BUGS, INSECTS,
& OTHER CRITTERS

                Sometimes we get frantic requests for assistance  .  .  .  panic reports that plants came under attack overnight!  Massive invaders and hysterical pleas!  Save plants dying before their eyes!  Send emergency ultimate spray!   Hurry! Invading army over-running their position!  Send reinforcements with the ultimate weapon!

                After sending assurances that no amount of critters can suck the juices out of a plant in a full morning, we usually settle down to identify the invading forces.  Sometimes we're successful in convincing a 100-pound gal that the 1/1000th of an ounce invaders were probably around for weeks or months and just got noticed.  We calm people down and gently argue that it's not advisable to drop the Atomic Bomb yet!  The we arm our side for the war.

                Our weapons of choice are toothpicks, Q-tips, and luke-warm dishwater detergent solution. The battlefield is the sink and we attack to rub, scrape, and pry them off our turf.  We gently scrub where they once were to assure they haven't left babies that will grow up to attack us again.  We rinse, reconnoiter from all directions, check under the leaves, and in the favorite hiding places between leaf stem and trunks.   With a rinse, we mop up the remnants before declaring victory!

                But in this age of terrorism, we must not put down our guard and adopt defense vegelance.   Each week when you're watering the plant,  take the time to check for invaders while you renew your relationship with your friend and ally.  Critters including scale, aphids, meally-bugs, knats, etc. are a fact of life.  If allowed to increase, they'll invade all plants in a home.  Don't let them get started, but if you spot them finish them off with an early battle to prevent having to fight a war later.   Most of the critters have short lifespans.  So if you inspect the plants weekly and can keep the critters off for three weeks or so,  it's likely you'll have won the war and it'll be time to go back to enjoying the peaceful world of bonsai.

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                This concludes this series on creating optimum growth conditions.  I've tried to cover the basic principles.  Growing plants can be easy and it gets easier when you consistently use good practices. One day you'll be able to tell when a plant needs extra water or fertilizer.  To review, go back to ELEMENTS FOR SUCCESSFUL BONSAI TRAINING!

                The great bonsai master Saburo Kato of Japan says to treat your bonsai as you would your children with gentle loving care. The most important sound is that of an owner's footsteps coming to nurture nature in the pot. Bonsai depend upon you and in training and caring for them, you'll find the serenity and peace of man and nature in harmony.  

                I thank Jerry Meislik and Jack Wikle, who shared their special knowledge of artificial lighting,   as well as the many Fuku-Bonsai customers who shared their techniques.   Increasingly, more customers are being successful and we will continue to strive for 100% customer success!  Additional trials continue and there will be updated reports in the future. I hope this series provide you the basics and that you'll email if there are specific areas not covered of if you have questions. 

                Regards and aloha,  ~~~David W. Fukumoto

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