely.

Coming Out of Winter Hibernation

As Spring approaches and trees awaken, here are some March tips from Pauline:

March Indoors
Temperatures in the greenhouse are very warm. Night temperatures may be increased by a few degrees to match the increasing daytime temperatures and decrease temperature shock for the plants. Be sure to vent excess heat. (During late winter much of our house heating comes from my attached greenhouse venting into our basement and spreading throughout the house.)
Everything is growing. Fertilizing is definitely on a regular basis. All indoor repotting is complete. Tropicals must wait until their summer “dormancy” period for repotting.
Many trees are flowering in the greenhouse. I do not fertilize while a bonsai is in flower. As the flowers fade, the trees are pruned and repotted as needed and fertilizer is restarted. (Note: Do not fertilize trees after a heavy root pruning. Instead use a root stimulant hormone and a transplanting fluid when you transplant.) Flowering trees are always given superphosphate in addition to their regular fertilizer to promote flowers and fruits.

March Outdoors
This is the month of indecision in the Northeast. Some years I have been able to bring all trees out of storage, other years we are still in winter. The key word is watchfulness. I use my yard plants as a guide. As I see bud swell in the yard, I bring out the trees. But many a year, has seen me gathering trees with tender buds in my garden cart and wheeling them into the garage for protection during an unexpected cold snap. If the trees go onto the yard stands, repotting starts and does not end until all trees are examined and transplanted as needed. Wait until after flowering on appropriate trees. If the weather is not cooperative– wait! Super hardy trees like larches are out on the benches. (Remember I never put them into closed in storage but rested them under the old trees of a spruce grove out of the wind.)

Upcoming Events

April 23-24, MHBS will host Kathy Shaner, fresh from MABS Spring Festival. It’s a great time to follow up with Kathy if you plan on going to this MABS event. More MHBS events to come as they are confirmed.

Tony Tickle Returns

Tony (not a James Bond villain) with Olive.

One of our favorite Brits, Tony Tickle, returns to MHBS via Satellite on Sunday, November 21, with an interactive presentation on developing Yamadori into exhibition quality bonsai. The presentation will be featured on the large screen TV at PFM Bonsai at 1:00 pm, and also via Zoom for club members, followed by Q&A with Tony. Tony is a renowned collector and exhibitor, so don’t miss this one. As always, guests at PFM Bonsai in West Charlton, NY, are welcome.

The annual MHBS Bonsai Show returns to the Albany Center Gallery, September 25-26, at 488 Broadway in Albany. The show will display bonsai trees in all stages of development. Come see these delightful small trees and chat with bonsai club members, Saturday from 12 noon to 5pm and Sunday from 12 noon to 4pm. All are welcome and admission is FREE. If you enjoy bonsai trees, maybe even thought about acquiring some of your own, this show is a great opportunity to learn more.

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Coming Up at MHBS

Some upcoming events at MHBS.

MARCH 28: YEW TREE WORKSHOP AND DEMO WITH DAVID HODGETTS
APRIL 28: FOREST WORKSHOP
MAY 22-23: DEMO & WORKSHOPS WITH MARK ARPAG PLUS SPECIAL SALES FROM KRIS SPRINGER AND SOME USA POTTERS
JUNE 26-27: AIR LAYERING WORKSHOP WITH FRANK MIHALIC
JULY 25: ELEMENTS OF DISPLAY WITH JEFF AND DAVID
AUGUST 29: COLLECTING RIVER ROCKS
SEPTEMBER: CLUB SHOW
NOVEMBER 28: ONLINE PRESENTATION WITH TONY TICKLE

MHBS Update

COVID and facemasks, high taxes, winter. What’s not to like? While MHBS gets ready to resume meetings sometime soon, we are wintering our trees, wiring, and keeping our tools sharp. Will post updates on the status of previously announced 2021 workshops and activities as soon as we have them.

MHBS Upcoming Events

Flu or no flu, MHBS is still kicking. In October, the club will tackle pottery making to create unique containers for bonsai. Contact Pauline to sign up for the workshop at (518) 882-1039. Other upcoming events include demos, pot exchanges and visits (real or virtual) from masters like Mark Arpag, Frank Mihalic, Kathy Shaner and Tony Tickle.

Mark Arpag Workshop June 27

MHBS welcomes Mark Arpag to run a bring-your-own workshop at pfm bonsai in West Charlton on on Saturday, June 27. Mark is a frequent guest, known for working with many species of bonsai and especially cedar. The workshop hours are 9am to 4pm and it is limited to eight people so register soon by calling 518-882-1039. The workshop fee is $50.

Social distancing will be observed so this workshop will be held outdoors. Don’t forget to bring a mask and sunscreen, as well as your tools and trees. The nursery is open if you need a tree or two.

2020 Happenings

2020-logo2The events are tentative but MHBS members have these things and guests to look for in 2020:

  • Tree insect pests and diseases
  • Finding the tree within with Martin Schmalenberg
  • Forest and root over rock plantings
  • Kathy Shaner and bonsai display
  • Air layering and shohin with Frank Mihalic
  • Jim Doyle and pines
  • A Mark Arpag workshop
  • Rock collecting in the river
  • Turntable building
  • Pottery making
  • Choosing the right pot for your bonsai
  • And don’t forget the 2020 US National Exhibition

It’s going to be a great 2020. Enjoy your holidays and a Happy New Year!

Jim Doyle Does Pines

Dsc_5924v1Coming in November: Pines with Jim Doyle Jim Doyle will spend the weekend of November 23-24 teaching us pines. Register now for the Saturday BYO workshop with Jim, 9:00 until done. Bring your lunch. To register, email Pauline at Pauline@pfmbonsai.com.