Despite the threat of April showers, there is a steadily increasing number of April bonsai jobs to get through during the current lockdown.
April is the month that realises the ambitions of March. The clocks have gone forward, the nights are lighter and there is more to do in the garden. And bonsai trees also become much more of an interactive hobby now that their dormant period has come to an end.
Of course, all of this means we can put our latent enthusiasm to good use on the bonsai jobs for April.
If you are living in a cooler area or have late-starting tree, now is probably the right time to repot your trees. So check to make sure that you have suitable pots for your bonsai trees as well as pot mesh and the right bonsai soil substrate.
For many deciduous trees, the best time to repot is when the buds are about to break. Otherwise, you should go with the readiness of the tree, but hold off if you have azaleas or pine trees.
Feed me Seymour
Bonsai trees will be calling out for feeding around now. And you will start to see visible signs if they are not being suitable fertilised.
Your fertiliser regime should now be fully planned and in early stage of implementation. Whether you are using a regular dose added to your watering can or a slow release fertiliser in a fertiliser basket, feeding should now be well underway.
Ensure that you have sufficient stocks and purchase any extra fertilisers that you need.
Any germinated seedlings will require plenty of light to aid their growth. Move them into a bright spot but protect them from midday sun levels. Check them on a daily basis for watering and any signs of problems.
Pot on your cuttings
Any cuttings of over-wintered evergreen and conifer trees that you took last year will now be ready for potting on. The warmer spring weather will give them a boost to get them going and encourage new root growth.
Gently tease the cuttings apart and pot them individually in 7cm or 9cm pots. Keep them under cover, in a bright spot and water regularly.
Clean the greenhouse
With overwintered trees back outside where they belong, now is an ideal time to undertake a greenhouse spring clean.
Clean down all the glass both inside and out with soapy water using a sponge or cloth. Give the frame of the greenhouse good clean also. This will allow more light in and get rid of any pests and diseases that have also been overwintering in there.
Pests can also hide in the nooks and crannies of your benches. So, give them a good clean to expel anything playing hide and seek before they get chance to attack your plants and trees.
Aphids are miraculous insects in that they give birth to live young which themselves are born pregnant. And they can also employ ants for protection by providing them with their sugar loaded excrement.
This means that they multiply at an alarming rate when left to their own devices, so you need to keep an eye out for them and act quickly. Aphids are particularly keen on the young growth of maples, among other plants.
So check your trees daily and at the first sight of aphids go into action with a soap water spray.
Simply mix a little washing up liquid with water in a spray bottle and spray onto the aphids. Make sure to get them from all angles and underneath the leaves so that you don’t miss any.
Come up for air
Don’t forget to breath amongst all of the flurry of bonsai activity. It can feel like there’s a lot to get done at this time of year, but you don’t need to rush.
Take your time and pace it out – when the going gets tough the tough get going.
And if you’re feeling stressed by all of the upheaval in the world at the moment, take solace in your bonsai collection.