Observation - 100% organic and 90% inorganic with 10% organic

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Observation - 100% organic and 90% inorganic with 10% organic

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:38 pm

Hey folks,

at the end of Christmas 2012, I bare rooted and potted 2 serissas s. into,

[1] our local tree moss [ called cocoa moss ] it is naturally long of strand.

[2] 90% sifted crushed red earthenware brick [ could be turface - mvp? ] and 10 % compost - by volume.

3 months later [1] The serissa in the moss is growing and branching.
[2] Looks green and has extended only at the top to less than 2.5 cm.

Placement - full sun, fertilizer at 1/3 strength Miracle grow singles every Sunday since February.
I gave both shrubs, the same treatment [ as was humanly possible ]

Just observations.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Observation - 100% organic and 90% inorganic with 10% organic

Post  Stan Kengai on Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:15 pm

I appreciate your work and experimentation and am inspired by your out-of-the-box thinking. I know you've thought about all of this. I just thought I post so that inexperienced growers will take into consideration the difference between your growing conditions and their own.

I think that for you, growing in the tropics, a mostly inorganic soil is unnecessary for 2 main reasons. The first is that your plants never truly go dormant. During dormancy is when fast draining soil is necessary because plants aren't taking up much water and there is little evaporation. This is the reason we (temperate climate growers) use substrates composed of a majority of inorganics. Inorganics keep plants' roots healthier during the winter, and thus your plants are healthier in general. Since you don't have a true winter, this is a moot point for you. The second reason I don't think you need to use a majority inorganic mix is because likely most of the plants you grow are not from naturally arid environs. I know you are experimenting with black pines, but even they should tolerate a mostly organic soil (as long as it is "open") in your climate.


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Re: Observation - 100% organic and 90% inorganic with 10% organic

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:21 pm

Stan,

thanks for taking the time to read. I left the idea as just observations, as I am not exactly sure how to quantify what I am looking at.

A few points.

[1] Over the years on IBC, I have made mention that the trees down here do rest. However this year past was the first time I took the time to really look for signs of dormancy in all of the trees. We do however have a cycle that mimics the more northern situation, we do get colder by September to October. The temperatures though not as low as your side, lasts from around 5.00 p.m to sometimes 8.00 a.m. next day. Additionally or our hottest part of the day shifts from 2.00 p.m. in Summer or 12.00 midday for Winter. and because this is an island, cooled by easterlies, heatwaves are unknown, with our highs lasting for just around or less than 1 hour.

Anyhow, observed was - all Sub-tropicals stopped growing by Christmas, some like the Ginkgo / Celtis stopped before November.
All local trees stopped by Christmas, but unlike the Sub-tropicals [ Fukien Tea, Sageretia, Serissa s., Ulmus types from South China and I also have Catlin. Seiju as well, Murraya p. awakened around Feb.14th ] awakened closer to the beginning of March.
The local ficus p. also dropped all of the old leaves and restarted.

[2] The reason I can use say 1/3 organic with 2/3 inorganic [ by volume] is simply because I adapted to the island's dry weather [ end of December to April/May/June ] repotting from 2nd of January for about 6 weeks. Then for one month they are allowed to just be watered normally. The fertilizer programme starts after 1 month of being repotted, and is weekly, into moist soil at 1/3 strength of the product.
Exposure is by then full sun, and we have breezes going at smashing bamboo chimes strength.

It gets very dry and humidity is down to between 50 to 65 % by day and back up to 70% at night.

The idea here is simple, get the trees to a somewhat potbound state, so when the rains start, they can handle the extra water. The organic material will cause no problems.
So with the exception of the Sageretia t. which takes about 2 years to potbind, but has more than enough foliage to drink the extra water, I need to repot yearly.

As the Celtis goes, the growing period though shorter [ they come out of the fridge for April 1st. and get repotted, they are fully awake in one month's time ] May to October / November , are able to pot bind in about 2 to 3 months and can handle the rain.

I have only 5 years growing indoors in the Northern climates, but I never had problems with an organic/inorganic mix.

I believe that if you get a tree to a potbound state for November / December and water carefully until Spring, one should be fine. This is how my friend Carl does it. I will ask him how potbound he can get his trees before repotting time.

Please note. I defoliate only once a year during the dry season, as moisture in the air seems to aid in getting larger leaves. Pot bound for me is the soil comes out as a shape of the pot's internal.
I might clip and grow, but never so much as to slow down root growth, only when the tree says it needs it.

So what I might ask is how potbound do you guys get after a year and would an organic composted component encourage greater rootgrowth?

I would love to here about the growing experiences on your side.
Later.
Khaimraj

* And no we have no humidity to match Florida or Louisiana or Florence,Italy. I have come to realise that living at 200 to 3000 feet above sea level makes a very big difference in the tropics.
AND with an eastern exposure.

Fun Fact - I was recently shown on a world globe, that our breezes come from Antartica and later Europe. Nothing from South or North America.

We also lie 0.5 of a degree out of the path of Hurricanes and Tropical storms.

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Re: Observation - 100% organic and 90% inorganic with 10% organic

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:24 pm

Arid - take a look at the image I left for Russell C. in another topic [ What does it look like where you are ], we are bone dry, lawn is brown.
Khaimraj

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Re: Observation - 100% organic and 90% inorganic with 10% organic

Post  marcus watts on Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:10 pm

the soil you used was good as two opposites for the experiment......but using miracle grow as fertilizer has not shown the true potential of either soil.
Chemical fertilisers will destroy the soil microbiology and totally remove a plants ability to grow well without them. The organic soil had some ability to feed the plant naturally along side the chemicals you chose to use, but i believe the result in this soil would have been the same with no fertiliser. (all tests of a soil, method product etc need an untouched test case).

An inorganic soil often gives better properties for growth, root formation etc but you must use organic fertilisers with them - it is fairly common knowledge that all the akadama based products and similar NEED organic feeding - the biology within the pot is not existent from the soil particles so you have to build it up from what you feed. - there is no place for chemical fertilisers in a bonsai pot to produce high quality trees and to maintain them for many years.

The real experiment to do is to see which soil produces better results with both chemical and natural fertilisers - then actually study the root growth rather than the top growth of each - a growing plant and a strong healthy plant are not the same thing by a million miles. Nice work though to begin experiments to see what works best for you...

cheers for the topic

Marcus

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Re: Observation - 100% organic and 90% inorganic with 10% organic

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:23 pm

Marcus,

firstly, a big thank you, the response is much appreciated.

These thoughts aloud, had to do with the expectation of having to pie cut the root of a few trees in the near future. I am seeing the formation of larger roots in the root mass, and many of these plants are 30 or so years old.

I read frequently about the 100% inorganic mixes [ plus the fir or pine bark chips added ] and I wondered if it was for what I was hoping to do.

Stan's response, felt like a watering situation, I know folk use hoses but I would only use a hose with rose set to very gentle, in an emergency or if time is short.
My watering can, is still my best friend and it allows me to pay individual attention to the trees, and I can get really intense if I use the 1 pint brass watering can.

I began with a compost blend, and I believe I will stick with that, though with a shortage, I can mix in small quantities of Canadian peatmoss or Cocopeat [ I read on-line that the Canadian stuff is monitored and does not harm to the Canadian environment, but the British situation is very different, so I am back to using the stuff on my azaleas.]

At times, I find worms in my tree soil and I guess what we were taught in Biology, those years ago was correct. A weak solution of artificial fertilizer does the soil no real harm.
I have found worms in my spent soils, when I repot, not to mention ant colonies. So I gather a weak solution into moist soils does no real harm.
I read over at Motherearth, a paper by Mr.Solomon, where he says something along those lines. The topic was, Organic Fertilizers.

As organic fertilizers go, I have done the manure tea, the kelp bit and have tried variations of seedmeal. I have also collected and composted our own seaweed which is thrown out by the ocean in the rainy season.
I settled on a home made compost.

So it is back to the tried and tested simple blend I use of crushed red earthenware brick, silca based builders sand and home made compost.
By the way our local pebbles are some form of silica sand bonded together by calcium / magnesium and are also porous.
In time the exposure to compost discolours the pebbles.
So now I have two inorganics that hold water temporarily in their bodies. Interesting.

I read a long while ago the adding uncomposted organics to soil, caused a loss of nitrogen to the bacteria feeding on the material and then a sudden dumping of nitrogen back into the soil. Supposed to cause root problems.
Reading here and there, I see folk claiming that they use the fertilizer full strength to compensate for the above. I wonder if that will lead to trees with shorter lifespans, easily rotted wood or weak roots????

We grow our Bonsai for beauty, not for size or for produce ----------- this is why we can use compost and organic fertilizers, no need to rush.
Later.
Khaimraj

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An update

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:23 am

[2] is presently dying.
Khaimraj

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Re: Observation - 100% organic and 90% inorganic with 10% organic

Post  lennard on Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:16 pm

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:Stan,
I would love to here about the growing experiences on your side.

When I started doing bonsai in 2009, I was very frustrated because inorganic growing media like Turface etc. were not available here. I tried to compensate by using gravel and compost but the results were disheartening - my trees did not grow well. Over the last two years I have switched back to what I know - good garden loam and home made compost and I am not looking back. To feed my trees I use a mulch of horse stable manure and pelleted chicken manure replaced on a regular basis.

The only two problems I have is earthworms and drainage problems in very shallow/small pots. I have solved the earthworm problem for next season by drying out the garden loam and compost and the drainage problem in very shallow pots by using a wick hanging from the drainage holes of these two pots that showed the drainage problems.

The medium you are using is more about your growing conditions and your general experience on growing plants. With the correct horticultural practices trees can be grown in any medium. To me, in my conditions and with my knowledge of growing plants, the medium I am using, is superior to anything else.

Lennard


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Re: Observation - 100% organic and 90% inorganic with 10% organic

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:34 pm

Lennard,

thank you.

I have Loam as being -

40 sand
40 silt ------- rock dust [ feldspar / Sio2]
20 clay

Thanks again.
Khaimraj

* Clay is supposed to be the richest earth soil.

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Re: Observation - 100% organic and 90% inorganic with 10% organic

Post  PeacefulAres on Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:34 am

marcus watts wrote:the soil you used was good as two opposites for the experiment......but using miracle grow as fertilizer has not shown the true potential of either soil.
Chemical fertilisers will destroy the soil microbiology and totally remove a plants ability to grow well without them. The organic soil had some ability to feed the plant naturally along side the chemicals you chose to use, but i believe the result in this soil would have been the same with no fertiliser. (all tests of a soil, method product etc need an untouched test case).

An inorganic soil often gives better properties for growth, root formation etc but you must use organic fertilisers with them - it is fairly common knowledge that all the akadama based products and similar NEED organic feeding - the biology within the pot is not existent from the soil particles so you have to build it up from what you feed. - there is no place for chemical fertilisers in a bonsai pot to produce high quality trees and to maintain them for many years.

The real experiment to do is to see which soil produces better results with both chemical and natural fertilisers - then actually study the root growth rather than the top growth of each - a growing plant and a strong healthy plant are not the same thing by a million miles. Nice work though to begin experiments to see what works best for you...

cheers for the topic

Marcus

No offense, but do you have any evidence to back that up? Also, if anything I have seen great result on trees which have been in pure inorganic soil, using a fertilizer like Dyna Grow, which has its nutrients much more readily available to the plant.

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Re: Observation - 100% organic and 90% inorganic with 10% organic

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:09 am

Peaceful Ares,

no insult intended to you, but in order for anyone to sensibly make claims about a fertiliser, you would have to be using it successfully for some length of time, probably over 20 years.
Then you would have to show a healthy specimen, but not necessarily a well designed tree. The objective here would be horticultural health.

I did some re-reading of Bonsai Today recently, it is obvious that meal fertiliser works, but I saw a good many remarks about it clogging soil surfaces. I suspect it grows some form of fungus / moss / or something that sheets the soils surface. I get a similiar situation once in a while, but it goes away when broken up physically.

Perhaps, this whole soil bit should be hit from a different angle, listing properties, an not ingredients.

[1] The soil mix should remain freely draining until the time for repotting arrives. [ thanks A.]

[2] The ball bearing principle for fresh air access.

[3] The soil should be able to have a reservoir for both moisture and in solution fertiliser. [ or no ?]

Anything else?
Later.
Khaimraj

* I wonder if this whole 100 % inorganic bit does not have to do with weeding?

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Re: Observation - 100% organic and 90% inorganic with 10% organic

Post  PeacefulAres on Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:30 am

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:Peaceful Ares,

no insult intended to you, but in order for anyone to sensibly make claims about a fertiliser, you would have to be using it successfully for some length of time, probably over 20 years.
Then you would have to show a healthy specimen, but not necessarily a well designed tree. The objective here would be horticultural health.

I did some re-reading of Bonsai Today recently, it is obvious that meal fertiliser works, but I saw a good many remarks about it clogging soil surfaces. I suspect it grows some form of fungus / moss / or something that sheets the soils surface. I get a similiar situation once in a while, but it goes away when broken up physically.

Perhaps, this whole soil bit should be hit from a different angle, listing properties, an not ingredients.

[1] The soil mix should remain freely draining until the time for repotting arrives. [ thanks A.]

[2] The ball bearing principle for fresh air access.

[3] The soil should be able to have a reservoir for both moisture and in solution fertiliser. [ or no ?]

Anything else?
Later.
Khaimraj

* I wonder if this whole 100 % inorganic bit does not have to do with weeding?

My point wasn't to say that dyna-gro was a better fertilizer. Marcus made several bold claims: chemical fertilizers destroy soil microbiology; they remove the ability of the plant to grow without them; inorganic substrates require organic feeding; and that chemical fertilizers have no place in the production and/or maintenance of high quality bonsai. I would just like to see the evidence upon which he bases these claims.

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Re: Observation - 100% organic and 90% inorganic with 10% organic

Post  ScottB1 on Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:00 pm

You say that you give them the same treatment - how often do you water.? If you water the tree in the inorganic mix only when the tree in moss requires moisture, it will undoubtedly die because the moisture contents in the soils are so different. I keep my tropicals in an inorganic substrate, and get great growth, but I water 3 times a day in the summer. I didn't need to do that when they were in a heavy soil. In fact, so much water might have killed it. As WP tells us, substrate, watering, and fertilization go hand-in-hand - your treatment must change when you change your substrate.

Scott

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Re: Observation - 100% organic and 90% inorganic with 10% organic

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:13 pm

Scott,

I water by observation, I use a watering can.

Local trees down here, would do poorly in a heavy soil mix, I started off in 1978 - 1979 planting a Malpighia glabra in pure clay - chuckle - it didn't live very long in a plastic pot. Fortunately, the mother shrub had many children.

I have used the same mix for years just changing the proportions [ by volume .] I water sometimes twice in the early morning and once in the evening [ 4.30 p.m.] if it is needed.

We have more concentrated sunlight that you do, fortunately the rains are here when summer starts, so the watering drops to none or once in a while or as above. In the late winter and spring, even with the high breezes [ 8 to 40 mph ] and low humidity, above is the most watering I would have to do, even with the mame'.
I have mame' at over 20 years of age.
Hope that explains some.
Khaimraj

* If you check the books from the 60's, 70's and 80's all the information on soils is already in print. It is nothing new.
Probably from as far back as the 30's.

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