You have to use a lot of specialized tiny tools in order to have your bonsai tree thrive. One of these tools is called drainage mesh. This is not to be confused with chicken wire, metal window screen mesh or plastic window mesh. The openings on these types of mesh are too big for a bonsai tree. Since drainage mesh is one of the least expensive tools you’ll need for your bonsai care, you might as well get the proper stuff.
Mesh made specifically for bonsai trees are sturdy enough to keep the soil from dropping out of the bottom of the pot, but flexible enough to keep the tree happy. Remember – over watering your bonsai tree is just as bad as under watering it. Sitting in pools of water invite sickness and root rot for your bonsai tree. Stagnant pools of water (even really tiny pools) can also invite breeding biting insects.
Bonsai tree roots are thirsty but not incredibly absorbent. They can quickly become saturated and cannot absorb any more water. The amount of water absorbency varies from species to species, but following a drainage plan is essential to keep your bonsai tree healthy. You would need to place the drainage mesh over any holes in the bonsai pot.
You might have to use wire to keep the mesh in place, but usually the weight of the potting soil will help keep it in place for you. Always check the bottom of your bonsai tree after repotting to see if the mesh has moved. Don’t use plastic coated wire, as the plastics have chemicals which may sicken your bonsai tree.
Repotting a Bonsai Tree
When you repot your bonsai tree, it is going to be a little unstable in its bigger home. To keep it from falling over, it is good to use wire threaded through the drainage mesh and out the drainage holes in order to keep the bonsai tree in position. When you repot, you need to gently clean as much soil as you can from the roots and prune them.
This usually takes up more time than preparing your bonsai’s new home. You will need at least six inches of copper wire or soft metal wire in one long piece. Poke one end through the drainage mesh and out of the drainage hole. Pour in pebbles and soil, making sure the wire is poking up. You will then poke the wire into the root ball of your bonsai to keep it in place. It’s easier to use pliers to twist the wire.