Category: Bonsai Tips and Techniques

Jack Wikle Bonsai

By David Weiss

Just this past July, I had the chance to travel east through Michigan and discovered there are some great places to go look at some amazing bonsai.  First, I met the President of the West Michigan Bonsai Bonsai Club, Tim Cox, who told me to go visit the Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan whenever I get the chance.  They have a premiere horticulture display garden and sculpture park along with an amazing bonsai display.  The next time I’m in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I will be visiting the gardens.

Next, I headed further east towards Ann Arbor, Michigan where you can see some amazing bonsai on display at the Matthaei Botanical Garden’s.  There you will find 3 miles of hiking trails, an indoor conservatory and great bonsai on display.  The Ann Arbor Bonsai Society also is a great resource to learn more about bonsai in Michigan. 

Portulacaria Afra Study Group

David Weiss In this video six members of the Minnesota Bonsai Society talk about the Portulacaria Afra (elephant plant, dwarf jade, speckboom). The PA Study group talks about if the PA is legit as a bonsai, soil, water, basic care, and resources to many other PA enthusiasts where you can study more about this amazing…

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How to read plants

By Tim Barton, Mono No Aware

In another blog post, I described how we all carry the information from our past with us. What is true is true for everything, and this same principle applies to plants in a very interesting and useful manner. Like everything else I know this information was adapted from others, in this case my primary bonsai teacher, Peter Tea.

Keeping track of your bonsai

General meeting program February 2, 2020 – This meeting presentation was on keeping track of your bonsai. Presenters showed how they keep track of their own trees. Click image to view presentation >>…

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Miralax also for NEEM

The Mullet Wrapper by Terry Davis

Earlier I suggested Miralax as a good way to emulsify Tea Tree Oil, which may be a good all—purpose fungicide/bactericide. Well, Neem oil is also really hard to emulsify, so try that with it at 1tsp/gallon.  If needed, try two. I used a tbsp., and suspect that was overkill, but then Tea Oil is a little easier to emulsify than a hydrocarbon oil. Now Neem is not very much of a pesticide, but it has fungicidal activity, too.  (It has been recommended for pine tree needle blights). There is also an old USDA publication that claimed Neem was effective against borers inside the wood.  Now, next to nothing that you are allowed to use, (like Lindane) will do that.

But one thing Neem does well is to act as an antifeedant: it keeps bugs off, for quite a while.  A friend was having trouble with gall wasps on ficus, and this may be a solution.  It works because it smells like garlic-breath.  So those who recommend you spray it and wash it off: don’t. An don’t use it indoors if you want to stay married.

Building My Bonsai Cold Frame In Minnesota

By Celina Blandford

My first year starting bonsai, winter care seemed the most intimidating aspect of keeping trees in Minnesota. 

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Unless you only keep tropicals, outdoor winter protection for your trees is a necessary part of caring for bonsai in Minnesota. My first year of bonsai I stored my tree with Lionel Flood (he offers this great service, for the winter, but I knew I had to build a cold frame if I wanted to expand my collection. I toured a lot of members cold frames at the member tour and got a lot of great tips from experienced members. I hope this article helps and you find that winter care isn’t scary or intimidating at all.