Despite the threat of April showers, we have a steadily increasing number of April bonsai jobs to get through.
April is typically the month that realises the ambitions of March. The clocks have gone forward; the nights are lighter and we can do more in the garden. Bonsai trees also become much more of an interactive hobby now that the dormant period has come to an end.
Of course, all of this means we can put our latent enthusiasm to good use on this month’s bonsai jobs.
For any late starting trees or in areas where is cooler, now is probably time for you to repot your trees. Just as the buds are about to break is the correct time for many deciduous trees.
Trees to not repot yet are Azaleas and pines, otherwise go with the readiness of the tree.
Feed me Seymour
Bonsai trees will be calling out for feeding and will visibly start to show that if you are not fertilising them.
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 or a slow release fertiliser, it should be well underway. Ensure that you have sufficient stocks and purchase any fertilisers that you need to get.
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 cuttings
Cuttings of over-wintered evergreen and conifers taken last year should now be ready for potting on. The warmer spring weather should 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 deceases that have also been overwintering.
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 attacking your plants and trees.
Aphids are miraculous insects in that they give birth to live young which themselves are born pregnant. They therefore multiply at an alarming rate when left to their own devices. Furthermore they can employ ants for protect by providing them with with their sugar loaded excrement.
They are particularly keen on the young growth of maples among other plants, so keep an eye out. Check your trees daily and at the first sight of aphids give them a spray with soapy water.
Mix a little washing up liquid with water in a spray bottle and spray on the aphids. Make sure to get them from all angles and underneath the leaves to get them all.
Come up for air
Don’t forget to breath amongst all of the flurry of bonsai activity. Take your time and pace it out, when the going gets tough the tough get going.