Cape Cod Bonsai Club

The design of your bonsai is only half of the objective. Keeping it alive is where horticultural science is critical. Each month at our meetings this report is given to our member to help them anticipate issues and opportunities for the coming month and season. Our present report comes from long time member Carol Ebreo. She has been a member of the club for over ten years. Our past reports have come from Mark Heinlein, Mike Novik, and Ray Perry.

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This is an excerpt from a document created by TJ Seguin for our March conversation about Fertilizer.

When growing a wild tree, nature takes very little from the soil around it. Otherwise each Oak tree would have a pit around it where nature has moved the nutrients from the soil to put into the structure of the tree. Botanical tests have shown that much less than 1% of the soil is actually taken up by the tree. It's magic!

"Organic" does not mean natural. It means relating to compounds make of up of elements. Over the last 20 years, the label has expanded to be defined as anything that come from the outdoors. Remember, Arsenic and Asbestos are organic.

Carbon-Oxygen-Hydrogen from Air and Water are the big 3 in plant growth. Without these there is no DNA or Chlorophyll production. Nitrogen is needed for green growth in the spring. Too much Nitrogen will inhibit flowering. Some Phosphate is necessary for root growth. Too much Phosphate can kill necessary bacteria and thereby reduces the ability of plants to take up Iron. In turn, this inhibits mycorrhizal relationships in the root system. Too much fertilizer seriously inhibits mycorrhizal growth. There are actually hundreds of different species of mycorrhizal fungi. Vigorous fungal growth is necessary for the job of breaking down salts to provide elements to the plant. Nothing grows well without this.

Diatomaceous earth can be used as an Akadama substitute. Also, Perlite, vermiculite, and expanded clay, retain water and nutrients, while draining fast and freely, allowing high oxygen circulation within the growing medium. 

 Horticultural Report