Bonsai Beginner Series – Bonsai Watering

Bonsai Beginner Series - Watering

Im in hot houston texas, I had a small pine tree and small oak tree in pots. I wanted to change the pots and soil. I did so in the summer heat a couple months ago. Oak tree died, pine still growing great. Pine are tough.

Watering is complex and watching Josh try to get a handle on it by following Troy I recognize I need to step outside and give him a little bit of guidance as to how he goes about watering his tree [Music] here’s that high-quality h2o I heard all about this is this is the stuff this is what dreams are made of [Music] if I would have take my tree home and use the water I have at home what kind of differences does that have compared to like using this water yeah that’s a great question water quality is important but that shouldn’t be something that when we’re just learning how to water we concern ourselves with right because tap water will provide the tree what it needs so when we’re just starting watering two things we really need to know when we’re talking about the device that we water a bone side with it needs to be a very fine rose that gives a really delicate water so it doesn’t just obliterate all the soil and topdressing that we’ve utilized in the repotting process so as I’m walking through the garden and I’m kind of looking at things I’m always looking at the moisture content of the topdressing as well as any of the soil particles that I can see now once we get into the nitty gritty of does our tree need water or not we need to go back to three fundamental questions that we ask ourselves number one how many leaves or needles does this plant have how many pieces of foliar mass in the canopy of the tree are transpiring water again eighty-five percent of water is used to cool this tree the more needles or the more leaves we have the more water as being lost second how big is our reservoir how big is the container that’s supplying water to this canopy transpiring a smaller container and a bigger foliar mask is gonna need water much more frequently than a small foyer mass in a large container the third factor what is today doing environmentally how warm is it how intense is the Sun is it windy and is it humid or not all of these factors are gonna influence the rate at which water is transpired through the leaf mass when we start to look at these things noticing that the soil looks a little bit dry we take a look at our for mass our reservoir and the environmental conditions and this helps us make a decision at this current state of moisture level in the soil do I water or do I wait and over the course of time considering this each time we water we strike that balance and give the tree the backbone for health I’m not gonna water this right now seeing that I have a lot of particles holding water I’m gonna go ahead and I’m gonna now if you weren’t gonna come back for the rest of the day like I got to go to my job maybe we would water it right now because we know we can’t come back in three hours and water this thing again and the dangers of over watering is the the roots would rot or so we would exhaust all oxygen in the container create an anaerobic environment meaning oxygen less environment and roots need oxygen to be able to respire the art of watering of bonsai is truly a game of balance striking a balance between water and oxygen in the root system now when we think about this this balance is struck over the course of time any time we water we’re thinking about the tree we’re thinking about the container and we’re thinking about the environment but we’re also considering how did we water last time and how over the course of time do we strike that balance this is one of the paramount things to explain to Josh and help any beginner understand to be able to effectively water your tree and provide that backbone for health I noticed that everything I see is dry right very healthy tree lots of foliage everything I see is dry this is a tree that I’m gonna choose to water so I want to keep my water one moving as I’m watering to apply that water not disturb the soil and get that thorough percolation and I’m gonna want to really focus on watering every side of the container [Music] and I’m gonna come back a few different times to again get that thorough soaking through of the water until it’s actually dripping out of the bottom of the container and that’s when I know that I’ve watered enough now as you look inside here obviously it’s dripping down the sides but you can see the water thing out of those Center holes right there that’s all I need right I don’t need it pouring out I don’t need excessive amounts just enough to know that it’s thoroughly saturated the root system and it is exiting the container notice how dry that soil is right up there and see the fine roots that exist there this is a tree that’s super healthy obviously is using a lot of water and is also lacking that water content this definitely needs to be watered and watered thoroughly now another thing to discuss when we’re watering is do we water the foyer mass we would like to avoid watering the foyer mass sometimes it’s unavoidable this branch is right in the way of my soil mass okay so we know we’re gonna hit that branch but we don’t want to be watering the foyer mass constantly and keeping it wet because it actually slows down the growth rate of the tree the function of water in a tree is so incredibly interesting and in fact when we look at water utilization in a tree 85 percent of all water is simply transpired through the foyer mass to cool that tree much like human beings sweat now that other 15 percent is what contributes to metabolic processes and most importantly the hydrogen and the oxygen from that water molecule combined with the carbon from carbon dioxide entering the leaves through the stomata and those pieces are broken down and reformed as glucose the fundamental backbone of food for a tree now during the evening time when we get into the dark cycle we have respiration occurring in the tree this is where that sugar that glucose is turned into active forms of energy and that energy drives the production of tissue whether it be setting up some full-year mass at the terminal bud trunk girth in the vascular tissue or new root tips inside of the containerized environment and inside of that oxygen in the evening time and during the daytime we see that necessity to strike that balance and give the tree everything it needs to be healthy let’s talk about this tree it’s in a very different container shape right very deep when we talk about water moving through the bone side container contrary to what you would think oh this container probably stays wet or longer in all actuality the deeper the container the faster water moves through it okay so the more shallow the container is the more it holds water so since repotting the tree I noticed that a couple of the branches were dead so I’m going to remove those branches I’ve cut off the two dead branches but now I have to toss them into the burn file which there actually is no burn pile right now so that they’re going to begin a new a new burn pile thank you for your service as branches on this tree you provided photosynthesis sugars and things anyway later now that Ryan showed me some of the nuances of how to water I’m going to try and use that knowledge on this tree through watering it with this fancy hose now that josh has a greater understanding of watering let’s focus on his specific trees and see what nuances these pieces are going to demand of Josh to successfully water them over the course of time let’s talk about how I need to water this tree I’ve actually already watered it without your supervision I was trying to be extremely careful and it felt like I was a little afraid it’s a really hot day today and I think one thing that comes up especially when it’s like in the Blazing Sun is like whether or not it’s in the shade or I should put it in the shade how many times I should water in every tree plant etc loves 85 degrees Fahrenheit 30 degrees Celsius this is like the wheelhouse for photosynthesis right once we go past that they start decreasing their metabolism to try and keep up with the cooling process so when we start to get into the 90s and we’ve got a small tree or say a species that is a little more heat sensitive a tree that comes from an Alpine region but deciduous tree that has a very thin leaf a tree that typically exists in the shade in its native habitat these are trees that once we get past that 85 we get into the low mid 90s we can bring it into the shade it’s gonna slow down water utilization you’re gonna be able to water less the tree is gonna be far more successful in that condition this is the watering dynamic what is the soil doing what is the plant doing and what is the environment doing I think something else that would come up for me having this at home would be okay this weekend I’m gonna be out of town and I want to make sure that my tree is going to stay healthy maybe I’ll put it in the shade if a tree is outside no matter how much shade you put it in it is photosynthesizing it is experiencing the environment and it is losing water okay so if you’re gonna have a situation where I’m gonna be gone for two days soak it thoroughly bring it inside [Music] your taxes in the container necessitates far more attention because you’ve already put it into a small pot but your honeysuckle here being in a nursery container totally different right now honeysuckle being a thin leaf deciduous tree is naturally gonna dry out faster than a conifer it’s gonna lose more water because of that larger surface area and that thin cuticle that waxy covering that prevents the loss of water is very thin on deciduous and it is going to be more susceptible to heat and intensity where we want to protect it we’re gonna have to water it more etc but your taxes is in a bones IPOP it’s already small right you’re playing with a different dynamic your honeysuckle is in a nursery container has not yet been repotted so this is a larger soil volume this is very organic soil as opposed to the granular soil this is gonna need less water than your taxes even though technically a deciduous tree uses more water than a conifer in considering watering four different species of trees we need to know that conifers for the most part tend to be able to tolerate a higher quantity of oxygen or a little bit of a drier condition in the containerized environment whereas deciduous trees this very thin leaf that’s very thin cuticle rapidly losing water and needing a lot of water to keep it hydrated tend to need to be watered a little bit more frequently now obviously there are other factors beyond species that impact watering requirements as we’ve already explored but to understand that the species as well contributes to our considerations helps us further make more detailed decisions that aid in the health of our tree alright so with my other taxes that is now to now become a bush basically comparing this guy which is you know it’s the same species I believe as this one yep what kind of difference is in watering would this taxes have being in a nursery container compared to the one in the bonsai pot so this is an interesting dynamic now because technically you have the same species you have one in a bone side container you have one in a nursery container but there’s another factor involved here this one has so much more foliage that’s transpiring than that one larger soil volume organic so it holds more water but a larger foliar mass that’s transpiring right more aggregate more oxygen dries out faster less full your mass transpiring so it dries out a little bit slower and in the end they probably dry out at the same rate even though they’re in these different circumstances if I watered when a tree is still wet and I’m like it’s still wet and I water it I’m not gonna kill it right and if I did that again and I did it again and I did it again I’m still not gonna kill it it would take several weeks maybe even several months of MIS watering a tree to actually kill it from over watering it if you under water it you miss a watering once that could be the end of the tree pairing it to the other species what are the kind of nuances of a pine so pines are extremely durable extremely adaptable to drought to heat to intense Sun and that means that we have to be a little more careful because we can very easily overwater a pine right now it’s not to say that with all these needles this isn’t going to be using a lot of water obviously there’s a large mass here but we also have a big container filled with organic soil it hasn’t been potted into a bone side container and our more aggregate mix and so we have a lot of water retention to meet that high quantity of needles a Juniper or a pine is a very common beginner species because of its durability it’s very very forgiving now that we understand watering as a broader concept let’s come back to those three pieces that we refer to when trying to decide whether we water or not what is the container what is the tree in its health and what are the elements in terms of the external environment that are acting on that tree by pulling in the pieces from these three elements we can deduce Dulli water or do we not and understand watering as a greater application put this information to use and good luck cultivating a happy healthy bone side [Music] you

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