Monthly Care (Fourth Quarter)

Rainy days increase but there are also some sunny, warm ones. Check bonsai for moist soil. If there has been rain, a sunny day helps dry the soil. Reduce watering and fertilizing. Any wiring that had been put on the bonsai in Spring should be removed. Deciduous trees are at the height of fall color. The more sun they are exposed to, the brighter the leaves will be. Bonsai that drop leaves early can be repotted and pruned, hard if encouraging back budding. Remember to prune above nodes where the buds should appear next Spring. It is a good time to pot up (put into bigger pots) to insulate the rootball from cold temperatures. This is the time to set up for Winter shelter.

The rainy season returns in full force this month and the grass becomes green once more. All deciduous trees lose their leaves and can be pruned. Some trees are better pruned in the Fall, while others can wait until early Spring. A good Bonsai book gives preference by species. Bonsai should be in their shelter or covered with plastic on nights that get below thirty degrees. Deciduous bonsai should not be fertilized and confers can be fed lightly. Make sure pots can drain by tipping them to one side. Indoor bonsai may need a few extra hours of supplemental lighting and will benefit from occasional misting of the foliage during the Winter months. Home heating takes moisture from air. Another way to increase humidity is to place the tree on a tray of pebbles that has water added, with the bonsai raised above the tray to prevent root rot. Fertilize indoor species once a month or not at all.

December is a cold, rainy month in the Willamette Valley, and snow is also possible. Outdoor bonsai should be sheltered and care should be taken that the trees are not standing in water. No fertilization, pruning, or wiring should take place this month. The Willamette Valley has a short dormancy period that can last as little as two and a half months or up to three and a half months, depending on temperatures and snowfall. It is possible to have little or no snowfall during the Winter. If the temperatures are warm, camellia trees can begin to blood in the latter part of the month.

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