Finding Soils in Minnesota

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Finding Soils in Minnesota

Post  rustybonsai on Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:12 pm

Hello,

I am new to Bonsai and really want to get started sooner than later. I am having a very hard time to find the soils needed to be successful. Does anyone know where I can find the individual soils in Minnesota so I can mix? I have purchased some via ebay but it gets rather expensive with the shipping and so on. Any tips on a place that sells tools, pots and trees would be great as well.

Thanks!

Sean

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Re: Finding Soils in Minnesota

Post  beer city snake on Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:41 pm

depends on exactly what type of soil you are looking for...

traditional japanese style or local style ?

if its local style, napa sells "oil dry" which is diatomaceous earth
farm supply stores carry chicken grit (crushed granite chips) and "dry stall" (pumice)
home improvement stores carry very small (1/8" - 1/4") lava and sharp builders sand
and you should be able to find composted pine park at one of the above...

if its traditional style soils you seek (akadama, etc) then the only help i could give would be to try to change your mind Wink

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Re: Finding Soils in Minnesota

Post  rustybonsai on Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:15 pm

Thanks for the feed back. I am looking at the local style! This helps a ton!


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Re: Finding Soils in Minnesota

Post  beer city snake on Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:22 pm

rustybonsai wrote:Thanks for the feed back.  I am looking at the local style!  This helps a ton!

the only follow up caution i offer is when buying "oil dry", be sure it is ONLY diatomaceous earth...
some oil dry type products contain other ingredients for different application

if you have a napa store near you, this is the stuff:

http://www.napaonline.com/Catalog/CatalogItemDetail.aspx/Oil-Absorbent-24-QT-Diatomaceous-Earth-Absorbent/_/R-NFN8822_0189041133

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

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Re: Finding Soils in Minnesota

Post  M. Frary on Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:28 pm

I use the Napa oil dri. Sometimes pure sometimes cut with a little turkey grit. Depends on my mood really. I only need to water once a day. Even smaller bonsai pots. Putting lava,pumice or grit in will make it a dryer mix. The lava and pumice do hold some water.
There are other things to look into also.
Like turface or haydite.
Ultimately after you get settled into the hobby you will figure out what works best for you in your region.

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Re: Finding Soils in Minnesota

Post  chadley999 on Sat Jul 18, 2015 7:36 pm

I also use the oil-dry! Three parts oil dry and two parts crushed granite. I water once a day at most, but we get a TON of rain.

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Re: Finding Soils in Minnesota

Post  Leo Schordje on Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:20 pm

In Minnesota, most of the feed stores, and poultry supply shops sell chicken grit or turkey grit sourced from the quarries in Minnesota. It is a wonderfully colored crushed granite, brand name is Cherrystone. The color is purple, gray brown, makes a nice main ingredient for a bonsai mix. In much of the USA crushed granite is a stark white with black flecks. Cherry stone is a real nice color for bonsai mixes. Crushed granite is inert, won't break down, and is a good main ingredient for a potting mix. Only draw back it that it is heavy, anything in a larger pot can get quite heavy. The grit comes in different sizes, grower grit is fine about 1/8 - 1/4 inch, layer is is little more coarse, and turkey grit is a nice 1/4 to 3/8 inch size. If you find ostrich or rhea grit, it is more like boulders, too big for bonsai. The feed store by me actually does stock ostrich grit, but not turkey grit. My favorite is turkey grit, but usually I have to settle for grower or layer size, as turkey grit is not found everywhere.

I personally like diatomacious earth as a minor component. I don't like going over 20% DE in my mixes. It has some of the same draw backs that Turface possess. It has a high EC, and can hold salts, which is an issue if you accidentally dry out your tree. The salts are released just as the mix goes bone dry, potentially aggravating the damage to root tips.

I would look for pumice or lava. I usually use a blend that is about 30% pumice, 40% crushed granite, the remainder being a blend of DE, pine bark, and horticultural grade charcoal.  

For azaleas and acid loving trees, I use perlite and Kanuma, roughly 50:50

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Re: Finding Soils in Minnesota

Post  augustine on Sun Jul 19, 2015 9:00 pm

Coarse perlite can be found in farm supply stores. It makes a good mix combines with chick grit and a fine pine bark. Sift everything.

One suggested mix cold be 50% perlite, 30% grit and 20% bark. However soil mixes are a very controversial subject and I've found that many different recipes work well.

IMO the best "affordable" component is pumice which is sold under the name of dry stall.however it has become scarce here in MD.

Find some junipers at the local nursery and do a bit of pruning. repotting is done primarily in the spring. Also do your reading and find a bonsai club.

Best regards,

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Re: Finding Soils in Minnesota

Post  Leo Schordje on Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:08 pm

another source of components is your local hydroponics shops. This is where I find the coarse perlite.

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Re: Finding Soils in Minnesota

Post  Dave Leppo on Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:19 pm

if you can find crushed brick in a sufficiently small size, I highly recommend it.

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Re: Finding Soils in Minnesota

Post  dick benbow on Tue Jul 21, 2015 2:23 pm

I ques the thing I like MOST about hobby chatlines is the willingness of participants to share (their experiences).

But unfortunately, their locale often varies weatherwise from the area in question and while their offerings are well intended,
It may not be the best for another weather area.

finding a mentor from your area thru an area bonsai club may give you closer to what will help you get off on the right foot.

So many "newbees" can easiy get discouraged.

As you progress in the hobby you will even find the depth of the pot used and the variety of plant material also has to be taken into consideration
into your custom blend.

Here in the Pacific northwest our standard 3 way mix of two drainage one moisture retention is coming under reconsideration as the weather globally changes.
Seattle, known for it's rain got none this year, and temps instead of 70's into the 90's. Same is predicted by NOAA thru october of next year.

I have a couple newbees I'm working with this year as a mentor, who are also challenging my knowledge of local materials and availabilities.

This morning I'm off to a transportation warehouse to pick up a shipment from california of some clayking. A 3 way mixture from Japan. I intend to add some additional pumice in my repotting activities to deal with a little more need for water availability.

hope something in this ramble makes sense and helps....

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Re: Finding Soils in Minnesota

Post  Norma on Tue Jul 21, 2015 3:19 pm

Hi Sean,  The wonderful people on this forum love to help but there are so many ideas about proper soil mixes, it becomes at times, a bit confusing.   I have experimented with many different soil mixes in the 20+ years I've grown bonsai but starting out I used the club's soil mix which is excellent for most deciduous/tropical bonsai.  

The Minnesota Bonsai Society gives it's members a great monthly beginner class of which I taught for three years.   I hope you had a good experience at the novice class you attended this past weekend.   I'm sure you were informed about our twice yearly bonsai auctions; this is where you can find some really good bonsai material.  

Good luck and enjoy,
Norma

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Re: Finding Soils in Minnesota

Post  dick benbow on Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:15 pm

and as news anchor, Paul harvey, used to say " and that's the rest of the story".....

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Re: Finding Soils in Minnesota

Post  augustine on Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:44 pm

Yes yes yes - a bonsai club is the best source and joining is the best thing a beginner can do.

Best to all,

Augustine

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Re: Finding Soils in Minnesota

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