Water testing and what to test for

I’m on a city water supply and I know we have hard water probably on the basic side . If I was to test my water what tests should be done and what lol and of numbers should I be looking for and why ? I know that is a big question but perhaps there’s info out there already and I’m just not seeing it.

I would contact the water supplier and ask them for a copy of their most recent test results. It is normally a fairly comprehensive analysis including pH, Mg, Ca, hardness, and other minerals.


I can do that but might it not vary and my house I believe the city has several wells so who knows what I get here. The part about what I should be looking for is of particular interest from a bonsai point of view.

The city should have record of tests done for each well.

Correcting the pH and allowing the chlorine to off gas for 24hrs will go a long way to changing your bonsai. That’s where I started and it makes a difference


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At a basic level it really comes down to two things… TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) and pH. For “clean” water you want low TDS, ideally 50 ppm or less and a pH of 6.5 (pH will vary depending on species).

You can buy these cheap instant meters on Amazon:
TDS Meter- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H578WWT/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
pH Meter- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01ENFOHN8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

To understand this better I suggest this video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A19l15GEJBI
Eric explains it pretty well in his blog - https://www.bonsaify.com/blogs/news-and-more/is-my-water-good-for-my-bonsai#

Without clean water, Apical nutrition does not have the same effect. I wouldn’t rely on city water reports that much since water sources can possibly change throughout the year. I would just invest in a couple meters and find out exactly what’s coming out of your tap.


Thanks for the info I’ll check it out.

Apical will do a water test for $85 if I remember correctly.
Just don’t get the rec to fix it because it will lead to a mess.
You could see if the advance test is available as it would include heavy metals etc.

I just installed a rain water catchment system and I will be sending out samples after a few flushes or uses to minimize bad readings due to the wine that was in the barrels.