Can you leave bonsai in the rain? If this question has been boggling your mind for a long time, then, make sure to read on to know if rain is good for your bonsai or not.
Bonsai trees and rain
It is not a secret that the right watering practices are important for the overall health of a bonsai tree. Although your bonsai can die if you let the soil to dry out, overwatering has just the same effect.
Since most bonsai trees are often kept outdoors, these can subject them to different local weather conditions, specifically rain that can be very unpredictable.
Since there is no way that you can gauge the amount and frequency of the rain that might or might not fall on your bonsai trees, it is essential that you learn and understand rain and its effects on the bonsai tree. This way, you will be able maintain and observe the right watering practices.
Overwatering your bonsai trees and rain
Overwatering on a continual basis may lead to poor development of roots, root rot, and an unhealthy bonsai tree as a whole.
Bonsai soil must be watered thoroughly then allowed to lose moisture little by little until the soil surface is almost dry before watering it thoroughly again. Failure to give the soil this period of time to dry out may lead to soil that is wet all the time and lacks oxygen.
It may also lead to premature collapse of the structure of the soil and the ultimate lose of health of the root system, eventually compromising the health of the tree.
Considering all of these things, what will be the effect of those long periods of continuous rain on the roots of bonsai trees kept outdoors, then?
If rain will continue to pour for more than one to two weeks, the soil won’t have the chance to dry out. As a result, the bonsai will be overwatered that can soon lead to some health issues.
Will rain and overwatering kill your bonsai
Continuous heavy rain for two to three weeks won’t necessarily kill your bonsai tree, except if it already has unhealthy, damaged, or weak root system because of getting overwatered by hand for an extended period of time or is in an extremely water compacted or retentive soil.
A bonsai won’t get damaged after short periods of overwatering. Chronic watering is what can really pose danger to the health of even the most vigorous bonsai tree even if it only happens for a few weeks. Healthy bonsai trees have stronger and more vigorous roots enough to ensure shorter periods of excessive watering.
If the continuous rain doesn’t let the soil dry out for extended time period or your chosen organic soil doesn’t drain fast enough, you might want to shelter your bonsai trees under other bigger bonsai trees, against the side of the outbuildings, or landscape trees. You can also try tipping the pots to one side that will allow faster draining through any of the drainage holes at the pot’s either ends.
Take note that there are bonsai pots with drainage holes only found at the center of the base. The effect will be reversed if you tip this kind of pots and may leave the roots sitting in pools of water that are trapped at the pot’s base.
Underwatering your bonsai trees
The amount of water that the soil surface has collected during periods of rainfall is usually not enough to seep into the upper levels of soil. This amount is relatively small compared to the water amount that is received when a watering can or hose has been specifically trained on the bonsai tree.
Failure to water the soil, especially during summer months, just because the surface of the soil is wet following a period of rain may lead to disastrous results when in fact, the soil’s main body is dry.
Unless there is a particularly heavy rainfall and you can tell that the soil mass has been completely saturated, you still need to water the soil after rainfall. You have to remember that any period of time where you let the soil dry out may seriously damage or kill a bonsai tree. Intermittent or short bouts of overwatering won’t cause any damage.
Bonsai soil and rain
If you are using an inorganic soil mix with no compost or peat, it is somewhat difficult to end up overwatering your bonsai tree at all. It is one of the best reasons why you should avoid the use of organic soil materials that tend to break down faster through overwatering by hand and heavy rain.
Inorganic bonsai soils that can retain enough water for supporting the tree but allows instant damage of excess moisture can greatly lower the risks of overwatering.
Watering your bonsai trees
It is not really easy to say the exact amount of water and watering frequency that a bonsai tree will need because of different humidity, weather conditions, type of soil mixture, and pot size. But, it is important to remember that so far, watering your bonsai tree is the most important factor when it comes to caring for them and ensuring their overall health. There are a lot of bonsai trees that end up dying because of incorrect watering compared to the rest of the causes combined.
The general rule of thumb here is that you should check your tree daily to make sure that its soil is moist enough.
Watering should be done only in the evening. This will ensure that your bonsai tree won’t experience any shock from dramatic changes in the temperature of the soil if it becomes a bit dry.
You should never allow the soil to dry out completely and avoid watering on a routine when your collection is made up of several trees. You need to water each tree separately to avoid overwatering. With time, when you become more experienced with caring for your plants, there will be no longer a need for you to feel the soil just to test for moisture.
Enough experience will allow you to tell by simply looking at the soil. In general, the tree will noticeably require watering about every one or two days. But, if your tree is placed outdoors and your area has warm weather, watering may be necessary several times a day.