Vacation watering

crab apple

Yamadori
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I'm going away just for 5 days in the beginning of May, not very hot around here at that time, basically in a couple of weeks. I got the GF up to speed on watering but it wouldn't surprise me if she misses a day or doesn't water anything till she comes home from work in the evening. I think everything can handle that except maybe the few things ( two JBPs) I have in pond baskets and one Chinese elm in a colander. They the only things I have right now that could dry out really quick. I set up this little deal where they could sit in water, only about an 1 1/2 inches on the bottom is in water. Could this harm the two JBPs and elm in just 5 days, It would give me piece of mind to know they're not drying out. I have them in it now for a test run but wasn't going to leave them in there for now.
 

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PA_Penjing

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JBP is probably not ideal but I wouldn't know from experience. The elm won't mind it at all though. That's what I do with mine when I go away. Your technique is perfect. That species of elm doesn't mind flooded roots for a short period of time, I just try to keep the water level low
 

PA_Penjing

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Also remember it could rain the entire time your away (no matter what the weather channel says) so you want to make sure the trees can't get too submerged. A small amount of water across the bottom of the pot will be wicked up to the top by the soil. Looks like you've thought that through based on the pictures.

One last note, I do this the final minute before I leave so the trees aren't flooded any longer than they need to be. You also have the convenience of calling your girl and asking her to pluck the trees out of the water 12/18 hours before you get back.
 

Dav4

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I'm going away just for 5 days in the beginning of May, not very hot around here at that time, basically in a couple of weeks. I got the GF up to speed on watering but it wouldn't surprise me if she misses a day or doesn't water anything till she comes home from work in the evening. I think everything can handle that except maybe the few things ( two JBPs) I have in pond baskets and one Chinese elm in a colander. They the only things I have right now that could dry out really quick. I set up this little deal where they could sit in water, only about an 1 1/2 inches on the bottom is in water. Could this harm the two JBPs and elm in just 5 days, It would give me piece of mind to know they're not drying out. I have them in it now for a test run but wasn't going to leave them in there for now.
How about wrapping the sides of the pond baskets with cling wrap then setting them in the shade while you're gone?
 

Colorado

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How about wrapping the sides of the pond baskets with cling wrap then setting them in the shade while you're gone?

I was going to say I’d just put them in the shade and then the girlfriend watering should be sufficient even if not until the evenings.
 

crab apple

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How about wrapping the sides of the pond baskets with cling wrap then setting them in the shade while you're gone?
I could try that. Would I still instruct the GF to water everyday, I'm guessing yes as the bottom of the pond basket would still be open.
 

Joe Dupre'

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I've talked to people about "watering every day" and they say they understand, but they really don't. "Well, if there's a five minute shower or it's cloudy or , or, or....... I really don't need to water every day." My advice: Fix up some kind of system and get someone to check on it every couple days. They MIGHT be able to handle that. A 90 year old founding member of our bonsai club had this opinion. If you have a twin brother that has been doing bonsai with you for 50 years, you can maybe trust him to water correctly. If not, make other arrangements.
 

crab apple

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I appreciate everyone replies, really everything I have is pre bonsai so no super shallow pots. A lot of stuff does have inorganic soil but almost all of that even has some pine bark in it. I think I'll put the sensitive stuff in the shade, the wet loving stuff in a really shallow container with water, my bigger stuff like bald cypress are not even being drained and I used a lot of potting soil in the beginning, I'm wishing some stuff wasn't in the potting soil but its gonna help me get through this vacation and next spring everything (except BC and recovering collected stuff) is going into bonsai soil. If my time away was latter in the summer i could easily build a drip or mist system for everything but the temps are really pretty agreeable for now.
 
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Seriously, though, get a timed drip-irrigation system and set it up a few days ahead of time to make sure it works okay and you'll be fine. Whatever your GF does could be considered "extra attention" for the trees. The systems are pretty inexpensive. If you need it, I can drop in a link to one that I've used for a couple years with no problems.
 

TN_Jim

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I'm going away just for 5 days in the beginning of May, not very hot around here at that time, basically in a couple of weeks. I got the GF up to speed on watering but it wouldn't surprise me if she misses a day or doesn't water anything till she comes home from work in the evening. I think everything can handle that except maybe the few things ( two JBPs) I have in pond baskets and one Chinese elm in a colander. They the only things I have right now that could dry out really quick. I set up this little deal where they could sit in water, only about an 1 1/2 inches on the bottom is in water. Could this harm the two JBPs and elm in just 5 days, It would give me piece of mind to know they're not drying out. I have them in it now for a test run but wasn't going to leave them in there for now.
when you get back, break up with her
 

crab apple

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Seriously, though, get a timed drip-irrigation system and set it up a few days ahead of time to make sure it works okay and you'll be fine. Whatever your GF does could be considered "extra attention" for the trees. The systems are pretty inexpensive. If you need it, I can drop in a link to one that I've used for a couple years with no problems.
Thanks for the offer, I have recently worked with some of that stuff. I made a mister for my collected bald cypress and during the process I could see how easy it would be to put together a drip system with a timer, I haven't ruled this out, I'm just not gone very often, we'll see.
 

Shogun610

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If she can water correctly when you return then propose to her. If not dump her ass and find a bonsai babe ;).. jk honestly depending on how much you value your collection might just be better to get a local bonsai buddy to check every 2 days or something depending on weather. Or invest in a automaton drip timing system to handle these situations.
 

Paradox

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I once went away for a few days and set up a regular lawn sprinkler and a battery powered timer. The trees stayed on that system for a week after I got back and they really seemed to love being watered in the morning and I didnt have to worry about it as long as the batteries were fresh (I typically get a year out of a pair of fresh batteries and put new ones in each spring). Its cheap and simple to set up and the trees get watered at the best time if the day IMO.
 

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