Well, summer is here, and the trees are feeling it. Michael and I have been busy putting up shade cloths to keep the trees cooler in the direct sun. The shade cloths reduce sun exposure by about 30 percent, keeping the trees much cooler, which is very important to trees this old. Watering becomes a bigger responsibility in the summer and depends on many factors.
In these summertime temperatures, I spot-check the trees five times a day to monitor their watering needs, taking into consideration factors such as the species, where the tree grows in nature, and the moisture it receives in its natural environment. For example, a white pine that grows in higher elevations would receive less water than, say, a maple, which naturally grows in lower elevations. Consideration of pot size is also crucial, such as how deep pots with a small surface area at the bottom of the pot will dry out faster than a shallower pot with a larger surface area. The amount of foliage on an individual tree can also affect the amount of water it uses – trees that have been de-candled or pruned tend to use less water.
I am acquiring so much horticultural knowledge working on bonsai at the museum. The closer I become with nature and the bonsai trees I attend to, the more I understand the workings of nature. This is what allows me to do bonsai. As my understanding develops, I find myself able to predict how trees will respond. In some ways, I feel that each day I fall farther down the rabbit hole as I learn more and more.