Pine air – layer update.

I have two pictures of the air – layered pines. The first is a picture of the root zone of the air -layered pines. The second is a picture of a few of the air – layered pines that I transferred to a six inch pot. Remember to click on the pictures if you want a close – up view of the photo’s. On a different subject matter, My daughter will be getting married this Friday. We are almost prepared(At least I think we are) Tomorrow is the first day of tagging the field grown stock. If you are interested in any trees, come by and tag some trees. There will be coffee and donuts. Come help me eat the donuts or I will have to eat them all myself. E-mail me if you have any questions regarding the air – layers. If you are interested in how they started, refer to the blog in May regarding the air – layering techniques. My e-mail is or you can post a comment on this blog. George

Tagging starts October first!

Thursday starts the first day of tagging field grown trees. You can tag the trees in the field from the first of October, until it is digging time. Tagging the trees in the field had been a tradition for over 25 years. I have had people drive from as far as San Diego. One year a computer software CEO flew in from Chicago to tag trees. Tagging begins when I open the gates at 8:00am (although people get here early and wait in their cars.) I usually open a little early. Also, I will have hot coffee and donuts until there all gone. If you do not make it on the first of October, that’s okay because I have plenty of trees to choose from. Traditionally, since it is the first available day to tag, it is quite busy. Remember you can tag trees any time until digging begins, which is usually from about mid January – mid April. I hope to see you soon! I also cut off some of the air – layered pines and placed them into 6 inch pots. I looked back on my blog and I originally did the air – layers in late May. That means that some of the air -layers rooted in only four months! I took pictures and will post them on the blog soon. George

Goodbye to an old friend!

Today we sold one of my fathers collected California junipers. (What am I doing open on a Sunday?) A Young couple came by on Friday and was very interested in my fathers juniper. The juniper was placed into a growing can about 5 years ago. We put the tree back into the can from a pot to regain the trees strength. The tree has now fully recovered and is looking good. We shaped the tree about 6 months ago and have not touched the tree since. The foliage was overgrown and needed to be rewired. The young man asked if my Dad would sell the tree. I told him that my Dad would sell the tree if the price were right. The young man said he would think about it and let me know on Sunday. Today the young man came back and made my Dad an offer. My Dad accepted. The tree is a nice medium sized tree and the young man got an excellent tree for a good price. I gave the young man pointers on where we were headed with the trees design. It was sad to see a nice tree leave the collection. However, my Dad explained why he sold the tree. My father has a fairly large collection and he would tell you that a number of his trees have been neglected. He works at the nursery 30 – 40 hours a week and has not spent much time with his own trees. He said that the young man really showed the love and reverence for the tree and that the tree would improve in the young mans care. It is better to let an old friend go, then to keep it and to let the tree deteriorate. The young man loaded the tree in his Honda civic next to his young daughter. I shook his hand and he drove away. Maybe our paths will cross again and I will see the next chapter in the trees life.
It is hard to part with a tree in your private collection. But it is better to have a handful of very nice trees than to have hundreds that will never reach its potential. Keep that in mind when you are purchasing your next tree. Will it be improving your existing collection? Will you be getting rid of a few of your trees to improve your collection? Or will you be adding another tree to water, stare at, and not work on? Learn from the experience of my Father.

Spring? Summer? Fall? Winter?

The weather this summer has been a roller coaster. First we started out with the typical weather pattern of fog in the morning followed by mild summer temperatures. Then we got a heat wave for a few days followed by cool temps. Then we received normal weather for a few weeks followed by a week of temperatures in the 90’s. Then we got our normal temperatures, followed by cooler weather. Since we have had such an up and down pattern, the trees do not know what season it is. The maples dropped there leaves 2 weeks ago after we had our hot spell followed by the cool temperatures. I have crabapples in the field that have fruit on them that are starting to flower. I also have dwarf cherries starting to flower. They think it is spring. The quince have leaves that are burnt from the heat wave we received two weeks ago. Now that the temperature is normal, they are starting to push growth. The dwarf apricots dropped most of there leaves and are starting to leaf out again! What is going on with our weather. Someone is having fun at the switch.
As you water your trees, try to keep close attention to what each tree is doing. That way you will know how much to water the trees. If the trees don’t have much foliage, cut back on the watering a bit. Careful watering is a key to healthy bonsai’s. The other key is to have a quick draining soil.
I mentioned in my blog a few weeks ago that I was going to start experimenting with a new soil mix. My mix for my pre-bonsai is an equal mixture of bark, perlite and scoria(small lava rock). Although I only have converted a few of my plants to this mixture, the plants that are growing in this mixture seem to be doing quite well. Noticeably better than in my regular soil mixture of 50 percent river sand and 50 percent forest humus. I think the improvement in drainage and the aeration of the soil seem to be helping. I will keep posting updates as time goes by.
I hope everyone is having a better weather pattern than I am having. Today was normal, but we are suppose to heat up for a few days starting Wednesday. Here we go again!

One down/Two hundred ninety to go

The dreaded utility room sink is finally conquered. As I put on the finishing touches, problems kept cropping up. The last of these annoyances was that the trap for the sink did not line up with the pipes in the wall. Why should it? Also, the pipe from the sink is 1 1/4 inch, while the p-trap is 1 1/2 inch. When I went to Home Depot over the weekend, I asked a young man for help. I asked if he had some type of reducer so that I could make the pipes fit correctly. He was honest and tried very hard to find something that would work. Finally, he asked an older sales person. The older salesperson walked up to the wall and picked up a plastic washer. He told me that all I had to do was to switch washers when I was ready to connect the fixture and that it would make it water tight. After another trip to Home Depot, to buy extensions and after much contortions(have you tried to connect anything to a sink from the back and below in tight quarters?), I am finally done. One thing to check off my to do list and a few hundred left to go.
Today I worked on cleaning up the area near the Chinese quince. The trees are not much bigger, but they have nice movement and taper. It seems like I just did this a little while ago. I also worked on pruning back some junipers for the GSBF convention. The junipers were filling in but not as nicely as I had anticipated. When I went to Santa Rosa a few weeks ago I noticed that one of the vendors had some Japanese maples that were quite full. I asked him how he got them to look so nice and full and he told me that it was his soil mix. It was a mixture of fir bark, pumice and peat moss. Since I was going to go to Home Depot anyway, I picked up some fir bark. I think that I am going to experiment with soil for the trees that I take to conventions. I am going to try a mix of fir bark, perlite and scoria(small lava rock). I will let you know how my experiment is going. Well now that my break is over, time to tackle the screen door!

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