Bonsai Pests and disease
How Can I Prevent Pests & Disease?
When working to prevent the possible injury or death of your beloved bonsai, the best defense is a strong offense: be vigilant by keeping your bonsai clean, dust and debris free and cleared of fallen leaves and flowers; be sure sufficient lighting is supplied, as well as, good ventilation and lots of fresh air. A healthy bonsai is without a doubt the most important preventative of pests and disease.
How Can I Treat Pests & Disease?
Unfortunately, even the most observant bonsai enthusiast is likely to encounter some type of pests or disease during their endeavors. It is healthier for your bonsai to be treated for pests and diseases in incremental steps of increasing toxicity.
The first thing to try to change is your bonsai's current environment. This technique is the simplest and safest. Quite often a change of location can help an ailing bonsai and if it does not, at the very least, you know that your bonsai's problem is probably not environmental.
The second incremental step would be to try, if possible, to introduce biological controls such as ladybugs. Ladybugs are of no danger to your bonsai and they will eat nearly all pests that are. Of course, this technique is limited to outdoor locations.
The third incremental step would be to use chemicals, also in levels of increasing toxicity. To start, you can try spraying a very mild solution of warm water and liquid dish soap on your trees. This technique is an excellent way to prevent a wide variety of diseases and helps in discouraging many types of pests. Multiple applications may be required to achieve and maintain a healthy bonsai, but the rewards will far out-weigh the efforts.
The fourth incremental step would be to try using a mild insecticidal soap. A multi-purpose soap derivative offers effective control over most pests. This type of insecticide is one of the mildest and safest, for humans, animals and bonsai - something of a vital importance, especially if you have children and pets.
The incremental step of "last resort" would be to use an actual "chemical" spray. It should be handled carefully and used as per manufacturer's recommendations.
An Additional Note About Pests & Disease?
When and if you find yourself staring at an unwanted visitor to your bonsai, remain calm and then pick up the phone and call your local bonsai supplier or a local bonsai enthusiast and ask for experienced advice. Your visitors will leave sooner and your bonsai will live longer.