Wike
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Mist Spray for Bonsai: Recommended or Not?

Hi all, Got my self a Chinese Elm about a week ago, everything is going well so far I have been keeping it indoors and watering almost daily.

However as I've been reading up on any information I can find it gets some what contradictory with mist spray some say to do it and other say not to, what should I be doing - I don't think it would make a huge difference if I did or didn't but would just like know. Thanks all.

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Gnome
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Wike,

I feel that a humidity tray would be a better choice. This is a shallow tray with no holes in which an inch or so of gravel is placed. Water is added to just below the level of the gravel and the tree is placed on the gravel. The more square inches the tray is the more effective it will be.

Be aware that Chinese Elms are susceptible to a fungal disease called Black Spot if they are subjected to damp conditions in the spring. The new leaves seem to be at risk more so than older foliage. I doubt that this would really be a problem indoors but I just thought I would mention it.

When you water are you watering thoroughly or just small amount at a time?

Norm

Wike
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Ahh cheers Gnome, thanks for the heads up on the black spot disease even If It's not relevant now it sure will be In a few years when I begin to expand my collection .

I think I will look Into the humidity tray sounds like a better alternative. However just out of interest would It do any harm to the tree If I was to use the Mist Spray, because as I said before some places say 'DO NOT use' whereas others tell you Its great and can be used.

As to you're question on the amount of water I use I wouldn't say I water thoroughly or in small amounts. What I tend to do Is just push my finger into the soil and depending on how dry/moist it is further down I will water accordingly. It's January here so the tree doesn't need quite so much water.

Thanks again for the advice Gnome I will definitely be looking into getting me a humidity tray..
Last edited by Wike on Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Gnome
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Wike,
However just out of interest would It do any harm to the tree If I was to use the Mist Spray, because as I said before some places say 'DO NOT use' whereas others tell you Its great and can be used.
In general I can't think of too many reasons not to mist if you wish. My point was that misting is not terribly effective in helping raise humidity levels which is a problem for indoor growers.

Trees receive moisture from rain and dew when they are outside, when I water I do so through the canopy. So wetting the foliage of most trees is not a problem and can be a benefit. There may be some species that don't like to have their foliage misted but to my knowledge Chinese Elm is not one of them. Just be aware of the possibility of Black Spot on new foliage and I don't see any problem.
As to you're question on the amount of water I use I wouldn't say I water thoroughly or in small amounts. What I tend to do Is just push my finger into the soil and depending on how dry/moist it is further down I will water accordingly.
I suspected as much when you wrote that you watered it daily. Try this instead, rather than adjust the level of watering, adjust the timing of your watering. In other words always saturate the soil and then wait appropriately before doing so again. This might be as little as one day or two or three before it requires water again. After a while you will get into a rhythm and this will be easy.

Get a thin dowel, skewer or chopstick and insert it into the soil deeply. Every day remove the skewer and hold it to your cheek, you will readily discern if the tree needs water. Check out the sticky threads for this sort of information and make sure to see the one on soil/medium as this will be of interest to you when you decide to re-pot.
It's January where I live so the tree doesn't need quite so much water.
Funny thing, it's January here too. :wink: Sorry I couldn't resist. Good luck with the Elm, it's good to see someone with something other than a Juniper this time of year.

Norm

kdodds
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I think NOrm's got you covered. Nothing much to add, but I do mist exclusively and do not use humidity trays. My training pots have trays, but I use them really only to prevent the drips, post watering, from wetting the surface underneath. One advantage to misting is that it raises the humidity level immediately. If the area is open, this will only be a very temporary rise, though, which is why most growers prefer trays. I'm growing in a greenhouse/garden window, so my case is a bit different than most in that the area is semi-enclosed and better able to hold in the humidity than if it were an open area in a room. As well, as Norm pointed out, watering should be done to the point that the soil is completely saturated and then not again until the soil's surface is dry. Chinese elms are very tolerant of hard water (most non-softened tap water), so watering and misting with straight tap water should only be an issue in terms of the white calcium deposits that you might see.

Wike
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Well thanks for the replies guys. Ill keep you updated and be sure to pester you some more If I run Into any problems :lol:
Also, I'm going to be attending a bonsai styling class this coming Sunday so I'll upload some pictures too of how my tree turns out - Obviously not going to be using the Chinese Elm.
Thanks again guys.

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Gnome
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Wike,
I'm going to be attending a bonsai styling class this coming Sunday so I'll upload some pictures too of how my tree turns out
Please do, and make sure to get before pictures as well.

Norm

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