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  • Writer's pictureThe Houghton Bonsai and Succulent Show

Caring for your Bonsai during a Heatwave

Some of our Bonsai need a little extra care during the summer season.

Here are some helpful tips to help you care for your Bonsai during a heatwave.

Short term measures

The most important thing to remember is to ensure you water your Bonsai thoroughly and often, and provide as much shade as possible.

  • Watering

If temperatures hit 32 °C or more, make sure to keep a close eye on your trees and their water levels. It’s preferred to water them in the late morning, making sure to properly wet the soil.

  • Misting

Apart from watering your trees, it can be beneficial to spray or mist your trees and especially their immediate surroundings, lowering the temperature around your Bonsai.

  • Providing shade

Providing shade is the other essential method to help your trees cope with high temperatures. If you have just a few trees this is simple, just place them in a shaded spot in your garden. In a case where you have lots of trees, consider placing the Shohin trees underneath bigger Bonsai trees to make sure they are shaded. You might also place your trees underneath the benches, crowding them together, to provide as much shade as possible. Alternatively, you could use burlap sacks to cover the pots.

  • No Maintenance

High temperatures add stress to your trees, so make sure not to add extra stress by wiring, pruning, spraying pesticide or applying high Nitrogen fertilizer.

Long term measures

  • Shade cloth

Professional growers couldn't do without shade cloth, as they have far too many trees to move around if temperatures peak in Summer. But also for the hobbyist, setting up a shade cloth system is one of the best ways to control the sunlight intensity reaching your trees, and hence the temperatures around your trees.

  • Adding moss

Growing moss, or adding Sphagnum moss, on your tree's soil surfaces helps to keep moisture in the pot. Especially in dryer climates, this can be very beneficial to the health of your trees.

  • Tree species selection

It will help greatly to select tree species that actually like your local climate. Growing maples in super warm areas can be a challenge, whereas Junipers or Pines might do very well!

  • Garden design

With average temperatures on the rise, planning for the future involves figuring out how to best design your Bonsai garden. Perhaps you can use the shade of trees or hedges for example, to strategically place your bonsai benches. Also, make sure not to place your Bonsai near hot surfaces, like dark floors, walls or stones. Lastly, growing plants around your benches will aid significantly in increasing the humidity around your trees.

With these short-term and long-term tips, your trees are well on their way to surviving the summer.

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