All good things must come to an end. The bright reds of autumn have faded into drab browns signally the approach of winter. Once a bonsai has past its peak of fall color it needs to be cleaned up before we put it into winter storage.
This Japanese Maple is one of my favorite trees and always looks great in the fall. To keep it looking good, the foliage needs to be cleaned up. The leaves on the main trunk are already brown and falling off, while some of the leaves on the secondary trunks are still green. With mutli-trunked bonsai its common to see this variance between the trunks.
The soil surface of each bonsai exhibited was covered with moss in accordance with proper bonsai display etiquette. Once the exhibit is over, the moss is removed so that the soil does not stay too wet during the winter.
With the moss removed, the tree is almost ready to be placed into our Chinese Pavilion where we overwinter the majority of the bonsai. The last thing to do is scrub off any green algae with a toothbrush and water.
Removing old leaves and moss from trees before being put in winter storage is a good habit. This level of care will help reduce the risk of harmful pathogens during the winter and give your bonsai a head start going into spring.