Soils rights and wrongs?

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Re: Soils rights and wrongs?

Post  63pmp on Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:50 am

Once you plant a tree in a pot several very important differences occur from a plant growing in the ground.

Firstly there is a dramatic change in the way a pot drains compared to the ground. To enable adequate oxygen to a plants roots large particles must be used in pots. Since bonsai are often left in pots for long periods of time, stable particles must be used. This avoids the reduction in pore space that occurs when particles made from wood, for example, decompose.

Secondly, the plant is removed from the natural mineral recycling that occurs in nature. This means that plants in pots require frequent fertilizing.

Hydroponically grown tomatoes can experience sudden death in a variety of ways, it depends on the technique used for growing the plants. Often sudden death occurs because oxygen levels to the roots falls below levels that maintain root health. An example of this is when there is a sudden rise in fertilizer solution temperature.

The quality of fruit depends on fertilizer design, and cultivar used for growing. Often hydroponics is not the best way to grow tomatoes, especially in the tropics, but is a good option in cooler climates.

Paul

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Re: Soils rights and wrongs?

Post  drgonzo on Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:01 am

Paul

what was the term you came up a while back to describe growing Bonsai in pure inorganics? I tried to remember it but i think I wound up just inventing new terms...something like drip aeroponics or such..

thank you as always for you input.
-Jay

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Re: Soils rights and wrongs?

Post  63pmp on Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:17 am

Hi Jay

Inert media drip irrigation.

Essentially its just a bag of perlite with a hole in the top for the plant, they then stick a couple of irrigation drippers in the bag and constantly feed the bag of perlite, excess nutrient solution drains out the bottom.

I once visited a gerbera grower who was doing a similar thing with pots. Used perlite with 5% coco peat, a small dripper and fed every half hour.

Paul


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Re: Soils rights and wrongs?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:44 am

Paul.

thanks for the response.

Here is an experiment I have been working with for the last 5 years or so.
After sifting the crushed, earthenware, red brick, I end up with a lot of fine material. Some of it goes onto to make excellent grog for pottery and some I started to use in a mix for mame', 1.5 mm or so.

I use a mix of the above and sifted compost to grow Gmelinas, and no problems so far. In fact I am getting more foliage than I was before. Placement is normally full sun, and even though the pots are around 1.5 cm to 2.5 cm deep, I only have to water once a day, and that is even with the rootbound state which occurs around June/July [ repotting is January 2nd every year for about 2 or 3 weeks.]

I stop fertilizing at 1/3 strength around June or so, as the rains are in full swing and growth continues on, with the higher humidity [ 80% ], we normally have a light to stronger breeze all year round, I live on an east facing hill side.

I do wonder sometimes if the trees can slowly feed off of the earthenware clay?

Anyhow just thought I might share that with you.
Later.
Khaimraj

* These past two years my compost has been enriched by a very active [ found, he just came hopping down the hill] rabbit- named Bun-e-Lava.

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Re: Soils rights and wrongs?

Post  marcus watts on Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:59 pm

The stage of maturity the trees are at, and the species being grown is far more critical than trying to find a cheap wonder soil that you can put every tree in. .......then you must look at your own circumstances - are you there every day to water, do you work away, do you go away for several weekends a year, are you at home and can potter about 3 times a day with a watering can..........all these things dictate the correct soil composition to get the best from your trees. Soil components have different properties - water holding, free draining, porous, hot, cold, various ph, light, dense etc etc - the perfect conditions for every tree in your collection will come from underststanding its needs and blending the properties to suit......if you only have a few trees that need repotting on average every 5 years why would you question spending £15 on a bag of decent soil ? I dont think buying proper soil components even comes close to 1% of my trees value - and on average only every 4-5 years - so 0.2% of the expense is soil.......not worth worrying about when you think of it like that

specifically for the SW UK cat litter can hold too much water for many species and I am still yet to see a grower with mature very high quality trees maintained perfectly over many years in it used neat. Only speaking from local experince 99.9% of our long term club members had much poorer growth when they used it, and incredibly slow root growth too. Beginners often jump on it and other similar products because it is inexpensive and easy - but often their results dissapoint them and they end up disalusioned with the bonsai hobby

Peat is not right for keeping a mature tree in a small pot for 7-10 years between repotting (conifer) but may do OK mixed with grit for a deciduous tree that needs repotting every 2 years. As Jay states peat is about as nutritionally poor as you can get, so again nothing is gained. My chinese elm is potted in peat, perlite,grit and it has thrived for the last 19 years (fed heavily) - none of my other trees are in peat though.

If you want the best results look to the people in your area with the best trees -you will find they are doing it right and not cutting corners on one of the least expensive parts of the hobby, but it all depends on your actual trees and how serious the hobby is in your life.

find a local club as it will bear more relevance to your location than any online help we can give

cheers Marrcus

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Re: Soils rights and wrongs?

Post  coh on Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:12 pm

marcus watts wrote:
specifically for the SW UK cat litter can hold too much water for many species and I am still yet to see a grower with mature very high quality trees maintained perfectly over many years in it used neat. Only speaking from local experince 99.9% of our long term club members had much poorer growth when they used it, and incredibly slow root growth too. Beginners often jump on it and other similar products because it is inexpensive and easy - but often their results dissapoint them and they end up disalusioned with the bonsai hobby

Interesting. I feel that the (approximate) U.S. equivalent of the kitty litter (turface) also seems to hold a lot of water - maybe too much. But I know of several growers who use it as the primary component in their mix, and yet are able to grow trees that win awards in the U.S. National exhibition.

Marcus, have you posted somewhere what you use as soil components? I realize you tailor your mix to individual trees, but in general terms...what do you use for conifers and deciduous trees? Feel free to point me to another thread if you have posted it somewhere already.

coh
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Re: Soils rights and wrongs?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:08 pm

Interesting Marcus,

I noted that Chinese elms, modify the soils so they sheet [alkaline] and Tamarinds cause soils to clump [ acidic].
Wonder what happens when elm roots meet peat?
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Soils rights and wrongs?

Post  63pmp on Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:21 am

Is there really anything wrong with experimenting? I find it part of the fun of growing bonsai, and learned a huge amount about soils in the process.

Khaimraj,

An Australian fellow also had good results with his plants using crushed brick, I can't see anything wrong with it.

The most important aspect of any potting mix is the particle size. I've never seen turface, but since its main use is for top dressing golf greens I imagine the particle size is fairly small, say 1-3 mm. This would lower air filled porosity to a point where some plants wont grow well.

Paul

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Re: Soils rights and wrongs?

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