Bonsai Contest - The World Bonsai Contest

The World Bonsai Contest has been conducted under the supervision of Mr. Saburo Kato, the Nippon Bonsai Association and the Japan Bonsai Growers Association since 1999. This Contest is one of Mr. Kato’s many contributions to the Bonsai community both in Japan and throughout the world, and reflects his sincere dedication to the art of bonsai.

1. to show the world, especially nonbonsai people, how bonsai culture is enjoyed around the world;
2. to encourage bonsai-related activities on a local basis in many different regions of the world;
3. to implement the spirit of World Bonsai Friendship Federation, which promotes Peace and expands Friendship through Bonsai culture.

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Training Your Bonsai Tree - HOW TO?

bonsai wiringHow To Begin:
If you study very carefully the way trees grow in nature, it is possible to design a realistic looking bonsai without knowing the names of styles, etc. The most important part is always remember that you are working with a living plant.

Look carefully at its natural characteristics and you may discern within them a suitable style, or styles.
Once a certain "shape" begins to reveal itself, you will find that gentle bending of a branch before wiring will increase its flexibility and give you an idea of the correct strength of wire. What you are looking for is a wire that will give you a tension slightly more than the tension of the branch.

Tender-barked trees, such as maples, should be trained with paper-wrapped wire to protect the bark.

When To Wire:
bonsai wire technique
Deciduous trees should be wired after their leaves have matured, in early summer, and the wires removed in autumn to avoid wounding the bark.

Coniferous trees should be wired during the winter months, since they take considerably longer to become fixed in position. All trees should be protected from hot sun and heavy rain for a month after wiring.

training bonsai, bonsai wireWiring A Bonsai Tree:
Begin wiring from the base of the trunk, anchoring the wire in the soil. You may need two wires to hold the trunk in position. After securing the base of the trunk, proceed to the main, and then the smaller branches, ending with the highest twigs. Wires should be wound at about 45 degrees to the line of the branch.

Gauge the tension carefully, as tight wiring will cut into the bark, and loose wiring will slip.

Dealing With Breaks
Even if you are very careful, you may bend a branch to its breaking point while wiring. If the break is simply a fracture with the broken part still partially attached, you have a chance of saving the branch.

Very gently ease the broken part into place, carefully fitting both ends of thebreak together. Wrap the break with garden tape or raffia and tie it securely, but not too tightly. Within several months, the fractured branch tissue may knit together.

If the break is complete or the ends fail to unite, you have several choices. You can cut the broken branch back to where side branches grow out from it, or you can cut it back to its point of origin.

Care After Wiring:
To help your bonsai recover from the trauma of wiring, keep it out of direct sunlight for several days. It's also a good idea to keep it sheltered from wind for several weeks. Water the plant routinely, giving the foliage a daily sprinkling.

Removing The Wire
To give wired branches a good chance to grow into their new positions, leave wires in place for a full growing season. Then, in early autumn, remove them to avoid any constriction during the next growth phase. If wires are left in plce too long, the bark will show unsightly spiral scars for years. With stiff copper wire, it is best to cut it carefully from branches to avoid inflicting damage by uncoiling.

Aluminum wire can be uncoiled, starting at the outmost end and carefully uncoiling toward the anchor end. If wired branches still need more coaxing to achieve the desired positions, they can be rewired at the appropriate time for another year of training. When you rewire a branch, vary the wire position from that of the previous year.
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Training Your Bonsai Tree

bonsai training wire, wire bonsai tips
Training Your Bonsai Tree - Often considered the most difficult training technique, wiring is used to bend the trunk and branches of a tree into the shape you would like your bonsai to take. Beginners can learn to judge tension in different sized branches, and the various ways of securing wire, by first practicing on a small branch from an ordinary tree or shrub.

Never rush.

Deciding the shape your tree will take is a lifetime decision, so be sure to examine all angles and possibilities. Copper wire, though expensive, is most suitable for wiring a bonsai-to-be such as the juniper above, because it remains soft. Galvanized iron or plastic coated wire may be used, but they tend to look rather ugly and  detract from your tree. Remember, the larger coniferous trees will be wearing their wires for 12 - 18 months, so please take care in choosing the best "look " for your bonsai.
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Spider mites - control strategies

Control Strategies - Early detection of spider mites, before damage is noticed, is important. Timely inspection of susceptible landscape plants — especially during periods favoring mite outbreaks — is the key to preventing serious damage. The tiny spider mites can be detected by taking a piece of white paper or cardboard and striking some plant foliage on it. The mites can be seen walking slowly on the paper. If 10 or more mites per sample are common, controls may be needed. When scouting for spider mites, pay particular attention to plants having a history of mite problems. Spider mites often re-infest the same plants year after year.

Cultural Control – Quarantine and Inspection is important to prevent/control infestations. The twospotted spider mite, for example, is often introduced on infested bedding and house plants. When purchasing new plants, whether for outside plants or inside house plants, carefully inspect the new material for any signs of mite activity.

Examine most thoroughly the lower leaf surfaces and where leaves branch from the stem. New house plants should be quarantined from other plants until you are sure that no mites are present.

A forceful jet of water from a hose can wash mites from plants. Periodical washing can keep spider mites under control on most ornamental plants in the landscape. This technique also helps conserve natural predators. House plants can be relocated outside for treatment of twospotted spider mites and returned as soon as dried.

Biological Control – Predators.
ladybug, spider mites predator
There are numerous insects (lacewings and lady beetles) that prey on spider mites. However, the most common predators are other types of predatory mites. Predatory mites can be purchased and released onto infested plants. Some species are host specific and each predator works better under different weather conditions. If predators are used, help insure a favorable environment for them to prosper, including avoiding application of pesticides that will kill them.
lacewing, spider mites predator

Chemical Control - Most spider mites, if detected early, can be controlled with insecticidal oils and soaps. Horticultural oils can be used on perennial and woody ornamentals during the summer at the 1 to 2 percent rate. Higher rates of horticultural oil (3 to 4 percent) or dormant oil are useful for killing mite eggs and dormant adults in the fall and spring. Spring applications of dormant oils seem to be the most effective on cool season mites. Insecticidal soaps are most useful in warmer weather. Soaps and oils work by contact only and have no residual activity so thorough coverage of the plant is necessary for good control.
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Spruce Spider Mite

spruce spider mite, spider mites pest
Spruce Spider Mite (Oligonychus ununguis) - The spruce spider mite is a common 'cool season' mite. This pest can be found on all types of conifers from spruces and pines to junipers and arborvitae.

This mite spends the winter in the egg stage attached to host plants. The eggs hatch in March to April and the mites can complete development in 3 to 4 weeks. If summer temperatures are constantly over 90 F, this mite becomes dormant and lays resting eggs. These eggs hatch and the adults resume activity in the fall when cooler
temperatures return.
spruce spider mite pest

Conifers often react slowly to the feeding of this mite. Yellowing and bronzing of the needles may not become apparent until the heat of the summer, even though the damaging feeding may have occurred the previous fall and spring.
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Twospotted Spider Mite

spider mites, red spider mites
Twospotted Spider Mite (Tetranychus urticae) - This is the most common and destructive mite on deciduous ornamentals. It has an extremely wide host range and will feed on many varieties of trees and shrubs, and it may attack greenhouse and field crops. It might feed on flowers, weeds, or fruits,. It is the most common mite pest infesting house plants. Immatures and adults are yellowish to greenish with two dark spots on either side of the body. Eggs are spherical and translucent. Delicate strands of webbing are spun by the mites on the undersides of infested leaves and between branches.

red spider mite, two spotted spider mites, pest spider mites
Twospotted spider mites overwinter as adult females in the soil or under the bark of host plants. They become active during the spring and may feed and reproduce throughout the summer and into fall, provided conditions remain favorable for plant growth. It is considered a “warm season” mite thriving under hot, dry summer conditions. Damaging populations seldom occur during wet, cool weather. The mites are especially destructive to winged euonym ous (burning bush) in landscapes.
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Spider mites - know your enemy

spider mites, pest red spider mites, red spot spider mites
Spider mites are common pests in the urban landscape. They can inflict serious damage to trees, shrubs and flowers. Both evergreen and deciduous plants may be attacked. Spider mites are not insects but are more closely related to ticks and spiders.

They have four pairs of legs, no antennae and a single, oval body region. Their common name is derived from their ability to produce silk, which most species spin on host plants. Mites are tiny—about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. They can also be very prolific, which is why infestations often go unnoticed until plants exhibit significant damage.

Many species of spider mites can be found in landscapes. The twospotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae (Koch), and spruce spider mite, Oligonychus ununguis (Jacobi), are the most common pests. Other species with fewer host plants include: European red mite, Panonychus ulmi (Koch), found on apple trees; honeylocust spider mite, Platytetranychus multidigitali (Ewing); southern red mite, Oligonychus ilicis (McGregor), on a variety of plants; boxwood spider mite, Eurytetranychus buxi (Garman); and the
oak mite, Oligonychus bicolor (Banks).

Types of Damage
Spider mites have needle-like mouthparts and feed by piercing the leaves of host plants to suck out the fluids from individual plant cells. This causes the leaves to appear stippled or flecked, with pale dots where the cellular contents have been removed.

Prolonged, heavy infestations cause yellowing or bronzing of the foliage and premature leaf drop similar to drought stress. Severely-infested plants may be stunted or even killed. Most of the mites feed from the undersides of leaves, although the damage is most evident from the upper surface.

Heavily infested plants may be discolored, stunted or even killed. Web producing spider mites may coat the foliage with fine silk which collects dust and looks dirty. They are even known to wander inside when numbers are abundant and walk about on counters and offices furniture. They frequently enter computer equipment and
appliances, apparently for the warmth. Some of these invasions may originate on populations from nearby house plants.

Life Cycles and Habits
Spider mite species seem to be active in either warm or cool weather. The twospotted, European red, honeylocust, and oak spider mites do best in dry, hot summer weather. The spruce and southern red spider mites do best in cool spring and fall weather.

All spider mites go through the same stages of development, which is similar but not exactly the same as in insects. Adult females usually lay eggs on their host plants.

The eggs hatch in days to weeks into the first stage, called a larva. Larvae are round bodied and have only three pairs of legs. The larvae feed for a few days, seek a sheltered spot to rest and then molt into the first nymphal stage. The first nymphal stage has four pairs of legs. The first nymphs feed a few days, rest and then molt into the second nymphal stage. These nymphs feed, rest and molt into the adult stage. Adult males are usually the size of the second ny mph and have pointed abdomens. The females have rounded abdomens and are the largest mites.

Most spider mites spend the winter in the egg stage but the twospotted spider mite overwinters in protected places as resting adult females.
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