August sees the end of meteorological summer, but there’s still plenty to enjoy as the garden reaches its absolute peak.
And while our August bonsai jobs reflect that it’s a busy month, there’s still time to take pleasure in the summer spectacle.
The weather this summer has been very changeable, with scorching temperatures and heavy rainfall. Hopefully we’ll still see plenty of sunny days before the end of summer, but who knows whether we’ll see the temperatures rise or fall?
It can be tricky to take these kinds of changes into account when we’re looking after our bonsai collection.
So, lets run through some bonsai jobs for August to make sure we stay on track!
Keep up the watering
We really can’t stress this enough. The most common cause of tree death in bonsai collections is under-watering, particularly in trees owned by inexperienced bonsai hobbyists. If you are a member of a bonsai society then seek advice from them if you are in any doubt.
Otherwise, it’s a case of providing light shade during the hottest hours and checking your trees regularly. Make sure that you water the pots rather than the leaves of the trees, and give them a good drenching. A light watering won’t reach your tree’s roots, especially if they’re in a smaller pot.
Once you are accustomed to a good watering routine, it becomes second nature.
Make sure that you keep fertilising your trees this month. Top up fertiliser pellets where necessary or maintain your regimen of liquid feed applications.
Check your stocks and order more if required but remember that you will only need enough for another month or two this year.
Now is the time to trim up evergreen trees such as box, privet, yew and honeysuckle. This includes your bonsai trees, as well as any topiary and hedges if you have them in your garden.
You can also continue to clip your fruiting trees to shape where necessary.
As always, it’s important to make sure that your tools are sharp before you start pruning. This will help to prevent damage to the branches and stems.
If your tools need sharpening, either take them to a local hardware store or key cutter who may be able to sharpen them for you, or alternatively invest the tools to sharpen them yourself.
August provides a prime opportunity to take cuttings from many shrubs including Berberis, Box, Cornus, Escallonia, Fuchsia and Potentilla.
Using sharp scissors, choose a healthy non flowering shoot and cut just below a leaf joint. Remove the lower leaves, dip the base in a hormone rooting powder and tap off the excess.
Then place the cutting in a pot of compost and cover with a clear plastic bag. Keep your cutting out of direct sunlight, do not allow the compost to dry out and apply a little patience.
Keep Pests at Bay
It’s been a couple of months since we discussed pests, but the familiar culprits are still top of the list.
We are, of course, talking about aphids in all of their variants. Any sign of them on your trees means it’s time to reach for the soap solution – see our April Bonsai Jobs for a reminder of how to make soap solution.
The ever-present slugs are still eyeing up your plants, particularly those tender-leaved hosta. Garlic solution could be the perfect answer to keep them at bay.
Not really a job a such, but do keep an eye out for any bees that are struggling.
If you spot a bee that needs assistance, then either place it on a suitable flower or place a sugar water solution next to it for it to drink. Mix one teaspoon of sugar with two teaspoons of water to give the bee it’s wings back.
If you have any fruiting trees or plants in your garden, then you should be well underway picking the fruit as it ripens.
You can’t beat a fresh raspberry, straight from the cane on a summer day. Surely its worth planting one or two if you have the space, ready for next summer.