Watering: sense and sensibility

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Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  Yamato on Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:49 pm

Since I moved to the UK, my confidence in watering my deshojo maple has diminished. Frequently we get this "drizzle" that is enough to make the surface of the soil humid, but probably not sufficient to ensure a good drink for the bonsai.

After repotting, I also added some sphagnum moss for increased protection, but it soaks the humidity (especially overnight) and I'm afraid it amplifies the issue.

I found the article on "aggressive" watering and feeding by W. Pall fascinating, but I think I'm a few steps behind to implement it.

Can you please help me?

Thank you,

Y.
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watering desojo

Post  geoffm5eay on Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:57 pm

During the spring and summer I water regardless of precipitation every day. All Maples get this and I only ever water in the morning unless it a second time.
The rest of my trees apart from White Pines get very similar treatment.
I wonder where you were when it was drizzling? We had none all summer, only now in autumn have we had some, and not a lot at that.
I am not watering much now as I don't get so much sun on most of the garden.
Geoff.

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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:15 pm

in a properly draining substrate, it can be difficult to over water Wink

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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  Yamato on Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:21 am

geoffm5eay wrote:During the spring and summer I water regardless of precipitation every day. All Maples get this and I only ever water in the morning unless it a second time.
The rest of my trees apart from White Pines get very similar treatment.
I wonder where you were when it was drizzling? We had none all summer, only now in autumn have we had some, and not a lot at that.
I am not watering much now as I don't get so much sun on most of the garden.
Geoff.

Hello Geoff, thank you for your reply. My concern was mainly related to Autumn/Winter.
Indeed we had one of the driest periods on record this Summer.
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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  Yamato on Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:26 am

kevin stoeveken wrote:in a properly draining substrate, it can be difficult to over water Wink

Thank you Kevin! I'm just confused when I think about the classic technique of watering once the soil is dry to the touch. Has this rule been superseded by the modern substrate?

Y.
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watering desojo

Post  geoffm5eay on Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:48 am

Yes, it was quite dry this summer. I tend to leave them alone in the winter, right now I watch how dry they are getting, and water as needed, then from the time the clocks change unless we have some strong winds dring out I will only water maybe one a month. I put my Tridents under cover to keep them drier, along with the Satsukis and White Pines. That is just to keep them drier not to protect from frost.
My soil is a mix of Akadama and Kyodama for all except the Satsukis. This seems to work well, and I have no problem with any being too wet at anytime of year,
Geoff.

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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  BrendanR on Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:24 pm

Yamato - you did not say what your tree is planted in?

Depending on what you have planted yours in you might want to repot in the spring?

I use Tesco low dust cat litter for all my trees in the UK, and my maples are planted in pure cat litter. They cannot be overwatered, any excess water ust drains away. And they are easily checked for dryness as the cat litter changes colour as it dries.

Over winter you may want to give a maple some frost protection, but once the leaves drop it needs very little water as there is no real transpiration occurring. The drizzle you described would be more than sufficient.


Post a pic of your tree - especially the soil it is in. Also, where do you plan to keep it over winter?


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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  augustine on Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:17 pm

Put a bamboo skewer in the soil pull it out and see if the tree needs water.

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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  Yamato on Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:30 pm

geoffm5eay wrote:Yes, it was quite dry this summer. I tend to leave them alone in the winter, right now I watch how dry they are getting, and water as needed, then from the time the clocks change unless we have some strong winds dring out I will only water maybe one a month. I put my Tridents under cover to keep them drier, along with the Satsukis and White Pines. That is just to keep them drier not to protect from frost.
My soil is a mix of Akadama and Kyodama for all except the Satsukis. This seems to work well, and I have no problem with any being too wet at anytime of year,
Geoff.

Thank you Geoff, very clear and much appreciated.

Y.
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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  Yamato on Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:35 pm

augustine wrote:Put a bamboo skewer in the soil pull it out and see if the tree needs water.

Hello Augustine, thank you for your advice. I'm a bit concerned the stick could damage some finer roots, but I get your point.

I had a look at humidity electronic gauges online, which look a bit thinner and perhaps less intrusive. Does anybody use devices like this? (in John Naka books I saw something similar, although much bigger).

Thanks,

Y.
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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  Yamato on Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:45 pm

BrendanR wrote:Yamato - you did not say what your tree is planted in?

Depending on what you have planted yours in you might want to repot in the spring?

I use Tesco low dust cat litter for all my trees in the UK, and my maples are planted in pure cat litter.  They cannot be overwatered, any excess water ust drains away.  And they are easily checked for dryness as the cat litter changes colour as it dries.

Over winter you may want to give a maple some frost protection, but once the leaves drop it needs very little water as there is no real transpiration occurring.  The drizzle you described would be more than sufficient.  


Post a pic of your tree - especially the soil it is in.  Also, where do you plan to keep it over winter?  


Dear Brendan, thank you for your message and advice.

I'm definitely going to repot it in spring as currently the maple is sitting in soil that resembles compost (the one provided by the nursery) and I had to fill some gaps with a mix of akadama and pumice to keep it more stable.

For Winter, I plan to keep the tree in the back garden: it's protected from strong winds but it still gets some air. I haven't thought about frost protection just yet as I still need to do some research (advice most welcome, of course!). Luckily here the winter temperature are generally not extreme.

I will post a picture as soon as I can.

Kind regads,

Y.
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watering desojo

Post  geoffm5eay on Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:54 pm

There is no need to protect from frost, Maples are hardy to -10C. The only time I protect is to keep the tree drier, or so I can control the watering.
Tridents are the ones I have under cover to keep rain off but not frost. Otherwise they get whatever weather comes, and I am about 100 miles west of you and not as warm as where you are

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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:19 am

Is that maples in the ground are hardy to -10 deg.C ?

Or maples in bonsai pots are hardy to -10 deg.C ?
Laters.
Khaimraj
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watering desojo

Post  geoffm5eay on Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:27 am

Both. We have had frosts to -10C and my Maples are always get whatever comes. The only ones I take under cover to keep drier is the Trident Maples. I also put my White Pines under the cover for the same reason.
Geoff.

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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  augustine on Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:00 pm

I'm talking about a thin skewer, placed by edge of pot - will not harm your tree.

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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:02 pm

Yamato wrote:
kevin stoeveken wrote:in a properly draining substrate, it can be difficult to over water Wink

Thank you Kevin! I'm just confused when I think about the classic technique of watering once the soil is dry to the touch. Has this rule been superseded by the modern substrate?

Y.

yes it has. Modern substrates drain well, yet should hang onto water and nutrients for use by the plant between waterings.

And soil that is dry to the touch is only dry where you touch it Razz

but Augustine's advise is good... even though i water almost daily, i still keep bamboo chopsticks in my pots and not even at the edge of the pot, but closer in... maybe 1/2 way between trunk and pot edge (if room allows)... then just pull it out and feel it... and put it back in the same spot

doing it like that gives you a much better idea of the condition of the soil below the surface and closer to the roots.

and keep in mind that a shallow pot holds, and hangs onto, much more water than a deep pot... its true !!!

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Watering

Post  Bolero on Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:00 pm

Hey Kevin a little disagreement here....
and keep in mind that a shallow pot holds, and hangs onto, much more water than a deep pot... its true !!!

I have Bonsai in 6"-8" Deep pots, Japanese Maples, 4"Medium pots, Junipers and several Penjing Landscapes 2" Shallow pots....
Summer I water daily, Fall every other day, Winter storage every 2 weeks...
Shallow pots drain quickly, one day... Medium pots hold water better,2 days... Deep pots hold water best and longest......3 to 5 days...I use a garden hose Sprinkler head, good soakings.
Occasionally I use a $15.00 HyDgrometer to check Moisture content & PH Levels...
They are all doing well, thank you....
The trick to healthy Bonsai is Water...
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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  my nellie on Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:45 pm

Bolero wrote:and keep in mind that a shallow pot holds, and hangs onto, much more water than a deep pot... its true !!!
Bolero is right.
This is due to "capillary rise"
Kaizen Bonsai
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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:24 pm

Yes, Alexandra, agreed,
This why I did this ----------- note pot is less than 1" [ 2.5 cm ] deep and yet I
was able to grow the tree to a 3" [ 8 cm ] trunk.

Now I have to work out how to keep the trunk from over expanding Laughing Laughing
Laters.
Khaimraj

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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  my nellie on Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:36 am

Hello Khaimraj!
Here are question for you Very Happy
Thank you in advance for responding!
How long have you been cultivating this tree in this pot?
What is the species?
Do I see an aerial root coming from the first branch on the right?
This branch looks awkward or out of proportion (in my opinion/eyes) or does it not?
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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:39 am

Hello Alexandra,

firstly, this is a local willow leafed ficus.
It has spent almost of it's life in this pot.
Maybe 8 years or so old.

This ficus is one of the few plants that have found [ down here ]
that can stay in a pot and trunk thicken.

I am presently working on the top and it's max height will be 38 or
so cm's. So there will be change.

The soil is a simple mix of 5 mm silica based gravel 90 % by volume
and 10 % aged compost.
[ aged compost is compost kept just moist in a barrel, with a cover.
the weed seeds germinate and die ]

Anything else you might like to know ?
Laters.
Khaimraj

Image listed as 4th year September 2013

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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  Yamato on Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:44 pm

augustine wrote:I'm talking about a thin skewer, placed by edge of pot - will not harm your tree.

Thank you Augustine: now I get it. I will definitely try it.
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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  Yamato on Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:48 pm

kevin stoeveken wrote:
Yamato wrote:
kevin stoeveken wrote:in a properly draining substrate, it can be difficult to over water Wink

Thank you Kevin! I'm just confused when I think about the classic technique of watering once the soil is dry to the touch. Has this rule been superseded by the modern substrate?

Y.

yes it has. Modern substrates drain well, yet should hang onto water and nutrients for use by the plant between waterings.

And soil that is dry to the touch is only dry where you touch it Razz

but Augustine's advise is good... even though i water almost daily, i still keep bamboo chopsticks in my pots and not even at the edge of the pot, but closer in... maybe 1/2 way between trunk and pot edge (if room allows)... then just pull it out and feel it... and put it back in the same spot

doing it like that gives you a much better idea of the condition of the soil below the surface and closer to the roots.

and keep in mind that a shallow pot holds, and hangs onto, much more water than a deep pot... its true !!!

Thank you for this!
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Re: Watering: sense and sensibility

Post  M. Frary on Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:16 pm

I've watered in the rain before just to make sure they got their daily dose.

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watering desojo

Post  geoffm5eay on Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:20 am

In the summer I ignore the rain. That is I wait until it stops before I water!! After all I don't want to get wet. Seriously, unless the rain is heavy for some time, it is not enough. Then once it stops and warms up it will dry quickly, so unless it rains all day I water rain or not. But that is summer only, June to August, before and after less so.
Geoff.

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