soil help please

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soil help please

Post  deepbonsai on Sat Mar 14, 2015 1:38 am

Hi so I have a couple questions. First is that I'm getting ready to repot a dwarf jade and a Brazilian rain tree and was wondering what would be the best soil mixture for these is. so here comes the real question. As I have been doing research on soil and it has come to my understanding that there isn't any actual soil in the mixture. rather it consist of three main components such as pebbles a organic mixture and inorganic mix. but wouldn't this allow the tree to dry out rather fast. sorry for the rather amateur questions. But in the end I'm looking some advice on different mixtures and how to best choose a mixture for my two trees and what I should use such as should I use soil or not.
I tired look for a preexisting post but couldn't find one, if the is one please point me to the right direction. Thanks

Thanks Brandon

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Re: soil help please

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Sat Mar 14, 2015 4:18 am

I've used all kinds of soil mixtures and have just started using what I call the Holy Grail........Boon Mix. I'll post a link below. I will NEVER use anything else. I know it's expensive and I know it's hard to get. This is just my personal opinion that this is the finest soil I've ever used. Brilliant results so far. You have to increase watering and fertilizer but it will amaze you.

http://bonsaitonight.com/2010/10/01/bonsai-soil/

Good luck!
Sam

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Re: soil help please

Post  yamasuri on Sat Mar 14, 2015 9:24 am

Thanks for link Sam. Interesting reading

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Re: soil help please

Post  FrankP999 on Sat Mar 14, 2015 12:19 pm

You can purchase bags of a pre-made mixture that basically is "Boon's mix" at http://www.bonsaivision.com/akadama-bonsai-soil-mix-s/1832.htm or http://www.satsukibonsai-en.com/soils.htm. I don't know if they ship to Canada. If you need a large quantity, it might be cheaper to buy the components (akadama, pumice, lava). There are several E-Bay vendors with good clean lava and pumice. As Sam said, it isn't cheap. Trees in this mix require more frequent watering than trees in a pine bark or other organic mix. Good luck.

Frank

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Re: soil help please

Post  Precarious on Sat Mar 14, 2015 1:01 pm

Your question may need more consideration. Are you busy and can water only once a day, what is your money situation, what are your goals?

Harry Harrington, on bonsai4me.com, has a great article on substrates, and points in one direction or another based on different circumstances without pushing any particulars. You could use the same mixture on both plants you mentioned and water the succulent much less often, or you could use a faster draining mix on the succulent and have a more similar watering schedule. The variations are virtually endless. It's even safe to say you could kill your trees with Boon's Mix if you water incorrectly, and do okay with 'less quality' mixtures if you water appropriately for them.

Here's the link:
http://bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basics_Soils.html

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Re: soil help please

Post  beer city snake on Sat Mar 14, 2015 1:47 pm

the 2 last issues of the american bonsai society magazine also had a very informative 2 part article on soils...
they interview several artists (including boon) about their soils... all the whats, whys, wheres, whens and onacountas

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By the way, the name is Kevin
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

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Re: soil help please

Post  JimLewis on Sat Mar 14, 2015 7:20 pm

And, the only REAL requirement for bonsai soil is that it drains well.

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Re: soil help please

Post  deepbonsai on Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:05 pm

thank you to every one who has contributed to answering my questions and providing links to read the where very helpful. As for Precarious question I do work during the day and will be able to water it once a day at least. I'm not worried about money as long as it not nothing ridiculous an the end result that I'm look for is a soil that promotes growth but more importantly promotes a healthy tree.
thanks brandon

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Re: soil help please

Post  M. Frary on Sun Mar 15, 2015 1:09 pm

Jim is right. The basic requirement is that it holds some moisture and drains well. I use Napa oil dri straight up sometimes or toss some turkey grit in if it's around. Turface works fine too.
As for a mix being the holy grail? No such thing.

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Re: soil help please

Post  beer city snake on Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:52 pm

M. Frary wrote: As for a mix being the holy grail? No such thing.

hey mike... i would only amend that to read: what might be one man's holy grail, might not be another's.

the napa stuff sounds like your holy grail
as it is mine Wink

so you use yours just straight up, eh ?

i cut mine w/ aged pine park, grit and maybe pumice...
different ratios for different species

all cheap
all easy source-able
and most importantly, they all do exactly what they should.

speaking of soil, i'm heading outside right now to build a triple decker sifter
(i wasnt sifting for a while but am going back to it)

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By the way, the name is Kevin
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

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Re: soil help please

Post  john jones on Sun Mar 15, 2015 3:53 pm

I'm having some good times using a product called insoluble granite poultry grit sold by Manna Pro in the US.  I'm using 70-80% of this poultry grit.

The remainder is organic of various sources - coconut husk mulch, cocoa bean shells, ground pine bark, etc.

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Re: soil help please

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:38 am

M. Frary wrote:  Jim is right. The basic requirement is that it holds some moisture and drains well. I use Napa oil dri straight up sometimes or toss some turkey grit in if it's around. Turface works fine too.
 As for a mix being the holy grail? No such thing.

I know Mike, that's why I said personal opinion.

I know Michiganders that have grown trees in Turface and their trees have done well. I've also grown trees in Turface mixed with pine bark; akadama mixed with chicken grit; pure organic soil; Dry-stall and even straight Turface. They all worked fine. I'm looking for excellent. Fine isn't good enough for me. I also have the advantage of being in a very large and active bonsai club and I see trees growing in all kinds of soil mixes.

The overall heath and root systems of trees grown in Boon mix are unmatched in my yard by trees growing in other substrate. It's the same answer for the very few other members of my club that are using Boon mix, 1 of them his student who is going to Japan to study with Shinji Suzuki. The other is the owner of The Bonsai Learning Center who has spent an insane amount of money to switch all their trees to Boon mix.

Kevin is right and it is the Holy Grail for me; it may not be for you or the original poster.

You do need drainage; in Boon mix you have pumice and lava as drainage and akadama as water retention. My suggestion would be to try a couple of different mixes to see what suits your yard and watering habits. It's not about spending the most amount of money but getting the soil that gives the most to your trees. If you're a member of a club find a member that grows the healthiest looking trees and ask them what they're using.

Good luck!
Sam

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Re: soil help please

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:09 pm

Sam,

down here, it's 5 mm - gravel [ silica ] and crushed red brick - with compost. Also rounded gravel [ aquarium ] 5 mm
Air spaces and water retention.
Testing Colin Lewis's bit on Akadama, breaking down and roots going into a finer material. Using 3 mm glass beads. Talk to you again in 5 to 10 years.

Looking for finer branching and smaller leaves in greater multitude.
Laters.
Khaimraj


Last edited by Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:11 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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