Friday, March 7, 2008

Forget the Robin....

Haven't seen a robin yet, but for the first time this season, the call of the Redwing Blackbird sliced out over my front lawn this morning as I saw my son off to school. Though the robin is the herald of spring, I have to admit that the return of the Redwing Blackbird is a much more important sign for me. Why's that?

Repotting time.

It's not fool proof, and sometimes the birds get a tad confused and get themselves caught in a late freeze (though for them it's less of an issue than the neo-tropical birds that migrate based on day length, rather than current climate conditions). But typically, within about a week, two tops of the arrvial of these birds, I'm comfortable starting my repotting. Odd way to gauge it? Perhaps.

So what am I waiting for? Beside the slew of bad weather we're slated for this weekened (rain, rain and more rain), the new set of soil sieves I ordered has not yet arrived. I'm not a frequent e-bay customer, it has never really appealed to me, and the tardiness of the delivery isn't making me more of a fan, I have to admit. I've had good luck with Dallas Bonsai for items like this in the past, and I'll order from them again next time, or for that matter, this time if I can find a way to just cancel the order at this point.

Soil ingredients are most ready. The fir bark hasn't come in yet at a regular local nursery, but everything else ready and waiting. I use some combination, depending on the tree, of turface, pea gravel, lava rocks, and pine or fir bark. I'd tried to Oil-dri after a recommendation, but frankly, am less than thrilled with the results. It broke down far more than I'd expected in the few pots I'd used it in, and those test trees are the first things to be getting a repot this year. Root growth on them seems to have been negligible at best, completely static on one. There's been no obvious *harm* done to the trees, but I don't see that a few years in that medium would do anything good for the tree's health. Still trying to find a new local source for sphagnum moss, with Golden Bonsai not in business at the moment, and if I have to I'll order some online as well. I'm constantly surprised by what my local nurseries do and do not carry. Sphagnum moss seems like a basic nursery product to me, considering it's varied uses, but I guess that's just me. I'll be starting several projects that involve the first steps in fixing some poor nebari on at least two trees, and I'd been hoping to start an airlayer on a crab apple out in the yard. We'll see what happens.

All in all, today's a beautiful day. I'd intended on finishing up the species sheets for at least the Olive for KoB, but it might be a day to head down to the Bayard Cutting Arboretem, at least while I've got the sun.