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Automating Bonsai Care

Automating Bonsai Care

Most hobbies can be time consuming — That’s part of the joy of it.

Bonsai is no different.

To do bonsai at a high level, it’s takes a lifetime.  To do it as a hobby, well, we’re allowed to take some shortcuts.

You still have to trim the foliage, prune the tree, prune the roots, repot and fertilize, but there’s still some major tasks that you can automate.

When it comes to automating your bonsai care, the two biggest things to take care of are water and light.

If your trees are outdoors, you obviously don’t need to automate the light.  But water can be something you need to deal with.  If you forget, your trees can die.  It’s as simple as that.

This includes going on vacation…

So to automate your water, you have a few options.  The simplest is setting up a hose system to go on and off every morning to lightly water all of your trees.  A more complex setup could be hooking up a drip watering system into each tree from either your lawn sprinkler setup or another hose system.

My setup is rather simple.  I have a hose on an automatic timer that turns on for a half hour every morning during the growing season to gently spray my entire collection. 

If you’re using well drained soil, as you should be, over watering shouldn’t be a concern.

In the winter, you have to shut this setup down and water the old fashioned way…

If you have an indoor tree setup, lighting can be a problem as well.  To automate this, the simplest way is to get an indoor growing light setup on a timer.

This is a good example of one that would work just fine.

You can even set up an automatic drip watering system for your indoor bonsai collection.

You can winter your tropical bonsai indoors, and still enjoy a tropical vacation of your own.  100% possible with automation.

I’ve heard the saying that “organization will set you free” - I think automation will set you free is much more appropriate.  Since I’ve automated my setup, I just have to check for changes like pests, too little or too much water, weeds to prune, new growth to prune, etc. 

Then, I schedule my manual bonsai tasks in a calendar.  Add more fertilizer every few months, hard pruning once a season as needed, wire and repot once a year as needed, etc.  The rest of the time I’m free to enjoy my bonsai collection, and create as many new trees as I want knowing there won’t be too much “work” involved since I’ve automated it all.

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