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White deposits on pots

Q: I have noticed that on many of my brown (unglazed) pots and also on other colours, a white deposit cakes hard on the edges. Can you tell me how to avoid this, or if there is a substance with which to clean it?

A: The white deposit on your pots can be caused by either a chemical in the clay coming to the surface or by chemicals in our water or by fertilisers. It is possible to establish exactly what it is and possibly to provide another chemical to dissolve it, but in all probability the cleaner would kill your tree, so you have to resort to mechanical methods. On glazed pots a razor blade or scalpel can be used to scrape the deposit off, while on unglazed pots fine abrasive paper (glass or sandpaper) will easily remove the ugly marks..

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Haiku

Sunlight dripping from tree

Slides off the periwinkle

And splashes on ground

Random Bonsai Tip

When a tree has reversed taper or a narrowed 'waistline' above the nebari, you could do an airlayering just above the narrow section; or you could damage the cambium layer by either hammering gently with a mallet or by piercing the bark right into the cambium with a sharp object eg. scissors or an awl. You could also make deep incisions along the grain of the bark, where the healing process will cause scarring which would then thicken the trunk.