Seasonal work!

markyscott

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One of the things i love about bonsai is the close connection between to work we do and the ebb and flow of the seasons. Without meaning to sound woo, I just like being connected in a way I don’t think i was before. With that in mind, i thought it would be interesting to inventory the seasonal work I do.

A caution. I live in Houston. Spring is early and fall is late. You’ll have to adjust for your conditions.
 

markyscott

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Although other trees aren’t showing movement on top yet, they’re in active root growth. This time of year is incredibly busy for me. By now, I better have completed all my dormant treatments and made all the soil I need. This is repotting time for me, as well as many other things. The garden is a wreck. F4AEEB46-FF3A-46F2-B487-DCEB66779619.jpeg
 

markyscott

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Here’s what’s happening:
  1. Repotting
  2. Grafting
  3. Clean the benches. This year i power washed them. I was able to do that because all my trees were in the garage during the hard freeze.
  4. Cleanup top soil (‘soji’) - this involves removing the top 1/2” or so of the soil and working the surface roots. Anything I didn’t repot, I do the ‘soji’.
  5. Big trunk cuts. For raw stock in which I’m developing trunk sections. Cutting now encourages vigorous growth of lower buds. Good for trunk sections, but maybe not for branches.
  6. Milling sphagnum to put on the soil surface. I buy big bales of sphagnum and run it through my coarsest screen. Then I apply the milled sphagnum on the soil surface. image.jpg
 
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Gustavo Martins

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I repotted all I wanted to repot this year except for the Ficus. Waiting for it to get a bit warmer. I have already prepared lots of fertilizer bags in advance. Did a thread graft and some hard cuts. Now just wait and watch em coming to like.
My evergreens are all pushing new growth. Among deciduous, mulberry is ahead followed by trident (just starting). Palmatum are swelling but not leaf just yet. That's about it
 

kale

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Rebuild benches, rework irrigation
Grafting
Dormant oil -> lime sulfur
Wiring Shimpaku and JBP
Pot selections & repot plans
Repotting will start around March 10 +/-
Interesting your repotting time is that late! Mine must be a couple weeks later than that then. This year will be my first time really messing with roots of deciduous trees. (Jm, European hornbeam, zelkova, and crabapple). Theyre going into wooden grow boxes with a screen bottom. Prob wont cut much off. Just splay them out and wire them down to fatten the trunks up.
 

Paradox

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I am at least a month - two months out from that. Might have the azealea in the garage that has to be repotted in a month.
Since almost everything is in my cold frame, its going to be a couple of months for most at least
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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What’s early spring work for you?
Finding out I'm out of tie down wire.
Picking weeds for the fifth time in a month.
Making everything bird proof again, scraping the pulled out ponderosas from the dirt.
Culling the winter casualties.
Selecting future scions and cuttings.

Very few repots this year thankfully. But the lack of proper tie down wire kind of sucks.. All non-essential stores are closed.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Interesting your repotting time is that late! Mine must be a couple weeks later than that then. This year will be my first time really messing with roots of deciduous trees. (Jm, European hornbeam, zelkova, and crabapple). Theyre going into wooden grow boxes with a screen bottom. Prob wont cut much off. Just splay them out and wire them down to fatten the trunks up.
I really prefer to wait until buds are swelling or just at bud-break to repot. It seems to be the right time for most trees.

Quinces always start first...and too early, followed by maples, then the hawthorn, elms, Stewartia, azaleas and crabs. Red and white pine go next, followed by black pines and then junipers. Zelkova and beech like to wait until late too.

Delaying repotting helps me avoid moving things around a bunch if the temps drop below freezing. Inevitably, when I repot early, we get freezing temps shortly after.
 

markyscott

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Delaying repotting helps me avoid moving things around a bunch if the temps drop below freezing
Good point Brian. This is part of why it’s so important to tailor your practice for your own climate. Forcing fall by pulling the last leaves from my maples is a New Year’s Day tradition for me. Then (save the weirdness last week) our last spring frost date in Houston is typically February 3. So there’s a lot to pack in to a very short dormant period. I spray horticultural oil around New Year’s Day and lime sulfur around the beginning of February. That gives me my 4 weeks. I wire conifers in January and most things are in full lag by early March. That means February is the time for early spring work.

This is why I thought it would be interesting and educational to have this conversation. I’m curious to see how people’s practice varies by climate.

s
 

markyscott

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For those of you not doing it, I’d encourage you to consider putting down a bit of milled sphagnum on your soil surface. Make it part of your early spring work. It helps keep the soil surface moist, encouraging surface roots. I’m a believer. EFC01490-3A0B-4AFF-840B-D1CE27092344.jpeg
 

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