The microchip is just over 11mm long and 2mm wide. It is encapsulated in bioglas, a product created for treating injuries during the Vietnam war. (Don't ask)!

I am told, by those that know about these things, that bonsai can be highly prized and consequently can be in danger of being stolen.  As it happens, the one above is my own little tree and is of no intrinsic value. However, I would not want to lose it and it now been invisibly microchipped - given it's own indisputable identification in case of loss.

The ID number has been entered on a national database so if the tree is, for example, being taken out of an exhibition or from a retailer's sales area - or is seen in the back of a car, I would be able to say, and prove, this is my bonsai!  No messing about trying to find photographs or a friend that knows the tree intimately - if there is someone! 

If your trees had been taken from your garden then you inform the national database online. The database we use is connected directly to the police national computer so as soon as you report on the database that the trees have been stolen the information is available to any police officer who happens to find a number of trees in the back of a van, or in a wheelbarrow even!

The basic concept is that the tree owner implants a microchip in the pot or, for a much more permanent solution suggested on the Bonsai Forum - one could "...drill a 3mm hole right in the base of the tree underneath where the taproot would have been and insert it here. Then plug it with bonsai paste."

One should bear in mind that a normal hand-help microchip scanner will only read to 5 - 8cm distance and even if you had a very expensive scanner the read distance will only increase to about 15 cms. Where ever you put the chip it needs to be somewhere that you can get a scanner close to!

The chips will not be affected by being placed in soil or being outdoors in hot or cold weather. The working temperatures are approx -4F to +168F.

PLEASE NOTE: Microchips used for this type of ID purpose are NOT a tracker system though some companies use names that suggest they are!

(Left) Scanning the pot for a chip reading.

 


PetScan microchip reader and a chip

What You Need!

Basically, just a chip and the registration details + of course, if possible, a reader. Though a reader is not absolutely necessary (the chips are all tested and ensured working when we post them out) it is much better if you can satisfy yourself that the chip is working before and after you place it in or under your tree!

You will also need any specialist tools necessary for the type of chip placement you are making i.e. any drills and Bonsai paste etc for that permanent job.

With the chip you will receive some bar code labels showing the unique chip number and that 15 digit number is what you register on the database. Registration is done online and if you sell the tree at a later date you simply remove the details from your Immobilise Property Account. You caqn also add photographs onto your Immobilise account. If you have a number of trees you may wish to use the bar code labels to create your own register of your trees and their ID numbers.   Registration is free and for the life of the tree!.  

The chip is 'injected' into the root system. Remember to ensure that it remains in a position accessible to a scanner.

 

My Chips4Fish implant gun quickly became a bonsai chip implant tool.

What You Do!

A microchip can easily be secreted in the soil or, when re-potting, in amongst the roots. The chip is sort of soil coloured anyway so it does not stand out and would not be obvious and easy to spot. When you re-pot the tree simply recover the chip and put it into the new pot, perhaps placing it in amongst the root system to increase security or, at re-potting, it is a perfect time to do the permanent job and drill and fill the chip into the base of the tree.

I have adapted a used fish implant needle on my implanter gun so that I can implant a chip well into the root system with little or no disturbance to the tree itself. However, that's because I happen to have one and they are not necessary, just convenient.

After implanting your chip go to  www.Immobilise.com and open a account, it's completely free! Open an account and register your property i.e. your microchipped trees, your laptop, your camera etc. Adding a visual code to the property item is easy and helps the police (who may not have a scanner in the car). See below under Visual Marking .......

If you get burgled or your garden suffers bonsai theft go online and highlight the property stolen.  This then comes up on the police national computer if an officer finds some property 'in the back of a van'  and does a theft check on it.

Visual Marking

It is sensible to also add a visual code onto the pots, e.g. the last four numbers of the microchip and your own initials perhaps scratched onto the underside of the pot. Not all police forces have scanners in their cars and a visual code, also entered on the Immobilise registration, will enable police to ID the property from their cars if necessary without the need for a scanner. 

"So why microchip it then?"  I hear you ask! Good point. The microchip is the hidden ID that is still there if a thief takes the tree out of and dumps, the pot.  And it is still there, giving the tree it's ID, if the thief has time to deface the code and make it illegible.