User avatar
slx2007
Full Member
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:24 pm
Location: Elk Grove, CA

Bad Water Kills Bonsai?

I just move to a new house and someone told me that the water in that area is bad for bonsai trees. The water is so bad that it can kill bonsai trees. Should I believe him? If the water is bad for the tree, it is bad for people too. Should I move...again :cry: I have some bonsai trees that I really like.

alisios
Senior Member
Posts: 298
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:25 am
Location: Sedona, Arizona

I guess you could get the water checked - if you are hooked to a water softener, I would avoid using it -

You could also use distilled or drinking water purchased at you local grocery store -

Did the person who told you this give any more details as to why they think this?

User avatar
webmaster
Site Admin
Posts: 9163
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 5:59 pm
Location: Amherst, MA USDA Zone 5a

Apparently there was a report five years ago that Elk Grove drinking water had tungsten in it, and that it was showing up in the trees in the area. Tungsten is a carcinogen.

Many if not most tap water across the United States have pharmaceuticals in it, according to [url=https://news.aol.com/health/story/ar/_a/probe-finds-drugs-in-drinking-water/20080309184409990001]recent news reports[/url].

San Francisco's water supply from Hetch Hetchy was erroneously reported as being contaminated. There was a retraction later on affirming that SF's was the only supply tested that was pure.

Whether this or any other contamination has any effect on Bonsai is an interesting question.
Last edited by webmaster on Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

slx2007,

One more thing to consider is chlorine. If your water is heavily chlorinated this can be detrimental to plants. Generally, if your water is fit to drink it is safe for your plants.

Norm

terriergirl
Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 6:02 pm
Location: Bristol, England

I have an aquarium, and use a water conditioner to remove chlorine and other chemicals. Could this type of product be used for watering bonsai and other plants? Could you let the water stand for a day or two?

User avatar
slx2007
Full Member
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:24 pm
Location: Elk Grove, CA

Thank you very much for the advises.

So far I am feeling OK. So the water doesn't cause too much harm to me yet. I am thinking to make a filter to filtrate clorine or may be heavy metal from the water. What do you guys think.
Last edited by slx2007 on Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

terriergirl,
I have an aquarium, and use a water conditioner to remove chlorine and other chemicals. Could this type of product be used for watering bonsai and other plants?
I don't see why you could not but I am not familiar with this equipment. Is it physically and economically able to produce enough water for your needs? I have also heard of others using the dirty water from aquariums as an organic fertilizer.
Could you let the water stand for a day or two?
Yes, this is a strategy often used by people who are forced to use chlorinated water.

Norm

User avatar
slx2007
Full Member
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:24 pm
Location: Elk Grove, CA

alisios wrote:I guess you could get the water checked - if you are hooked to a water softener, I would avoid using it -

You could also use distilled or drinking water purchased at you local grocery store -

Did the person who told you this give any more details as to why they think this?
They said most of their bonsai trees died within 2-3 years. They are force to give up bonsai becasue of the water. They also mentioned that someone had suggested that they over fertilize their trees.

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

slx2007,
They said most of their bonsai trees died within 2-3 years. They are force to give up bonsai becasue of the water. They also mentioned that someone had suggested that they over fertilize their trees.
I can't help but wonder how it was determined that the water itself was at fault. There is a multitude of reasons that bonsai can fail. Usually the blame lies with the grower, I know I've killed my share of trees and my water is fine.

Norm

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

Simple aquarium dechlorinator will remove chlorine, but not chloramine, which most municipalities now use as it is more stable than chlorine. Luckily (for aquarists anyway) most chlorine removal products now also render chloramine inert. I do not, however, know if these products will introduce chemicals harmful to plants or bonsais specifically, but I can say that aquatic gardeners use them with great success.

If there's that much worry about the water supply, a simple carbon filter might help. If not, there's always distilled water, or RO water from your local aquarium shop, which is usually less than a dollar per gallon and virtually pure. The problem with either is that there are NO minerals, electrolytes, etc. and either will tend to take up minerals and elements from the soil quite readily, perhaps depleting the soil rapidly. You'd really have to ask someone with more experience about that, though. I just use plain old tap water, always have.

User avatar
sean117Ply
Cool Member
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:36 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Gnome wrote:terriergirl,
I have also heard of others using the dirty water from aquariums as an organic fertilizer.
Norm
Yes, I do that, but one thing you have to be careful of is high nitrates in the water this seems to turn leaves yellow.

User avatar
slx2007
Full Member
Posts: 57
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:24 pm
Location: Elk Grove, CA

I heard the GYPSUM can make soft water hard. Gypsum can absorb the salt in water. Isn't it true? So it can improve the quality of water?

killyspike
Full Member
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 7:53 pm
Location: Norwich UK

kdodds wrote:Simple aquarium dechlorinator will remove chlorine, but not chloramine, which most municipalities now use as it is more stable than chlorine. Luckily (for aquarists anyway) most chlorine removal products now also render chloramine inert. I do not, however, know if these products will introduce chemicals harmful to plants or bonsais specifically, but I can say that aquatic gardeners use them with great success.


I don't see why you can't use a dechlorinator if chlorine is a problem. I use it for my aquarium which is extremely successful it also has aquatic plants that are not effected by it. I will add that if you read the instructions in any tap water conditioning product it says a small amount will remove chlorine. If you increase the dose stated on the second part of the instructions then it will remove chloramines as well. My tapwater has chlorine and chloramines but my tree is thriving. Unsure on what level there is in it though.
kdodds wrote: If there's that much worry about the water supply, a simple carbon filter might help. If not, there's always distilled water, or RO water from your local aquarium shop, which is usually less than a dollar per gallon and virtually pure. The problem with either is that there are NO minerals, electrolytes, etc. and either will tend to take up minerals and elements from the soil quite readily, perhaps depleting the soil rapidly. You'd really have to ask someone with more experience about that, though. I just use plain old tap water, always have.
With RO water you are quite correct it takes literally everything out! RO water is mostly used for marine aquariums but the vital minerals need to be readded to the water before use and they come in powder form which most aquatic shops sell (as long as they have marine fish, equipment etc.) So that is a possibility you can also buy equipment that can turn normal water into RO water. The thing is though what this piece of equipment does is remove all the impurities which is seperated and its full of nitrates as it gets more concentrated along with the other stuff. Because of this it is apparently very good for plants so this particular marine specialist shop told me when I enquired. On that info I doubt nitrates would have an adverse effect on plants. My tapwater has roughly 20mg of nitrates in it thats 20ppm (parts per million) which is a totally acceptable level. If you want to test your water for nitrates then simply buy a nitrate testing kit which are fairly inexpensive from any pet stores that deal with fish.

That last part was for the thought that the nitrates make the leaves yellow because of high nitrate levels in this thread.

killyspike
Full Member
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 7:53 pm
Location: Norwich UK

https://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/schemes/biology/green.shtml

go to the above link, go to the last question and there is a small description of nitrates in soil. I need to go to bed but thats the best thing so far that confirms that nitrates at an acceptable level is vital for plants.

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

Yep. A lot of us marine folk use RO "waste water" to water our gardens. Mine isn't really useful considering it's already 300-400ppm Calcium. It depends a lot on your locality. Last year in the fall, out in the northwest a lot of people were heving problems with their aquariums. The culprit turned out to be tap water. I don't remember all of the details, but I do remember that it was highly concentrated with agricultural fertilizer, definitely not good for fish, or people, but would, I would think, be a boon to all of the gardens in the area.

Kenshin14435
Senior Member
Posts: 284
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:33 pm
Location: Northern VA USDA Zone 7A

This hs been happening recently in my water.
We don't know exactly what is going on but i think it's chlorine or something like that.
If you use a hose get a fine water filter for it.
If you use a faucet or something of the sort, I suggest getting a filter by the brand-name of your faucet.
This tends to help.

K5

Return to “BONSAI FORUM”