Good Bonsai Soil

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Good Bonsai Soil

Post  Dalton Duffett on Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:17 am

What do you guys mean when you're talking about "bonsai soil" and you say you use Turface or pumice or something? Do you mean when its in the bonsai pot, or just when you first get it? I just planted some Blue Spruces in a 50/50 mix of perlite and loose potting soil in plastic pots for them to grow in. Will this be okay for them, or will I need to switch to Turface and all that other stuff?

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Re: Good Bonsai Soil

Post  Ryan on Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:34 am

Dalton Duffett wrote:What do you guys mean when you're talking about "bonsai soil" and you say you use Turface or pumice or something? Do you mean when its in the bonsai pot, or just when you first get it? I just planted some Blue Spruces in a 50/50 mix of perlite and loose potting soil in plastic pots for them to grow in. Will this be okay for them, or will I need to switch to Turface and all that other stuff?

Bonsai soil is a free draining mix that allows the roots to get air, while also allowing them to get the water they need. Potting soil is too water retentive, whereas turface is granular and holds water, but also allows the roots to get air. As for your Blue Spruce, if they're the same ones in your other post, hopefully there are still some that are green, as they didn't look too happy Laughing 

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Re: Good Bonsai Soil

Post  Dalton Duffett on Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:45 am

Two things.
1. I'm still a little confused. I should use bonsai soil even on my trees that are in training? It was my understanding that bonsai soil was only for when you plant them in real bonsai pots, not for training pots. When in training, I thought you just use a loose mix of soil. I guess I was wrong?
2. Yes, they're the same trees. 3 of the six came to me nearly dead and since then I've brought two back to life, but I'm afraid one is gone for good. They are starting to get some green needles toward the bottom of the tree and very close to the trunk.

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Re: Good Bonsai Soil

Post  Ryan on Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:24 am

Dalton Duffett wrote:Two things.
1. I'm still a little confused. I should use bonsai soil even on my trees that are in training? It was my understanding that bonsai soil was only for when you plant them in real bonsai pots, not for training pots. When in training, I thought you just use a loose mix of soil.  I guess I was wrong?
2. Yes, they're the same trees. 3 of the six came to me nearly dead and since then I've brought two back to life, but I'm afraid one is gone for good. They are starting to get some green needles toward the bottom of the tree and very close to the trunk.
I use bonsai soil for my trees in training. Gets them adjusted to a coarser mix. It doesn't really matter though, you just want your trees in a good soil mixture that drains freely.

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Re: Good Bonsai Soil

Post  Dalton Duffett on Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:26 am

Okay, thank you. I will repot them in 10" shallow pots in the spring and I won't use potting soil. Thanks for clearing that up!

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Re: Good Bonsai Soil

Post  JimLewis on Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:21 pm

If you click on the link to our Home page and search for "soil" or "bonsai soil" you will find all you need to know -- and more.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Good Bonsai Soil

Post  ironhorse on Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:16 pm

There are nearly as many recommended soil mixes as there are bonsai growers..as Jim said as long as it is free draining that's the important thing.
I've used perlite in the past but it tends to move around in the mix, vermiculite I think is better, I have recently started using a type of cat litter (Sophisticat Pink) which I believe has similar properties to Turface, but can be bought in relatively small quantities from pet stores here in the UK.
Incidentally, I have a Colorado Blue Spruce grown from seed 15-20 years ago, from one of those cheap bonsai 'kits', the sole survivor of 7 seedlings. It looks abysmal, I refuse to take its picture, but has nevertheless given me some pleasure over the years, mainly because it just refuses to die.

Dave

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Re: Good Bonsai Soil

Post  Dalton Duffett on Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:25 am

ironhorse wrote:Incidentally, I have a Colorado Blue Spruce grown from seed 15-20 years ago, from one of those cheap bonsai 'kits', the sole survivor of 7 seedlings.  It looks abysmal, I refuse to take its picture, but has nevertheless given me some pleasure over the years, mainly because it just refuses to die.
I have a pretty good idea of how I will make it look, and I think it will be nice looking and not too complicated. Spruces with their branches thinned out but still in the same cone shape look really nice.

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Re: Good Bonsai Soil

Post  Snoo on Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:07 pm

Just a question, don't want to steal the thread.... In Dalton's case, with the trees that were suffering etc, if they get repotted next spring in coarse soil wouldn't that make even more difficult for the plants to recuperate? could acidic soil (the stuff for rhododendrons etc) help them? or letting the trees be in whatever soil they are without disturbing them is better?

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Re: Good Bonsai Soil

Post  Leo Schordje on Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:53 pm

Snoo wrote:Just a question, don't want to steal the thread.... In Dalton's case, with the trees that were suffering etc, if they get repotted next spring in coarse soil wouldn't that make even more difficult for the plants to recuperate? could acidic soil (the stuff for rhododendrons etc) help them? or letting the trees be in whatever soil they are without disturbing them is better?
If anything bonsai soil would be somewhat better for roots to recover in than potting soil or what is typically used in production nurseries. Bonsai media encourage fine root branching, and allow air to penetrate, even in a nursery can. It would only help the tree to recover. But repotting a stressed tree is risky, be sure to repot at the ideal time, as the tree might not survive an out of season repotting. Be gentle and try not to cut off healthy roots.

pH is usually a non-issue, most bonsai mixes end up in the mildly acidic pH range without any effort on the grower's part. Picea pungens is very tolerant of all manner of soils, or it would not be such a popular landscape plant. Some spruces are fussy about their substrates, for them simply adding a small amount of composted pine bark, or shredded long fiber sphagnum, or sifted to eliminate fines, peat moss or the appropriate size Kanuma; any of those would lower the soil pH a bit. Especially when it comes to peat moss, I recommend keeping the amount added under 20%, I never add more than 10%, even for my azalea.

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Re: Good Bonsai Soil

Post  roberthu526 on Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:47 pm

I think this website will help you get an idea of your question.
http://bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basics_Soils.html

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Re: Good Bonsai Soil

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