One of the reasons i have skipped de-candling this year was to regain some health to my trees pending a shift in water quality.

Since moving regionally i had seen some health issues creep into my trees with them slowly losing form over a 5 or 6 year period. Colour was on the yellow side and some leaves were showing fungal infection and nutrient deficiencies.

I had tried everything from fungicides to trace mineral / elements with nothing making a dramatic difference. As a last ditch effort i decided to check my water pH.

Where we had moved from in Melbourne had a pH of 6.5-7 which is near perfect for growing most things so i guess water as a cause hadn’t been high on the radar.

Turns out i had been treating the symptoms without finding the source.

It turns out where i am living now has quite a high pH in the town water with it sitting somewhere around a pH of 8.0. Given that the uptake of nutrients can start to be inhibited above pH’s of 7.5 i figure that this explains my symptoms well. It also explains a slow decline in my trees health as nutrient deficiencies started to appear, health weakened and made my trees more susceptible to fungal infection and other issues.

Post pH check i looked up our local water provider and they say we have a Min /Max range of 7.5-8.5pH in the town water supply.

Alarming when you realise that nutrient uptake begins to be effected from 7.5pH and up.

To remidy the situation, last winter i installed a small water tank to catch roof run off. Luckily this year has been quite wet and the tank has just lasted through the’summer’. It is likely i will need to expand my storage again this winter.

Since switching to better water i have seen a big turn around in plant health. Pines are again lush dark green, fungal issues has mostly disappeared, trees on the brink have bounced back. I probably in hindsight should have checked the water pH the day i moved in.

So i suppose that the moral of the story is that when you encounter issues with tree health look to rule out some of the basic influences before going down a targeted treatment regime.

For the price of a pH test kit i would recommend everyone checking their water from time to time, you never know; it could lead to healthier, stronger bonsai!