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bon·sai (bone-sigh) n.

Etymology: Japanese, literally, tray planting; a potted plant (as a tree) dwarfed and trained to an artistic shape by special methods of culture

Also: the art of growing such a plant

Plural: bonsai

Bonsai calligraphy by Eri Takase


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Bonsai Bruce's Blog

A blog for those learning to appreciate the art of bonsai.

Neem Oil and Dinosaurs...

I've been fascinated with the idea of using Neem Oil as an insecticide, having read about it in a few places, and finally ordered some Dyna-Grow Neem Oil, Dyna-Grow Bloom (for the orchids) and Dyna-Grow Grow from a seller on eBay. They recently arrived, and I haven't tried the fertilizers yet, but yesterday I tried the Neem Oil.

Neem Oil is a broad spectrum botanical insecticide, miticide and fungicide treatment derived from the seeds of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica). Neem trees are native to Southeast Asia, and are grown in many countries throughout the world, including India, Burma (Myanmar) and Australia. The neem tree is a botanical relative of mahogany. The best thing about Neem Oil is that it is non-toxic to humans and pets!

The instructions indicate that you should use about a teaspoonful in a quart-sized spray bottle with warm water and two drops of dish soap, and then spray your plants being sure to spray under the leaves as well. Runoff into the soil is a good thing. Yesterday I did that, and sprayed not only the bonsai, but the orchids as well - some are getting very chewed up by something - I suspect the dinosaurs that run rampany around here! They're actually a small lizard - like an anole or gecko or something - with a curly tail, and there's a family that have taken residence in and around the bonsai bench. There's no way of telling the effect on bugs at this point, but there was one advantage, especially with the orchids... the leaves look beautiful with their light coating of oil!

The temperature has dropped, indicating that we're approaching autumn, which means that my trees aren't demanding as much water as during the summer. I need to make some time very soon to do some trimming, and to repot the ficus kingman into a beautiful pot that I purchased some time ago.

Published Tuesday, September 26, 2006 9:22 AM

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Bonsai Bruce said:

I just wanted to post a followup... apparently a couple of my trees were not happy about being sprayed with the Neem Oil mixture! The Cape Honeysuckle's leaves wilted, and the Japanese Hackberry had a large number of the leaves crinkle up and die. (I wonder if the orange oil spray I've used to try and control ants is why the Hackberry lost all its leaves a while back???) Everybody else seems happy, though! And yesterday I used the Dyna-Grow Grow fertilizer for the first time.

September 29, 2006 7:59 AM

Bonsai Bruce said:

I just wanted to let you know that the reactions these two plants showed was not permanent - they're back to their normal, perky selves! Hooray!

October 2, 2006 7:12 PM

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