Tiny Snails!!

A few of you who have been following my tree exploits for a while will know I had issues with pest attack on some of my maples last year over the Winter months. A strange time for this to happen. I was surprised as I always spray before I tuck trees away for the Winter.

While inspecting my maples this year at this stage I found that many of them have a little cone shaped Snail tucked away under loose bark or in tight spots on the trunk.

Is this the culprit?

I will spray but will this be effective when they are in shell and tucked away?

Will systemic insecticide work better?

Will this even work now during the dormant season?

Anybody else have these?

Are they even the culprit?

Who won the 1986 Sheepdog trials?

So many questions!!! 🙂

Hornbeam Horrors

I found these little beggers on a Korean Hornbeam at the weekend. It wasn’t my one but I’ve seen leaf damage on it as well. I noticed leaf damage a few weeks back and sprayed with insecticide at the time. I was only checking today to confirm that they were all gone. I guess not! I have never had a year like this one for beasties eating my trees. I have sprayed more than normal, but to no avail. Time to bring out the special stuff that I’m not supposed to have any more 😆

This is the damage caused.

They target the new extension growth and that’s were I found this one. The new leaves failed to open out due to the cocoon created.

When I opened the leaves out this boyo popped out and he was quick as lightning!!

This is my Hornbeam exhibiting a lot of late growth and a few chewed leaves too.

The Bane of My Life

Never seen a year like it for these buggers!!!

Pine Sawfly Larvae

I spotted this clump of Pine Sawfly Larvae on one of my recently collected Scots Pines yesterday. I had planned to spray everything this weekend but this encouraged me to spray everything in the garden there and then.

I’m taking no chances from now on after losing the apex of one of my best trees due to an insect attack this year!

Very P1$$ed Off!!

My Chuhin Maple and a few other maples have been eaten by something! The buggers have stripped bark on branches causing either very slow budding or branch death! Could it be slugs, never had this before and of all my trees to eat they picked this one.

The damage can be seen clearly on this little maple that died as a result as it was on the trunk.

Fingers crossed I don’t loose too many branches, only time will tell. It’s already been set back quite a bit.

Twin Trunk Scots Pine

I have been looking to get a half decent quality Scots Pine for my collection. I only have a small semi cascade and a few bits of average raw material. I was after a nice semi styled or raw tree. I asked Peter Snart from Willowbog to bring a few bits over for me to have a look at. I had seen a few of them in photos but wanted to wait to see them before making up my mind.

This is the one I opted for. Slightly further along development wise that I wanted but it was exactly what I wanted shape and style wise. In the photo I thought it was only about 60cm tall. When he opened the van and I saw it was 100cm, I had a big smile on my face.

There is plenty of work to do with it. It has a slight mealy bug problem, but most pines do this year. It needs to be de wired, but that’s a great way to get to know the tree. A few of the older straggly needles also need cleaned up. I’ve already sprayed the tree with insecticide and will do the other jobs this week.

I’ll then leave it for a while and look at wiring it towards the end of the year.

This is one angle. Second trunk apex needs be brought forward.

and a slightly different angle.

One of the features I liked was the bottom branch on the smaller trunk. It has been styled as another apex. I had been looking at a few of these in a few photos online recently and I quite liked them, especially on pines. That helped seal the deal 🙂

The bark is great and a stronger red colour than I’m used to seeing. Peter is going to find out a little more about the tree from it’s previous owner. I love to know the full history. I think it’s important to keep the history with the tree.

It’s in an Ian Ballie Pot which I think suits the tree well, so unless I drop it off a bench, I’m happy to keep it as is.

Needle Cast

In 18 years of bonsai I had never came across needle cast on Pines. Am I just lucky? It’s strange how this hobby/art throws up new things every year. Just when you think you know something, you find out you know precious little!

This weekend I spent a good bit of my time researching and asking for advice on Pine needle Cast on Scots Pine. My pines are cast free but my friend Stephen has it on 4 of his. We believe it has spread to his garden on the wind from a large Scottie that was over looking his garden. The council cut it down as it was suffering from something. Now we know what that was!!

Here’s a few photos of one of Stephens infected Pines.

As you can see, the old needles have turned brown and have the banding that indicates Needle Cast. The tree is still strong as can be seen by the new candles emerging.

This was the tree in April, it looks strong and there was no visible sign of Needle Cast.

So what do we do now? I googled it, as one does these days, and read about all these fungicides that work, Zineb being the main one. Then as I look further into it I find that this is no longer available under EU regulations. I then refine my search to needle cast on bonsai. You can bet if anyone knows how to mollycoddle a pine tree its a bonsai enthusiast. This thread on the Internet Bonsai Club Forum was useful. I found more references to Zineb but also mention of regular treatment with Murphys Copper Based Fungicide. This prevents the cast spreading to new needles and with a prolonged period of treatment you can eventually eradicate the cast. This can take years.

I phoned Stephen and told him to hit the Garden Centres to buy this product. Yep you guessed it, nowhere has it!! We are still looking. This product is going to be removed from the market in 2013 and Murphys are no longer making it. Our only hope of finding it is in some back water garden centre that still has old stock. So far, no joy.

During this process I had posted a request for information on the Wee Trees Bonsai Forum, and Molly, Mike, Corin and Paul, 4 of the members, offered advice. The best bit of info came from Molly who asked his bonsai mentor, Rob Atkinson for advice at a weekend workshop. Rob said that copper based fungicide was the best treatment and that if Murphys was unavailable to try Vitax Bordeaux Mixture. Also, remove all infected needles and get rid. Remove all needles from the soil surface and even remove the top layer of soil. Keep the tree on the dry side and only water the soil when watering. After a few seasons, things should start to return to normal.

Well Bordeaux Mixture, containing Tetra Copper was readily available and was swiftly purchased.

So there you have it! The power of the internet and the bonsai community. I think at some point I’ll add this to a page on my blog as opposed to a post. At least it may help others who find themselves in this position. Thanks to all those who offered advice and even a willingness to post over a few packets of Murphy’s!

Identify Yourself!!

I would love to know exactly what this little fella is! I first saw them about 8 years ago when they started turning up on some of my own bonsai. They don’t seem fussy about what they eat. I have found them on Pines, Larch, Yew, Juniper, Elms and Hawthorn. They wrap themselves up in old needles and anything else to hand and eat the cambium in a ring around the finer branches. This obviously results in dead branches.

I haven’t had them for two years now as I’m pretty regular with my spraying with Provado. However, today at Stephen house, we found them on his Yew and a Larch. The Yew had obviously been a victim of them for years and it must have had them when Stephen bought it last year.

If anyone knows what they are, I’d love to know.

Hidden in his wrapping

pulled from his home

5P for scale

Beech Loving Wasp

I spotted this little fella on my Beech today. Not a common wasp, may not even be a wasp but it sure looks like one. He was oblivious to me and the camera. I was wondering if it was one of those leaf cutting ones but he never got around to it. Pretty in his own way.

 I also have about 20 million of these feckers in the garden at the minute. They do there very best to land on bare skin or fly into your mouth!!

Not Drawn to Scale

Not only am I not drawn to them, I hate the little buggers!! 🙂

Ian B was part of last nights royal pruning session. I had been caring for his big Chinese Elm and brought it out for a chat about how I had brought it back to life (CPR & jump leads 🙂 ) When we started examining the new flush of buds we found the biggest Scale Insects I had ever seen!! These where sorted today with a nice spray of insecticide. Before I did this I took a few photos in case anyone hadn’t seen them before. Nothing else seems to have them. I guess they grew super sized in the heat of the tunnel.

Here’s a few of them and you can also see the sticky white stuff they produce.

and evidence of the new buds.