Making A Good And Reasonably Priced Soil

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Making A Good And Reasonably Priced Soil

Post  flor1 on Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:43 pm

Trying to come up with a soil mix that won't break the bank. I'm in N. Georgia to buy Acadamia hear is about $42.00 a bag and Lava Rock if you can find it about the same. We can get Turface hear but I'm not sold on it. Looking for some ideas and input. Thanks

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Re: Making A Good And Reasonably Priced Soil

Post  FrankP999 on Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:29 pm

The Monastery in Conyers has akadama for $27. They also have lava and kanuma. http://www.bonsaimonk.com/

If you are in north Georgia it is worth a trip - probably cheaper than shipping cost.

Frank

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Re: Making A Good And Reasonably Priced Soil

Post  Rob Kempinski on Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:55 pm

I vary my potting mix depending on the tree.

For inorganic mixes I use lava rocks, turface, akadama and sand blast sand in equal parts.
Turface works - get sold on it and try different colors. Very reasonable.
While lava rock is getting expensive it's a good medium especially if you don't use akadama.
Akadama is good for many species but it is getting rarer and expensive. Haydite is a good substitute but you might have to bulk order it as I have never found it for sale.

I usually drop the akadama and add Miraclegrow potting soil and maybe pine bark soil conditioner for my water retentive trees (buttonwood, bald cypress, Florida elm, hackberry, sand pine, slash pine, black olive etc.)

For ficus I add just a touch of organic to the first mix.

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Re: Making A Good And Reasonably Priced Soil

Post  Guest on Fri Mar 19, 2010 12:17 pm

Hi here in the south west of the UK the problem is too much water (it rains a lot!!!!- trust me) when we moved down here about 10 years ago I was growing in straight akadama (I had been growing in oxfordshire - a lot drier) but in Somerset the akadama was getting too compacted and 'solid' - so I started growing in 50 - 50 akadama and kyodama(???) which worked REALLY well the kyodama really helped to drain the extra moisture away but allowed the akadama to hold the moisture as well. I hear that both soils are now getting rare (I think that the kyodama is not being produced anymore - any info???) so I'm reconsidering the soil for this repotting season - going back over some old books in my collection I was wondering about going back to a soil based mixture and was considering something like this - a mixture of vermiculite (20%), perlite (20%), grit (25%), sharp sand (25%)and a small (10%) of soil/compost - any thoughts? feeding is usually through slow release fertiliser (cakes or pellets).

cheers windswept

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Re: Making A Good And Reasonably Priced Soil

Post  Kev Bailey on Fri Mar 19, 2010 12:41 pm

Hi Windswept,

Imports have become too expensive, which considering the distance they are being transported is probably just plain common sense.

I'd advise against soil based mixes. They went out of use for a good reason - the increased chance of root rot. Try replacing the Kyodama with local alternatives, like crushed Cornish granite (as used by Alpine plant enthusiasts). Instead of akadama maybe some Sophisticat high fired cat litter made from Danish moler clay, the pink colour is due to calcination which increases its absorbency and prevents it from breaking down. My mix also include about 25% chipped or composted conifer bark to replace the peat element that I used to use. I haven't used Akadama for a couple of years and some trees are the better for it. I suppose vermiculite and perlite would have a water holding capacity similar to the cat litter, but they look worse and are more easily washed away.

_________________
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin.

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Re: Making A Good And Reasonably Priced Soil

Post  Guest on Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:46 pm

Thanks Kev! cat litter hmmmm I suppose it will give the neighbourhood moggys a place to use rather than my veg garden..... I know what you mean about soild based mixes I stopped using it about 15 years ago (when I could afford akadama etc) what do you think about the sharp sand option? I've never used it by I understand some of the Japanese growers swear by river washed sand, What's the root growth like in the mix you use? looking forward to the Bath show tomorrow!!

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Re: Making A Good And Reasonably Priced Soil

Post  NeilDellinger on Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:48 pm

If you got to bonsaimonk.com & look at their prices I think you'll find them reasonable for red lava. They also have a few different mixes. They're located in conyers. Its worth a trip not only to avoid shipping rocks, but to see the place. The people are also great. Karen is the best, super nice lady. I want to say their lava is around 5-7 bucks per bag.

Otherwise find a turface dealer and mix it with chicken grit and composted pine bark.

I am spoiled. Here in Tulsa I can get 2 tons of haydite (almost like lava) graded to the proper size for about $30 Very Happy

Neil

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Re: Making A Good And Reasonably Priced Soil

Post  Tom on Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:59 pm

Kev Bailey wrote: Instead of akadama maybe some Sophisticat high fired cat litter made from Danish moler clay, the pink colour is due to calcination which increases its absorbency and prevents it from breaking down.

Kev, is it the "Sophisticat Pink Cat Litter" you are talking about? sounds like it from the description but just wanted to double-check as googling reveals multiple types of cat litter made by that firm.

Thanks,
Tom

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Re: Making A Good And Reasonably Priced Soil

Post  eaton2008 on Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:09 am

i used tesco low dust cat litter (£2.89 for 10l)last year for the first time when repotting my trees, i didnt have any problems so i have just used it with the rest of my trees! dont think i will bother with akadama (£12-14 for 14l)again!!

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Re : Making A Good And Reasonably Priced Soil

Post  Bob Brunt on Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:11 am

Flor1.
.Have a look at this site http://www.bonsai4me.com/ . Harry Harrington has done extensive research into this.He includes different product names for many countries.

Tom.
It is "Sophisticat Pink Cat Litter" that Kev is referring to.I use it all the time now..Around £8.00 for 30L...can,t grumble at that.

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Re: Making A Good And Reasonably Priced Soil

Post  flor1 on Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:41 pm

Ended up going to the Monastary bught all the lava rock they had. Going with a mix of 1/3 turface 1/3 lava rock and 1/3 grit. Going to try that on a couple of trees and see how it works I may have to adjust a little bit. Thanks for all the input.

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Re: Making A Good And Reasonably Priced Soil

Post  Dave Murphy on Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:59 pm

flor1 wrote:Ended up going to the Monastary bught all the lava rock they had. Going with a mix of 1/3 turface 1/3 lava rock and 1/3 grit. Going to try that on a couple of trees and see how it works I may have to adjust a little bit. Thanks for all the input.

This has been my standard mix for three years, and it worked fine in zone 6 MA, but I'm still not sure about the climate in N. GA. Since moving south last year, and with all the rain we had in GA last summer/fall, I suspect even this mix was too water retentive for my conifers. I suspect it will work out, but I will need to be more careful about my watering.

Dave

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Re: Making A Good And Reasonably Priced Soil

Post  jferrier on Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:29 pm

I use Starter (about 1/8") and Grower (less than 1/4") Granigrit. Its found at feed stores for use as poultry grit. Its just crushed granite and costs about $12 for a 40lb bag. I mix it in different ratios for different plants with a soil called Metromix for the organic component . Don't know if its a local product or can be found elsewhere. Its about $15 for a 40 lb bag. Its a very light airy soil with good moisture retention but still drains well. I like it because its free of large chunks of mulch and it tends to avoid compacting.

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