Austin Bonsai Society

May 2003

President's Message

Glenda Konopka

Where has the month gone? The unusual weather lately has made for interesting bonsai upkeep challenges - hot, then cold, hotter, then colder, now windy every day. For me, it's been fascinating to see how various species of trees react to the desiccating effects of the wind (and what I've been having to do to minimize the effects on the most vulnerable), even without much heat. Hal Mahoney was a terrific guest artist at our April monthly meeting. I really enjoyed seeing his unique "claft" style done, along with the tips he had about perspectives in saikei (1 and 2 point) and making streams. I was too tired to last the whole meeting, but Del tells me the finished product was absolutely beautiful; dang, I wish I'd won the raffle!

This month's Members' Study Group features Chuck Ware on the topic of ramifying deciduous trees, which is a timely topic - I've been after my maples all spring and they still keep getting away from me. Our May meeting will have Terry Ward going over show preparation of trees, especially for our May show. Remember - tell everyone and anyone who'll stand still long enough to come and see us show off our work. Bonsai is truly a labor of love; I hope every member has picked out the tree they'll show and bring it to the meeting if they have any questions for Terry. The new table covers should really be the icing on the cake (I know, Pat, I'm sewing as fast as I can!). Thanks to all who've been helping with the show thus far, and don't forget - there's a million details that Del and Co. need help with, so please offer your time, muscles, and ingenuity to the show committee. I can hear Charlotte now - remember to log your time, even working on your show trees at home, so the club can register this volunteer time with the Zilker folks.

On a sadder note, we've accepted the resignation of David Gordon as our VP in the face of his family's need for his time and support. Roger Patterson graciously volunteered to take David's place and, in compliance with the ABS Bylaws, the Board unanimously elected him to the post at the April monthly meeting. David - all our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this trying time, just please come back when you can for any meeting - we miss you!

Remember, if you have any feedback, comments, or concerns regarding our club, the programs, or anything else, the Board is always an open venue for discussion. Take care and see you all soon.

Calendar of Events

May 14 Monthly Meeting
Pot Care & Show Prep
with Terry Ward
7:30 PM
Zilker Garden Center
Refreshments by:
Elaine White
Audrey Lanier

May 16 Set up for Annual
Show - Starting
about 4:30 PM

May 17 & 18 Annual Show
Zilker Garden Center

May 21 Board Meeting
7:00 PM
Zilker Garden Center

May 23-26 Bonsai Societies of Fl. State Conv.
Ft. Myers, Fl.

May 28 Members workshop
Azaleas with Vito Megna
7:30 PM
Zilker Garden Center

May 31-Jun 1 Central Oklahoma Bonsai Soc.
Oklahoma City, Ok.

Jun 11 Bill Cody will help us “weather”
the Summer

July 11-13 LSBF Symposium, Austin,Tx

General Meeting Minutes

Del DeLos Santos

The April general meeting of the Austin Bonsai Society was called to order at 7:30 P.M. on April 9, 2003, by President Glenda Konopka. Refreshments were provided by Els Ulug and Rita Matthews.

Old Business announcements were as follows:

1. Elaine White brought to the attention of the society that the issue of changing the by laws for the State Bonsai Exhibit to clarify the location for the exhibit in the city of Austin, as the Parks and Recreation Department has denied the use of park land. A vote was held and the change passed.

2. Announcement was made that there were still openings at $40.00 and bring your own tree for the workshop with the evening's visiting artist, Hal Mahoney.

3. Announcement that there are still openings for workshops and registration for the Summer Breezes Symposium, scheduled here in Austin in July.

4. Also, John Pittenger needs members to provide trees for inclusion into the bonsai display for the symposium. 5. Pat Ware provided a reminder for members to provide her with items for the symposium raffle.

New Business announcements:

1. Dave Gordon has resigned as Vice President due to personal matters. Roger Patterson volunteered to fill the vacancy and was approved by the board.

2. Charlotte Cranberg asked all members track their volunteer hours whether spent preparing trees for the show, or sewing table covers, as she needs to report those hours to the garden center for funding.

The evening progressed with the introduction of the evenings' visiting artist, Hal Mahoney, who presented a truly informative demonstration creating a ‘claft' style saikei from a juniper. The demo ‘living landscape' was raffled and won by Eileen Urschel.

The general meeting was adjourned at 9:30 P.M..

Board Meeting Minutes

Del DeLos Santos

A special meeting was called prior to the April 9th, General meeting to discuss the resignation of David Gordon as Vice president and discuss filling the position. Roger Patterson volunteered to fill the position and was approved by the board.
The monthly board meeting of the Austin Bonsai Society was called to order by Vice President Roger Patterson at 7:00 P.M. on April 16, 2003. In attendance were Board Members Roger Patterson, Del De Los Santos, Pat Ware, Larry Gfeller, Connie King, Carl Quisenberry, and members Chuck Ware and Angela Patterson.

Old business

Pat Ware reported there has been no reply from Mark Noelanders regarding his 2004 visit.

Larry Gfeller announced his intended meeting with members of Senior Net and the possibility of their participation in a bonsai mentoring program.

Pat Ware reported that the portions of table covers under her control were complete and that she would contact the other responsible members regarding their portions. Pat also reported that we should address the issue that the cloths will need to be pressed. She has attempted and said it takes about 1 hour per cloth. Her investigations into having the cloths pressed professionally arrived at a do-able price of $8.00 per cloth. The board held discussions and voted to have Pat make arrangements to have the cloths pressed at club expense.

New business

Discussion was held regarding L.S.B.F. proposal that they reimburse clubs who have to keep visiting artist an extra day; our vote was to keep the status quo. Discussion was held regarding budgeting for a tree in a pot for our donation to the Summer Breezes Symposium.

Discussions were held on the topic of including an overview of how to prepare for participation in a workshop in the newsletter, Larry Gfeller volunteered to take this project.

Discussions were held regarding Mary Millers workshop for August and the need to begin advertising it now.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 P.M.


Larry Gfeller

1. How do I know whether to bring my own tree or whether the program cost includes the tree?

2. How about other supplies: soil, pot, wire ?

3. If I bring my own tree, where should I purchase it (bonsai nursery or conventional nursery)?

4. If I bring my own tree should it already be potted, wired, or prepared in some other way?

5. Different workshops have different costs. How do I recognize trees, styles or techniques that are not cost effective for beginners (likelihood of long-term success is low)?

6. What is the best way to learn and record the care and feeding requirements of the workshop tree I will take away from this experience?

7. How do I learn if special tools will be needed (i.e., carving, grinding, etc.). If they are, should I invest in these tools for a possible one-time use in this workshop?

8. Often I have difficulty understanding the artist. How do I deal with this if it should come up and I paid a fee for someone I can't understand?

9. There are more workshops offered than my time or money allows. How should I choose? Is there any real value involved in observing?

Garden Council Report
Charlotte Cranberg
President, Irene Shlapak reported that the projected income from the Garden festival was down by $10,000. Final figures will be in by next month. The amount taken in was about $40,000.
Two members of the 5 member nominating committee for next year's officers asked that their names be removed from the report due to irregularities they perceived in the operation of the nominating committee. No comment was made on this. The vote was taken and all the proposed nominees were elected. Charlotte Cranberg asked that the Garden Council members be given an opportunity to vote on changing the by-laws to bring them into agreement with Roberts Rules of order. At present the President appoints the nominating committee chairman and the executive board elects the members. This leaves the garden clubs with no direct input on selection of the committee. Robert's rules says that the president should have no part in this and that the nominating committee and chairman should be elected by the membership. The president said she would appoint a committee and have a report in September.
Please, we need volunteers. Call me if you want to know more about what you can do. I want to thank David & Glenda Konopka, Els Ulug, Rita Matthews and Larry Gfeller for their work at the Zilker Garden Festival in our club's name. Their work keeps us in good standing with the Garden Council. Some of you may have worked for different groups or had a booth. You are all thanked.
Two new clubs are being considered for membership: Bird and Habitat group (which is an offshoot of the Audubon society) and the Native Plant Society.
May 3rd will be a lecture “Austin Biodiversity Project” which will cover the different types of living organisms in Travis County and the city. It will start at 9 AM and cost $5. This would be a great way to learn how you can create diversity in your backyard. The garden center has been given an award for having the “Best in Texas” backyard garden. This is for its native plant
Vandalism continues at the gardens but some newly assigned staff and 4 more vehicles may help that problem. Now there will be at least one paid employee there at all times. This is still not enough to deal with the huge crowds that arrive on weekends. We are happy to be popular with the public but need to protect against the few vandals who can do a lot of damage.

Though we travel the world over
to find the beautiful,
we must carry it with us
or we find it not.

Don't Forget!
Mark your calendar and
to send in your registration
form for the 2003 LSBF
to be held in Austin
July 11, 12, 13

Your Bonsai in Full Sun, Part 1:
Bonsai Root-zone Temperatures in Sun and in Shade
J. R. (Bill) Cody
All bonsai persons are told by the itinerant bonsai masters who come through our neighborhoods, holding us spellbound by their lectures and demonstrations, that if we want short needles on our pines and junipers, and short internodes and small leaves on our deciduous
bonsai, we should put these bonsai in FULL SUN! It is no wonder that this treatment works like a charm because not only is a sunlit leaf warmer than the air surrounding it,1 but also summer dormancy of plants occurs when the ambient temperature exceeds 950F. and the plant will not grow until the temperature is reduced.2 Are there other possible consequences to the blind acceptance of and adherence to the 'full sun' premise. Are the root-zone temperatures of our bonsai in full sun higher than we ever dreamed they would be? The purpose of this study is to find out.
The professors who study root-zone temperatures for the commercial container plant industry are so concerned about the deleterious effects of supraoptimal and suboptimal temperatures in containers that computer software has been developed capable of predicting the thermal behavior at 1164 locations within any container using any growth medium.3 Supraoptimal root-zone temperatures, defined by Foster4 as being from 89.60F. to 1040F., contribute to growth reduction due to reduced photosynthetic rates and increased root respiration. Elevated root temperatures in this range can influence other physiological and chemical processes within the plant such as shoot extension, apical dominance, stomatal closure, flower initiation, hormone synthesis and translocation, which in turn, can adversely affect growth rate, cause leaf chlorosis and abnormal branching, and reduced flower number and quality. These adverse conditions can arise even in the face of optimum levels of fertilization and irrigation and other production inputs.3
The absolute temperature causing root cell membrane rupture and death of the root varies from species to species and is influenced by the duration of exposure. Though predicted lethal temperatures for roots of some 13 ornamentals range from greater than 1320F. (Ixora coccinea) to 1180F. (Ilex crenata 'Rotundifolia') for 30 minutes exposure,3 another study of "Rotundifolia' evaluating growth found that 1000F. appeared to be the upper threshold for root-zone temperature tolerance for a number of physiological and growth values and that 800F.(300C.) appeared to be optimal for that holly.5 Therefore, resistance to exposure to lethal root temperatures does not necessarily mean that exposure to sub-lethal but supra-optimal, i.e., 89.6-1040F. temperatures, is NOT detrimental to the well-being of the plant.3, 6, 7

A large rectangular brown ceramic bonsai container [inside measurements: 18" x 13" x growth medium of expanded shale and pine bark v:v::1:1. The container was placed in an open area and on a platform four feet above ground level. Four identical red liquid thermometers were calibrated using a mercury laboratory grade thermometer. Since root-zone temperatures are the highest in the outer 2.5 centimeters (one inch) of the root-ball,8 each thermometer was inserted into the growth medium no more than two inches from the sides and three inches into the growth medium in the four quadrants of the container. An identical thermometer, situated five feet above the ground, in the shade and well away from any heat reflecting surfaces or structures, was used to record the ambient temperature.
Temperatures were recorded every two hours from 0600 to 2000 for five days during each treatment studied. The North/South temperatures were consistently within a + one degree centigrade range and were averaged to reduce chart clutter. The study was carried out during late summer of 1999.
The second part of the study was to determine if the placing of a cover over the container would reduce the container temperature to any significant degree. A frame was built to allow the cover of white plastic sheeting to be placed one and one-half inches above the surface of the root ball and three inches outside the lips of the container. The cover also was designed to hang down over all four sides to the level of the base of the container. This configuration would allow air circulation around and above the container and would prevent direct or indirect radiation from striking the top or sides of the container and root ball from any direction.

I believe that these studies of bonsai containers in full sun substantiate that the ceramic container acts first as a heat sink (collector of heat) as ambient temperature rises and then acts as a radiator of heat for several hours after the ambient temperature begins to decline. The highest single West temperature measured here was 1100F. at which time the ambient temperature was less than 1000F.
The addition of a white plastic cover reduces the radical fluctuations in the root-zone temperature in the East and West quadrants but the temperatures are remarkably near ambient throughout the day, converging significantly during the period of greatest solar heating from 3-6:00 p.m. CST.

Points to remember when your bonsai are to be placed in full sun:
1. the temperature range within growth medium for the best growth of roots and tops of plants is 60-860F.9
2. supraoptimal root-zone temperatures result in reduced growth processes and root-zone temperatures should be maintained below 1040F.,3, 6, 7
3. supraoptimal root-zone temperatures increase maintenance respiration and cause reduced growth by depleting the available carbohydrate pool,5 this energy source now being spent to protect the integrity of the roots and other existing tissues,3, 5
4. root and shoot nitrogen accumulation (a function of growth) was highest at 820F. and decreased linearly as the root-zone temperature increased to 1040F. resulting in reduced root and shoot growth despite any increased rates of fertilizer application.7
5. root-zone temperatures may be significantly higher than the ambient temperature in some sections of your bonsai container and exposure of half of the root-zone to supraoptimal temperatures cannot be compensated for by more moderate root-zone temperatures in the other half.5 Therefore, the advice to rotate your bonsai to take advantage of the sun's rays on the entire
foliage mass, may merely serve to kill all your roots rather than just half!
6. Exposure time to supraoptimal root-zone temperatures influences the root's response to the elevated temperature:
(a) root growth is reduced more by a single 6-hour exposure at a given temperature than a single 4-hour exposure;
(b) several daily exposures at a given temperature affect root growth more seriously than a single exposure at that temperature, however, similar exposures of longer duration to that temperature will have the greater negative influence on growth;
(c) root-zone temperatures of 950F. for 6-hours for 1, 2, or 4 consecutive days, can reduce root growth as much as 40%, 50% or 75% respectively;
(d) root recovery times may be delayed as long as three days after cessation of exposure to elevated root-zone temperatures.10
We are reminded that repeated leaf pruning on an annual or semi-annual basis may be detrimental to our bonsai by interfering with the photosynthetic mechanism which in turn has the potential to interfere with the overall long-term health of our bonsai. I believe that this study should call to your attention that exposure of your bonsai to full sun in the summer months,
especially in the so-called Sun Belt States, may well cause similar accumulative, long-term deleterious effects on the health of your bonsai. The age-old custom of rotating your bonsai so that they will have equal exposure to the sun's rays could serve to compound any detrimental effects of the higher temperatures in the West exposure.
The addition of a white plastic shade over the container was an attempt to reduce direct exposure of the root ball and container to the sun, restricting exposure to the beneficial effects of the sun only to the tree itself. Though there were no root-zone temperatures above ambient with this sort of protection, the temperatures were constantly very near that of ambient by the late afternoon period of greatest solar heating and well within the supraoptimal root-zone temperature range for ten hours.
This study should suggest to the bonsaiist that it may be of value to pay attention to the ambient temperature as the late afternoon root-zone temperatures of covered bonsai will consistently be very near that of the ambient temperature. Bonsai with no protection from solar radiation may experience West quadrant temperatures as high as 120% of the ambient temperature.
This is not to say that exposure to the sun is not beneficial to our bonsai but it is to call to your attention that sun-up to sundown exposure to the sun in the Sun Belt states may have negative effects on your bonsai. These negative effects may be so insidious that early signs of trouble may escape your observation until some acute stress (e.g., repotting) results in the unexpected, unexplainable death of your bonsai. The cedar elm used in this study, a native to our hot ambient air in Central Texas, was subjected to the same "full sun" stress the previous summer (1998). Subsequent bud break this spring (1999) was much less vigorous than other cedar elms in similar sized containers, which had been under 70%, shade the previous summer. This elm was again quite chlorotic and had lost a significant portion of its foliage by the time this study was concluded in the second week of September. Its condition compared very unfavorably to the other cedar elms, which, though exposed to the same ambient temperatures, were shaded during the time period of this study.

Please bring the items you will donate to the raffle or silent auction for the Symposium in July to the meeting and give to Pat Ware. We are asking everyone to donate one item (more than one will not be refused!). The profits made by the raffle will benefit us all! As this Symposium is being held in Austin, we are hoping for a large support from the Austin club.
Also, anyone who would work for a couple of hours selling raffle tickets, please let Pat know - she can use all the help she can get!!!