Lime Sulfur is used in the Bonsai world primarily to lighten the color of deadwood, and give it a bleached, aged appearance.
It's also used as an insecticide or dormant spray to control over wintering insects such as mites, scales and aphid eggs. The lime sulfur works on the wax of scale insects, softening them. Lime Sulfur seals wounds acting as a barrier to bacteria which can cause infection to your tree.
Understanding Lime Sulfur:
It's important to understand that Lime Sulfur is not pleasant crap. It's a pungent, horribly smelling liquid that should be handled very carefully. Never use Lime sulfur indoors, always use outdoors in a well ventilated area. Lime sulfur can splash and flick tiny droplets as it's applied and will stain anything it comes in contact with.
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When using Lime Sulfur, protect all surfaces from drips or runs. Take caution and protect your pot, table, clothes, hands, arms, eyes, etc. Do not allow lime sulfur to penetrate into soil and do not get it on parts of your tree that you wish to live. It's best to cover surfaces with disposable things you don't plan on ever seeing again.
Using Lime Sulfur to bleach deadwood in Jin or Shari work
Apply early or mid-day, on a sunny day, allowing the lime sulfur to dry completely before the sun sets. Use a small paint brush to apply the Lime Sulfur. Apply the Lime Sulfur two times, one month apart. Repeat the following 2 years, (again two times, one month apart). Beginning the third year, you will only need to apply as needed for the preservative characteristics.
Use a paint brush that can be discarded after use.
Using Lime Sulfur as an insecticide or fungicide
Lime sulfur is used as a "dormant" spray, meaning it should be used when a tree is in its winter dormancy and kills insects and their eggs that are spending the winter on your bonsai tree or on its soil. Keep children and pets and at a safe distance when working with this product and spray when the winds are light. Have your mother in law hold the tree while you spray.
Lime sulfur is normally used diluted to one Tablespoon per quart of water.
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