Did you notice your Bonsai has a squishy trunk? This isn’t normal, and before you panic, this post will explain everything to you about a squishy Bonsai tree trunk.
A squishy tree trunk means the tissue under the bark has died, which happens due to chronic overwatering. As a result, the tree suffers from root rot. So, if you notice a soft trunk and you’re worried about root rot, it’s time to act.
How to Determine if Your Bonsai Has Root Rot
If your Bonsai’s trunk is soft, it’s easy to determine if your tree has root rot. First, examine the roots of your Bonsai. You’re looking for rotten roots. If you see dead or slimy roots, your Bonsai has most likely developed root rot.
Next, very gently remove the soil and inspect the roots. Rotting roots are usually a dark colour, while healthy roots are firm, white and healthy looking. If you see that the roots are soft or cottony, your Bonsai has developed root rot.
How to Treat Root Rot and Save Your Bonsai
Here is how you treat root rot:
1) Drain the water from your bonsai tree’s tray. Root rot is caused by overwatering, so you want to remove the excess water in your Bonsai’s tray. This is a good idea regardless because overwatered Bonsai trees are more susceptible to root rot.
2) Add drainage rock to the bottom of your trays, and then place your tree back in the tray. The drainage rock will help prevent an overwatering problem.
3) Add a portion of soluble plant food to the soil and then water your Bonsai.
4) Water your Bonsai only when the soil is dry. This will be less often than you’re used to. But, it will help your Bonsai recover.
5) After you water your Bonsai, make sure you leave the water in the tray for five minutes. This will help the water penetrate deep into the soil.
How to Know if You're Overwatering Your Bonsai
You may be overwatering your Bonsai if:
● the soil is always moist
● the leaves of your Bonsai are limp
● the leaves are yellow
● the plant is growing slowly
● the plant is dropping leaves
● the leaves are browning or falling off
● the soil is easily compacted
● the stems are thin
● the tree trunk is soft or spongy looking
Bonsai trees are usually prone to overwatering, because many are grown indoors where we tend to overwater. Overwatering is a problem that’s easy to prevent. If you tend to overwater, either use a different pot or monitor the water level more closely.
When you care for a Bonsai, it’s important to keep the soil wet, but you can’t overwater it, or the tree will die. Overwatering is especially easy to do when watering your Bonsai. It’s hard to know exactly how much water to add. Watering a Bonsai tree is much different than watering a plant in a container or the ground.
If you’re watering your Bonsai correctly, it’s unlikely that you’ll run into a problem with root rot.
But, it’s important to know how to treat it when it does appear.
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