Club Meeting November 2012

by Dorothy Franz

Terry welcomed all members and guests and after a few housekeeping announcements the meeting opened with Trevor's very informative talk on mites.

He pointed out that mites differed from insects. Insects belonged to the family of spiders. Plant mites are very small and sometimes difficult to spot. One way is to put a sheet of white paper under a branch, then tap the branch and see what falls out. If anything moves you have mites. They suck the sap form leaves, are active during warm weather and often hide on the underside of the leaf. Although there are natural predators e.g. lady birds etc. control is still necessary. This is best done with oil based insecticides. Spraying needs to be repeated after about 10 days to ensure that all eggs have been killed.

Jan-jurie followed with suggestion on how to look after ones trees during holidays. One method is to dunk trees and bring them indoors where temperatures are more controlled. This works well if one is going away for a couple of days. If going on holiday for a longer period, one can teach a reliable person to water one's trees, one can rely on a tested sprinkle system or alternatively take one's trees to one of our professional bonsai nurseries.

As the judge for the evening, Rudi chose a delightful tree belonging to Viky and a well- designed tree form Johan Lotz.

Terry then presented a history of his fig. He felt the fig still needed to fill out. He showed us a very small pot in which the tree was first planted. Soon after, he planted it in a much bigger pot giving it plenty of bounce back.

By a series of pictures he showed us the progress of the tree through the years. Terry encouraged members to take photographs of their trees yearly. This gives one inspiration. He pointed out that if one wishes to use a rock, one should have the final picture in mind so that the correct sized rock is chosen. He recommended fertilizing well in autumn and winter pruning.

Carl gave the main talk on figs. He referred members to Mr. Cheng's website. He had found a great deal of information especially on the Taiwanese Fig (ficus mycrocarpa). He noted that figs grown too quickly can develop very coarse growth. Growing figs more gradually encouraged the development of side branches and seemed to curb the loss of branches and weakening the apex.

By using the computer he showed how he had taken a picture of his fig and then superimposed all the different lines of the tree. This enabled him to identify which lines he wished to keep in his design and which needed to be discarded.

His demo tree was chosen because of the dynamic tensions within the tree which he found exciting especially the exposed root. He eliminated the unwanted branches and then placed the others in the correct position. His aim was to achieve an open design. He pointed out that it was generally accepted that one did not have to seal cuts on figs. Hennie suggested that sealing large cuts helped healing. Carl then offered several possible pot choices. Finally he settled on a light brown Chinese pot with elegant feet.


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Rolling on and on

those distant mountains captured

for ever on a stone... ~ Doug Hall

Random Bonsai Tip

If your trunk lacks taper split the base of the trunk from below and plug the ends open with a piece of wood or a small stone.