Overwatering, small needles and automated watering systems.

Clicio

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As read in Bonsai Tonight:

"*Over watering yields longer needles – less water yields shorter needles."

So one prepares her/his garden to a system that automatically waters the bonsai when needed.
The 50 or so Pines like dryish soil, but we don't want them do die, right? At the same time, we decandle, pinch, prune, under or overfeed them all year round to get some results, such as... small needles.
The balance between "dryish" and "dead" to get this result is subtle, I guess. It needs constant checking and adjusting.
So...
Is automation out of question?
 

BrianBay9

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Personally, I would not restrict water or reasonable fertilizer use in pursuit of small leaves or needles. The health of the tree is paramount. As you note, there are other techniques for reducing needle size.
 

ysrgrathe

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It depends on the type of pine. On multiple flush we use decandling to control needle size, not water. The timing of decandling determines needle size. On single flush this is not an option so controlling vigor (water, fertilizer) is all we can do.
 

bonsaichile

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It depends on the type of pine. On multiple flush we use decandling to control needle size, not water. The timing of decandling determines needle size. On single flush this is not an option so controlling vigor (water, fertilizer) is all we can do.
It depends on the type of pine. On multiple flush we use decandling to control needle size, not water. The timing of decandling determines needle size. On single flush this is not an option so controlling vigor (water, fertilizer) is all we can do.
I might be wrong, but for what I've heard (including Ryan Neil in one of the mirai videos), ramification would help reduce needle size. Of course you can control vigor, but "starving" a tree seems to be not only unnecessary, but a bit unethical. Bonsai is the manipulation and miniaturization of trees, but of healthy trees. That is why you have 400 or 500 year old trees in pots: Keep them happy and they might outlive their siblings in nature.

My 2 cents.
 

JudyB

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Fertilization timing is also a good method for controlling vigor. And you don't hold back on fertilization on developing trees, just ones that are in finishing stages.
 

bonsaichile

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Fertilization timing is also a good method for controlling vigor. And you don't hold back on fertilization on developing trees, just ones that are in finishing stages.
Thanks for the clarification, Judy!
 

sorce

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I watered and fertilized the fert out of my single flush Mugo last year and it kept shorter needles than ever before.

Appropriate Pruning.

I believe the proper global accepted truth is we don't ever deprive them of water anymore.

Sorce
 

M. Frary

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Fertilization timing is also a good method for controlling vigor. And you don't hold back on fertilization on developing trees, just ones that are in finishing stages.
I have Scots pines that are developing. Their needles are close to 3 inches long.
Others in refinement have needles under a half of an inch.
I lowered the amount of fertilizer in the spring until the needles harden off.
 

Thomas J.

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The needles on this JBP never get any bigger than what you see here and I sometimes have to water my trees 3times a day in the heat of the summer here in Texas.D3C_8880_pep.jpg
 

Clicio

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With a fast draining non organic substrate, you should be able to water as much as is needed for your climate without worries of overwatering.
Yes, this much is understood and applied.
The question here is :How to control automatically the watering system for many trees when their watering needs (even being in fast draining soil) is different among them?
 

Potawatomi13

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As read in Bonsai Tonight:

"*Over watering yields longer needles – less water yields shorter needles."

So one prepares her/his garden to a system that automatically waters the bonsai when needed.
The 50 or so Pines like dryish soil, but we don't want them do die, right? At the same time, we decandle, pinch, prune, under or overfeed them all year round to get some results, such as... small needles.
The balance between "dryish" and "dead" to get this result is subtle, I guess. It needs constant checking and adjusting.
So...
Is automation out of question?
Only if you wish to assure trees do not die. Only one failure will be huge lesson:eek:!
 

fourteener

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Over/under watering is a matter of degree not drowning or starving. A few experiences with Andy Smith and him checking his pots for water needs was a bit shocking with how little evidence of water he was looking for when the topsoil was moved. A couple of my largest potted Ponderosa I barely watered the last two summers except for my fertilizer. Otherwise the rain was almost enough. I probably get 10 times the rain here as out west.

I tend to overwater, learn what your trees need and not what you need to feel safe!!
 

JudyB

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Yes, this much is understood and applied.
The question here is :How to control automatically the watering system for many trees when their watering needs (even being in fast draining soil) is different among them?
I have an auto watering system. I have timers that have two different outputs, and I have two of those. I use all 4 of these settings divided up into zones and have the trees sited in sections dependent on sun and water needs. It is pretty much always better to water too much than too little if you are in doubt.
 

jeanluc83

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The real question should be; are short needles appropriate for the trees level of development? Unless you are planning on showing a tree reedle length should be a far second to overall health.

An overwatered tree might have long needles but is strong. An under watered tree is at best weak and at worst dead.
 

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