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Tip of the Week


Tip of the Week  #21

Sunlight.  Some Further Thoughts.

Welcome to our next installment of  "Tips Of The Week".

This feature is for the benefit of visitors to this site, I would be happy to hear from you if there is something you would like to see covered here in future weeks. Please direct your E-mail to Please let me know if I can include your first name and city if your topic is chosen.

Interested in past articles? There's a list at the bottom of the page.

Thanks go out to Dan from Alpharetta, Georgia for a question he asked which led to this installment of "Tip of The Week."

If you are a regular visitor to this site, I'm sure you've noticed that the "Tips" are anything but weekly. The reason is that with all my other duties, there never seems to be time to sit down and think of a new topic.

John Palmer, the editor of "Bonsai Today Magazine" (The BEST bonsai magazine ever written - "") has written an editorial in every issue for 12 years now. In issue #72, he writes "I really have nothing to say. This is the first time in 72 issues that this has happened." John, I know how you feel. He must write something every issue. My advantage is that if I have nothing to say, I don't write a new article. Most of these articles are in direct response to questions from readers. If you have a question please write.

And now for the question. Dan writes "In the current tip of the week you discuss sun and light requirements. I thought I'd mention those should vary considerably with location also. Here in Georgia we get some pretty intense summers. I'm not sure a Japanese Maple in a bonsai pot could stand direct sun for even a few hours. I don't aim to let mine see more than morning sun directly. Everyone here talks about leaf burn on those planted in direct sun even in the ground."

Dan, you're 100% correct. I sometimes forget to "Think Internet." Not everyone lives in the same area as I do. If you live in a sub tropical or tropical climate, direct sunlight can be a problem. There are a couple of ways to deal with it. One is displaying your bonsai collection along an east-facing side of your home or garage. This will provide full shade from noon or so every day. If this is not practical, you can erect a "wall" using something solid such as "stockade fence" facing east. If there's a large tree in the right area, your collection can be placed under it in a location that will shade your bonsai from the midday sun, but give direct sun in the early morning and late afternoon. If all else fails, there's always wood lathe, which is thin strips of wood which criss-cross each other to block out 50% or more of the sunlight. It's also available in other materials, and can be found at any good home improvement center or lumber yard. As I mentioned in "Tip #20" trees build up a tolerance (similar to sunburn) to the sun. If you get a bonsai that may not be used to a lot of direct sun, put it in a shaded location, and move it into the sun a little more each week over a 4 to 6 week period. The most important thing to remember in any climate is that the more direct sun your bonsai gets, the more often you must water it. An automated system with a programmable timer and sprinkler is a blessing if you're not home to water during the day, or if you travel.

Interested in past articles? Click for your choice below.

#1-Things to do in the spring

#2-Forest Plantings

#3-Planning a trimming schedule

#4-Trimming Japanese Maples (And other trees with opposing Buds)

#5-Trimming Chinese Elms (And other trees with alternating Buds)

#6-Trimming Conifers (Such as Pine, Juniper and Cypress)

#7-Improving Your Bonsai Skills

#8-Things to Remember During the Winter Months

#9-Some Thoughts About Tree Roots. Their Strengths & Weaknesses

#10-Potting Medium: The Foundation of a Bonsai

#11-Growing Bonsai Under Artificial Light.

#12-The Importance of Moss, How To Get It & Put It On a Bonsai.

#13-The Right Tool For The Job.

#14-Root Over Rock Planting.

#15-Wiring - Copper or Aluminum?

#16-Wiring - Basic Techniques

#17-Using A Cold Frame, Garage, or Tool Shed For Wintering

#18-Making A Cold Frame For Wintering Temperate Bonsai.

#19-Wintering Temperate Bonsai Indoors.


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