Bonsai Soil Sieves

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Bonsai Soil Sieves

Post  bilbo on Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:51 pm

Hi All,

I've been looking at various sieves for processing bonsai soil.
It seems there is some degree of variation on what some determine is preferred for small, medium, and large aggregate.

As for product, honestly, most of the sieves I've seen look rather flimsy, laborious, and slow.
I'm not faulting anyone for making these choices, but having a almost ancient experience in construction materials inspection, I'm thinking I'll prefer to get some more proper fixed size sieves and fabricate a shaker.

But the question then remains, what sizes are a proper delineation for small, medium, and large aggregates.
I've seen 1/3", 1/4", 1/5", 1/8", 1/10", 1/16"

So, Here I ask, what gauge sieves do you all use for which grade soil?

Thanks in advance!


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Re: Bonsai Soil Sieves

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:06 pm

I can answer. but in mm's.

My two inorganics are set as 5 mm , basically what sits on the screen at 5 mm and has passed through a 6 mm screen.
The aged compost is what has passed through a flour sieve.

For the mame' [ plants at 6 inches or 15 mm ] I use 3 mm inorganics.

Fortunately, I can purchase the silica based gravel pre-sifted at roughly 100 lbs around 5 mm.[ about $7.00 US ]
The crushed red earthenware brick I get from the brick factory room of crushed brick. It takes about
3 hours to get enough to last 3 years or so.

I also re-use the inorganic when repotting, and that saves on having to get more.
Essentially a day sifting of compost and inorganic and I have enough for about 3 years.

In the yard under the Avocado tree, is about 3m [ 10 feet ] x 3 m x 1 m high dedicated to compost making -
bamboo, leaves and weeds, plus the leaves of Leucaena tree [ equal to the manure of a rabbit ]

The sieves, start at 2 x 1 foot and then go to simple rounds about 8" x 2.5 / 3 inches deep.

Possibly about 400 plants, takes about 6 weeks to repot.
Please note only about 50 could be called / possibly called, Bonsai.
Khaimraj Seepersad

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Re: Bonsai Soil Sieves

Post  Marty Weiser on Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:32 am

My experience is in powder processing so I think in terms of mesh size - wires per inch in the USA. For the large particles using relatively fine wire found in most sieves and screening the particle size is very close to 1 over the mesh size so I use that for the size. I make my sieves from hardware cloth (lightly welded wire mesh) and window screen for the finest one. Here is now I define my soil.
Large -1/2" / +1/3" (-13 mm / +9 mm)
Medium -1/3" / +1/4"(-9 mm / +6 mm)
Small -1/4" / +1/8" (-6 mm / + 3 mm)
Very Small -1/8" / +1/16" (-3 mm / +1 mm)
I actually have the bins labelled in mm since it is easier to write, but it confuses some of my visitors.

I primarily use the large as a drainage layer in the bottom of larger, deeper pots or grow boxes with 1/4" hardware cloth in the bottom. Most of my trees are potted in either medium or small and sometimes a mix of the two. Very small is reserved for seed starting and sometimes as a top dressing to help get some moss growing.

I have built both tapered wood trays that nest for sieving small quantities of soil and a rotary system composed of concentric screens from 1/2" to window screen for larger quantities. Info on the later is in a thread somewhere on the forum.

Marty Weiser

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Re: Bonsai Soil Sieves

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