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Seasonal Tips to help you care for your bonsai - Late Spring to Early Summer

New foliage emerging from recently defoliated Willow Leaf Ficus.

TIPS - May/June

Tropical (Indoor) Bonsai

Many experienced bonsai growers bring their tropical bonsai outdoors this time of year, taking advantage of the natural sunlight and increased humidity of the spring season. A few things to be mindful of when your bonsai are first brought outdoors: Watch the overnight temps going below 45 degrees F - you want to bring your tree inside for the night if it's unseasonably cool (below 45 degrees). Also, gradually introduce your bonsai to full sun exposure. A week or so in shade or partial shade will prevent leaf burn and minimize the potential shock going from an indoor to an outdoor location.

Inspect your bonsai EVERY DAY to see if it needs water; Hot sun and temps in the 80's and 90's can quickly stress and burn your tree's foliage if the rootzone is left completely dry.


Once you see the movement of new spring growth on your tree, it's time to begin feeding your bonsai. Frequent application of weak doses of a balanced fertilizer with trace elements work best. Here at Yellowdog Bonsai we use organics, both dry and liquid  on our outdoor bonsai and recommend a controlled release or liquid feed for bonsai kept indoors.

Even if your bonsai are kept indoors year round, you'll notice new growth emerging as the days lengthen. Your indoor trees will benefit from the fresh spring air an open window provides. NOTE: Keep your indoor bonsai away from the direct airflow from an air conditioner. Constant dry, cold air will quickly desiccate your bonsai.

Hardy (Outdoor) Bonsai

By mid April-May all of your outdoor trees should have been removed from their winter quarters and showing their new spring growth. Inspect your bonsai EVERY DAY, checking the moisture of your tree's root pad. If your soil is dry a half inch to an inch deep, then it's time to water. Make sure to  water the tree's rootzone completely - until the water flows freely out of the pot's drainage holes.

Once your trees are actively growing it's time to feed! Many novice bonsai enthusiasts mistakenly withhold fertilizer thinking their tree will grow too big or too fast. Quite the contrary, even the very smallest bonsai, (mame and shohin) are regularly fed to maintain their good health. Here at Yellowdog Bonsai we feed ALL of our bonsai, no matter what stage of development. Feeding, along with timely trimming, wiring and other care techniques will ensure the optimal health and beauty of your bonsai.

Spring Has Arrived!

Along with the warm temps, beautiful flowers and time spent outdoors, spring is the busiest time of the year for bonsai lovers. Here's what we're getting done.

  • Re-potting bonsai to ensure long term vigor

  • Grooming deciduous trees after initial flush of growth

  • Center-pinching Japanese maple specimens to maintain short internode spacing

  • Pinching pine candles to balance tree's vigor

  • Removing wire from last year before it scars the trunk or branches

  • Spraying for pests if they appear

  • Feeding bonsai ensuring a healthy growing season

  • Lastly, taking time to enjoy the beauty of bonsai

Pitch Pine - vigorous terminal center candle removed

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