December is a time to continue the work that you started in November. Remove debris and moss from the top of your soil, poke chopsticks through the soil to increase drainage if the soil has become compacted. Tilt pots up if they are large and flat so that the water doesn’t pool in the bottom and cause root rot during the rainy season. Spray your trees with dilute lime sulfur (10:1 with water) around the 1st of December and again at the 1st of January to kill overwintering bug eggs and reduce fungus and other infections in the coming year. However, do not spray trees that are very weak or that have had major wiring and bending done already this fall/winter; the lime sulfur can damage trees if it penetrates into cracks caused when you bend branches. Also, do not spray trees that you plan to show in the winter or early spring because the residue of lime sulfur can remain for months, causing the tree to have a funny white glow to it.

Clean off your benches as well, removing soil, fallen leaves, and follow the cleaning with an application of Lime sulfur (in a stonger solution if you wish) to kill moss, bugs and preserve the wood.

Invent some winter projects for yourself: think ahead to what you will be showing at the spring show and order a new pot for your show tree or buy or borrow a stand that will go well with the tree. Practice setting up displays with your tree and accent plants that you have on hand to find which combinations look best to you. Take cuttings of your favorite stock. Plan your next collecting trip. Think about what you have accomplished this year. Take photos of your trees. Make drawings of what you want your tree to look like 5 years from now. Take a walk on the beach or through the Presidio and study the way that full size trees look in San Francisco. Study art such as scroll paintings or even abstract mondernism for inspiration in your creations. Construct a faux tokanoma alcove to frame the display that you come up with for the spring show…

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