Sunday, 16 October 2011

Club Night Tuesday 10th Oct 'Pests and Diseases' With Amelia Williams

Its been almost a week since club night for the members of The Wessex Bonsai Society. I've been really busy this week with all sorts. Some bonsai related but mostly not. So busy in fact, I had a customer offer to allow me to go around and collect a rather old, thick and interesting trunked Pyracantha they were removing from the bed in front of there bed room window. Unfortunately they were not wiling to wait a week until my work load had eased enough for me to take half hour out. They dug it up and the council dump got it instead. You can't win them all.

I must apologize for not having any photos. I forgot to take the wife's camera.

If I'm completely honest when I saw on the back of my membership card that Tuesday would be a talk on pest of diseases I thought to my self that I should fill my tank with plenty of coffee as it could be one of those head bobbing nights were the fatigue of a hard days work and mind numbingly monotonous voice using long Latin words that I don't understand and there for lose the gist of what they are saying along with the will to live could only result in me snoring my head off in the back row.

I am please to announce my fears were completely unfounded. But I did drink four cups of double spoon coffee before the guest speaker arrived as a precautionary measure. Something that I was to find out was the theme of the evening. Precaution that is, not coffee.

The evenings speaker had travailed over to us from Tidworth. An Arboricultural Consultant (Tress expert) named Amelia Williams who has many years experiences and an abserloute abundance of knowledge where trees in there fully grown form are involved and roughly 4 years experience with bonsai trees. She had brought plenty of visual flash cards for us to thumb through while she explained how a tree defends its self by creating protective callus's around vulnerable areas such as bacterial infections and invading parasites. She had also set out a selection of small mame and shohin sized coniferous trees. They were listed from one to fifteen and we were all asked to, in the break take the opportunity to have a good close up look and try to name them all. She was a task master though as she was not just after the common names but the Latin to boot. Even some of the old school bonsai enthusiasts struggled with a few of the more obscure among them. I'll be honest I couldn't even get half of them with the common names. Never mind the Latin.

The main advise given regarding pests was protection is by far the best form of defense. With bonsai as apposed to large full sized trees we are at an advantage that we get in close regular and can normally see any little beastys before to much damage can be caused. She also said if you feel your soil is not up to task regardless of the season unless it is the depths of winter you should re pot. She explained that if you are careful not to remove many roots and improve the soil then the tree may not be in as good a condition as it could be but at east it will stand half a chance. A few eyebrows were raised at this but there were also a few nodding heads so I guess the jury is out on that one.

I found the whole evening very useful and now feel I know so much more about trees and the way they heal and also how easy they can come under attack. I must say the time we spent with Amelia was no way near enough and we all agreed that it would be great for her to give another talk on the life of a tree and the way it works in general from photosynthesis to feeding.

I can now look forward to Workshop on Sunday the 23rd. Malcolm the chairman said we should be looking at removing wire from trees that have been wired for a while and maybe wiring pines. But on a whole putting our trees to bed for the winter.

As always any comments please feel free.



  1. Great report!
    Isn't it amazing what you have to learn to keep bonsai. ;D

  2. Oh tell me about it. I wish I had wrote the report straight away while it was all fresh in my head. I can remember most of what was disscussed but not the terminological hence the rather vivid report. The whole session has encouraged me on to make an effort to learn more about how a tree works and lives. Thanks for the comment Mike.