Thursday, May 31, 2007

Jinn and Painting

In detail painting, one often uses different toned colors in a layering fashion. The most obvious example is painters who make ceramic pots look like old and rusty metal pots. The use a dark red all over, then several lighter reds - applied less over the pot then the previous layers as to see the previous layers, then the silver on top of the reds - to make the red look like rust and the pot like metal.
So in jinn, especially on big jinn, why don't we start with some darkened lime sulphur, and finish with the whiter?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lime Sulpher-ing Jinn (deadwood)

I applied lime sulphur today. It didn't smell as much as I remember.
The sulphur kills molds and spores which cause decay in the wood. It also makes the wood unpleasant to insects.
The lime, combined with the the sulphur, kills everything else by corroding proteins.
the lime dries to a nice white color, like old dead branches.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Confusing Fertilizer

People are often mystified by plant food. There are three numbers on all fertilizers, like this 10-10-10. These numbers always stand for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These correlate to leaf growth, root growth and plant health.
If one is diligent with their plant, one can feed one's plant any plant food whatsoever.
However, if one is poor at plant care, even a perfect nutrient mix can weaken or kill a plant.
Fertilizers are made of salts, which dissolve in water. The plant is salty too, usually more so then the nutrient solution. When the salty water touches the salty plant, all the water involved (and the nutrients) go to the saltiest area.
When the plant is salty, then the plant absorbs the water and nutrients.
If one is over feeding one's plants, then there will be an accumulation of unabsorbed salts in the soil. One day this accumulation will result in the water/nutrient solution to be saltier then the plant. In this case the salty water inside the plant will be drawn outside the plant by the salty water/nutrient mix. When this sad thing happens, the plant will dehydrate, even though it is surrounded by water.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Gardening Literature and Sick Plants

This is a rant.
The Otho professional garden problem solver, one of the largest books (and most comprehensive) for solving plant problems, suggests this as a remedy for juniper root rot.
"When replanting area, use plants which are resistant to root rot."
When one is talking about their 20yr juniper that was grown from seed, this answer is utterly useless.
Another fellow, on the internet, discussed a maple disease he called tight bark syndrome. He claims that it is not a well know disease, because people who have infected plants tend to discard them. He argues that as long as people consider maples cheap and easy to replace, then maple diseases will remain common.
These are problems the plant health professionals are not interested in because common tree buyers don't love their plants - they love things about the plants.
We love our plants.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hardiness of Boxwoods

I have reduced a 3 gallon (8" tall, 12" wide) potted boxwood (16" bush diameter) to a 6.5" tree with a dozen leaves, with a 4" round rootball.

It looks great. It seems healthy.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Japanese Maple Seedling and Wire

I wired a two year old Japanese Maple seedling before bud break, back in February. Just a large piece of wire on the trunk, in a sort of S shape. Today I noticed a smidgen of wire biting, so I removed the wire. Where the wire touched the tree, the bark was grey. The tree also sprung back, or didn't take, about 35% of the bend.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Last Budding Tree

It is a birch. I transplanted it into the garden last winter. The bottom branches are budding out, on the top branches the buds are just swollen.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Double Repotting

At the container gardening club display, in Hillside Mall, I asked about container gardening in general. The lady's most interesting claim is that some plants are transplanted into the garden in spring, and out of the garden in fall. This is fine if the plants are healthy.
Of course there is no reason to transplant a bonsai twice in one year. Or is there? When I read about the expo in 1912, where bonsai were introduced to the west, the picture showed a Japanese fella planting out his bonsai trees in a small plot. But because the display was only there over the summer, I assume the FIRST TREES in the WEST were double transplanted.

Oh yea - in the northern cities, people plant out fig trees in spring then dig them up in fall.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Largest Spring Spike in 3 Days

Over the Hillside Mall Bonsai Show weekend, I came home to find a laburnum (gloden chain tree) had grown 12 inches (30 cm) and a sugar maple had grown 10 inches (25 cm). Nothing else had grown larger then 4 inches (10 cm).

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Birch Cuttings

I heared that birch throws out roots as readily as willows. I am putting this to the test. I have taken three birch cuttings larger then two inches. How will they do?
If a willow cutting was taken - and I have heared that one can use up to a six inch piece of wood - and left in a bucket of water, then that cutting will throw roots and survive.
I have treated my birch with cutting hormones and planted them. We shall see.
Oh- I think this will work because both birch and willow are swamp trees, which means that they have a more favorable symbiosis with water then most trees. These trees thrive in wet, wet conditions that would rot out or kill another tree. Hence I think that having no roots (due to water rot) is not uncommon in these trees, and they expect a life of throwing out fresh roots simply for survival. Red alder and swamp cypress are other swamp trees.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Garry Oaks - a solution?

This year I de-budded half of my garry oaks, in December. By de-budding, I refer to the practice of removing the terminal bud from the branches of the tree.
Why? The horse chestnut has a very dominant apical bud. So much so that the horse chestnut will grow as a single branch for many years - with no branching at all. The solution to causing the tree to branch is to remove the apical but before or while the but is swelling. The secondary buds then burst forth bringing many branches in many direction, each of which with their own apical dominance.
The garry oak seeding is a slow growing, stringy tree. Removing the buds could promote branching, and more branches also means the tree puts on wight faster.
My de-budded garry oaks are developing about 5 to 7 branches per twig, up from 1 to 3. I think the technique will help.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Bonsai Stock Alert

There are some nice pieces of stock - nebari and reasonable trunk girth - at:
Cannor Sears - they have some azaleas for $30. They are the variety "moon" something. They have white flowers with pink edges. The trunk girth is about 3/4 an inch or a little bigger.
Red Barn Market. There are some nice pieris in bin 11 out back. They could be worked as is - The variety I mean has a very dense crown already, but I did not look at the name. They could also be cut back. I cut back mine in the winter - back to a stump, and it is budding right now. They are about an inch in girth, and the crown is closer to the trunk then in some pieris. Unfortunately they are $40.
I consider both of these too expensive. However, I am one of the members who spends too much on trees. These are reasonable pieces of stock for their prices, but there are better deals for those who look.