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How Not to Water Your Bonsai – This Just Might Be the Most Important Watering Advice You’ll Ever Read


b1junp10This illustration by Kyosuke Gun is from our Masters' Series Juniper book. It is a perfect fit for this post that is borrowed from Michael Hagedorn's  Crataegus Bonsai.

We originally featured this post in June, 2009. It’s one of our earliest and perhaps one of our most important. I don’t think we’ve featured it since 2009, clearly an oversight on our part. Especially considering the importance of the topic and our source. Michael Hagedorn knows more about the inner workings of bonsai and bonsai care than almost anybody, so paying attention to what he has to say is always a good idea.

The following is quoted from Michael…
Before the real summer heat hits, consider how you are watering your trees. Have you ever seen your trees grow through spring just fine, only to get fried leaves at the first onset of early summer? Ever wonder why that happens?
Continued below…


A Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) 'cliff bonsai' from Michael Hagedorns' portfolio

Michael continued from above…
Those trees just don’t have enough roots. Those are the trees that got overwatered, or simply never dried out, in the cool spring months. Their roots were never encouraged to hunt out water, so these trees could survive in the moist cool weather on about three roots. First hot day: bam, they get hit hard as they have a spindly root system, not enough to support their overlarge, over long leaves and shoots on dry hot days. (A bonsai version of a company that has overspent just before a recession…)

“Especially on cool overcast days, if you can monitor them, water each tree only when it is really drying out and not by rote. Watering by a schedule is the surest way to have some really weak trees that show themselves in the hot summer!

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