evilpand4
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Submersion: Different Way of Watering Bonsai?

Hello everyone I'm new to this forum.

I've use to grow an 8 year old bonsai when I was in california and have always used the overhead methods doing it twice, once to get the soil wet to help retain water better and after about 10/15 mins then water again.

I've moved to Vancouver area around 4 years ago and couldn't bring my bonsai with me due to border crossing. So I have recently brought a 10 year old juniper this time at a nursery called Sunny Bonsai Greenhous Ltd. www.sunnybonsai.com. However when reading the instructions I've came across a different watering technic that I haven't incounter before called submersion.

Submersion is the preferred method by the nursery and it instructs that "Leave the bonsai (in its pot) in a tub or sink of water for approximately 15 minutes to thoroughly soak the soil when watering is needed." As well as when to water [when soil dries a little] same as my other plant.

It also advise to leave some water in the water tray as "Water evaporating from the tray provides excellent humidity. However, never let the bonsai soak up water from teh tray as constanly wet soil will cause root rot."

These are two new methods to me as I have always thought that water tray is use to catch water coming out of the drain hole.

Any information on this subject will be helpful thank you.

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sean117Ply
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I am not a fan of this method for a few reasons:

1. Washes lots of the top soil away
2. May prevent the build of minerals
3. Prevents the build up of nutrients
4. Can't be bothered
5. They get enough just from watering normally

But in some cases its a good idea; maybe you have forgotten to water it on a hot day and the root ball dries out, it's not a bad idea to give it a big soak to help it recover.

kdodds
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Actually, I've red just the opposite on reasons 2&3. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods. Submersion is definitely GREATLY preferred in indoor trees when the weather gets really hot and the growing season really gets into swing. I'm a fan of using both methods, but mostly go with submersion 2x week and misting daily. But, I keep only indoor trees.

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Gnome
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evilpand4,

I'm with kdodds on points 2 & 3. Watering from above helps to flush away any minerals or salts that accumulate in your soil due to your water or fertilizer.

On points 4 & 5 sean117Ply makes good points. Submersion takes a lot more time and if you have more than a few trees it becomes impractical. It would take way too long. You would need a lot of tubs or trays that are sized to match the pots closely and it takes a lot of water to do this as you would not want to re-use it from one plant to the next for the reasons mentioned above. So for me it is watering from above almost exclusively.

There are a few exceptions for me though. Newly potted trees really benefit from a good soaking at first. If a tree has somehow been neglected and is in need of emergency care. Seed trays are watered this way to minimize any disturbance. And finally, like kdodds, I too use this method over the winter but only on succulents like Jades and Portulacaria.

Those plants are unusual in that I only water them about once a month while they are inside but when I do I really allow them to soak up as much water as they can. This mimics their natural conditions of alternating dry and wet periods. Also, I do not fertilize these plants over the winter so mineral accumulation is not nearly the issue it would be in another circumstance.

As far as leaving water in the tray (providing it is not high enough to wick back up) I suppose it could not hurt and is similar to a humidity tray. I doubt the efficacy of such a small amount of water outside where air movement would minimize the effects. I have often suggested the use of a humidity tray inside where the air is very dry but outside I'm not sure it does much.

Norm

evilpand4
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Location: Richmond, BC [Vancouver area]

Thanx for everyones reply as of now I've just been misting n watering from above and have yet to try the submersion technic, but since I have only one plant in my new home I might try the submersion technic sometimes soon.

kdodds
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Well, if you don't need to do it, it's probably easier to just water from above. I've found, thoough that watering from above means I need to water thoroughly much more frequently, every other day, at least, for most of my plants. So, it makes more sense for me to submerge than twice weekly instead. They're mostly all in 4x6 training pots, 4 of which fit in a standard rubbermaid dishwashing container. I can get two of these containers side-by-side in my kitchen sink, so I can do 8 plants at a time. It takes less than an hour, probably closer to half an hour, but I also take them all down one-by-one and observe them thoroughly, pinching, etc. if necessary, so that makes it a little longer. Filling the sink with pots and watering from above takes two rounds, as opposed to the four rounds of submersion, and not much shorter, time-wise, considering you want to do it twice, at 10-15 minute intervals, per plant.

Kenshin14435
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I normally just stick with misting(although my mister broke :x) and watering from above. That works for me. But with ths not average heat thing going trough around here I might try submersion on one of my test trees.
What method do japanese maples prefer in really hot weather? Same for junipers.

Ken
~ Ken ~

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