The use of lime sulphur in the art of bonsai dates back a considerable amount of time, it has various uses that benefit the bonsai grower.
Lime sulphur is sold in the UK as a cosmetic product used to whiten dead wood on your trees. It does however have additional benefits. the sulphur discourages bugs, algae and fungal growth that can be harbored in crevices and on the surface of dead wood.
Jin & Shari (dead wood protection)
Over a number of applications the lime in the Lime Sulphur builds up on the surface of the wood and forms a hard protective surface layer.
All dead wood should be brushed clean of algae with water and a fine brush, this is an important part if you want to get your dead wood looking really white, especially on Juniper species.
A winter wash was always used to help control pests and diseases including fungal infections such as black spot, and mildew, insects and insect eggs, algae and mosses. This can be applied at a dilution rate of 20:1 and sprayed over the whole plant. Note that the compost should be covered especially on lime hating species.
Brushing of Trunks, Nebari and Branches.
Many species can be brushed with lime sulphur over there trunks and main branches.
The following species are often brushed with lime sulphur, however care must be taken as lime sulphur can affect the development of new buds, never paint to the very tips of branches.
Images of trees that have been Lime Sulphured
Japanese Maple in a Japanese nursery during the winter. All these trees have been brushed with lime sulphur during the autumn.
Zelkova serrata at the Kokufu-ten exhibition in Tokyo. Lime sulphur brushed branches. Note the buds have not been lime sulphured.
A large Itoigawa Juniper showing clearly lime sulphured clean dead wood.
Dead wood on Juniperus rigida.
Fagus crenata (Japanese White Beech) with lime sulphured trunk and branches. Although Japanese White Beech has a very light bark most trees seen in exhibitions have been painted with lime sulphur to enhance this characteristic.
A Juniper with cleaned dead wood waiting to be lime sulphured.