Thursday, 12 May 2016


I have not sprayed the Scots pines this year as I am hoping for the natural predators to help me out.

So far the aphids are winning - but each pine is getting more and more ladybirds to manage the aphid population. They seem to eat until they are so full and then fall off and sleep.

The ant herders seem to also fight off the ladybirds - which is limiting their effectiveness.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

The new season begins

All of the deciduous trees are out now and I hope that I don't get hit by a late frost again this year. The maples have given smaller leaves this year - which is very nice.

Some of the trees are looking really good and I expect a good season. 

Just this last week the beech's have dropped their old leaves so they will get going soon as well.

My pines have begun putting up this years candles over the last 2 weeks. The younger and smaller ones are running about 4 weeks ahead of the big established pines.

I have done some heavy cutting on them just before the big flush of growth and I hope that the timing is right.

As usual there are visitors on the pines again. I will give the ladybirds another few weeks before I spray.

Interestingly one of my Oaks is flowering heavily - I'm wondering if this is stress related like the Scots pines or if its just in the mood for acorns. 

I'm still using chemical fertiliser until the soil is warm enough for the organics to digest. Some of the fertiliser pellets on the pines are starting to show some of the characteristic white mycorrhizal fungi on them so the soil is waking up.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Roots and pots

In addition to bonsai I grow something else each year. Most years I grow a chilli or two and in addition this year I've grown garlic and radishes. I use the same soil, nutrients and pots for these projects to learn about them for growing bonsai. 

These were Sante Fe Grande hot chillies. An attractive looking variety that are quite mild and can be used in large quantities for most cooking. You don't have to be careful of them like the Habaneros I grew last year.

Air pot roots - for bonsai this is perfect. After seeing this I am very pleased to have my pre bonsai trees growing in these pots as they are so suitable for bonsai. The three Scots pines are going to be fantastic growing like this.

Conventional pot roots. As usual the roots are doing laps of the pot.

The air pot plant was able to stand upright without a stake and was very stable - even with a large amount of fruit on it. The growth rate and yield were not discernibly different to a normal pot. 

Conventional pots led to a plant that flopped all over and needed to be staked upright. Note the slanting trunk after I had cut off all the fruit.

I learned a bit more about how to grow in coco coir doing this as well. Garden centre top dressings for calcium and magnesium in combination with organic fertilisers are very hard to do and lead to severe nutrient lockout.