pH level in bonsai .....

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  Guest on Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:53 am

drgonzo wrote:Please forgive me Jun, I misunderstood your meaning. I agree with you completely! The understanding of pH and it's role in plant nutrition is a necessary pre-requisite for keeping healthy bonsai.

-Jay




...Sometimes if you tried to start discussion on pH or acidity or basicity in bonsai...it sounds too complicated and scientific for most "Artists".---you know, art and science rarely mingled with each other. So if we wanted to start with a discussion we started with what is commonly known, such as acidity (which is basically pH) or simply bad soil.
...then what causes it and it's bad effect on the tree. and more regular non scientists people will lessen and learn more...I think.


PS. plant roots itself may produce their own "acid" that may affect reading in soil pH It may worried those people who are too concern with pH reading without knowing that trees were producing sometimes more than the supposed acidity below or under their requirement (like what is stated in Iris post). the reason for this is that the tree is trying to breakdown nutrients and irons around the roots for it to digest. plus some other factors that is not within a person's concern like acid rain may contribute as well, again it will worry some people...but proper drainage is always the key, again one of the basics in keeping bonsai.

Some trees planted on rocks, may also read an excess acidity reading, due to the rock it is planted on, but the tree will thrive very well.

regards,
jun Smile





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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  drgonzo on Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:26 am

jun wrote: plus some other factors that is not within a person's concern like acid rain may contribute as well, again it will worry some people...but proper drainage is always the key, again one of the basics in keeping bonsai.

The primary pH change we see in bonsai soil comes not from the pH of the irrigation water itself, but rather the buffering ability of whatever is dissolved IN the water. Improving drainage unfortunately has little effect on certain dissolved solids in the water as they have a high affinity to accumulate directly on the soil particles. As such they're pH buffering capacity is permanent.

Amonium (acidifying) and Nitrates (Basifying) from our chemical fertilizers and calcium carbonate from hard water will actually build up and bind to the soil particle surfaces and change the soils reactive pH effect on our irrigation water and especially, and most importantly with regards proper feeding of the trees, when that irigation water contains our fertilizer.

In the case of hard water (dissolved calcium and magnesium) these metals cannot be simply flushed out or removed through improved drainage. The pH change they induce in soils where they have been accumulated via watering is permanent and can be a huge problem.
They must be chemically removed with the application of a mild acid.

-Jay


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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  Guest on Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:57 am

drgonzo wrote: The pH change they induce in soils where they have been accumulated via watering is permanent and can be a huge problem.They must be chemically removed with the application of a mild acid.

-Jay


more reasons why I love my substrate, zeolite...it is known to be able to buffer (not really the scientific correct term) some of these in that way (zeolite especially has proven to buffer ammonium like this) and pose no problem ;-). its not a cure for everything and every chemical offcourse but since i use it, i've seen some obvious changes in how some of my bonsai are thriving now.

there is lots to find about that vulcanic mineral called zeolite (natural sourced zeolite), but please if you check, look for clinoptilolite thats the one (of many) natural zeolite i use

cheers ;-)

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  JimLewis on Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:37 pm

I do enjoy poking pins in sacred balloons, whether they be pH, Superthrive and Vitamin B or other magic elixirs, the need for michorizza in pots, or whatever. Sorry if you take that as a personal affront. Unlike some, I at least name no names.

And, I'm 75. I think sarcasm is built into my bones by now. I'm unlikely to change. Grin about it (as intended) or be thin skinned and get . . . yes, pissy.

But I'm done. You can be happy again.

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  Guest on Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:52 pm

JimLewis wrote:I do enjoy poking pins in sacred balloons, whether they be pH, Superthrive and Vitamin B or other magic elixirs, the need for michorizza in pots, or whatever. Sorry if you take that as a personal affront. Unlike some, I at least name no names.

And, I'm 75. I think sarcasm is built into my bones by now. I'm unlikely to change. Grin about it (as intended) or be thin skinned and get . . . yes, pissy.

But I'm done. You can be happy again.

respect the elderly ;-)... but have you all seen the movie Grumpy old men? everyone hated those old men, and in the end all is forgiven. they have hearts too, dont forget they lived a life allready, i'm quite sure i'll do and say whatever i want, when i'm 75, its starting allready at half this age.

all is well, words dont harm me, even if they come from a grumpy... Very Happy

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  drgonzo on Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:49 pm

yves71277 wrote:
more reasons why I love my substrate, zeolite...

I've had another very experienced hydroponic grower also sing the praises of zeolite in their soil mix. So far I can only find it in aquarium shops and its pricey...

-Jay

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  Guest on Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:20 pm

drgonzo wrote:
yves71277 wrote:
more reasons why I love my substrate, zeolite...

I've had another very experienced hydroponic grower also sing the praises of zeolite in their soil mix. So far I can only find it in aquarium shops and its pricey...

-Jay

well, I can get the pure 95% clinoptilolite very easily here, where a wholesaler markets it as catlitter etc. But is has much more applications than that, even in car industry (catalysator), but many more even.

And its not expensive, i get it in bags of 25 kg at 12,5 EUR. that is way cheeper than akadama, and i fill more pots with it

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  drgonzo on Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:30 pm

JimLewis wrote:Sorry if you take that as a personal affront. Unlike some, I at least name no names.

Mr. Lewis,

If you put words in my mouth, or imply by hyperbole, statements that I never made as you did in your response to Chris and me that we are "insisting other's do as we do" I believe that is rude. I would not do such to you.

You will find that I will not stand for being treated disrespectfully either on a internet forum or in my life in general.

-Jay


Last edited by drgonzo on Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:34 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  Mitch Thomas on Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:32 pm

Hi everyone!
I have been away from the forum for a while only to come to this thread! Wow I can't believe how some ugly heads have popped up! All I can figure is its got to be heat related! Hehe

I think a unofficial time out is required. Kool off a bit and let calmer thoughts prevail.

I don't remember when but it was a only a few months ago when I took a major beating here on this forum much about this same topic! Both then and now I still believe that different peoples collections and micro environment have a huge role in the importance of their bonsai's survival. I still believe that the PH in our individual water supplies is ultimately the culprit in many bonsai demise. Unless I missed it I have seen anyone mentioned alkalinity. These two parameters go hand in hand. A rise or fall in one has the opposite effect on the other! IMHO alkalinity directly effects the plants ability to take in water and nutrients. I don't now all the formulas and # ranges involved, but I know how to find them ( google ) lol.

If any has any doubt go and ask anyone is successful in raising Orchids and they will set you straight! Or go to your local nursery and ask them about the importance of each and ask them what they do for each.

I am glad to see how people are now aware of this issue, where were you guys when I was bring mobbed on my thread? Any way peace to all !

Here is the post I mentioned above search it "Mass tree death" I don't know how to link it. Sorry
Mitch


Last edited by Mitch Thomas on Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:09 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added name of thread on "Mass Tree Death")

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  drgonzo on Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:38 pm

Mitch Thomas wrote:Unless I missed it I have seen anyone mentioned alkalinity.

I believe I mentioned this twice in different postings on page 2 as it was irrigation water alkalinity that was the cause of my pH related nutrient deficiencies.

Mitch Thomas wrote:I am glad to see how people are now aware of this issue, where were you guys when I was bring mobbed on my thread?

Hopefully we will be allowed to continue this discussion on this thread for anyone else who may find the subject interesting.

-Jay

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  Mitch Thomas on Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:58 pm

Thanks Jay!

Mitch

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  drgonzo on Fri Aug 03, 2012 5:25 pm

Mitch,

Indeed entire texts have been devoted to the subject of pH and container growing plants one such example is

http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Ph-Management-Container-Grown-Crops/dp/9990920141

Type in "soil pH and container growing" in a google search and look at the number of articles that are posted from universities and research facilities.

In light of just these few examples alone it seems to border on the absurd to suggest this issue is unimportant with relation to bonsai horticulture. I'm sorry I wasn't there to help you on your previous thread. So far I believe my old Help with Beech leaves thread is one of the best resources on IBC regarding pH and bonsai. Paul (63pmp) was very helpful and knowledgable.

Best
-Jay






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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  Hans van Meer. on Fri Aug 03, 2012 5:38 pm



You will find that I will not stand for being treated disrespectfully either on a internet forum or in my life in general.

-Jay

Good for you!
Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  marcus watts on Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:40 pm

JimLewis wrote:I do enjoy poking pins in sacred balloons, whether they be pH, Superthrive and Vitamin B or other magic elixirs, the need for michorizza in pots, or whatever. Sorry if you take that as a personal affront. Unlike some, I at least name no names.

And, I'm 75. I think sarcasm is built into my bones by now. I'm unlikely to change. Grin about it (as intended) or be thin skinned and get . . . yes, pissy.

But I'm done. You can be happy again.

iam actually enjoying and laughing at this bit having re-read the whole thread, and at 75 both jay, jun and i will be just like jim, because all bonsai pots will have real-time sensors connected to computers in them and the whizz kids will be talking about which microsoft software package gives best growth results............while we three will still sense and observe what is working.............................

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  marcus watts on Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:09 pm

one thing i wonder Jun, as you are totally right with what you say from your own observation and experiences - do you grow a collection of native bonsai? i know our native trees are generally really easy to keep and the problems and challenges come from trying to keep a bonsai collection of species that are native from one side of the world to the other.

within 30 meters of bench i try to keep trees native to northern Uk, northern japan, southern coastal japan, china, southern europe, the highest european mountains etc etc. This challenge is the beauty of the hobby but will lead to individual trees needing special conditions, watering and care.......maybe its a western thing of cherry picking the desirable bonsai species to build a varied collection, even though it makes life harder ??

cheers marcus

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  Mitch Thomas on Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:00 pm

Marcus
I'm waiting for the smart-phone APP hehehe.

Mitch

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  marcus watts on Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:11 pm

Mitch Thomas wrote:Marcus
I'm waiting for the smart-phone APP hehehe.Mitch

haha, cool - text alerts saying feed the juniper 001 1% solution supergrow mix 2 - press send to deliver correct feed quantity..............................then - press send to alert chosen professional to come and prune same tree..........ah no,that bit happens already Twisted Evil Evil or Very Mad Twisted Evil

what does the future hold????????????




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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  coh on Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:24 pm

marcus watts wrote:

haha, cool - text alerts saying feed the juniper 001 1% solution supergrow mix 2 -
Don't you mean superthrive? Maybe in the future we find out that it really is the magic elixir...

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  drgonzo on Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:56 am

marcus watts wrote: This challenge is the beauty of the hobby but will lead to individual trees needing special conditions,

you know Marcus I remarked a few days ago to my wife that for me, the stylistic and artistic aspect of the hobby is not nearly so difficult as mastering the horticultural aspects, at least to my own satisfaction. I keep nearly 60 different species and I find fulfilling their needs properly to be the greatest and thus most rewarding (and frustrating) part of the hobby.

-Jay

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  John Quinn on Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:20 am

For those of you who do believe that measuring pH and treating results is important, what devices do you use? Do you perform calibration with solutions of known pH? The inexpensive pH meters I see for sale have no capability for calibration. I would tend to question accuracy for most of these devices. It would be interesting to submit soil samples to an accredited lab, such as a local university or county extension office, and also test similar samples at home to check the accuracy and reproducibility of home pH meters.

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  coh on Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:25 am

At this point I don't have a pH meter. But I do have a variety of test strips (including some pretty expensive lab quality ones) and indicator solutions. I've found that the various methods can yield substantially different readings. I sent off a water sample for professional analysis, and tested it with my "equipment" before sending it. Results were all over the place (i.e. from around 5.5 to 8 ). Also had the sample tested by the local hydro shop, and their number didn't match the professional lab.

So I don't know what to believe, but would be interested in hearing about others' experiences.

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  drgonzo on Sat Aug 04, 2012 2:55 am

John Quinn wrote:For those of you who do believe that measuring pH and treating results is important, what devices do you use? Do you perform calibration with solutions of known pH? The inexpensive pH meters I see for sale have no capability for calibration.

Good quality pH meters come with, or need to have made up, buffered solutions for calibrating. These were the kind we used back in college but they are pricey. They have glass probes and I remember one of the first labs we had in organic chem was making up the buffer calibration solutions. Calibrating is only necessary if you need to measure pH VERY accurately and for that type of work you would need more specialized meters..for testing soil and simple solutions for our needs with Bonsai that degree of accuracy is not really needed.

One thing you can do to get a rough idea of accuracy is use a test solution of a known pH, white vinegar for example. We used to use white vinegar in bio lab for establishing baseline pH readings with our meters, because everyones meter would read a bit different.

My own meter has been very consistent, especially when I verified your own lab results with regards the pH of Kanuma and Akadama. My home meter readings were right in line with what the lab gave to you as well..

i find the test strips to be to easy to misinterpret, we used to have those at my old job and they were frustratingly difficult to use accurately. In my opinion and experience the simple aluminum and zinc probe meters are still quite good. The simple electro chemical science behind how they read pH is still pretty fool proof. Some even come with a thermometer adjustment to allow for the effect of temp on pH! My experience using one has led to easily repeatable results, even dipping the thing in solutions.

-Jay



Last edited by drgonzo on Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:25 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  Guest on Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:22 am

Hi Marcus,
thanks!
95 plus % of my trees are native species. I do have less than a dozen non local species (not number of trees), except for banyan trees. And you are right, for the same reason I am keeping my hands slightly off from foreign species...but sometimes the temptations overwhelm me.
Some imported species also do well with local conditions though, like elms and ficus varieties. Some needs special attention....and pH reading is needed...hehehe. Mad Razz

...Oh! I wish I have several pines...temptations temptations! Evil or Very Mad


regards,
jun Smile

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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  drgonzo on Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:29 am

jun wrote: Some needs special attention....and pH reading is needed...hehehe. Mad Razz

...Oh! I wish I have several pines...temptations temptations! Evil or Very Mad
jun Smile

You know Jun,

Knowing my situation with hard well water prevents me from keeping some pH sensitive tropicals that I would LOVE to work with as they would be subject to my well water indoors throughout our long Upstate NY winters, they would come out in spring well beyond their acceptable pH threshold, no doubt both Iron AND magnesium deficient...and in short pretty poor looking.

Theres an old farmers expression goes something like ... "stick with what grows well in your area"

oh well......(get it?)

-Jay


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Re: pH level in bonsai .....

Post  marcus watts on Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:58 am

hi Jun,

oh boy does this hobby tempt us from the path time and time again...........haha Black pine Jun - loves warmth and humidity

regarding getting a PH reading from paper strips guys - i found like you all it is very hard to get any sensible result - until you do this...........do the test, lay the strip by the guide and take a digital photo. now pop it up on photoshop, put the eye dropper tool on and get an rgb reading, now you have a fixed numerical value for the colour of your strip. now just eye dropper tool the test strip until you get the match. It works Wink

i think the one essential part of this aspect is knowing the quality of the water you use on a daily basis - if your tap water is terrible collect rain water, or at least fill a barrel with tap water and let it sit as long as possible, that helps no end.

cheers Marcus

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