CAT LITTER

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CAT LITTER

Post  Guest on Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:56 pm

For years I used about 1/5 medium-fine/course sand in my bonsai soil, but for 4 years now I’ve been using 25% cat litter in all of my bonsai soil mix, and no sand. I don’t know if that’s a logical transition but I have no complaints - then again I’ve never tried akadama so I don’t know if I’m missing something. Am I? Arrow

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  JimLewis on Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:14 pm

Next line:

"Halleluja, give us a handout, we're happy again . . . ."

Hmmm. Whats someone from Sweden doing using an American folksong as a sig? <g>

Anyway, you're probably not missing a thing -- and have more money in your pocket.

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  sunip on Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:56 pm

Hello Scion.
When it is diatomaceous earth ( the Danish substrate) you are talking about, you miss nothing at all, specially not in the cold Swedish winters. But why not 100 % diatomaceous earth?
If you have a good feeding this is a perfect substrate, some mixed in pine bark or something similar, would be good.
Sunip Wink

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  Guest on Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:27 pm

JimLewis wrote:Next line:
"Halleluja, give us a handout, we're happy again . . . ."
Hmmm. Whats someone from Sweden doing using an American folksong as a sig?

In the mid-70's, just weeks before the start of my marathon, 8-year overland journey round the world, I picked up a copy of Ed Byrne's "Vagabonding in Europe and North Africa" for inspiration. The "Halleluja ... " quote is included in that book. I took it with me. I still have it.

JimLewis wrote:Anyway, you're probably not missing a thing -- and have more money in your pocket.

I did once check on the price of akadama .... whew! Shocked

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  Ingvar Nilsson on Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:31 pm

Hi scion,
I'm in the Stockolm-area and I'm using 100% cat litter (Danish moler) for my pots. Works just fine. I haven't tried much other mediums but why fix it if it's not broken, right? Best thing about going 100% is you dont have to worry about mixing, it's just to pour it out of the bag, straight to the pot. Also, it's one of the cheapest and most easily aqired planting mediums.
Regards,

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  Guest on Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:36 pm

sunip wrote:Hello Scion.
When it is diatomaceous earth ( the Danish substrate) you are talking about, you miss nothing at all, specially not in the cold Swedish winters. But why not 100 % diatomaceous earth?
If you have a good feeding this is a perfect substrate, some mixed in pine bark or something similar, would be good.
Sunip Wink

I'm aware that there are people who use it 100% (even cat litter) but for me it'd be like jumping out of an airplane with a parachute, or diving with that liquid oxygen "stuff" in my lungs. I'm much too chicken shit (am I allowed to say "shit"?) to do anything as radical as that.

Maybe I'll come round to your way of thinking in future. Do you use it yourself? What are the pros and cons?

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  Guest on Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:44 pm

Ingvar Nilsson wrote:Hi scion,
I'm in the Stockolm-area and I'm using 100% cat litter (Danish moler) for my pots. Works just fine. I haven't tried much other mediums but why fix it if it's not broken, right? Best thing about going 100% is you dont have to worry about mixing, it's just to pour it out of the bag, straight to the pot. Also, it's one of the cheapest and most easily aqired planting mediums.
Regards,

Yes. I'm using COOP X-tra kattströ. It certainly is cheap! But doesn't using it 100% require much more attentiveness to feeding? And what about anchoring the tree? Isn't it more difficult?

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  MikeG on Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:15 pm

I've been interested in using kittydama ever since I heard about it but can't find a source around here. It's all scented and almost all clumping stuff. If any fellow Canadians know a brand I'd love to hear about it.

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  Ingvar Nilsson on Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:15 pm

Scion wrote:Yes. I'm using COOP X-tra kattströ. It certainly is cheap! But doesn't using it 100% require much more attentiveness to feeding? And what about anchoring the tree? Isn't it more difficult?

Don't know, what mix are you using now?
With 100% cat litter I usually need to water daily in summer but this year it was more like once every week because of all the raining.
My feeding regime: nothing fancy, May - September, monthly or bi-monthly feed 0.5 dl/pot chicken crap pellets, weekly feed liquid houseplant fertilizer double dose & liquid normal dose 'organic' feed (for humic and fulvic acids, made from grapes if I remember correctly, might be unneccesary?). Sometimes I forget to feed and nothing bad happens, somtimes I forget I've already fed and do it again and nothing bad happens. But doesn't the nutritional value of an 100% organic soil drop pretty fast in a pot too? I wouldn't trust unfertilised garden center potting soil for mor than a few months.
About anchoring: Haven't had any problem. Do you worry for it to be too loose? Using wet soil would probably help in that case.

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  GašperG on Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:48 pm

I have a cat,.. fat and old one,.. and i have to clean the box daily Neutral ... also tried a few different manufacturers.
Some cat litter mediums get way too compact, even to be used "diluted" for the roots that needs to breathe.(like a bad akadama buy - desintegrates in a few weeks ) Some seem to be perfect inorganic substance for trees to grow in - trial and error thing again. Rolling Eyes .

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  Leo Schordje on Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:59 pm

I the USA, and most likely most of Canada, most of what is sold here as kitty litter is a soft product, it looses all structure after a couple waterings making unsatisfactory for bonsai or any type of potted plant use. I have given up on trying to find a brand that holds its structure and is untreated, so that it can be used.

I used to buy Diatomaceous earth, from a company that has since gone out of business, but when I had cheap access to it I liked it very much as a component of my mix. It was labelled as a substrate for hydroponics and orchids. Using 100% diatomaceous earth did not work as well as a blend. The 100% would over time settle, loose air voids because the particles would lock together as they settled. The 100% would end up holding too much water and not letting enough air in. A blend with any other inorganic product seemed superior to 100% pure. My favorite blend was crushed granite, diatomaceous earth, turface, and dry-stall which I believe is a pumice. All in roughly equal proportions. Sifted to remove both fines and overly coarse pieces. I would add some organic for trees that needed organic, for pines I would use this as an all inorganic mix. Now a days I use the same mix above without the diatomaceous earth, I'll add either akadama or kanuma (species dependent choice) if I have either on hand. Because it is not always available, and expensive when it is, often I don't have it on hand.

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  rps on Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:18 am

MikeG wrote:If any fellow Canadians know a brand I'd love to hear about it.
hey, mike. i don't know what the going rate on a 50lb bag of kitty litter is, but i do know i can get a 50lb bag of turface MVP for less than $20 or a 50lb bag of napa's oil absorbent [diatomite] for about the same --- and 'turkey grit' granite is a third the cost of that [if i buy it from a feed lot instead of a garden centre].
but the 'kitty-dama' coinage is, to my mind, wildly entertaining.
you might want to call a big box pet store for a lead, or perhaps a large scale animal shelter --- even if they don't use it, they should know if it's available.




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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  bonsai*john on Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:37 am

rps wrote:
MikeG wrote:If any fellow Canadians know a brand I'd love to hear about it.
hey, mike. i don't know what the going rate on a 50lb bag of kitty litter is, but i do know i can get a 50lb bag of turface MVP for less than $20 or a 50lb bag of napa's oil absorbent [diatomite] for about the same --- and 'turkey grit' granite is a third the cost of that [if i buy it from a feed lot instead of a garden centre].
but the 'kitty-dama' coinage is, to my mind, wildly entertaining.
you might want to call a big box pet store for a lead, or perhaps a large scale animal shelter --- even if they don't use it, they should know if it's available.





hey mike and rps, I,ve tried kitty litter and napa's oil absorbent, in comparison napa's is better than kitty litter brands that are available here in Toronto. because it more stable, doesn't break easily when crushed using my fingers, as well as lighter compared to kitty litter. pretty much all have been said by Leo Schordje ,. except for the price. I find it is more expensive here in Ontario compared to other places here in Canada and the US. haven't tried TURFACE yet.

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  MikeG on Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:19 am

Thanks for the info RPS and john. My current soil recipe consists of Turface mvp (nice very hard,absorbent) and the softer Akadama (Breaks down to the touch, but unless your'e stamping down the soil in your pots, I find it 'fluffs' up instead of going to 'mush'.) Both are quite cheap, but my father installed a cheapness finding chip in me at a young age. lol.

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  sunip on Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:18 am

Hello,
The diatomaceous molar is better (specially in the colder regions) then akadama it does not break down.
But be sure that your catlitter is that diatomaceuos earth and not something else, with the other catlitters you are in trouble.
I always wash it before i use it, dust and the added smell will disappear.
Sunip Wink

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  Guest on Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:57 am

Ingvar Nilsson wrote:
With 100% cat litter I usually need to water daily in summer … My feeding regime: nothing fancy, May - September, monthly or bi-monthly feed 0.5 dl/pot chicken crap pellets, weekly feed liquid houseplant fertilizer double dose & liquid normal dose 'organic' feed (for humic and fulvic acids, made from grapes if I remember correctly, might be unneccesary?).

Good God! You’re using double-dose fertilizer? My mix is far less sophisticated than yours. I’m using garden centre soil with 25% cat sand and the standard, fortnightly plant feed (half–dose) depending upon the tree that is.

Ingvar Nilsson wrote:But doesn't the nutritional value of an 100% organic soil drop pretty fast in a pot too?

Not that I am aware of. I’m re-potting every second year for most of my smaller bonsai and re-potting the large ones when they show signs of pot-bound roots. There are exceptions but that’s my general rule.

Ingvar Nilsson wrote:About anchoring: Haven't had any problem. Do you worry for it to be too loose? Using wet soil would probably help in that case.

Yes, using 100% cat litter worries me with regards securing the trees in the pot.



GašperG wrote:….
Some cat litter mediums get way too compact, even to be used "diluted" for the roots that needs to breathe.(like a bad akadama buy - desintegrates in a few weeks ) …...

And that brings me to wonder (even with my 25% cat litter) if I shouldn’t be using a bit of sand in the mix. Question


sunip wrote:Hello,
…..
I always wash it before i use it, dust and the added smell will disappear.
Sunip Wink

I just run water into the re-potted bonsai until the water starts to discharge “clear” from the bottom.

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  MikeG on Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:56 am

I'm still very new to the hobby but I've read anything I can get my hands on about soil. It's without a doubt the most contested topic there is when discussing bonsai.
The only conclusion I've come up with in 3 years experience is use whatever works in your specific circumstance. Most preach about total inorganic mixes but in my situation, I've found nothing holds moisture better then some leaf mold mixed in. On the 17th floor balcony where my growing area is, pots dry out unbelievably fast. So when I first got into the hobby I jumped on board the inorganic soil mix boat and lost a couple trees.
As far as switching from using sand to kitty litter, it's again, whatever works. Only thing is, from my understanding, different components in soil should have different functions. Akadama/Turface/kittylitter/ etc are all absorbents that hold water and not much else. Sand/grit/gravel etc hold zero moisture but aid in drainage. Inorganics/leaf mold/compost/bark should hold moisture and nutrients.
Like I said, I'm still very wet behind the ears in bonsai, but I've already learned not to just blindly follow the crowd. My poor little cotoneaster shohin in 100% turface didn't have a chance when I was away for a couple days during a heat wave. I only use some Akadama (and it's the softer grade) cause it works in my certain situation and for the small amount of trees I have (under 30, but growing) it's still economical.

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  Guest on Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:51 pm

i've spent a full year searching around for what would be 'my' ideal substrate..

Although is has many purposes and is used in many branches ranging from car industry, chemical industry, nutrition industry, horticulture, pet caring, pool industry,... it is also frequently marketed as a catlitter/soil covering medium.

it is called clinoptilolite, and its not baked earth its not any form of treated material, its just one of the natural vulcanic minerals called Zeolite. In 90% of the cases you'll find it, its 100% natural so not treated or mixed in any way.

This one and the same zeolite acts as a 'total' substrate, it drains superbly, it absorbes superbly, and it has very good absorb-release characteristics as to holding and releasing nutrients. It also neutralises ammonium/ammoniac, good in the use as catlitter because it neutralises the smell without having to add any perfum.

It has many spores/micronutrients that are there naturally. offcourse after a while ... you get it.

Feeding, yes, rather heavily, once every 2 weeks liquid cheap fertilizer (buxus fertilizer from Substral with micronutrients), one time normal dose other time double dose. Twice a year a handful of granulate chicken/cow menure. With repotted trees i sometimes add granulate miccorhizae.

It does not break down, i've been trying it for 2years+, even had several trees at -15° celsius outside, it does not break down a single bit.

I'm not afraid of using it 100%, and in a good lot of trees that need a bit more water i'm using 80-20% with the 20% being cocosol from DCM.

Watering is simple, i all water the same no matter what species, till it flushes out. That holds a day or several days in clouded weather. In summer 1 watering a day. Very hot days, sometimes 2 times a day, but then again Its more logical to put your trees in a shade a bit if you really get oven temps no?

Anchoring is superb, when watered it really holds your tree tight, and rooting is very fast and strong i'm mostly amazed about that improvement, so achoring not really a problem. Offcourse, a freshly pot tree will blow out of your put if stormy winds pass...dont be silly offcourse (i once was ;-).

I'm a very happy man, all grows good or very good, rooting is a spectacular improvement.

So i've done my research, i've read lots about it, i even read scientific analyses reports and I've seen several referrals to studies about zeolite, testings...well I then decided to use it; that is my story, it was worth it according to me

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  Guest on Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:14 pm

MikeG wrote: ..... use whatever works in your specific circumstance.

That's the bottom line.



MikeG wrote:As far as switching from using sand to kitty litter ..

Not "switching" ... using both ......


MikeG wrote:Akadama/Turface/kittylitter/ etc are all absorbents that hold water ... Sand/grit/gravel etc ... aid in drainage.

.... and that's the reason why.

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  Guest on Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:25 pm

yves71277 wrote: .....
This one and the same zeolite acts as a 'total' substrate, it drains superbly, it absorbes superbly, and it has very good absorb-release characteristics as to holding and releasing nutrients.

This is exactly what confuses me. If cat litter breaks down and becomes a "mush" then there is no drainage. But if you're using 100% cat litter then (presumably) additional drainage sand will flush right out and you're stuck with the same problem. There has to be something here that I don't understand.



yves71277 wrote:Anchoring is superb, when watered it really holds your tree tight, and rooting is very fast and strong i'm mostly amazed about that improvement, so achoring not really a problem.

That's good news.

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  Guest on Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:32 pm

[quote="Scion"]
yves71277 wrote: .....But if you're using 100% cat litter then (presumably) additional drainage sand will flush right out and you're stuck with the same problem. There has to be something here that I don't understand.

yves71277 wrote:Anchoring is superb, when watered it really holds your tree tight, and rooting is very fast and strong i'm mostly amazed about that improvement, so achoring not really a problem.

That's good news.


Whats confusing? i'm saying additional sand is taboo...when using this stuff... it does not help in any way

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  Guest on Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:28 pm

Well, the idea of using 100% cat litter or acadama gives me a plastic sensation about it. I’m not saying it isn’t everything you claim it to be but I don’t think it’s for everyone – for a variety of reasons.

There’s something to be said about good ole mother nature’s soil on my fingers. It’s real. Bonsai affords me an association with the earth, somewhere I might wish I’d rather be than inside my concrete flat. I love the country, the forest, the jungle and even the desert. My balcony is my garden, my jungle during the warm months. Mixing soil with my hands as opposed to pouring it out of a box is a bit like the difference between sex, with - or without - a condom. Do you know what I mean?

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  Ingvar Nilsson on Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:53 pm

Scion wrote:
yves71277 wrote: .....
This one and the same zeolite acts as a 'total' substrate, it drains superbly, it absorbes superbly, and it has very good absorb-release characteristics as to holding and releasing nutrients.

This is exactly what confuses me. If cat litter breaks down and becomes a "mush" then there is no drainage. But if you're using 100% cat litter then (presumably) additional drainage sand will flush right out and you're stuck with the same problem. There has to be something here that I don't understand.

The cat litter we (me and you) use, Danish moler, don't break down. It holds moisture very well. I'm looking at growing in this medium as similar to hydoponics. It's a manual ebb/flood set-up. Old school water culture, the moler is there for water retention, balance and estethics.

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  Saamy on Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:14 pm

MikeG wrote:I've been interested in using kittydama ever since I heard about it but can't find a source around here. It's all scented and almost all clumping stuff. If any fellow Canadians know a brand I'd love to hear about it.

Hey Mike,
I have tested many unscented natural clay cat litter products here in Toronto and I can tell you that, 1- lots of waste, dust, super small granules, they will loose their structural integrity once frozen and thawed back and so far I have not come across anything useful. I am in the process of testing a product called OIL-DRI which I have picked up from Canadian Tire. From my initial testing, it will hold from after freez-thaw cycle, it holds moisture well but it is very dusty and has a lot of fine particles which you need to sieve in order to make sure you don't get the finer smaller particles as they will turn mushy once wet. I am thinking of maybe using it on 2 trees, one 100% and another to mix in with my regular soil and replace it with Calcined Clay that I have mixed in my soil. I am also looking at Aquarium supply stores as they carry certain substrate for the aquarium which can be used as a component in your bonsai soil and they also carry akadama as well and not the soft ones which will break down eventually..

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Re: CAT LITTER

Post  Saamy on Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:18 pm

MikeG wrote:Thanks for the info RPS and john. My current soil recipe consists of Turface mvp (nice very hard,absorbent) and the softer Akadama (Breaks down to the touch, but unless your'e stamping down the soil in your pots, I find it 'fluffs' up instead of going to 'mush'.) Both are quite cheap, but my father installed a cheapness finding chip in me at a young age. lol.

Mike I am looking to source some Turface MVP but I have not found any place I could purchase in small quantities, lets say 20-40 lbs bags. Would appreciate it if you can point me to the right direction. I live in a townhouse and do not have luxury of a drive way or a garage and I cannot buy in bulk as I do not have the space for storage and most of my space is already taken by trees Very Happy

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Re: CAT LITTER

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