This continuation of bonsai care for November is authored by Jim Smith and originally printed in Florida Bonsai Magazine in 1986. It has been updated by Jim and is reprinted with both his permission and that of Florida Bonsai Magazine. The care guidance is suitable for Zones 9b and 10a.
Bonsai in Brevard (Zone 9b and Zone 10a)
The hurricane season is almost over, although one did hit Miami on November 4, 1935 with winds up to 150 MPH. The dry season begins in November with less humidity and no mosquitoes. Temperatures are cooler and there is the possibility of frost. This is a good time to do the bonsai chores you have been putting off till cooler weather. Make preparations for Winter Protection if you haven’t done so yet. This is also a good time to redesign your benches and sprinkling system. Be sure to consider the available sunlight during the four seasons when setting up your benches.
Since the days are shorter and temperatures cooler, plants need less water than they do in summer. This is the time to reprogram your Automatic Watering System to compensate for the change.
Many plants will still be growing this month. Continue to fertilize in order to maintain the health of the tree. Healthy plants will survive the cold weather better than plants that are starved. Do not over-fertilize, however.
Insects and Diseases
This area of Florida does not get much relief from insects. They can be just as abundant this month as they are during the warm months. Continue to be on the lookout for them. Mites can be a problem in dry weather. Check your plants with a 5X magnifying glass for evidence of the pest. Mites are very small, about 1/50 of an inch long and are difficult to see but their spider web can be seen with the naked eye. Control them by spraying with Kelthane three times at five-day intervals. Follow directions on the label.
Pinching and Wiring
Continue to pinch all bonsai that are growing. This is the best time to wire trees that are going dormant. It is much easier to wire a branch that is bare than one that is full of foliage. Since these trees will not be growing until Spring, the wires can be left on for a longer time. It takes longer to train a bonsai by the “Clip and Grow” method than it does by wiring. Learn to wire, you will have better bonsai in less time. Let the soil dry (slightly moist) before wiring. Branches are more flexible when they are not filled with water.
Cuttings and Layers
Junipers and some hardwood cuttings can be taken now.
Bonsai Society of Brevard
For more detailed information contact our Brevard based Bonsai club.
The Bonsai Society of Brevard is one of the many clubs within the Bonsai Societies of Florida.