Newsletters · April 2016

<< Back to newsletter index

Roots, Shoots & Tips

Next meeting is Saturday, April 9, 1-3 p.m. at the U-U Church, 10 Higby Road, just off Genesee Street in South Utica. Our program ‘Let’s Get Potted’ will help you learn proper repotting and root pruning techniques for your bonsai. Members may bring 1 medium-large or 2 smaller trees. The club will provide bonsai soil, wire and mesh. There will be no set fee for these materials but a voluntary donation jar will help to offset costs. There will also be new and used bonsai pots to purchase. You may want to purchase additional soil to take home for repotting other trees. Bring any in that you would like to sell or swap.

What you’ll need — again please bring a plastic dishpan or other container that is appropriate to work in to hold your tree and old soil. Bring your wire cutters, scissors and chopsticks for trimming and combing the roots, and a spray bottle to keep them moist. As always we appreciate helpers to tackle the set-up and clean-up for this program. Many thanks for those who were so helpful with our previous workshop.

We were very pleased with the turnout – 17 active members of our group showed up and most took home a starter project on clump-style bonsai. We learned some important points on how these small European beech seedlings can, over time, develop into nicely potted trees. They can be brought back occasionally after they grow out some healthy roots and be wired, pruned and styled at the appropriate times. As with our previous projects, such as the ‘blended trees’ and forest plantings, this will be long-term and ongoing and can be revisited for any questions, problems and further development for all of us to share. Advice on future pot selection will be given when the need arrives. You might even want to consult with our very own potter, Nancy Knapp, to have something custom made just for you and your beech clump!

Carl brought some trees for our ‘show table’, including one very mature European beech, which served as wonderful examples of what these can look like in 10-20 or 30 years. We encourage our members to always bring trees for the show table and please offer useful discussions to help others identify with and learn from your tips and tales with shared experiences. Look them over, ask questions, and seek advice and resources. That’s how we grow.


In May we will be learning about air-layering, a very useful propagation method, that can serve to simply give better proportion to the new tree taken from the top section after severing it from a too leggy trunk, or to create two or more trees from one. Mark your calendar – May 14



Our June program promises to be the major learning session of the year. Mark Arpag will bring us an all-day program on shohin bonsai. There will be a demonstration in the morning, open to all club members and guests, at no cost. He will work on a tree that the club will provide (purchased from Mark) and it will be raffled at the conclusion of the demo. After lunch a workshop, limited to 10 participants, each with a $25 fee, who can bring their own shohin to work on with Mark or purchase one from him for this session. Mark will bring an assortment of trees to sell. In order to allow as much equal time to be shared between the teacher and student as possible we may have to limit the number of individual trees to be worked on per student.

Non-participants are welcome as ‘silent observers’ during the workshop, particularly newer members who may have never shared this experience. Additional details about the times and the lunch provisions will be announced in the next newsletter. June 11 is the date.


July is a very important month for MVBC. We understand that there can be scheduling conflicts and many other activities so it’s good to remind everyone in hopes of avoiding an avoidable problem in advance. So here they are again.

July 2-3 is our club bonsai show at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Summertime Art Festival in Utica. FREE EVENT. Details soon.

July 9 is our annual club picnic and auction. We hope that you can all attend and participate. Bring family!




Do you have problems with aphids, scale insects, white fly, etc? Do you have lady bugs in your home? Did you know that lady bug beetles feed ferociously on those other soft-bodied pests?

Throughout the colder season I gather up any little lady bugs I find around the house and carefully place them on my plants and trees that are spending the cooler months indoors. I occasionally find that scales are hiding on the trunks, branches, and undersides of leaves of newly acquired material. Though not a foolproof solution the ladybugs certainly do help keep these problems under control. The brightly colored and spotted beetles are also fascinating to simply watch as they travel all over and around each leaf and new shoot searching for a meal to devour. Bon appetite!

10 Fascinating Facts about Ladybugs

What do Ladybugs Eat