Lazaroo
Full Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:22 pm
Location: West Sussex UK

going outside

Hi all,

I have a chinese elm that I have kept indoors through the winter as I bought it in winter from an indoor grower. I am aiming to keep it outside now that the weather here in the UK has warmed up so much and I am wondering about watering it.

I have the chopstick method down to a T inside but what happens with the wet /dry thing when it rains? I guess I want to know if the same watering rules apply outside as they do inside.

Thanks :D

kdodds
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Absolutely. Rain only means that someone else did the job for you. BUT, you should still check. You won't know 100% how much the tree got or when it needs to be watered otherwise. FWIW, after a while, you'll get to know the tree and when it needs to be watered without having to dip into the pot with a toothpick or chopstick.

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Crab apple trees will get as big as they can pretty quickly. Even with some pretty agressive top pinching they can drink up all the water soil will hold fastest (for me).

So even with a pretty good sprinkle-shower I would check soil at least once a day till your really past certain how fast your tree is taking up water.

Hey, what a wonderful excuse to stop in and poke around with your tree(s). If your doing an early check, bring along your preffered cuppa, as you check.

If you do a PM tour, one beer for you, one water for tree...
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

Lazaroo
Full Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:22 pm
Location: West Sussex UK

hahaha im liking the beer idea :D

I will be poking around the garden every day and keeping the chopstick in place like some kind of security blanket lol now with a coolbag of beer in tow ;)

Does it matter if with a lot of rain the tree soil is always wet and doesnt get to dry out?

I guess being in its rightful environment takes care of most things right? except blazingsun and over drying out.

Thanks for the advice!

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Lazaroo,
Does it matter if with a lot of rain the tree soil is always wet and doesnt get to dry out?
Yes, this can be an issue particularly if the tree in question is planted in a heavier medium that tends to retain water longer. A proper, free draining, bonsai medium lessens the chance that you will have a problem with excessive rainfall. To help you can elevate one side of the pot which helps to remove excess water during wet periods.

A problem that I have experienced with this species is that during spring wet and cool conditions can lead to the development of a disease known as black spot fungus. I have one Elm that experiences this problem every spring and it can be difficult to manage. This fungus is more prevalent during spring when new, tender, foliage is subjected to constantly damp conditions. I won't go into detail now since you have not mentioned a problem but it is better to be aware of it.

Norm

Lazaroo
Full Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:22 pm
Location: West Sussex UK

Thanks Norm, i will be on the look out for mold.

Looking at my soil Im not really sure if its te right type or not. It came from a bonsai specialist last winter who said it had been repotted in the spring. It drains through but does seem to hold onto the water too.

Inside it took around 4 days to dry out but outside it hasnt really yet. Maybe the very top layer is starting to dry but if it rains it will be wet again.

Do you think it will be okay until next week when I can try and find a place to take it to get repotted?

If anyone knows of a good place to go in sussex UK area I would really appreciate it. Or even if there is a type of medium that I can ask for that would be suitable as the place I bought it from used this heavier soil initially so not sure if they are in the know.

I could bring it back in until then if you think thats a good idea...

Thanks for all your help!

kdodds
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Moist and wet are different, albeit not by much if you have fungus or mold problems. It's likely the lower humidity indoors was allowing for the quicker drying. One trick you can try if you're expecting a spate of rain is to tilt the pot slightly to allow for better drainage. Of course, if your pot has one center hole and not a more preferred two holes on either end, this WILL create a small pool of water on the low end, so rock the pot either every day or twice a day, from one side tilt to the other. If you're REALLY having a problem, it's probably better to repot now, before it results in something more detrimental to the tree than repotting.

Lazaroo
Full Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:22 pm
Location: West Sussex UK

Its funny you said that about wet and moist... the soil is very much like a powdery sand when its dry and the grower says it should be fine outside.

It did dry out over the weekend but we had no rain so not really surprising hey!

I will tilt the pot in case of extra rain as im pretty sure it isnt a case of being sopping wet like garden soil or compost would be and maybe it is just a case of it being moist with extra humidity outside?

Either way I will keep a very close eye on it and be thankful that its not really raining a lot here at the moment!

Lazaroo
Full Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:22 pm
Location: West Sussex UK

Just wondered if I could get an average drying out time for outdoor trees, esp. chinese elms but any in general would be helpful.

Im in two minds about mine with the scenario and whilst its establishing a new drying routine.. seemingly despite the rain which is good, its still taking longer than indoors which I know it was happy with.

Im guessing the humidity outside is adding to the moisture and drying out time as kdodds said, but it would be helpful to know if the week its taking to dry out between waterings is right and not damaging, instead of the four days it took indoors.

As im writing this im guessing that each tree is different and climates etc. will make a huge difference.....still, any experiences you've had will help :)

I have to say its really loving the outdoors in appearance.... lots of new leaves and red thick new shoots which are much stronger looking :D

Will get some pics up a.s.a.p

Return to “BONSAI FORUM”