Caring for your Outdoor Bonsai.
This group of bonsai trees we categorize as 'outdoor bonsai' are temperate climate trees.These grow in Ireland, and northern Europe, so they more familiar to us than the tropical or sub-tropical varieties.They should be kept outdoors,their normal habitat, for most of the year as they need to experience the fluctuation in temperature throughout the seasons..
Outdoors in an sheltered area, patios, small yards or gardens is ideal. Some, like the evergreen varieties are suitable for balconies once they are protected from too strong winds. Certain species need some frost protection in winter. Check below in the' notes on popular varieties' section.Can be brought indoors for short periods especially in Summer, but abrupt changes from heat to cold can damage your bonsai.
Use rain water when possible, soaking your tree with a fine hose until you see water coming out of the drainage holes. Bonsai trees may need watering daily in summer .Even in wet, winter weather your tree may need to be watered, as cold winds can cause drying out,.
But never let your tree dry out completely.
The size, shape and health of your bonsai tree is created and maintained by regular pruning. Allow broad leafed trees to develop 3 to 4 sets of new leaves before pruning back to the first set of leaves at the top of the tree, and second or third at the sides. Remove any new shoots growing at the base of the trunk, cutting across the trunk, or in positions that take away from the appearance of the tree. Thin out regularly. This should be done between May and September. Pines and Junipers need different pruning. See below.
Repotting Your Bonsai
Re-pot your bonsai as soon as the roots fill the pot. This can be yearly for trees up to 10 years of age, or every two to three years, as the tree gets older. The ideal time is in early spring just as the leaves begin to emerge for broad leafed trees, and April for pines ans junipers. Roots must be trimmed back by roughly a quarter, and fresh bonsai compost must be used. Use a free draining compost specifically designed for outdoor bonsai. Do not re pot outdoor trees during late spring or Summer.
You can change the shape of your tree by wiring. Special aluminium wire is wrapped around the trunk or branch of the tree and used as a brace so the position of the trunk, or branch can be adjust. The wire is removed several months later. This requires some skill, so proceed with caution.
Pests and Diseases.
As with all plants, bonsai can be susceptible to pests and diseases. At the first sign of these, spray your bonsai with a standard insecticide or fungicide, suitable for indoor plants. Follow the advice recommended for this product.
Feed your outdoor bonsai March and April, once per week. Then once every two weeks until the end of September,do not feed while growth is dormant.Use a fertiliser specifically for outdoor bonsai trees.