Newsletter – November 2015

2015-11-Img01Bonsai Notebook

The November meeting will feature a bring-your-own-tree workshop.  Lindsay Shiba will be our guest, and he will be helping each member take their tree to the next level of design and development.  Lindsay has a B.S. degree in ornamental horticulture from Cal Poly, and is the owner of Mt Fuji Garden Center in Upland.  He was introduced to bonsai by his father Katsumi Shiba and studied with Khan Komai.  Lindsay is involved with many bonsai clubs in the area, and we are fortunate to have him for our workshop.

Many of us have trees that may be stuck at one stage of development.  Perhaps you can’t decide on an appropriate front, or there is a troubling branch, or roots in the wrong place.  A workshop like this is a chance to work with a bonsai master who will provide suggestions for improving or advancing your tree.  I know some of you may be reluctant to have your tree examined by someone else, but without that outside advice, it is hard to move forward.

Lindsay has been our guest before, and the expertise he brings is invaluable.  The best part is it won’t cost you anything.  We also get to eavesdrop on his advice and learn from each tree he examines.  Bring your tools and wire so you’ll be ready to act on Lindsay’s suggestions.

Photo by Carol Upston

Meeting Time And Place:
November 14, 2015 at 7pm
LAC Arboretum/ Palm Room

President’s Corner

These are thoughts paraphrased from Marty Mann’s book “Bonsai Ideas”;

We had quite a hot spell this year, and not much relief for our trees.  It looks like the weather is cooling, so we can experience a fall season before winter.  New plant growth should be ending in November.  We can think about reducing our watering, but watch out for warm Santa Ana winds that can dry out roots very quickly.  Many people cut back on fertilizing now or continue with fertilizer low in nitrogen.

Now is a good time to clean up around our benches, removing dead leaves and soil debris.  You can remove dead leaves from deciduous trees that have not fallen off.

The design of your trees is more evident in the winter months.  You can refine your tree with pruning and wiring, but be careful of brittle branches during this season.

Insect and fungus control during winter dormancy can be important.  There are a number of good products on the market.  Read the labels carefully and avoid root damage by covering the soil before application.


October Highlights

Frank Yee entertained us with his humor and a demonstration using his cork-bark jade plants.  Corking of jade bark is rare, and Frank has only seen it in his own jade plants.  It is a phenomenon he attributes to the DDT pesticide he used on his jade material many years ago when DDT was still available.  Some of his plants died, but he noticed after several years the jade plants that survived had developed corked bark, as opposed to the normal smooth bark.  This corking results in a very dramatic looking tree when styled as a bonsai.

Frank rooted cuttings from these plants, and they also developed corked bark after about five years. He makes 4” cuttings and plants them at an angle.  After only two months the cuttings have rooted enough to move into individual pots.  Franks brought his unique jade to the attention of the Arboretum, and they have purchased material from him for resale.

Frank uses the clip-and-grow technique for pruning and styling because the branches are very brittle. He has successfully wired some trees as long as the bending isn’t too severe.  While demonstrating his pruning style, Frank invited member Patty Allen to join him and had her do the pruning under his guidance.  After the trimming, Frank presented Patty with the tree.

Frank brought enough potted jade cuttings to give everyone who attended at least two plants.  He also pruned and wired a larger tree that was put in the raffle.  I think he has guaranteed the proliferation of his cork jade.

Joyce Gibbs was the lucky winner of the raffle tree, but everyone went home happy.

Thank you Frank for your tremendous generosity!

Joyce Gibbs and Frank with the raffle tree

Members Corner

2015-11-Img04Have you read : The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story by Sandra Moore (2015) and available on

This is a wonderful children’s story about a most remarkable tree. “It is a story about the art of caring.  Its message will speak to the heart of any child  (or adult) who reads it and nourish his roots in the process”

Newsletter Update:

Thank you to all of you who replied to Robert’s email  request about receiving the newsletter.  We are  confirming and updating email addresses to improve our blogging and email process.  If you haven’t been receiving the newsletter by email and would like to, please contact  Dave with your most current address.

If you have a favorite demonstrator we haven’t seen for awhile or have an idea for a  meeting presentation, share it with Peter.  It is always helpful to have new ideas.

If you have a knack for writing, a story to tell , a photo or something you would like to share in our  newsletter  please submit it to Dave and Lorraine prior to the 20th of any month at : [email protected]

Upcoming Events

December 26, 2015 – January 2, 2016  California Aiseki Kai exhibition of viewing stones, Botanical Garden of the Huntington Library, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Mariono, 10:30am to 4:30pm each day

February 27-28, 2016  Bonsai-A-Thon, Botanical Garden of the Huntington Library, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, fundraiser for the GSBF Collection at the Huntington, 8am-4:30pm both days

Come Join Us

Next Meeting

Date: November 14,  2015
Time: 7pm
LAC Arboretum, Palm Room
301 N. Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, Ca  91007

Board Meeting Nov 14 at 6pm
before regular meeting

2015 Monthly Meeting Dates

Nov 14  —  at the LAC Arboretum
Lindsay Shiba: Bring Your Own Tree Workshop

Dec      —   no meeting

2015 Refreshment Schedule

Nov —  M. Atkison, J. Cervantes, G. Gonzalez, E. Janza, R. Sencer