BONSAI WORLD A series of articles by The Shikoku Shimbun focuses on the attractions of bonsai which encapsulate small universes in containers.

Satsuki (3) Care After Flower : Carefully for Next Year

June 9, 2016

 The flower season of azalea is short. The most beautiful time is only about 2 weeks. After it, the care for the next season will start soon. We interviewed Yoshifumi Onishi, President of Kokubunji Satsuki Association, about the care through a year.


Onishi picking out the flower of "Aikoku" in Takamatsu's Kokubunji town
Onishi picking out the flower of "Aikoku" in Takamatsu's Kokubunji town

Hanaotoshi and Sentei

 The most typical cares after flower are Hanaotoshi (picking the flower out) and Sentei (pruning). All flowers are picked out when the stamens start to have the yellow pollen. It looks still beautiful for amateurs. However it is the best time to do it for the professional artists. Doing it at an unusual time, it causes a damage of flower and "Hanagusare disease" which is a symptoms developing the black spots in the flowers.

 Onishi shows us Hanaotoshi and Sentei of "Aikoku" whose flowers are in full bloom. While picking out the flowers one by one by scisors, he does Sentei with a consideration of the shape in the next year. In the case of a species of variegated flowering, it is necessary to consider the balance of colors in the next year. About an hour after, the simple trunk pattern appeared in contrast to the brilliant flowers.

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"Aikoku" got the simple style after picking out flowers

Keep Taking Care

 There are many things to do for Satsuki through a year. One is the fertilization called "Oreigoi" after the flower season, at the he same time of Hanaotoshi and Sentei. The fermented mixture of oil cake and bone meal is also provided in August, September and October.

 After Obon (the common event in Japan around August 15), it is necessary to start the protection against the codling moth larva and mite. The fanciers start to do the wiring at New Year's and the transplanting from February to March. In the case of a potted tree, the transplanting is once in 3 or 4 years. Of course, watering is necessary throughout the year. Thus, the fanciers never catch a break.

"Wakaebisu" is in full bloom. This tree will fall the flowers soon.
"Wakaebisu" is in full bloom. This tree will fall the flowers soon.

 However the attraction of Satsuki is not only the flower. In autumn, there are many exhibitions to compete the beauty of tree's shape and leaves. Some fanciers like the season the most. Onishi says, "It is difficult to make the true worth of bonsai without flowers in autumn."
(By Shigeo Hano)
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