Central Virginia Bonsai Society
below from the October 30, 2017 , CVBS Newsletter
ADAMS’ BONSAI HAPPENINGS> Wire removal from the more finished Zuisho has kept me busy lately. Strong apical growth and severe bending in the tops has started to bury much of the wire. Fortunately, the scars seem to disappear or add character to the Zuisho branches. The main threat is ripping away cambium if the wire is removed carelessly. Jeremiah has been a great help with this task. No damage was done and all the oldest Zuisho are now ready for winter.
As many of you know, I am finding it hard to continue the pace of production at Adams’ Bonsai. Things are slowing down gradually. No new plants are being put in the ground for trunk development. Many of the larger and more developed trees, especially Zuisho, are being offered for sale. I am no longer actively selling bonsai tools. I do still have a few Yoshiaki wire/jin pliers for sale. These are indispensable when wiring in tight quarters or on heavy branches. Writing articles and teaching continue whenever possible. In fact, I am scheduling teaching road trips into October of 2018. Several are booked and several are in negotiations.
Copper is at the highest price in several years. Until now I have been able to hold prices at the 20% surcharge level. If the COMEX price goes much higher, I’ll have to adjust to compensate. in spite of the prices, copper training wire is becoming much more popular. Part of the increase in demand is due to the higher level of quality spreading through north American bonsai. Part of it is due to an increased interest in the bonsai hobby in general. This is good for business but requires more and more time to keep the supply sufficient to meet demand.
For a reason unknown, the yield of Zuisho rooted cuttings from the summer of 2015 was unusually good. I had about 60 of them suitable for sale this September when they were finally settled enough for shipping. To bring order to the distribution and shipping I started taking reservations on August 1. Most were shipped out in late September and a customer called today and bought the last five. The cuttings have gone to the west coast, middle America, several northern states, and into the southern Appalachian Mountains. With a little luck, the production and enjoyment of Zuisho will continue in the US after I get too old to keep propagating.
To my surprise, it appears that there will be a few successful Zuisho air layers this year. Roots appeared very late but they have popped out on several limbs and are lengthening with enthusiasm. It appears that at least half of the attempts will have a chance for survival,
SEASONAL THOUGHTS> Much of one’s success in growing plants (including bonsai) is rooted in learning to think like a plant. Our trees do different things at different seasons and have correspondingly different needs by seasons. As the days shorten and temperatures cool, the bonsai will naturally prepare for dormancy…..unless we treat them inappropriately. An example of inappropriate treatment is continuing heavy feeding as the first frost approaches. Even if the conditions are screaming “go dormant”, it will be almost impossible for a tree to stop growing if an overabundance of food and water is provided by the owner. At this time of year, a growing plant is a freeze vulnerable plant. Many seem to think that I have the brain of a plant. Perhaps this is so but I do know that when summer ends, the extra encouragement to grow must also end. Put the fertilizer away and think of other useful things to do. Late summer is a time when trees seem to add lots of wood to the limbs and twigs. At this time, bonsai which were wired in late winter often are ready to have that wire removed to prevent scarring. It hurts to take off the wire that requires much effort to apply but it is better to take it off a bit early than to leave it too long and have long lasting scars to remind one of being negligent.
A little pruning here and there can make a big improvement in the neatness of many deciduous bonsai. Dead twigs on evergreens are easy to see now and should be removed.
Army worms/sawfly larvae seem to be around recently. They are particularly attracted to two needle pines. They are a fast growing menace if left untreated. They appear as a multitude of small worms clustered together. They grow larger rapidly as they eat the needles from the tips toward the attach points. Left untreated, they are quite capable of defoliating a large pine bonsai. Most mild insecticides are very effective if they are sprayed directly on the worms.