How do I water my bonsai?

gwtamaraJanuary 1, 2013

> Trees should only be watered when they need it. Do not water on a set schedule until you have determined the needs of your particular tree. Not every tree has the same requirements. You must identify what tree you have in order to meet its needs.

> Be sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom and that water will drain freely from it.

> For most outdoor trees, water when the surface of the potting mix looks like it is starting to get dry.

> For indoor trees you can buy a moisture meter which, when inserted into the mix, will tell you when it is dry. Some use a chopstick or toothpick the same way. When it comes out dry, it is time to water. Some people stick a finger down in the mix an inch or so and check for moisture.

> Some enthusiasts use the heft of the pot to determine when it is time to water. Lift the pot when it has just been watered thoroughly. Lift it again when it is in need of water. You will sense a definite difference in the weight.

> Many factors influence the amount of water a tree will use. Some of these are:

potting mixture (some elements hold more water than others), temperature and wind (the higher the temperature or stronger the wind, the more water is used), humidity (more humidity, less water is needed).

> When you water, water thoroughly. Some recommend pouring a little water into the pot and letting it sit 15-20 minutes. Then water again and after another 15 minutes water until it drains from the bottom of the pot. This will allow the water to penetrate any dry pockets that have developed. If your trees are outside you can turn a hose with a slow stream on them.

> Trees that are extremely root bound have special problems. The water will often just run down the inside of the pot never penetrating the root ball.

> Newly pruned trees will use much less water than they did before pruning. They dont lose as much water through transpiration in the leaves

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