Soil for Pre-Bonsai

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  H on Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:29 pm

Most of my plants are in the pre-bonsai stage growing in 12 to 14 inch grow boxes. Do I use the same soil in this pre-bonsai stage that I would use with a finished bonsai?

H
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  MrFancyPlants on Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:51 pm

I would use "bonsai soil", but you can work your way up to it. One of the great things about turface and other granular components is that it is much easier to repot a tree. That and the watering can be easier. I also like using pond baskets and allowing the roots to escape into the ground to accelerate development.

MrFancyPlants
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  nickalpin on Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:01 pm

Some folks will use proper bonsai soil for their pre-bonsai. If cost is an issue, Fafard makes great potting mixes (as do other companies). I like their 3B mix or their 'complete potting mix', and add extra perlite. My reasoning is that perlite acts a bit like lava rock/pumice in providing drainage and helps fine root production. Any time I've held back on perlite, there have been fewer fine roots. Most of my trees are tropicals, but it also applies to illex, bald cypress, etc.

The pond basket idea is great.

nickalpin
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  Just Mike on Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:28 pm

for trees in the developement stage i use horticultural pumice...sometimes 100% horticultural pumice, but i usually like to mix anywhere from 20-50% fir bark depending on species and the size of the pot (or box usually) it is growing in...the pumice is white, which is ugly as hell in my opinion, but its really cheap in my area and works really well...

do you have any rock yards or bulk material supply type places in your area...they are sure to have ssome kind of acceptable substrate...try doing a google search for "1/4" fir bark" in your area and see what pops up...usually, the same places selling the bark also are selling scoria (lava) and maybe pumice or some other kind of substrate...

or, pm me your city (if you dont want it public) and ill see what i can locate for you...im pretty good at stuff like that.

Just Mike
Member


Back to top Go down

Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  H on Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:59 pm

Thank you all for your replies. Currently I use equal amounts of river sand, granite (chicken grit), diatomaceous earth (opti-sorb by Grainger), and Scott's garden soil - all sifted for sizes between 1/16 and 1/4 inch. I am in a small town, and my sources are Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and local feed stores. I think one of my problems is that I don't know what pumice and lava rock are or where to find them. Would lava rock be in pond or aquarium supplies? I don't think I have ever seen pumice. Perlite is not a problem. I'm sure this is very fundamental for all of you, but I am still a beginner and probably will be for a couple more years. I am trying to find the least expensive mix that will get the job done well with ingredients that are easy to obtain. Thanks for your patients.

H
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  MrFancyPlants on Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:53 pm

That sounds like a pretty good mix to me. You might hear some grumbles about the potting soil. I think most prefer sifted bark for the organic component. You might look for a 50 pound of turface and/or expanded shale to throw into the mix as well as it can be had pretty cheap. I did buy some lava rock from an online bonsai shop, but I definitely save that for potted trees where drainage is critical.
http://www.bonsaiboy.com/catalog/product4119.html - might not be the best deal around for shipped lava, but I do like to have a bit around just in case.

Good luck,
David

MrFancyPlants
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  nickalpin on Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:04 pm

You're encountering what I did a few years back, and it was both confusing and frustrating. I'm in the Orlando area and there are no local sources for lava rock or pumice (that I'm currently aware of). My lava rock sources are all 2+ hours away (Wigert's Bonsai or Jim Smith's Durastone Nursery). Because of its rarity, I only use lava for trees going into proper bonsai pots. I haven't come across the other substrates commonly used in bonsai soil.

I've noticed on this forum that scarcity of certain materials is easy to forget, so suggestions are given as no-brainers when in reality it can be quite a challenge to find many elements used in bonsai. These are one of the areas beginners/intermediate bonsai enthusiasts have difficulty with. For most experienced folks, this info is very basic, not so for others. That has been my experience at least. /end mini rant

nickalpin
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  MrFancyPlants on Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:12 pm

I completely agree. It actually took me several years before I located a reasonable source for turface, and when I did, I bought 3x50 pound bags. The turface made a huge difference for me though. I feel as though it helped me "arrive" horticulturally. I use it as my main component for potted trees and dig it into my grow bed.

MrFancyPlants
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  Just Mike on Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:26 pm

if you are in a small town that has local feed stores ask for a product called "dry-stall"...its used to put into horse stalls and such to absorb moistue and help prvent hoof-rot...its just horticultaral pumice marketed differently...if they dont have it, they can pobably order it.

Just Mike
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  Just Mike on Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:35 pm

H wrote:Thank you all for your replies. Currently I use equal amounts of river sand, granite (chicken grit), diatomaceous earth (opti-sorb by Grainger), and Scott's garden soil - all sifted for sizes between 1/16 and 1/4 inch. I am in a small town, and my sources are Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and local feed stores. I think one of my problems is that I don't know what pumice and lava rock are or where to find them. Would lava rock be in pond or aquarium supplies? I don't think I have ever seen pumice. Perlite is not a problem. I'm sure this is very fundamental for all of you, but I am still a beginner and probably will be for a couple more years. I am trying to find the least expensive mix that will get the job done well with ingredients that are easy to obtain. Thanks for your patients.

so...with that mix i would replace the scotts garden soil with bark...as for the lave and all that...the biggest problem from what i have seen isnt so much that "i cant get such such in my area" as much as each area has different substrates that are easier to obtai and they are hard to find if you dont know all the different names...example...if you live in cow-town and say "i cant find horticultural pumice" its because in cow town they call it "dry-stall"...like i said, if anyone is having trouble pm me your city and i will try to find a supplier of something acceptable that is i your area (or atleast very close)...no promises of course lol.

Just Mike
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  Stan Kengai on Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:33 pm

nickalpin wrote: . . . I haven't come across the other substrates commonly used in bonsai soil. . .

Try Ewing's Plumbing Supply for Turface, this one's near you. Most places that cater to recreational sports (like irrigation supply stores) will carry some type of clay-based soil conditioner. Substrate components can be found. You just have to think outside the box, and call around a lot.

Stan Kengai
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  Stan Kengai on Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:50 pm

H wrote:Thank you all for your replies. Currently I use equal amounts of river sand, granite (chicken grit), diatomaceous earth (opti-sorb by Grainger), and Scott's garden soil - all sifted for sizes between 1/16 and 1/4 inch. I am in a small town, and my sources are Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and local feed stores. I think one of my problems is that I don't know what pumice and lava rock are or where to find them. Would lava rock be in pond or aquarium supplies? I don't think I have ever seen pumice. Perlite is not a problem. I'm sure this is very fundamental for all of you, but I am still a beginner and probably will be for a couple more years. I am trying to find the least expensive mix that will get the job done well with ingredients that are easy to obtain. Thanks for your patients.

Your mix sounds like it should work, though I wouldn't use the soil, and the sand and grit serve the same purpose (redundant). Other products can be found, but it usually takes some calling around, and you might have to drive to Macon or Atl. The biggest thing you need to keep in mind is that the best soil components in the world won't perform well if they're not sifted to size.

Pumice is very hard to find/expensive outside of the west coast (US). If you really want lava (and I recommend it), you can get the big landscape chunks at Home Depot and crush and sift. The Monastery outside of Conyers used to carry graded lava (and many other traditional substrate components), but I haven't been lately. Once you've busted up and sifted enough lava to use in a few plants, you'll wish you would have gotten the graded stuff. Turface can usually be found at irrigation supply stores (usually near concentrations of golf courses and ball fields). Home Depot here carries "soil conditioner" that is chipped pine bark (the only organic I use).

Stan Kengai
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  GaryWood on Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:39 pm

Nick, Gonzales Nursery Supply up in Pensacola used to carry 1\4" lava. I haven't bought any in several years so no promises. You also might contact Brian vanFleet a member here. He has contact information for other sources.
Wood

GaryWood
Member


Back to top Go down

Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  H on Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:20 am

Stan, I found the turface at John Deere Landscaping in Macon. Thanks for the tip.

H
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  Stan Kengai on Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:33 am

H wrote:Stan, I found the turface at John Deere Landscaping in Macon. Thanks for the tip.

A couple things about Turface. First, Turface and diatomaceous earth are very similar. You don't need to change, but Turface is a better product for bonsai. If you do decide to change, make sure you get the Turface MVP because it has particles over 2 mm (usable in bonsai), but it still needs to be sifted. It varies, but you'll get about 30-50% usable particles per bag. The other types of Turface are smaller/have less usable material. Third, be sure to call around to get the best price because they can vary greatly. For example, John Deere up here wants about $20 per 50lb bag, but at Ewing's Plumbing Supply, I got it for $9 this fall (which is about the cheapest anyone I've talked to has seen). I should have gotten more.

Stan Kengai
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Soil for Pre-Bonsai

Post  Sponsored content Today at 9:20 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum