Fall, in moderate climates, is a key time to look out for pests on bonsai. In colder climates, many insects are killed by cold weather. Not where I live. Within the past week I’ve found all varieties of unwanted guests in the garden. This week I’ll focus on scale.
Healthy looking olive foliage
What’s this – a small black dot. Could it be?
Yes, it’s scale
Scale come in thousands of shapes and sizes, and just about all varieties of bonsai are susceptible to some scale or other. Closely inspecting your trees on a regular basis is the best way to stave off bad infestations.
Scale on olive foliage
The crafty creatures on this olive grew between the wire and the branch making them very hard to spot. It was when I de-wired this olive that I realized I had scale. It was the first time I’d seen scale on the tree.
How do scale get around? Once you see them on your trees, they likely don’t. Newly hatched “crawlers” find a good spot to latch on and rarely move after that, relying instead on their typically hard shells for protection. Scale can also move from plant to plant via the wind and can be carried around by other insects like ants.
What did I do when I found them? I picked them off with tweezers. The next step is to spray prophylactic oil. This works well for minor infestations – nastier infestations and tricky-to-treat scale like the pine needle scale require a stronger plan of attack – more on that Friday.
The Golden State Bonsai Federation’s 37th Convention was host to the 2014 Joshua Roth New Talent Bonsai Competition. The event has become one of the better venues for recognizing new bonsai talent in North America. From the ABS website:
The Joshua Roth New Talent Bonsai Competition is an annual competition to recognize and promote new bonsai talent in North America. First prize is no more than $1,000 toward an exclusive course of instruction with an approved bonsai teacher. The first stage of the competition is a judging of photographs of previously designed trees by the entrant. The second stage will be the actual production of a bonsai during the GSBF/ABS Convention, Oct. 30, 2014 at the Double Tree Hotel Sacramento CA. Joshua Roth and the American Bonsai Society are sponsoring this contest.
This year’s contest featured junipers. By the time I arrived at the convention, the work was complete. Top honors – and congratulations – go to Ryan Nichols of Back to the Roots Bonsai for his winning entry.
Ryan Nichol’s winning entry
Ryan at work
Congratulations to each of the entrants for accomplishing so much with their trees in a limited period of time – well done!
Tree #8 by Ron Anderson
Tree #8 before – trunk detail
This year’s Golden State Bonsai Federation Convention consisted of two exhibits – a general exhibit and a judged exhibit in which entries are subject to judging and eligible for cash prizes. From the convention website:
Any member of a bonsai club that is in good membership standing with the Golden State Bonsai Federation may enter a bonsai in this competition (this includes contiguous state affiliated clubs). Entries are limited to one per person in any of four categories. Cash awards will be made in the amount of $200 in each of the categories (Conifer, Deciduous, Broad-leaved evergreen, Shohin) and $200 for a People’s Choice Award and $500 for Best of Show to be chosen from the winners of the other categories. Winners shall be determined by a panel of judges that shall be the headliners of the Convention Program [Peter Tea, David DeGroot and Kathy Shaner], and the People’s Choice Award shall be determined by popular vote of the attendees to the Convention. The decision of the judges and the popular vote shall be final.
I’m very happy to see GSBF sponsoring a judged event and hope that over time more and more enthusiasts will participate. Here are some highlights from the judged exhibit, first among them, a tree that won Best Conifer, the People’s Choice Award and Best in Show – wow! Congratulations go to Rick Trumm – who also took home the ABS John Y. Naka Award, Hobbyist Division - for his work on this beautiful Sierra juniper.
Sierra juniper by Rick Trumm
Other highlights from the judged exhibit below.
Olive – Best Broadleaf Evergreen
The Golden State Bonsai Federation’s exhibit at its 37th convention included a great mix of conifers, particularly the pines and junipers.
Great trunk and roots
Atlas cedar – is that what I think it is atop the tree?
Yep – Mantodea
I’ve guessed at several of the names below – feel free to chime in if you now the varieties.
Some of the more interesting deadwood in the exhibit appeared on a Sierra juniper.
Root over rock black pine
Shimpaku grafted on Sierra juniper