September Care

WATERING – Usually September brings dryer weather with continued temperatures in the 90’s. As a result, keep a close eye on your plant’s water requirements making sure your plants are not allowed to dry out. Additionally, it is a good idea to water your plants early in the day so the leaves will be dry when going into the night hours thus decreasing the chance of any leave fungus.

FEEDING– Your bonsai plants will still be growing throughout this month; consequently they will be needing fertilizer on a regular basis. There are many types of fertilizers, from synthetics to organics. Some examples are Ironite, Peters, fish emulsion, Osmocote, and Milorganite, just to name a few. Always read the application rate carefully and then cut the rate in half in order to avoid “burning” the roots of the plants with too much fertilizer. Additionally, don’t forget to alternate acid loving plants such as azalea and gardenia plants with an acid fertilizer. Also, you may want to alternate your flowering plants with a “Super Bloom” type of fertilizer.

WIRING– The cambium layer will continue to thicken because plants are still growing. For that reason, keep inspecting the wire on all your trees to see when it’s time to remove it. Leaving the wire on the plant for too long will disfigure the branches; therefore, remove the wire if the branch remains in the desired position or if the wire is cutting into the cambium.

PESTS AND DISEASES– Because the temperatures are warm, harmful insects are still a threat. Therefore, keep a close eye on your collection and look for anything unusual such as curly, stunted new growth; blotchy or spotted, white or pale yellow areas on the leaves; white, cottony patches; spots of brown on the leaves; and insect excrement. Use environmentally friendly treatments such as the encouragement of beneficial insects, spraying the plants with a hard stream of water, hand picking larger harmful insects, and/or the use of soaps and oils. Always remember to test spray a small branch with any chemical in order to make sure there will be no phytotoxic* reaction to the plant from the soap and oil spray. An example of a plant that will drop all of its leaves if sprayed with soaps and oils is Funkier Tea.

*Phytotoxicity is an adverse response in plants due to chemicals applied to the leaves or soil.

TRIMMING– Keep trimming your plants. If you let the branches get too long and lanky, they may shade out the lower or inner branches, thus leading to their decline. Always have a pair of scissors in your hand when inspecting your plants. After allowing the new growth to produce about four to six leaves cut it back to about two or three leaves. The result of continually trimming your tree will be twiggy branches, thus producing a more refined bonsai.

PRUNING– Major pruning may still be preformed this month because the trees are actively growing. The removal of large branches will encourage new, tender growth. Consequently, wounds heal faster because the plant is manufacturing more food and producing cambium at a quicker rate.

LIGHT – Sunlight is still quite intense. For that reason, keep your more sun sensitive plants such as maples, azalea plants and shohin (small bonsai) in a protected location. A place that receives the less intense morning sun and that gets shade from the very intense afternoon sun is a good choice. Additionally maintain rotating your trees on a weekly basis, thus preventing them from becoming one sided.

TEMPERATURES – This month will carry on with Florida’s famous weather conditions which is hot and humid. Keep a close eye on your plants. They will continue to dry out fast if there is no rain for a day or two and some will not be able to tolerate Florida’s intense sunlight.

REPOTTING– If you have some tropicals that absolutely need repotting continue to do so. Some examples of tropical plants are ficus, bougainvillea, Bucida spinosa, Ixora, Lantana, Portulacaria (Jade), and Fukien tea plants. Remember to keep the repotted plant in the shade for seven to ten days and mist the leaves daily. Gradually bring it back in the sun until it can be placed back into its full sun location. Restart the regular watering schedule when the soil starts to dry out again. Begin your fertilizing program when the plants start to actively grow. Avoid repotting deciduous and cold hardy evergreen trees.

Comments are closed.