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The Dreaded Fungus   4 comments

 

When it comes to keeping plants as ornamental’s like Bonsai, watering becomes a problem. Keeping plants in pots can be a problem since most of the watering is done by hand, and from overhead. While for the most part this is not bad for the plant, it can become dangerous because the soil may hold the water for long periods of time causing an environment good for the formation of fungus.
The subject of fungus in plants is a tricky one. We as humans are quick to visualize fungus on our plants as some grotesque looking growth that would be easy to identify as bad for the plant.

This is not the case. Most fungal outbreaks in plants happens with discoloration of the leaves. This happens to perfectly good normal looking leaves and looks as though the leaves are scorched by the sun. This is not the case. I would be willing to wager that most complaints about maples in particular, of browning edges and scorched looking tips is not sun related at all. This is most of the time fungal in nature. If even minimum requirements are met on a healthy maple, and it is hydrated properly and out of the harsh afternoon sun, there is no reason leaves should be browning at all. Routine prophylactic sprays of fungicide will keep a maple looking lush all summer.

The two main culprits for bonsai come from:

Anthracnose
and
Virticillium Wilt

What is Anthracnose?

From the Farmers Almanac:
This fungal disease affects many plants, including vegetables, fruits, and trees. It causes dark, sunken lesions on leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits. It also attacks developing shoots and expanding leaves. It can spread very quickly during rainy seasons.

Anthracnose is a general term for a variety of diseases that affect plants in similar ways. Anthracnose is especially known for the damage that it can cause to trees. Anthracnose is caused by a fungus.

Anthracnose can survive on infected plant debris and is very easily spread. Like rust, it thrives under moist and warm conditions and is often spread by watering.

HOW TO IDENTIFY ANTHRACNOSE
On leaves, anthracnose generally appears first as small, irregular yellow or brown spots. These spots darken as they age and may also expand, covering the leaves.
On vegetables, it can affect any part of the plant.
On fruits, it produces small, dark, sunken spots, which may spread. In moist weather, pinkish spore masses form in the center of these spots. Eventually, the fruits will rot.
On trees, it can kill the tips of young twigs. It also attacks the young leaves, which develop brown spots and patches. It can also cause defoliation of the tree.

CONTROL AND PREVENTION
HOW TO CONTROL ANTHRACNOSE
· Remove and destroy any infected plants in your garden. For trees, prune out the dead wood and destroy the infected leaves.

· You can try spraying your plants with a copper-based fungicide, though be careful because copper can build up to toxic levels in the soil for earthworms and microbes. For trees, try a dormant spray of bordeaux mix. (lime sulphur). This should be applied during the leafless winter phase as calcium during summer will strip a tree of leaves in a day.

PREVENT ANTHRACNOSE
· Plant resistant plants, or buy healthy transplants.

· Plant your plants in well-drained soil. You can also enrich the soil with compost in order to help plants resist diseases.

· Water your plants with a drip sprinkler, as opposed to an overhead sprinkler. Don’t touch the plants when they are wet.

Some common Maple fungi;
Aureobasidium apocryptum, Discula campestris, Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, Discula umbrinella

Biology
Anthracnose fungi can over-winter in buds, twigs, fruit, fallen leaves or petioles depending on which hosts and pathogens are involved. The disease cycle begins in spring when spores are dispersed short distances by water or spread long distances by air to newly forming leaves. Spores are produced within new leaf infections several days to weeks after the initial infection and are further spread to new locations by splashing water.

The disease is most common in spring when new shoot and leaf growth are combined with temperatures ranging from 50-68°F and spring rain. Anthracnose can also re-occur in the summer when cool, wet weather is paired with succulent leaf growth. For ash, maple and oak trees, young leaves and shoots are highly susceptible to infection from the anthracnose fungi, but mature fully expanded leaves are largely resistant. Mature leaves of these trees only become infected through minor wounds like damage from insect pests. As a result, once the weather becomes dry and the leaves mature, disease growth will end, and the tree will replace lost leaves with a new flush of growth. In contrast, anthracnose can continue to progress through summer months on trees like hornbeam.

Leaf spotting and leaf distortion have very little affect on the health of the tree. However if a tree is severely defoliated multiple years in a row, this can weaken the tree. In such cases, opportunistic pests like boring insects or canker causing fungi can attack the tree resulting in more significant damage.

Fungicides
Fungicides are not necessary unless a tree has been completely defoliated several years in a row. Fungicides are protective and need to be applied before symptoms appear on the leaves. Proper timing of fungicide applications can vary widely from growing season to growing season and therefore can be difficult to predict. Chemical treatments include products with the following active ingredients.

§ Propiconazole
§ Thiophanate methyl
§ Copper containing fungicides
§ Mancozeb
§ Chlorothalonil (daconil)

*Always completely read and follow all instructions on the fungicide label.

The following pictures are unfortunately from my backyard.
In maples the first signs will be a curling of the leaves. It will look contorted and like a bird’s claw.

As the disease spreads small patches of the leaf will begin to brown. This may or may not be accompanied by the curling of the leaves. Other symptoms like black edges may show.

As the disease progresses larger brown patches may present themselves as spots on the leaf.
This phase may happen on an otherwise normal looking leaf. This is the time most people think the tree is getting sun-scorched or salts in the soil, poor PH and no magnesium. It’s just fungus folks!

In the latter stages the leaf will start to exhibit signs of large tissue loss on the inner portions of the leaf.


Most of the damage caused by Anthracnose can be fixed with fungicide. I especially recommend daconil and copper solutions applied monthly. Keep in mind that fungicide will not cure incurred damage, just help rid the plant of future damage. The present damage will have to be removed by hand or pruning and destroyed and then treated. While not life threatening prolonged damage by fungus will weaken the plant to the point of death. It is important to treat as soon as possible to keep the pathogen from infecting other nearby plants.

Now we move on to the tree killer
Verticillium Wilt. The really bad fungus.

I am happy to say none of these pictures are mine….Thank God.

Verticillium Wilt

By Chantal Guillemin*

Verticillium spp. attack a very large host range including more than 350 species of vegetables, fruit trees, flowers, field crops, and shade or forest trees. Most vegetable species have some susceptibility, so it has a very wide host range. A list of known hosts is at the bottom of this page.

The symptoms are similar to most wilts with a few specifics to Verticillium. Wilt itself is the most common symptom, with wilting of the stem and leaves occurring due to the blockage of the xylem vascular tissues and therefore reduced water and nutrient flow. In small plants and seedlings, Verticillium can quickly kill the plant while in larger, more developed plants the severity can vary. Some times only one side of the plant will appear infected because once in the vascular tissues, the disease migrates mostly upward and not as much radically in the stem. Other symptoms include stunting, chlorosis or yellowing of the leaves, necrosis or tissue death, and defoliation. Internal vascular tissue discoloration might be visible when the stem is cut.

Once the pathogen enters the host, it makes its way to the vascular system, and specifically the xylem. The fungi can spread as hyphae through the plant, but can also spread as spores. Verticillium produce conidia on conidiophores and once conidia are released in the xylem, they can quickly colonize the plant. Conidia have been observed traveling to the top of cotton plants, 115 cm, 24 hours after initial conidia inoculation, so the spread throughout the plant can occur very quickly. Sometimes the flow of conidia will be stopped by cross sections of the xylem, and here the conidia will spawn, and the fungal hyphae can overcome the barrier, and then produce more conidia on the other side.

A heavily infected plant can succumb to the disease and die. As this occurs, the Verticillium will form its survival structures and when the plant dies, its survival structures will be where the plant falls, releasing inoculates into the environment. The survival structures will then wait for a host plant to grow nearby and will start the cycle all over again.
Besides being long-lasting in the soil, Verticillium can spread in many ways. The most common way of spreading short distances is through root to root contact within the soil. Roots in natural conditions often have small damages or openings in them that are easily colonized by Verticillium from an infected root nearby. Air borne conidia have been detected and some colonies observed, but mostly the conidia have difficulty developing above ground on healthy plants. In open channel irrigation, V. dahliae have been found in the irrigation ditches up to a mile from the infected crop.

Without fungicidal seed treatments, infected seeds are easily transported and the disease spread, and Verticillium has been observed remaining viable for at least 13 months on some seeds. Planting infected seed potatoes can also be a source of inoculum to a new field. Finally, insects have also been shown to transmit the disease. Many insects including potato leaf hopper, leaf cutter bees, and aphids have been observed transmitting conidia of Verticillium and because these insects can cause damage to the plant creating an entry for the Verticillium, they can help transmit the disease.

In Verticillium, the symptoms and effects will often only be on the lower or outer parts of plants or will be localized to only a few branches of a tree. In older plants, the infection can cause death, but often, especially with trees, the plant will be able to recover, or at least continue living with the infection. The severity of the infection plays a large role in how severe the symptoms are and how quickly they develop.

As Verticillium spreads more quickly in weaker plants, follow these sound cultural practices:

· Prune dead branches to discourage infection by other fungi. Disinfect tools between cuts in a 10 percent solution of household bleach.

· Water generously, especially during dry periods.

· Apply modest amounts of slow-release fertilizer, low in nitrogen and high in potassium.

· Mulch to maintain soil moisture, keep soil temperatures moderate and minimize chances of root injuries.

· Avoid gardening under a Japanese maple, as damage to the roots can be an entry point for Verticillium wilt.

· Don’t use wood chips from infected trees.

· Because the Verticillium fungus can survive in the soil for 10 years, do not move soil or debris from areas of known infection.

· Fungicides are not effective for control, because tree roots inevitably grow beyond the treated area.

· Seek guarantees from nurseries or suppliers that the stock you purchase is Verticillium-free. Replace severely infected trees with unsusceptible species such as yew or conifer.

Disease incidence is influenced by cultural care and environmental conditions, so homeowners who choose to beautify their gardens with Japanese maples must take precautions against the establishment and spread of Verticillium wilt.*

*Chantal Guillemin is a Contra Costa Master Gardener.
Master Gardeners
The Master Gardener programs are UC Cooperative Extension, county-based volunteer organizations dedicated to providing research-based gardening information to home gardeners. They love sharing information and answering questions.
Contra Costa Master Gardeners, 925-646-65

Susceptible plants
Maples, Most all stone fruits,(Ume) and various elms

Immune plants
Juniper, Pine, Pyracantha, Hackberry, Boxwood, Hornbeam, Oaks, Yew, Zelcova and Hawthorn

Leaves look much the same as Anthracnose, but has much more yellow in the early stages while Anthracnose goes right to brown and black.

As the infection spreads entire branches will be infected. To save the tree remove entire branch. On bonsai this is probably not a tree saving idea since removing entire branches will ruin the tree as bonsai and saving it is most likely futile.

Blackening of the trunk skin will happen and the tree may exhibit compartmentilizing trying to save itself.

The autopsy will show that the core of the tree is beginning to rot and the xylem shows a dark band.

 

 

 

 

 

New pot for an old Friend   2 comments

This Trident maple has been the subject of many articles here but this time it will get a new pot. Re potting here startes early, like in January. This tree wtill has Christmas ornaments on it from the previous month.

The tree is lifted from the pot and a thick matt of roots are starting to move already. This tree is so vigorous it must be re potted each year as the roots lift the tree from the thin pot.

I remove a full two inch ring from the tree and comb out the roots.

 

The new pot is from Robert Pressler and Kimura Bonsai in Southern California. It is a sky blue Chinese bag pot. Trying the pot for size. I like it!

Drainage layer.

Soil layer with 30 percent coarse fir bark.

Watering it in…

The beauty shot.


At the recent Fresno Home and Garden Show March 2017.

Juniper Winter Work   5 comments

I have worked on many shimpaku and other species juniper over the winter. Many were restyled and re-potted.

Mas Ishii Shimpaku

This first tree is a tree I purchased in 2002. It had been a very beautiful tree but I managed to ruin it over the years. It has escaped death numerous times from spider mite and pinching misfortunes. This is the tree in 2005 after escaping death twice.

Another few years and more rattyness.

A few more years and even less green left.

Left to grow for a few years to get strong and now it may be ready for a restyle….at least with whats left.

Restyled and repotted in a glazed Bunzan.

George Muranaka prostrata.

This tree was purchased in Nov. of 2014. It was left to grow for a couple years and then a first styling was begun.

Cleaned up and put into a first pot.

part of the canopy would be removed and jinned entirely.

Re grow and then style whats left.

George Muranaka Shimpaku

I purchased this tree from George around 2006. Once again it suffered from spider mite and my lack of awareness on how to take good care of the species.

Left to grow and a re style and then a repot. Looks like this now and is growing quite well.

Benny Kim (Kim’s Bonsai) procumbens.

The tree is on the left and purchased in 2002. It had a good trunk about two inches across.

Lots of jins on this one and some carving.

A first styling

Starting to look pretty good.

A new direction for this one. It had started to slump really bad due to the roots giving up on one side. Time to turn it upright.

Done…for now.

Steve DaSilva Procumbens.

These were struck as small plants and wired and twisted up. Planted in a field for a few years and dug up in 2015.

I would use the stock as a demo at the Fresno Home and Garden show in 2016

As it sits today.

Ed Clark Shimapku

This tree came by way of Ed Clark from Bonsai Northwest in Washington State. I kept it for a year making sure it was good for a repot in 2017.

Ready for some work.

It was removed from its growing container and combed out. Root structure was fairly small like most junipers but was rather one sided. I wnted to plant it into a signature Begei pot I had and felt that once planted here it could stay for a while. The one sided root meant it was planted well off center but will be fixed later when new roots go and allow for more diligent root pruning.

Now for the style part.

There is a large looping jin that comes over the top of the tree. The shoot I wish to be the apex is in front of that jin. I need to get it behind.

So…with some praying and bending and pulling I ease the jin around the shoot.

Now I am happy with the position of everything and can start the details.

More pruning and removing everything I don’t want. That should mean I have only the things I do want. Good in theory and poor in practise….

After some wire and manipulation I am able to coex a pretty decent tree out of the aftermath. Next year I will concentrate on managing shoot strength and how to treat possible shari on the trunk….or not!

Mas Ishii Shimpaku

I purchased this tree from Gary Ishii in 2004. Like all my shimpaku I battled the spider mites with fury. Mostly they seem to win but never kill the tree but ruin it for many years till successive cut backs get rid of grey and yellow foliage.

This style took place in 2010 after the tree had recovered for many years. It was planted into a Sarah Rayner shallow glazed bunjin pot.

This winter the tree underwent another re style and pot change. This time into a heavily patinanted Bunjin Begei.

….then the styling

Two Trident maples get new pots.   4 comments

This trident was a purchase from Ian Price of Lone Pine in 2009 at the GSBF convention in Anaheim.001

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Signature Yamafusa pot purchased for the tree four years ago. Needed all four years to get it into the pot.dsc_0031

 

This trident maple was purchased from Steve DaSilva in 2013. It was dug from his field.0003

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This Japanese bag pot was purchased from Kora Daleger back from a recent trip to Japan. It has had many root cut backs to get it into this pot.dsc_00361

 

Yosemite in Autumn   Leave a comment

Yosemite is ablaze with the colors of Fall. My wife and I had the rare opportunity to see the colors of the Yosemite Valley during this colorful season.

 

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Posted October 30, 2016 by California Bonsai Art in California Inspiration

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Shohin Pines, choosing the correct material   2 comments

A couple years ago I picked up several young pines from a grower in Lindsey, Ed Clark. Ed grows these pines with wire embedded in the trunk to add girth quickly and to add good movement. The technique is not for everyone and pine purists will say they look un-natural and man made. The truth is that as the years go by they look less and less man made and begin to take on a different look. I am OK with the look and will continue to work with these pines to see how I might develop them.

The pines at the nursery are fairly bushy due to letting the growth run and pruning only once a year. The trunks have been wrapped with wire and the wire is allowed to cut in producing lots of scar tissue and bulges and texture. A lot of the trunks at this age look a lot like the Michelin Man.

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The tops tend to look pretty bushy and one can be assured that a yuears growth will really turn it into a bowling ball of green.

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One years growth at my place.

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I had purchased about 10 of the pines. Cursory cuts have been made and the foliage was allowed to grow all season.

After purchasing the material the first cuts are made. Wire is applied to set the shape and then it is allowed to grow and bud.

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Today the pine looks like this one year later.

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The group look like this.

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This second group are one year further along in training.

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Now that’s the method for growing and training pines being specifically grown for bonsai with lots of care and training along the way preserving branches and not allowing anything to get out of proportion. Lets look at some pines being grown for bonsai but with much less work done to them for the future as bonsai. These are good trees, but many of them should have been culled along the way. Many of them are taking up space and water and fertilizer is being wasted on material that does not have a bright future in the bonsai trade.

Lets look at this growers material as a whole.

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Now we can zoom in and take a look at individual trees.

This pine has a good trunk movement. It has a nice curve and the curve is low and in scale with a tree 8 inches tall. This is a keeper.

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This tree has a good nebari and lots of branches down low to work with. A strong pine when cut will bud profusely if it is healthy.

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This is another good candidate with a nice wiggle in the trunk to help add some dynamics. Lots of branch choices and low branches keep the tree in scale and proportion.

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Even though I did not get a good pic of the trunk, the tree has lots of branches and many are low enough to start a good shohin tree. Possibly a good formal upright tree here.

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At first glance this tree may be looked over with the wye in the trunk and straight section off to the right. I would purchase this tree and cut off the trunk on the right maybe leaving a small jin stub. I would continue working the left side due to its compact growth and good trunk movement as well as a profusion of branches to work with.

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Some trees that would be something to look past would be trees with little movement and few branches. This straight beanpole has nothing going for it.

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This small pine while having lots of branches, there is little to work with as far as a trunk. It is straight and uninteresting, branching starts too high and the trunk has little taper. Pass one like this by. I have seen people buy trees like this when there is little material to choose from. Switch to a species with better choices in your locale and be happy a few years from now. Buying material like this is “not” a leaning experience and that line is a cop out for poor choices at the check stand.

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Here is another poor choice. Again the enticement may be the larger trunk size. It seems larger than the others. That’s true but it come with little else. That first section of trunk is out of scale without taper for an 8 inch tree, and finding a tree in this material may take decades.

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There is no taper and the wye in the trunk with a leader out the middle looks funny and cannot be corrected. Removing the central leader will leaves you with a slingshot and will probably not bud back very easily on the old wood.

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Posted October 8, 2016 by California Bonsai Art in First Steps with No Bai De

Shohin Trident Maple   1 comment

This small trident maple is from Muranaka Bonsai Nursery. It is in a rather weird “C” shape. Part of that is no doubt due to canting in the pot when dug from the field. The roots shows the previous soil line and though the root is exposed it offeres a nice counter balance to the C shape trunk. A small rounded canopy will be worked on this summer thru selective pruning.

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