At this time of the year, creepie crawlies can be a problem and I don't mean the Mother In Law.
Look at the underside of this Taxus. You should be able to see Scale Insects.
They have always been a headache to kill with pesticides in the past and even more so since the EU deemed that it needed to save us from ourselves and made most of the best fungicides and pesticides unavailable to Joe Public. And of course what are left are the watered down versions.
So when tackling Scale Insect, add a few drops of washing up liquid to the water when you make up your insecticidal spray (for topical use). This acts as an emollient allowing the insecticide to penetrate those armour plated little beggars more easily.
Of course it will also help with Wooly Aphid as seen here on this pine.
However at this time of year, it helps considerably to use a systemic insecticide rather than a topical one. If you have a lot of trees, then a considerable amount of time can be saved by using systemics.
While on the subject, recently copper fungicide has been withdrawn from sale. And all this at a time when the UK's trees are being devastated by various insect and fungal outbreaks.
We have the Ash die back disease, Chalara fraxinea. There is Dothistroma or Red Needle Band Blight devastating pines. Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, could possibly lose one million trees! Larches are in threat from Phytophthora Ramorum which has been found in North Staffordshire. And in a recent edition of Shooting Times, there is an article on Common Juniper and it's threat from a new fungal disease. The Common Juniper is now one of our most under threat native species. In southern England, the arrival of a moth from Central Europe is threatening our native Oak trees and this could also have an effect on public health as the caterpillar of the moth has tiny erticating spines which can cause rashes and if inhaled asthmatic symptoms.
You might shrug your shoulders and think so what, these problems do not affect me. However please be vigilant and please be aware because most of these fungal diseases are airborne. And so our bonsai, potentially could be very much at risk.
At this time of year, particularly when we are experiencing the heat we currently are. Our trees are put under stress. They may look healthy, but never the less, they are being put under stress and this leaves them susceptible to attack from insect or fungus.
Please look carefully at the deadwood on this Taxus cuspidata below. (Click on the image to see it in detail).
Would you agree that nature is the best creator of deadwood and that no matter how we try, you can always see the hand of man when a tree has been carved.
If so, then you agree with my thoughts on deadwood.
However, this tree was carved by myself for a friend in Scotland.
In my next blog I will discuss some of my personal ideas and thoughts on deadwood and it's place in bonsai.
Finally, so that we end on a positive note.
Just look at this Wisteria growing in Japan.
Some people dream in colour, others colour their dreams!
Thank you to Jeremy Haddleton for the juniper article and Ray Beddow for the Wisteria image.