What glorious weather we have had so far for autumn. During lockdown I have been busy repotting some of my evergreen species (not conifers) and generally tidying up the area out the back where my collection lives. It’s amazing how much gravel and general debris can build up under the benches when you’re not looking!
I mixed up a whole heap of potting mix a few weeks ago, but it’s already time to prepare more for the repotting of my deciduous trees, which will be starting next month and continuing through to late July/early August.

I have been so thankful that nurseries have been able to stay open so far during the COVID-19 pandemic, as visiting one is great for a change of scenery and a chance to maybe purchase more plants and supplies. I don’t need more trees at all, but sometimes something just beckons to you and it’s hard to resist.

The weather is finally getting cooler, so hopefully your deciduous bonsai will be starting to show some autumn colour. Keep the trees in full sun if possible, at this time, as this combined with cooler nights should improve the colour intensity, especially if we don’t get any rain. If you are in the market to purchase more deciduous species, autumn is a good time to look around, as you can see what autumn colour any new trees are likely to give you each year.

Make sure to regularly clean up any fallen leaves on the ground or soil surfaces, as these can harbour fungal disease and insect pests, which may have a negative impact on your trees in the future. Remove old flowers and berries from trees, and move your figs to more protected areas, under cover if possible so they are minimally impacted by the cold weather ahead.

Check your trees carefully for any insect pests. Scale and caterpillars are still around because of the recent mild temperatures and can seriously weaken your bonsai unless they are dealt with appropriately. You may recall I had a major issue with scale on my figs last year. I am happy to report that the trees are all fully recovered now, and I have not had any further problems this year (so far).

Gently remove any moss that has grown over the roots of your trees, trying not to damage the bark underneath, and persevere with the removal of weeds.

Tree growth will generally be slowing down, so reduce the use of fertilisers, or use a weaker solution. Seasol can be beneficial throughout the year as a tonic, especially after repotting or when trees are stressed in any other way. Trees like natives will continue to grow in the cooler months while the deciduous species are dormant. As the season progresses, all your trees will benefit from as much exposure to sunlight as possible.