Monthly Care (Third Quarter)

In the Willamette Valley the dry season usually begins around the 4th of July. Temperatures reach the mid 90’s and the grass will gradually fade to brown. Bonsai will need to be watered every day without fail. Water using the “three times” method; once, then again, let drain, then again. Evening watering is best. Watering may also need to be done in the morning on extremely hot days. Protect maples and broad-leafed trees from the hot sun by shading. All rhododendrons and azaleas should be pruned by the beginning of the month to set new growth for flowers next year. Rotate bonsai for even growth. Check for pests and control. Fertilize every three weeks. Oaks can be pruned back to encourage smaller leaves; pinch new shoots back to one leaf.

Generally, August is a hot, dry month but a rare thunderstorm is a welcome surprise. These storms usually occur at night or early morning. Even if there is a heavy downpour, bonsai should be checked in the evening to make sure that they are not too dry. Shade trees that have been exposed to the southern sun the last two months. Move to a shady spot for a few days, then gradually increase sun exposure. Another possibility is to get plastic or fiber mesh, build a wooden frame, and drape the mesh over the top. The bonsai get light but it is not so harsh or hot. This is a good time to apply fish emulsion that will give the trees beneficial minerals. This is the last month to leaf prune. Fertilize every three weeks, look for pests and control.

Some rainy days are possible, more toward the end of the month. A surprise thunderstorm can still occur. Temperatures are usually in the 80’s early in the month, then in the 70’s later. Nights are getting longer and cooler. Switch fertilizer strength to 5-10-10 and feed a little less, every three weeks. Trace elements and epsom salts may be added in small doses, once this month. This helps prepare the bonsai for dormancy. Pine needles can be cut in half to promote secondary budding. Mist the foliage to prevent browning. Any indoor bonsai that spent the Summer outdoors should be brought in when temperatures fall below 55 degrees at night.

January - March / April - June / July - September / October - December