Bonsai and Hard Water

For the first time ever I have noticed a very serious build up of what I assume to be lime scale deposits on the nebari of quite a few of my trees. Even though I did neglect my trees for quite a few years I did water them from time to time and I usually did this from a rain water-butt that I installed some years ago. This year, however, I have resorted to tap water mainly because of the free draining mix I now use for all my trees. This means I am watering more often and it’s just not practical to be running around the garden with a 2 gallon watering can.

The build up of lime scale is not a problem we have ever suffered from and we have never had an issue with our domestic appliances. Nevertheless we have noticed a change in our water supply. I usually take a pint of fresh water to bed at night (my kidneys and bladder are still quite good) and I have noticed that any that I don’t use can start to smell off by the advent of morning. Maybe it’s unrelated.

The pics above show that this problem mars the image of the tree but in addition it must be an issue for lime hating specimens and those that like to grow in a soil with a neutral PH.

I have done a bit of quick research and have come up with this article on bonsai4me which suggests the use of a solution ordinary household vinegar and water to address this problem It looks as if I need to try it out as the build up is becoming very unsightly. Can anyone else suggest a remedy.

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2 Responses to Bonsai and Hard Water

  1. Ben Bovis says:

    Hi Michael! I just moved house and have noticed that there’s been a build up of limescale on some of my trees since using the tap water at this new address. Trying to use cooled boiled water now and also collecting and filtering rainwater. I read you can remove it with a toothbrush but I would be concerned about staining/damaging fragile bark. Any ideas for removal?
    Ben B


    • Ben, I don’t know of any other way and understand your concerns about fragile bark. I had thought of trying a much softer brush to see if the acetic acid would do the trick without a lot of rubbing.


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