Pacific Bonsai Expo

Pacific Bonsai Expo

An Exhibition of Extraordinary Bonsai

The Bridge Yard

Oakland, California

November 12-13, 2022

The Pacific Bonsai Expo is the vision of Jonas Dupuich, Eric and Dory Schrader, consisting of the historic Oakland’s Bridge Yard venue, 75 displays of juried bonsai and the community’s top vendors. There will be a trophy for Best in show and $10,000 in cash prizes for Large Conifer, Large Deciduous, Large Broadleaf Evergreen, Medium display, and Shohin display. A Saturday evening banquet and awards ceremony will highlight the event. Tickets for day passes, weekend passes, commemorative photo book and banquet will go on sale soon.

Jurors Bjorn Bjorholm, Ryan Neil, and William N. Valavanis selected the trees. The exhibitors are the judges.

Details can be found at

This is just the beginning! For the past 14 years, the east coast held the biannual US National Bonsai Exhibition in Rochester, New York. Finally, Pacific Bonsai Expo will be located on the west coast in Oakland, California. There are discussions of making it biannually with the potential of rotating it between Oakland and Portland, Oregon.

It will take a community to build this show. Your support is needed by raising funds and volunteering in the actual event.

REBS board has agreed to solicit funds from the membership in an effort to raise $500 towards direct support of Pacific Bonsai Expo. The funds will provide donor recognition and four admission passes. The four admission passes will be raffled at some future REBS general meeting or event. Please make your donation before or on July 30.

Any amount of funds is greatly appreciated. Mail your check payable to REBS with a memo “Pacific Bonsai Expo” to: Treasurer Paul Wycoff, 6550 Stone Bridge Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95409-5833

Demonstration by Eric Schrader – Air Layering Seiju Elm

On April  28, 2022, Eric Schrader was the guest demonstrator for the Redwood Empire Bonsai Society (REBS) in Santa Rosa, California. Eric is a long time member and former president of the Bonsai Society of San Francisco (BSSF). He is a professional vendor, dba Bonsai For You; website Eric has produced a number of instructional videos available on You Tube. Eric and Jonas Dupuich are the founders of the Pacific Bonsai Expo scheduled for November 12 and 13, 2022, at the Bridge Yard, Oakland, California.

Eric’s demonstration was on seasonal work on Deciduous bonsai. He brought to the demo bonsai, one being a large Pomegranate and the other Seiju Elm. He first led a discussion of cutting back to the shape of the silhouette on the Pomegranate. The tree showed hardened new growth of shoots beyond the shape or silhouette. Eric cut each protruding shoot. He exercised caution to maintain the shape of the bonsai. No major cutting back, thinning of foliage or wiring took place. Eric discussed the difference of cutting vs. pinching. Cutting was used to shape and in branch development, whereas pinching was used to weaken and slow down growth of the branches.

Large Pomegranate
Cutting back new growth

He then moved onto the Seiju Elm, which would become the demo tree to be raffled at the conclusion. Common Name: Seiju Chinese Elm or Cork Bark Seiju Elm or Seiju Elm or Seiju Lacebark Elm. Ulmus Parvifolia ‘Seiju’ is the botanical name.

Medium Cork Bark Seiju Elm

The demo tree was a Cork Bark Seiju Elm featuring a very rough bark trunk. The tree would measure about 12 inches in height. Eric pointed out a number of flaws in the demo tree. One, the nebari or visible surface roots of bonsai was straight on its base. There were a number of large roots exposed around the base of the tree. The trunk was thick without any taper towards the apical region. Primary branches were large and inflexible. A number of branches grew from a portion of trunk that appeared as a large fist on the tree. There was healthy foliage located in the apical region of the tree. Eric pointed out the foliage could be easily removed and regrown on the Seiju Elm.

Eric identified three potential remedies for the Seiju Elm.

  • Air layer midrange up the trunk;
  • Air layer upper range to the trunk;
  • Remove most of the upper range to the trunk.

He then asked the members to select from among the three courses of action above. The members chose the air layering midrange up the trunk, the lesser in radical transformation of the demo tree. The demo became instruction on air layering the Seiju Elm.

Eric first cut and removed some of the exposed large roots surrounding the base of the trunk. He then took a sharp knife and began removing the cork bark, the process of air layering. Note: There are two air layering methods; ring method and tourniquet. Eric used the ring method on the demo tree.

Ring Method:

The ring method works by cutting two slits around the branch at the area you want new roots to grow. Once you’ve made your slit marks, remove the bark, and you’re left with a shiny ring. The ring must be wide enough and deep enough for the tree to send out the rooting signal. Once you’re satisfied with your ring, cover it up entirely with a select soil medium and plastic. Eric used an 8 oz. plastic cup that he cut and fitted to the ring area of the trunk. He filled the cup with a medium mix of 80% coarse perlite and 20% coco coir. Then he used 16 gauge copper wire to affix the plastic cup to the trunk. Water will be needed to keep the medium mix moistened and allow new roots to grow. Note: the plastic cup used should allow one to see the new roots form. Sphagnum moss can be added to help keep the medium mix from drying out.

The lower portion of the trunk is removed once new roots have filled the plastic cup. Note: Elms tend to back bud easily at the cut site. The new buds will circle the wound area, and so branch development is possible for the lower portion of the trunk. Thus, one could make two small trees as a result of air layering.

Eric suggested that once the upper trunk is separated that the heavy, thick branches be thinned out.

Research online indicates that Seiju Elms are easy to grow as bonsai and can be an excellent choice for beginners as well as experienced levels.

BGLM Special Announcement – Makishima Auction & Sale

Mark your calendar for the upcoming special event on July 9, 2022, at the Lakeside Park Garden Center, Lake Merritt, in Oakland. The Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt (BGLM) will be conducting a special auction and sale guaranteed to be one of a kind.

George Haas
BGLM Marketing Manager

Demonstration by Bob Shimon

The Redwood Empire Bonsai Society (REBS) is back to having monthly in person meetings/demonstrations and workshops after an absence of two years due to COVID – 19 pandemic restrictions.

On Tuesday evening, March 17, 2022, Bob Shimon conducted the first demonstration for the club’s monthly meeting. Bob is past president of REBS. He owns and operates Mendocino Coast Bonsai, located at Point Arena, California, a full service bonsai vendor specializing in yamadori (collected from the wild) natives – coast redwood, Sierra juniper, live oak and Mendocino pygmy cypress.

Bob’s demonstration started by displaying a number of examples in Mendocino pygmy cypress bonsai at various stages of development.

Bob cited that after only two years from collection the Mendocino Pygmy cypress can take on the appearance as bonsai.

Mendocino pygmy cypress (Cupressus pigmaea) trees are found slightly inland along the Mendocino coast in dwarf patches or forests (aka Pygmy Woodland). They are found in nutrient poor soils or hard pan in western Mendocino and northwest Sonoma counties. The poor soils or unbroken hard pan contributes to the dwarf sizes, bark characteristics and distorted growth patterns.

Bob described his experiences in collecting Mendocino pygmy cypress trees from the wild (yamadori). At first, he followed advice to remove all the original hard pan soil, which resulted in utter failure. He subsequently discovered retaining much of the original soil and root ball led to successful growth and eventual bonsai potting. He collects the trees when wet, but not soggy, which kept the root ball intact. This would take place in the month of January. Repotting would take place in February. Bob said that back budding does not occur on old growth branches. He described the foliage as greyish in color in the wild, but later turns wonderfully green when given water and fertilizer. He cited new growth must be managed through pruning or else the branches become leggy and the interior dies off. He indicated that the trees are unforgiving if allowed to dry out. Therefore, he recommends 50 to 100 percent Akadama in order to retain moisture.

Bob said that in collecting the Mendocino pygmy cypress in the wild he discovered other species growing, like the Shore Pine (Pinus contorta ‘Contorta’) and wild Red Huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium), suitable for bonsai.

The demonstration Mendocino pygmy cypress is common for a collected tree. When collected, it showed greyish in color foliage and the foliage was sparse. Bob pointed out the growing pot contents as being original hard pan soil with added bonsai mix of Akadama and pumice. He reiterated after two years the collected tree will have healthy new roots, green foliage and begin to take shape as a bonsai.

Bob demonstrated wiring the branches. He said at this stage he was apt to leave more branches than needed. He was concerned about proper taper of the branches, that is large to small as appearing from the base to the apex. He then began to create pads with existing branches. He pruned the terminal tips on strong shoots; cutting back to secondary branches. This pruning took on classic pad formations and the overall desired silhouette or shape of the bonsai tree.

Bob discussed providing morning sun and afternoon shade for the potted tree. He said the terminal tips can burn and turn brown in the hot sun and strong winds. Bob suggested watering the foliage to help avoid drying out the terminal tips. For pot selection, Bob liked the primitive nanban style bonsai pot. He said repotting should be every year for the first three years as a bonsai. Each repotting session, one should remove a portion of the original hard pan soil to be replaced with bonsai soil mix.

Bob currently uses chicken fertilizer pellets with low NPK numbers for feeding his bonsai. He will supplement with Miracle Gro Plant Food.

Upon conclusion, the Mendocino pygmy cypress demonstration tree was raffled off. Alan Murakami won the demonstration tree with the winning raffle ticket.

Before – Mendocino pygmy cypress demonstration tree
Bob Shimon pruning and forming classic foliage pads
Bob and Alan Murakami with the finished Mendocino pygmy cypress demonstration tree

Special Note: “In 1960, the Pygmy Woodland was estimated as covering 4,000 acres. There are perhaps 2,000 acres remaining today. It has been considered by municipal entities as land of no value, there being few merchantable trees, and the often saturated soils cannot support septic systems. Much of it has destroyed for use as landfills or garbage dumps or transfer stations or bulldozed for access roads or residences with highly engineered septic systems.

The Pygmy often presents as a stunted and misshapen, sometimes boggy, often impenetrable, lichen-clad, seemingly dead or dying, otherworldly landscape. This is due to the soils being extremely acidic, deficient in nutrients, with a degree of aluminum toxicity. They are often underlain with a cement-like hard pan 18 inches down, making drainage very poor. Soils are often saturated for much of the year.

More recently, it has been considered by environmentalists on a par with old-growth redwoods. The area that lies within the Coastal Zone is protected, but much of it lies outside.”1

1 Mendocino’s Pygmy Forest Remains Protected, October 27, 2019, By Mary Walsh, Chair, Mendocino Group, Sierra Club Redwood Chapter.