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Bonsai Banter is a companion newsletter to

Once a month, I send out bonsai news, comments, stories and ‘What’s New’ on my site.

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A Dangerous Bonsai Pest
Raises Its Ugly Head!

While weeding a small bonsai Sweet Acacia, I noticed something white on a bit of soil that came up with one of the weeds.

I knew immediately it was root mealy bugs!

Shown here is just one of these pests enlarged 100X, and they never appear alone!

Root mealy bugs are often confused with micorrhiza.

Be sure you know the difference! Mycorrhiza is a useful root fungus, especially helpful to conifers; these other guys are killers.

“Indoor” Bonsai

I used every excuse I could think of, not to go out in the June “feels like 105F” record breaking temperatures to work on my trees.

Then it dawned on me … bring them indoors one at a time.

A cover over the dining room table was all I needed.

On the day Johnson Teh brought his Brazilian raintree for a visit, we stayed indoors to play.

Oh, and the soy sauce?

Nothing to do with bonsai – Johnson is trying to teach me how to cook.

Rain, Rain, Rain

We all know there can be "too little" rain. Can there be too much rain for your bonsai?

If you do not have fast draining soil the answer is “yes!” If your trees are staying wet, repot them into a better soil mix. For most tropicals this is a great time to repot!

Even with a good, fast draining mix, succulents such as Portulacaria afra (small leaf jade) may need less water.

When we have several days of heat, rain and humidity in a row, I move my jade under the eaves of the house. I allow them to dry out before putting them back in the weather.

Reminder: Defoliate Now

If you’re working with tropicals, this is the time of year to remove those leaves. Do it now, and you may be able to fit in one more round before summer is over.

Remember defoliation causes two things to happen. The leaves are replaced by new branches (ramification) and the new branches have smaller leaves.

Don't miss out on this valuable time of year.

Auction Anyone?

While at the convention, I ran into a friend just leaving the vendor area empty handed. I asked "Where are you going?" His reply "Home to read your "Stuff" article again! "

When I got home, I re-read the article myself. My list of "stuff to get rid of" is adding up fast, including pots, tools and stands I love, but will never use. In addition to stuff …

I’ve decided to sell most (if not all) of my larger bonsai trees.

I feel a big auction coming on!
Think October!

Date to be announced in next issue.

What's New on my Site?

Don't miss the important root mealy bug page ...

Comments? Ideas? Feedback?

This is one of several nice notes I received this month:

Hi Mary,
What a wonderful resource and fun to read too. I loved your story about your secret and I am really impressed what you have put together.

The Your Photos section is a great idea. Just don't know if I have a tree that is worthy of your site. :-)
Thanks for sharing all this info!!
Henning Glatter-Gotz

Henning, thank you and I'm sure you do have a tree more than worthy!

Thanks to everyone who sends me notes, I appreciate hearing from you.

See you here next month.