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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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Random Bonsai Tip

Salvaging wire - Off-cuts of heavy electric cable (three centimeters diameter) as used by the Electricity department will keep you in copper and galvanized wire for a few years. Galvanized wire can be used for stay wiring and also tying down trees and pots against the wind.