Winter is Just Around the Corner

We have had the wettest summer in recorded weather history and it shows no signs of drying up. Trees have responded to the unprecedented amount of water with extraordinary growth. Elm and maple bonsai put on new growth until the weather got too hot and they are now beginning to show signs of new life. As the weather cools further, trees will add new foliage in an attempt to store carbohydrates for the winter and for the spring growth spurt. It is important to begin your fertilizer regimen again to give them the food to store in their roots and trunks overwinter. Later, around the first of November, you should begin to fertilize with something akin to 0-10-10 to slow down the creation of new foliage which would probably get frozen later. Accent plants suffered during the summer, too, and will need to be cut back to encourage new growth.

Be sure to check all your bonsai pots for drainage since, with the rampant new top growth, roots will also have filled the pots and may be impairing drainage. If the pots are not draining well, poke holes in the soil down to the bottom of the pot, tip the pots up on a stone or board to let water run off the end of the pot or find some other way to get rid of excess moisture. Root rot may be caused by letting too much moisture remain in the root area of your trees and that is not something you need. Root rot can very easily lead to the death of a tree. If you suspect rot is setting in, soak the rootball of the tree in an all-purpose fungicide mixed to specifications for about 15 minutes. It will soon be time to think about protecting your tropicals so plan how you will do this whether it will be a greenhouse, heated room in your house or garage or a protected back porch. Enjoy the fall - it will be winter before you know it! 

Lee Vanderpool 

© Fort Walton Beach Bonsai Society (FWBBS) ELF 2020