A simple and tidy way to apply bonsai fertilizer? Tea bags.
I’ve seen a number of folks use tea bags to hold fertilizer, but I hadn’t tried the technique until this year. I typically pour mounds of cottonseed meal on the surface of the soil, but much of the fertilizer washes away, and the rest seems to seep into the soil and slow down drainage. Liquid fertilizer like fish emulsion is great – see “Bonsai Fertilizer” for details – but it requires following a schedule to make sure trees get enough food. Using tea bags keeps the fertilizer in place and is easy to clean up at the end of the season.
The technique is simple. Fill up a tea bag with your preferred fertilizer and pin it in place with a toothpick.
Tea bag with cottonseed meal (6-2-1)
All wrapped up
Tea bags can also help keep dango in place. I picked up a tin years ago, but don’t use it much as critters usually run off with the stuff the first night. I’m hoping the bags will curb this behavior.
Tin of dango
Two dango pellets
I sat around for an hour last weekend wrapping packets of dango and cottonseed meal. I threw them in a bucket and then walked around placing them on my trees.
Dango – ready to go
I used wooden toothpicks to hold the bags in place. Bamboo toothpicks are a great alternative as they don’t break down so fast.
Pinned in place
Pine with dango
I’m hoping the local critters don’t think of the bags as to-go containers. If they do, I don’t know what I’ll try next.
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