Caring for Bonsai in Extreme Heat

It's certainly been a very hot summer so far here in the UK. As I film today it is the 14th of July and we've had scorching temperatures of around 36 degrees in England. By Sunday, the temperature is forecast to be 40 degrees and higher in some parts of the country.
bonsai nursery
As having never really experienced this type of heat here in the UK before, I thought it would be a good opportunity to show you how to care for your bonsai in such temperatures.

At Herons, we are always experimenting with our bonsais. Experimenting helps us to constantly improve our bonsai care. It was during one of our experiments we discovered the following tricks...

The first thing we like to do to protect our bonsais is to place them on the ground under large, full size maples. This shading helps to protect their leaves and keeping them close to the ground helps to keep them cooler. You will notice our large maples are not burnt at all. This is because they get plenty of moisture from the soil.
bonsai in shade
You will see I have removed many of my bonsais from the outdoor benches as it was proving too difficult to keep them hydrated in this hot weather. It is also through experimenting that we have found the trees greatly benefit from being on the ground in these hot temperatures.
3bonsai under maple tree
For example, here I have someone's private bonsai collection of around 50 trees. I have found that even though these trees are on the floor, being on the patio is not sufficient, so we are going to move them to the turf. We discovered the trees were able to take moisture from the ground.
bonsai collection.
bonsai on turf
This is an Acai Zuru maple which is a species very sensitive to sun. You will see here we have it on the ground and in the shade.
maple bonsai
So, if you live in a hot climate or you know there will be a few weeks of hot weather coming up, try placing your outdoor bonsais on turf such as this to help combat moisture problems and keep them hydrated.
placing bonsai on grass
bonsai collection on turf
Around the nursery you will also notice we are hiding some of our maples under the benches they usually sit on. This helps to provide some shade to prevent scorching.
shaded maple bonsais
shaded bonsai trees
Here we have some luckier trees which are currently habituating under shade netting. These trees have been doing quite well in the heat. Shade netting is an ideal solution in hot temperatures, but unfortunately it is not something most large nurseries are able to provide to all of their trees. Especially here in the UK where such high temperatures are not the norm.
bonsais under shade tent
shaded bonsais
In conclusion, the three best methods of protection in hot weather are shade, ground contact and watering. Try to protect your bonsai from the sunlight as well as the hot temperatures and they should survive scorching temperatures. However, If you have noticed your leaves are burnt, try not to worry as you can rescue the tree by defoliating the leaves. I show you how here.