As we move into the shortest month of the year, there still aren’t many hands-on bonsai jobs to occupy your time. But we have some suggestions to help keep you occupied.
The weather at this time of year can be unpredictable. Most of the time there’s still a cold chill in the air, and heavy rain or even snow is to be expected. But the occasional day brings with it a warm sun that feels fantastic on your face or back (apricity is the word for that), and it’s good to make the most of them when they arrive.
Repotting season will soon be upon us, and it’s important to be ready ahead of time. With such a short window for repotting deciduous trees, you need to be ready to go or face leaving it until next year.
So, this is our list of February bonsai jobs to get on with.
Clean and prepare pots
With the first of the repotting phases coming up quickly, it’s important to identify which deciduous trees need repotting this year and to make sure that you have a pot ready for it to go into. Whether you’re going to use a plastic training pot or a ceramic pot, there are a number of steps to this process.
In order to prevent the spread of any disease, it’s important that the pot is clean and sterilised. We use a three stage process for this:
Stage 1: Give the pot a thorough scrub, using washing up liquid and a dish brush to remove any dirt on and inside the pot.
Stage 2: Soak the pot in a solution of limescale remover to remove any lime scale marks from previous use. We soak them in a bucket with the solution for an hour or so but for any really stubborn marks, you may need to either spot clean the pot or soak it in white vinegar for a while.
Stage 3: Give the clean ceramic pots a run in the dishwasher on the hottest programme. This will ensure that they are thoroughly clean and also sterilise them at a high temperature. If you do not have a dishwasher, then you can soak them in a bucket of boiling water for 30 minutes.
Needless to say, this stage isn’t suitable for plastic pots as it may distort them. Instead, you can soak them in a solution of Milton fluid or similar to sterilise them.
Wire pot mesh into pots
Wiring pot mesh into the bottom of pots can be time consuming, but it’s an easy job to do in advance of repotting.
You will need pot mesh and we recommend using 2mm wire to wire it in to the pot. You will also need wire cutters and something to neatly curl the wire into shape. Anything round with a diameter of about 10mm will do – the handle of jin pliers works nicely.
Getting this job out of the way now will give you more time for actual repotting when the time comes.
Check your stock of Bonsai soil
Once you know how many trees you are going to repot, you should make sure that you have enough soil components in stock.
If you need to order or pickup soil components, be sure to do this in good time to be ready for repotting. A wet February weekend is the perfect opportunity to go internet shopping!
Sit and wait
After months of little bonsai activity, it can be hard to sit and wait even longer. But repotting your trees too early could cause damage, and it is better to be safe than sorry.
The bonsai shows start in late February, and we’d be recommending that you pass the time by attending some of these. Social media can fill some of the gaps, and we share regular photos and updates from our Shropshire bonsai nursery on the Beechfield Bonsai Facebook page – why not give us a follow?
And if you are not already a member of your local bonsai club, it’s worth looking them up. Sharing knowledge is key to developing your skills in bonsai and I am sure they will make you feel welcome.
That’s all for our list of February bonsai jobs. Things may still seem quiet, but it’s not long now until nature picks up the pace!