BONSAI ACADAMY OF S.A. TRADING AS

BONSAI FRIEND

NEELS VAN TONDER

EASY GROW INDOOR AND OUTDOOR BONSAI

WITH FULL AFTER SALE SERVICE

RETAIL                         CORPORATE GIFTS                        WHOLESALE

Aftercare

MAINTAINING  YOUR  BONSAI

PLACEMENT OUTDOORS PLACEMENT INDOORS FEEDING PESTS AND DISEASES

WATERING

 
WATER IS THE SINGLE, MOST IMPORTANT INGREDIENT THAT DETERMINES THE GROWING QUALITY OF A BONSAI TREE.
1. MOISTURE IS NEEDED TO ALLOW A TREE TO ABSORB THE DISSOLVED FOOD IN THE SOIL.
2. WATER IS USED BY THE TREE , TO TRANSPORT THE FOOD FROM THE ROOTS TO THE LEAVES.
3. WATER IS TRANSPIRED THROUGH THE LEAVES TO MAINTAIN THE CORRECT TEMPERATURE FOR THE FOOD PROCESS.

A tree can easily be compared with a human. On a hot day you absorb more moisture than usual. The reason, the more the heat the more water is needed by the body to perspire. If you do not take in enough moisture, the body will dehydrate. The same will happen with a tree. If a tree does not have access to sufficient moisture to cool off the leaves, it uses the moisture that was meant to produce food and to transpire, to put out the “ fire ” in the “ kitchens ”.   The result !!!!!   The leaves will burn, turn brown and fall off. Depending on the amount of insufficient moisture and the time lag, the tree will start to die from the top crown downwards, until the tree is watered again. It is necessary to water your bonsai tree at a regular twenty four hour interval.
WHY…..the correct watering method will determine the quality of growth of your bonsai. When enough water for the soil to stay moist for twenty-four hours has been applied, the soil will become wind dry by the next morning. ( depending on the amount of sun and air circulation )

THE REASON : wetting the soil thoroughly, slows down the growth of the fine feeder roots temporarily. When the soil slightly dries out but remains moist, fresh oxygen is pulled into the soil as the water level drops and the soil particles shrink, thus creating a micro moist atmosphere in the soil, allowing space for the fine feeder roots to search the soil for dissolved food, a vital process for a healthy, vigorous fine root growth and development. When the soil is saturated again the whole process is repeated. Soil that stays too wet too long results in root rot, as no oxygen can enter the soil and the roots are drowned

.
STEP ONE :

The first thing that has to be done after acquiring a bonsai, is to place the bonsai container in a basin that has been filled with room temperature water. The bonsai container must be slowly submerged to the brim. Do not allow the water to flow over the topsoil as this can disturb, and wash down the topsoil. Allow a five minute soaking period before the water is drained from the basin. Wait another five minutes for the excess water to drain from the bonsai soil in the pot and place your bonsai in it’s preselect position. This procedure is done to ensure that the correct moisture level is reached to start your watering habit, and should be repeated the day prior to feeding every second weekend, in summertime only. Submerging is only applicable on small and medium size bonsai trees. Lager trees have more soil and only need to be watered extra well monthly.

 

PLEASE NOTE, DO NOT USE A SPRAY BOTTLE TO WATER YOUR BONSAI,

AS I CAN GUARANTEE YOU, YOU WILL UNDER WATER YOUR BONSAI TREE.

STEP TWO :

In summer time, from the second day onwards, using a small watering can or a jug, your bonsai tree should be watered at least twice a day, from the top only. Enough water must slowly be poured on the top of the soil until the water runs through the drainage holes. This should be enough water for twenty four hours until the soil becomes “ wind dry ”. All major watering should be done in the morning. On a hot summers day, depending on the placement of the bonsai tree, you might need to add a bit of “ top up ” water in the afternoon, not to late though, as a wet warm environment is an open invitation for fungi and insects to breed.

REMEMBER, THE MORE THE HEAT THE MORE WATER IS NEEDED BY YOUR BONSAI.

In summer a human drinks more moisture and in winter we reduce the amount of water intake. Use yourself as a guide to determine your bonsai watering habit. Use the first week to monitor the amount of water that lasts for twenty four hours maximum, to see how much water should be applied daily.

if, by chance, the soil dries out completely, immerse the bonsai container in water as described previously. Also, if the water runs off the soil easily while watering or drains through immediately, it is an indication that the soil is compacted and dried out. Immediately use the immersion method to correct the moisture balance.

In winter time, watering is done from daily, to once every second day, in the mornings only. The amount of air circulation and morning sun your bonsai receives will be the determining factor, whether to water daily or every second day. The amount of water is also reduced to prevent the soil from freezing at night. In winter, if your bonsai tree is placed where it receives full morning sun, keep on watering daily, but slightly less than in summer time, so that it is much drier at night for the cold and frost.

WINTER WATERING IS DONE IN SUCH A WAY,THAT THE BONSAI TREE SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE

ENOUGH WATER DURING THE DAY, BUT, THE SOIL MUST BE “ WIND DRY ” AT NIGHT

.IF YOU USE A DRIP TRAY, DO NOT ALLOW THE BONSAI TO STAND IN ITS OWN EXCESS WATER

THAT HAS DRAINED THROUGH. PLEASE SUSPEND THE BONSAI CONTAINER ON TWO SPACERS,

AT LEAST TWO CENTIMETRE ABOVE THE SIDE OF THE DRIP TRAY TO ALLOW ENOUGH AIR CIRCULATION

BENEATH THE BONSAI CONTAINER AND THE WATER.

STANDING YOUR BONSAI IN WATER WILL RESULT IN "ROOT ROT"

 

PLACEMENT  OUTDOORS

 

THE IDEAL POSITION FOR A BONSAI IS FULL MORNING SUN,
BRIGHT LIGHT FOR THE REST OF THE DAY,
BUT PROTECTION FROM THE HARSH MIDDAY AND HOT AFTERNOON SUN.

 

The ideal position outdoor is where your bonsai is sheltered from the cold winter nights, draught and wind. Placed on a north or east facing stoop or patio or totally outside, covered with forty percent shade cloth. Some specimens need to be protected in winter with a special clear plastic that allows the ultra violet rays of the sun trough but eliminates the cold and wind, or brought indoors at night.

Let us take a look at the light factor.

Light seen by the human eye is relative to what we want to see. Humans mainly make use of reflected light. Bonsai make use of    DIRECT ULTRA VIOLET RAYS OF THE SUN.   The  HEAT  and ENERGY   of the  SUN  is necessary to induce   PHOTOSYNTHESIS. MORNING SUN is BRIGHT BUT SOFT   on the leaves,   MIDDAY   and   AFTERNOON SUN   is   TOO STRONG AND HOT  and only   BURN   the leaves of your Bonsai.  AFTERNOON SUN ALSO HEATS UP    the soil in the container resulting   IN QUICKER WATER EVAPORATION   thus  BURNING THE FINE FEEDER ROOTS,   ( The   “ HANDS ”   that collect the food ) leaving the tree with insufficient moisture to survive.

A BONSAI PLACED IN THE IDEAL POSITION OUTDOORS AND WATERED CORRECTLY,
WILL PRODUCE HEALTHY, SMALL, DARK GREEN LEAVES,
AND WILL NOT BE ATTACKED BY PESTS AND DISEASES EASILY.
YOU WILL ALSO NOTICE THAT THE INTER NODAL DISTANCE BETWEEN THE LEAVES
WILL BE SHORT AND IN PROPORTION WITH THE SIZE OF THE BONSAI TREE.

 

PLACEMENT  INDOORS

INDOORS IS THE WORST POSITION FOR YOUR BONSAI.

 

Nowadays unfortunately, a lot of people stay in flats or townhouses and do not have the appropriate outdoor space. So, second best is indoors, which creates a lot of problems. Indoors we mostly make use of reflecting light or we use light bulbs, artificial light   THAT HAS NO INFLUENCE ON PHOTOSYNTHESIS. We cut out the suns   ULTRA VIOLET RAYS,   that is damaging to our furniture and carpets, with   LACE / NET CURTAINS, BLINDS,   a shade tree outside the window, or a roof overhang. In the meantime the curtains, carpets and furniture absorbs the   MOISTURE   in the room and brings the   HUMIDITY FACTOR DOWN   so much that it is unacceptable for a tree to survive. INSUFFICIENT AIR CIRCULATION   exists indoors and the poor bonsai tree struggles to produce the correct food.In the meantime the unhealthy bonsai pushes out a lot of   NEW BIG LEAVES, LIGHT GREEN GROWTH WITH LONG INTER NODAL DISTANCES, PRODUCING WATER GROWTH,   and try to survive. At that stage we think, “wow look how happy our bonsai tree is, pushing out so much new growth !!!!! “

But in the meantime the bonsai is dying. VARIOUS PESTS AND DISEASES ATTACK THE AILING BONSAI TREE,   and we start to use insecticide to get rid of the problem. We feed the sick bonsai tree with plant food and put it in full sun to get it back to health. All we are actually doing is killing the poor bonsai instantly. Then the   BONSAI STARTS TO LOSE ALL ITS LEAVES AND STARTS TO DIE,   and we blame the insects for our dying bonsai tree.

PESTS AND DISEASES IS NOT THE PROBLEM
BUT THE END RESULT OF THE PROBLEM WE CREATED,
BY INCORRECT PLACEMENT AND / OR INCORRECT WATERING
.

Did you have a bonsai that produced a lot of new growth ? Doubled the size of the original growth, within a few days after you got it ? Suddenly started to loose its leaves, then produced new growth again to loose it again. And a month later you had the most beautiful dry arrangement. One of the most common remarks i have heard over the past years from bonsai lovers that have lost their bonsai this way, is

“ BONSAI IS NOT FOR ME, I DO NOT HAVE GREEN FINGERS, BONSAI DIE TO EASILY ON ME “

In the meantime :
1. The right information on how to take care of the tree was not obtained when bought, resulting in the incorrect watering, or the incorrect placement.
2. Or, it might have been a tree that was grown out of doors.
3. Or, the tree was potted in the incorrect soil.

BONSAI DO NOT DIE, HUMANS KILL THEM WITH IGNORANCE.

With all the information we have learnt so far, we can place some bonsai trees indoors, provided we compensate for the problems.Some subtropical trees like the Wild Figs do fine indoors. Our own Acacias, White Stinkwood, Wild Olive, Gardenia, Bohenia, Kei-Apple, Boer-Bean Tree, and various other South African trees can also be placed indoors. Do not forget about the introduced specimens like Cotoneaster, Fire thorn, Bougainvillea, Maples, Pomegranate, Privet, Chinese Elm, Chinese May, Chinese June, and a lot more. Not all the specimens we use for bonsai purposes like to be placed indoors. Pines, Junipers and Conifers, all the trees with needles, need the humidity outdoors. Remember, most of the needle trees originate from cold wet areas overseas and need the temperature change between day and night to survive. The colder the temperature at night the better they grow.When a bonsai tree has been grown out of doors it can be brought indoors for a week or two, and if taken outside again, do not put it in full sun, as the sun will burn the leaves. Gradually introduce the bonsai tree to the sun again. The previous mentioned is not a rule but a guideline. I have seen a boulevard cypress thriving on a desk two meter away from a window, in an air-conditioned office being watered only twice a week, and it was very happy. So, you do get exceptions.

THE BEST POSITION TO PLACE YOUR BONSAI TREE INDOORS,
( BOUGHT FROM BONSAI FRIEND ONLY )
IS IN FULL MORNING SUN TILL ABOUT ELEVEN OR TWELVE O CLOCK,
IN FRONT OF A NORTH OR EAST FACING WINDOW,
WITHIN THIRTY TO FIFTY CENTIMETRE AWAY FROM THE ACTUAL WINDOW,
WITHOUT A LACE OR NET CURTAIN,
AT THE SAME HEIGHT AS THE WINDOWSILL OR HIGHER,
WITH THE WINDOW OPEN FOR FRESH AIR DURING THE DAY.
IN WINTER TIME, MOVED AWAY FROM THE COLD WINDOW AT NIGHT,
AS GLASS IS A STRONG CONDUCTOR OF COLD AND IT CAN FREEZE THE SOIL
AND DAMAGE THE ROOTS OF YOUR BONSAI.

In this position the bonsai tree will receive approximately ninety percent ultra violet rays from the sun for most of the day. Moving the tree to one metre away from the window we reduce the sun rays by half in the middle of the room the bonsai will only receive about twenty percent light. Placing the bonsai against the wall next to the window will not do, as the sunrays cannot bend around corners and the bonsai will only be receiving reflecting light. In winter, remember to move the bonsai tree away from the cold window at night, as glass is a powerful conductor of cold that can freeze the roots in cold soil. West facing windows are too dark in the morning and too warm in the afternoon, and will only burn the leaves and kill the fine feeder roots with the heat.
South facing windows receive reflected light only and is therefore, not suitable for bonsai. Bonsai can also be placed outside during the day (as previously explained) and brought in at night. Bonsai do not mind to be shifted around, provided they receive sufficient water and sun rays.

ALL THE BONSAI TREES SOLD BY BONSAI FRIEND ARE GROWN IN SPECIAL INDOOR HOTHOUSES,
POTTED IN HAND MIXED INDOOR BONSAI SOIL,FROM SEED, SPECIFICALLY FOR BONSAI PURPOSES,
TO ENABLE YOU TO PLACE YOUR BONSAI INDOOR,OR OUT AS WE RECOMMEND, WITHOUT ANY PROBLEM.

 

A BONSAI TREE GROWN INDOORS CAN BE PLACED INDOOR OR OUT,
BUT
A BONSAI GROWN OUT OF DOORS WILL MOST DEFINITIVELY DIE
IF PLACED INDOOR FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME.

 

FEEDING

 

NEVER EVER FEED A SICK OR DRY BONSAI!!!!! THIS GOOD DEED CAN KILL YOUR BONSAI,

ONLY FEED A HEALTHY BONSAI THAT IS PRODUCING NEW GROWING TIPS.

Watering a bonsai tree daily washes out most of the  NUTRIMENTS  in the  GROWING MEDIUM.  (MINERALS AND TRACE ELEMENTS )   for that reason the   NUTRIENTS   must be replaced. There are many plant foods available on the market which can be used with success. Bonsai friend however, has been using NITROSOL* NATURAL ORGANIC   plant food for the past years and recommends it because it is a  NATURAL ORGANIC PLANT FOOD. The main reason is :  NITROSOL *  is easy to use and is mixed with water, and should you make it to strong or to weak, it can not burn, harm or kill your bonsai tree.

 

NITROSOL - Natural organic plant food

There is a vast difference between an ORGANIC and a CHEMICAL plant food is:.

WITH AN ORGANIC PLANT FOOD THE RELEASE OF THE NUTRIENTS ARE SLOWLY RELEASED IN THE SOIL.

FEEDING YOUR BONSAI CONTINUOUSLY. IT IS LIKE A PLATE OF FOOD,

YOU CAN EAT AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE, BUT ONE PLATE OF FOOD CAN NOT KILL YOU.

A CHEMICAL FEEDING MEDIUM IS NORMALLY AVAILABLE IN DRY GRANULES.

With a  CHEMICAL  feeding an overdose will kill your bonsai tree instantly. The  CHEMICALS CAN  BURN THE FINE FEEDER ROOTS  of your bonsai tree. It also easily   LEACHES   from the growing medium, putting your bonsai tree  UNDER SEVERE STRESS.  A CHEMICAL   plant food is difficult to mix in a small quantity and can very easily be made to strong and burn your tree.
A CHEMICAL FEEDING MEDIUM IS LIKE HAVING A DRIP IN YOUR VEIN, IT REACTS MUCH QUICKER THAN A PLATE OF FOOD.   As i have found though the one plant food which is tried and tested by me is   NITROSOL* NATURAL ORGANIC PLANT FOOD.   DON’t  FEED A SICK BONSAI   or one that has   DRIED OUT   because the   FINE HAIR ROOTS   obviously have been damaged and cannot take up   MOISTURE OR FOOD.   FOR ONE BONSAI   tree mix   10 DROPS OF NITROSOL*   natural organic plant food into a  HALF A TEACUP OF WATER.     (125 ml) ALWAYS ADD THE NITROSOL*   natural organic plant food   TO THE WATER.   Place the bottle of   NITROSOL*   natural organic plant food in   SOME WARM WATER   this will   LOOSEN THE SEDIMENT   at the bottom of the bottle and it will be easier to mix.   ALWAYS SHAKE   the bottle well before using. For more trees, mix according to the instructions on the label and use the excess on other plants. Do not store mixed   NITROSOL*   natural organic plant food as this will continue to break down and will become smelly. Feeding in   SUMMER   should be done once  EVERY 14 DAYS    and in    WINTER ONCE A MONTH    for deciduous trees.   EVERGREEN   trees are fed   EVERY TWO WEEKS CONSTANTLY   throughout the year   as THEY USE MORE FOOD DURING THE WINTER.  As an example, on a Saturday immerse your bonsai tree in water ( as previously recommended in watering step one ). This will correct the moisture level in the soil. On Sunday, the following day, feed your bonsai tree.

THIS METHOD IS HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL.ON THE GROWERS FARM,

WE FEED ALL OUR BONSAI TREES EVERY TWO WEEKS THROUGH THE YEAR.

 

PESTS AND DISEASES
 

Wonder Garden Gun Insecticide
 

Pests and diseases is normally not the problem but the end result of incorrect placement or incorrect watering.   THE ONLY INSECTICIDE   that you should use on a   BONSAI TREE   is available at your local nursery and it is called   WONDER GARDEN GUN.    It is in a aerosol container and can be kept for a long time.   DO NOT USE NORMAL INSECTICIDE THAT YOU HAVE TO MIX WITH WATER,  we only recommend   WONDER  GARDEN  GUN    for the bonsai lover as it can not be made to strong or to weak but only be used as is.

WHEN YOU DO PICK UP TROUBLE WITH PESTS AND DISEASES,
SPRAY WONDER GARDEN GUN ON TOP AND AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR BONSAI LEAVES,
AS WELL AS ON THE STEM AND BRANCHES,
WAIT TWO DAYS, SPRAY AGAIN, WAIT ANOTHER TWO DAYS AND SPRAY AGAIN.

The reason for this method is it takes normally three days for the insects eggs to hatch. By applying    WONDER GARDEN GUN three times with two two days intervals in-between we are sure that there will be no insects left. Spray the infected tree four weeks later, only once, after the initial treatment.Do not, and i repeat, do not place a sick or a infected bonsai in full sun when you notice that something is wrong. A sick or infected bonsai should not be placed in direct sun immediately, but be introduced systematically to the sun, to prevent the weak leaves from burning in the hot sun, otherwise, you only begin the whole cycle again.