Art's Hobbit Home

Healthy or Vigorous?? - post from Bonsai Tonight by Jonas Dupuich​    "One of the more important distinctions to make when evaluating bonsai is whether or not a tree is ready to be worked on.  Weak trees need to regain strength and sick trees need to regain health before any major work is done. This goes for detail wiring, heavy bending or major cutback. Repotting is an exception as it may be necessary to repot a tree to help it regain its health.   If you’re looking to do major work, making sure that the tree is growing vigorously will help it recover from the stresses of wiring or foliage reduction...."  Read more here at the Bonsai Tonight website

Thrips​ ​An annoying and damaging pest affecting mainly Ficus Benjamin but there are many varieties of thrips that affect both landscape plants and crops. Our bonsai are affected by Cuban Laural Thrips: Gynaikothrips ficorum,  and the Weeping Fig (Benjamina) Thrips: Gynaikothrips uzel.  Unfortunately when trying to go "green" and use only environmentally friendly pesticides, thrips cause us to get out the toxic kinds such as Bayer's®. To avoid toxic chemicals, cut off the affected leaves to control the population and watch for further infestation.  Another type of thrip that is a concern for us is the Chili Thrip: Scirtothrips dorsals which will affect, among others, Schefflera arboricola, Pyracantha angustifolia (firethorn), Acer (Maple), Podocarpus, and Tamarind.  For an in-depth article on Weeping Fig Thrips Read MoreFor an article on Chili Thrips, Read More here

Slime Mold by Marty Mann, ​from an article in the Lake Charles Bonsai Society Newsletter, May 2016: A formation of a dark jelly-like mass which spreads over the surface of your potted material or in the dark depths of your nursery stock is a most disconcerting mess. This is called slime mold and is actually a tiny, plant-like parasite which reproduces by forming mold spores.... Read More

Using Fungicides to Control Bonsai Diseases by Nina Shishkoff, PhD: an article from the Lake Charles Bonsai Society Newsletter May 2016: Although it s nice to control pests organically, it isn't always possible. Pesticides used properly are safe and effective. However, if used improperly they can make you sick or damage your bonsai. Here are a few suggestions for their safe use. Read More

PEST MANAGEMENT A Compilation of Information by Carolyn Carver, Jupiter Bonsai Nursery: an article from the Lake Charles Bonsai Society Newsletter May 2016: includes A Brief History of Pesticides, 7 Principles of IPM (Integrated Pest Management), Common Insect Pests, How Insects Injure Plants: Mouth Parts, and MORE

Hibiscus Bonsai: How to take advantage of a bonsai that flowers throughout the year (in the south) Read More

​Azalea Bonsai: "In the world of bonsai, there are few things more beautiful than an Azalea bonsai in full bloom. No other plant can boast a floral display to equal that of a healthy Azalea.  There are, however, a few simple secrets that will allow just about anyone who is interested to grow a beautiful Azalea bonsai."  Read More

How do I make my Bonsai Tree Thicker?: There are several techniques, depending on the variety of tree, growing in the ground or large pots, sacrifice branches, tourniquet, splitting the trunk, scarring....Read More

Reducing Florescence Size:  The most beautiful aspect of the crape myrtle plant, for the most part, is its gorgeous flowers.  Granted, the growth habit of many of the crape myrtles is particularly appealing, and the development of roots and nebari make for a very interesting display as well.  What a shame, then, that we have not been able to make the florescences, or flower masses, work for the creation of an even better bonsai - until recently.  Read more about Florescence from Clif Pottberg.

A good bonsai matrix/soil: It’s interesting to me how complicated people make the subject of creating a beneficial soil for bonsai, or for any plant in a pot for that matter. It’s not hard to do, but it must start with the right concepts.  Actually, since a good potting soil is such a specialized product, it would rightfully be called a “potting matrix” for there is often no natural soil involved in it.  Let’s start at the beginning. We’ll use the term “soil” since it is the term most people are acquainted with, no matter what the particles are composed of.                              Read more from Clif Pottberg: Soil Matrix Part 1    Soil Matrix Part 2   Soil Matrix Part 3​                                                        For a .pdf of these soil articles: Soil Matrix Parts 1 & 2,  Soil Matrix Part 3

​Trunk Lean: There are a number of bonsai rules which have been handed down to us to help us create the look of the real tree....  we often create thicker and more tapered trunks than you would likely see in every tree. Then there is the old Japanese rule that a bonsai should be bowing, welcoming us in. In other words it must be leaning towards us.  Read more about Trunk Lean from Clif Pottberg

Sea Grape Leaf Reduction (from Bonsai Today Issue 77, Stone Lantern,
In the spring, set the sea grape in full sun.  Water it well and give it a full strength application of liquid more

Heat, high temperature damage
When the temperature rises, our trees need to be protected from the hot sun.  We must consider water and root problems and other stresses during times of high more and more

Transpiration: ​Transpiration is the process by which moisture is carried through plants from roots to small pores on the underside of leaves, where it changes to vapor and is released to the atmosphere. Transpiration is essentially evaporation of water from plant leaves. Transpiration also includes a process called guttation, which is the loss of water in liquid form from the uninjured leaf or stem of the plant, principally through water stomata.... How much water to plants transpire?  Atmospheric factors affecting transpiration.... read more

A "Will" for our Bonsai
Some thoughts and options by Thomas L. Zane for your bonsai collection once you are no longer able to care for them... don't assume your relatives will know what to do with your trees, make specific request that if you should become ill a predetermined person should be called so that your trees do not suffer.  Specify in your will what you want done with your trees. 

Presentations by BBS Members over the years  (to be added)
Read about Bonsai Display and photography, Moss-Jin-Shari, Penjing, and more (to be added)

Before and After
A series of pictures of  "THE CLOUD a ficus nerifolia by Joe Samuels"

Read the story of Joe Samuels and his famous tree:
A Tribute to Joe Samuels
A Ficus Bonsai Story, An American Tropical First

This should be motivation to photograph your bonsai.

The Science of Watering:
what goes on when we water our trees and other potted more

Green Island Ficus: 
Ever wonder about the difference between the rounded and pointed leaves?
Check out this website

Bonsai Notes