Safety of Rain water

Mortalis

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I am interested in using rain water for watering my trees. I currently have to buy water because of poor water quality here. Has anyone who uses rain water had any trouble with pollution in the water harming your trees? Do you use any sort of filtration or just use raw rain water?
 

davetree

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It depends on how you collect it. Some rain that is run-off from the roof can be less than pure, depending on what is on the roof and how recently it was applied.
 

Klytus

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It depends,water butts can use an emptying from time to time.

Iv'e lost cactus to diseases i felt sure came from the stored water.

My own tap water is absurdly hard so i keep a watering can in the kitchen and top it up with water that was boiled in the kettle,this i use if needs be.

I buy bottled water such as Isklar because it's lower in minerals than some others,i also put the indoor bonsai outdoors when i am home.

They get a mixture of waters really.
 

ginger

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Talking about water butts.... I have a butt load!
 

Bonsai Nut

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Your best bet is to gather some rain water via your preferred collection method and have it tested. You can actually mail water samples and get results via mail or email. If you live in Maine, you can even have it done for free:

http://www.watertestlab.com/index.html

There may be affordable options available near where you live. A quick check for Texas shows that you can get decent lab test results for $20 from Texas A&M:

http://soiltesting.tamu.edu/files/waterweb1.pdf

Most states offer some sort of water testing service for agricultural users. What's good for corn and wheat is probably good for our bonsai!
 

greerhw

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Your best bet is to gather some rain water via your preferred collection method and have it tested. You can actually mail water samples and get results via mail or email. If you live in Maine, you can even have it done for free:

http://www.watertestlab.com/index.html

There may be affordable options available near where you live. A quick check for Texas shows that you can get decent lab test results for $20 from Texas A&M:

http://soiltesting.tamu.edu/files/waterweb1.pdf

Most states offer some sort of water testing service for agricultural users. What's good for corn and wheat is probably good for our bonsai!

I'm a little perplexed as to why someone would be concerned about rain water, a 2" rain will do more for my lawn that a weeks watering with my city water and all it's chemicals.

keep it green,
Harry
 
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Roof shingles have chemicals in them that dampen the growth of alge. What ever it is could kill good stuff that is growing in your soils. If you are thinking about collecting roof run off, what kind of roof? Metal or tile wouldn't produce any chemicals. An older shingle roof would likely have leached out already.

I think the idea of collecting a sample and having it tested for chemicals would be an interesting excercise.

You also could purchase one of those charcoal filters that you see advertised on TV and run your rain water through that with a small pump and clean out any potental crap. Wouldn't take much of a pump, just enough to get the water through the filter. Move the water from one container to another, through the filter, wouldn't matter if it took 10 min or a day.
 

irene_b

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I prefer rainwater for my trees..
An hour of rain makes my trees pop as if I had added Miracle grow to them..
Irene
 

meushi

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I'm a little perplexed as to why someone would be concerned about rain water, a 2" rain will do more for my lawn that a weeks watering with my city water and all it's chemicals.

keep it green,
Harry
It depends of the rainwater pH in your area... around 5.5 is perfect for your plants, under 5 I'd avoid using the rainwater on any plant I value.

If my memory serves correctly, the water will mobilize aluminum from the soil component once the pH is under 5. The solution is quite toxic to most life forms, including trees. Depending on the amount of aluminum mobilized by the water, you'll slow the growth of the tree or kill it. If the pH goes under 4.5, it will also mobilize: lead, mercury, zinc, copper, cadmium, chromium, manganese and vanadium. That solution will severely inhibit life in your pot... no bacteria or fungi to digest the biogold so your tree can use it.

Roof shingles have chemicals in them that dampen the growth of alge. What ever it is could kill good stuff that is growing in your soils.
Usually it is copper, copper oxide or copper sulfide... the kind of stuff your tree will receive from overhead watering if wired with copper or when you treat it with common fungicides.
 

rockm

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RAINWATER WILL NOT HARM YOUR TREES. Read and re-read this until it soaks in:D

Also, I'd be very surprised if your tap water is harmful. If you're drinking it, your trees can too.

There is alot of hysteria about tapwater and its "harmful" effects heavy chemical content and more mysterious stuff. This is crap. Unless you live in a desert and get your water from a well, there is very very little cause for concern.

Bonsai are not sensitive precious little plants. They're trees. Trees are tough customers. Ficus are EXTREMELY tough adaptable customers...
 

greerhw

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RAINWATER WILL NOT HARM YOUR TREES. Read and re-read this until it soaks in:D

Also, I'd be very surprised if your tap water is harmful. If you're drinking it, your trees can too.

There is alot of hysteria about tapwater and its "harmful" effects heavy chemical content and more mysterious stuff. This is crap. Unless you live in a desert and get your water from a well, there is very very little cause for concern.

Bonsai are not sensitive precious little plants. They're trees. Trees are tough customers. Ficus are EXTREMELY tough adaptable customers...
They're are certain times of the year, the city will add some chemical that builds up and turns everything white, the rocks on my pond waterfall and the lower part of the trunks on my trees, it doesn't seem to hurt them or my koi, it's just doesn't look very good.

keep it green,
Harry
 

Bill S

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If you don't live directly down wind of a coal fired plant you will be fine with rain water, check the plants around you. The rain water will tend to be acidic but at the typical levels it will be what most of our trees like or can handle easily, probably better than what most of us use to water in acidity.

I believe as well you will get water that has more of the good ionization that tends to work with the goodies in the soil, not an expert here by any means, but I have seen examples in articles here and there.

Your trops should do fine with some acidic rain.
 

amkhalid

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My own tap water is absurdly hard so i keep a watering can in the kitchen and top it up with water that was boiled in the kettle,this i use if needs be.
... water is boiled to sterilize it, not to remove dissolved minerals. The minerals won't evaporate.

By boiling the water you will actually be concentrating the dissolved minerals as the volume reduces from steam loss, therefore increasing the 'hardness'.
 

Davevall

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Get a rain barrel and collect rain water. Your plants will be forever happy.
 

Bill S

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:DI get my rain water from the hose, we have a natural resivoir not too far away, sand filtered, then the city adds some chlorine now and then. It's all good, too many worry too much about this.
 

rsw

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what's in the barrel

Along with questions on what might come off the roof, don't forget to find what was in the barrel before considering it. Many are safe as they come from cooking/baking backgrounds but often they can be contaminated with harmful chemicals that can leach into the stored water.
rsw
 
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