February bonsai jobs remain mainly confined to hands off tasks, concentrating on preparation for March. Most of the tasks in February are in preparation for repotting of bonsai trees. With a very short window to repot the deciduous trees, you need to be ready to go, or face leaving it until next year.
There’s still a cold chill in the air at this time of year, but the odd day shows early promise. Taking time to stand with the sun on your back on such days is a joy that I certainly look forward to.
So, this is our list of February bonsai jobs to get on with.
Clean and prepare pots
With the first of the repotting phases closing in on us, it’s important to identify the deciduous trees that need repotting this year. It’s equally important to source the pot that the tree will be going in to. Weather it’s a plastic training pot or a ceramic pot, there are a number of tasks required to get them ready.
In order to prevent the spread of any decease, you need to ensure that the pot is clean and sterilised. We use a three stage process for undertaking this:
Stage 1. Give the pot a good scrub and clean using washing up liquid and a dish brush. This will remove any dirt on and in the pot.
Stage 2. If the pot has any lime scale marks from previous use, the key to removing this is to soak the pot in a lime scale remover. We place them in a bucket with the solution for an hour or so. For any really stubborn marks, you may need to either spot clean or soak in white vinegar for a while.
Stage 3. Place the clean ceramic pots in the dishwasher for a final clean. This will ensure that they are clean and also sterilise them at high temperature. If you do not have a dishwasher, then soak them in a bucket of boiling water for 30 minutes.
Needless to say, do not undertake this stage for plastic pots as it may distort them. Instead, 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 and an easy job to do ahead of the repotting task. Now that we have clean pots, you can follow our guide to wiring pot mesh or view our video on this subject.
You will need pot mesh and we use 2mm wire to wire it in to the pot. You will also need wire cutters and something to neatly curl the wire into shape. We use the handle of jin pliers for this, but anything round with a diameter of circa 10mm will suffice.
Doing this now will mean that you have more time for actual repotting of tree when the times comes.
Now that you know how many trees you are going to repot, you should ensure that you have sufficient soil components.
If you need to order or pickup soil components then do this in good time to be ready for repotting.
Sit and wait
I know that can be difficult having waited months so far, but repotting trees too early could cause damage. It is better to be safe than sorry.
The bonsai shows start in late February, take a look to see if there are any locally that you could attend to keep you going.
Finally, if you are not already a member of your local bonsai club then look them up and see if you are able to attend their meetings. Sharing of knowledge is key to developing in bonsai and I am sure they will make you welcome.
That’s it for our list of February bonsai jobs, not long now until nature picks up the pace.