homemade soil question

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Re: homemade soil question

Post  drgonzo on Sun Apr 01, 2012 2:06 am

I just did a quick count with pencil and paper of the bulk of my collection (its easy cause they're all in the living room right now) and I have 30 different species all growing and thriving in 100% Turface! What an amazing substrate.

Bougies, to Maples, Spruce to Cotoneaster, Beech's to 'beams, ficus, Quince, Larch, lilac, hawthorn, Boxwood, Honeysuckle .....just amazing stuff.
-Jay

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Re: homemade soil question

Post  coh on Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:27 am

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:I might have said this before in this thread, but I think the actual material that is labeled "Oil Dry" and/or "Turface" varies in different places.
I don't know if this is true with turface, but it certainly seems likely with the various "oil-dry" products. Test before you use! I bought some last fall (after reading this thread) and did a side-by-side comparison with turface. They look similar, hold similar amounts of water...but the oil-dry that I obtained was definitely softer...and that became very apparent when it was water soaked. After a couple of freeze-thaw cycles there was much more degradation in the oil-dry than the turface...though I must admit that the oil-dry didn't turn completely to mush.

Had a similar experience with another product that was touted as a "turface replacement" on another forum - a product called "Special Kitty cat litter" from Wal-Mart. People were singing its praises. One thing that was true - much, much cheaper than turface. And just like the oil-dry that I tested, superficially similar in appearance, density, water-holding ability. But it became very soft when wet, and turned largely to mush after a freeze-thaw cycle.

So, buyer beware!

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Re: homemade soil question

Post  drgonzo on Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:40 am

In Garys post just above he links to oil-dri's website and products called agrisorb and pro-choice. I believe these products are high fired clays, whats most interesting to me is that there is a wide range of granule sizes, colors, and ph values available for those products. I'm looking into them tonight but I'm not sure where I could order or purchase them.
-Jay

I also found out my Pro-field conditioner (which I order through my local True Value) is made by Profile LLC which also owns the Turface trade name and makes the various "turface" products.

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Re: homemade soil question

Post  Oliver Muscio on Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:15 pm

Another product you can use if you cannot find Turface is a very similar one, Mule Mix, also used as an athletic field conditioner. Like Turface it is a high-fired clay product that does not break down. The particles in the pots in which I used it last spring are as hard as they were then--no breakdown in a year.
My thanks to Randy Davis for alerting me to this product.
Oliver

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Re: homemade soil question

Post  JimLewis on Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:24 pm

And, at least in some sub-brands of Mule Mix, particle size is a bit larger. Until recently, I had no vendor for MM around here, but there's one in Hendersonville now, I think. I still have one full bag of Turface to use up first.

_________________
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: homemade soil question

Post  Gary Swiech on Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:27 pm

Here's the link that is not working above: http://www.oildri.com/agri/index.html

I don't know if this is true with Turface, but it certainly seems likely with the various "oil-dry" products. Test before you use! I bought some last fall (after reading this thread) and did a side-by-side comparison with Turface. They look similar, hold similar amounts of water...but the oil-dry that I obtained was definitely softer...and that became very apparent when it was water soaked. After a couple of freeze-thaw cycles there was much more degradation in the oil-dry than the Turface...though I must admit that the oil-dry didn't turn completely to mush.
Had a similar experience with another product that was touted as a "Turface replacement" on another forum - a product called "Special Kitty cat litter" from Wal-Mart. People were singing its praises. One thing that was true - much, much cheaper than Turface. And just like the oil-dry that I tested, superficially similar in appearance, density, water-holding ability. But it became very soft when wet, and turned largely to mush after a freeze-thaw cycle.

Kitty litter– No good.

That's kind of all the Mumbo Jumbo I have about the two conditioners.

I agree, buyer beware

I must admit that I'm working with Turface MVP™ as I'm re-potting now and it's really easy to work with. For the deciduous bonsai I can just add some medium chicken grit and Fafards Nursery pot mix(80% processed pine bark- 20% Canadian peat) to what ever proportion I need depending on the individual needs of the species of tree I'm repotting.

Can any of you who use Turface™, tell me how it works with Shimpaku junipers? Or how it fits in with junipers as far as soil is concerned.

I need to repot 2 Itoigawa Shimpaku this Spring and I was going to use the 1/3 Akadama, 1/3 Pumice, 1/3 lava rock.

Perhaps some can tell me?






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Re: homemade soil question

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:39 pm

I have Shimpaku and other Junipers growing in 100% Turface MVP and as long as I water daily and fertilize weekly with a liquid 14-14-14 by package directions, they do great. I also have them growing in 1/3 Turface, 1/3 Lava and 1/3 Fafard Soil Conditioner which is a composted pine bark mix. They are also fine in that mix. I have a Itoigawa in 100% MVP.

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Re: homemade soil question

Post  Gary Swiech on Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:33 pm

I have Shimpaku and other Junipers growing in 100% Turface MVP and as long as I water daily and fertilize weekly with a liquid 14-14-14 by package directions, they do great. I also have them growing in 1/3 Turface, 1/3 Lava and 1/3 Fafard Soil Conditioner which is a composted pine bark mix. They are also fine in that mix. I have a Itoigawa in 100% MVP.

I'm familiar with Fafard Soil Conditioner and use it myself all of the time when I have to add any organic matter the soil like for my Zelkova's, Maples, Hornbeams, etc.

Thanks for the advice Billy,.

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Re: homemade soil question

Post  drgonzo on Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:20 pm

Gary Swiech wrote:
I must admit that I'm working with Turface MVP™ as I'm re-potting now and it's really easy to work with

This above, and the root growth I see when I re-pot plants that have been grown in pure Turface, Is the primary reason I use it and nothing else now. No more sifting bark, mixing different percentages for each tree of grit and organic and inorganic...

Now its; Tree, pot, Turface... next tree. (sometimes a sprinkling of chopped sphagnum)

When things get to crunch time as they just did for me last couple weeks with the "false spring fake out" and your re-potting 4-5 trees a day plus a couple fresh dug Yamadori the time savings is much appreciated.
-Jay

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Re: homemade soil question

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:58 pm

Turface is awesome!!!! I have most of my trees in roughly 2/3 turface and 1/3 lava rock mixture and they love it. Pines, maples, quince, all put on good growth. It does dry out for me quite easily in my hot summers and the fact that I'm in full sun from 7:30AM to 8:00PM, but I have a misting system setup plus I give them a full drench in the mornings. My trees put on far more growth and appear healthier than some of the other folks in my club who use all kinds of mixtures.

No problems after 2 years...great stuff. I have 5 more bags that should last me at least 15 years Smile Maybe I need more trees.
~Sam

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Re: homemade soil question

Post  lordy on Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:10 pm

I went to Turface MVP a few years ago and can agree that the trees do seem to like it. Amended as required by the type of tree at hand, I have found that the pots can still hesitate to release all unabsorbed liquid if not tilted to aid drainage. In other words, the Turface drains quickly, but there can still be puddles on the floor of the pot unless you tip to let it run to one end and drain in corner holes. Not a major issue, just one to be cognisant of. Also, as another post above alluded to, you must fertilize more frequently with liquid because everything runs through it.

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Re: homemade soil question

Post  Gary Swiech on Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:16 pm

Concerning PH:

Turface™– 6.6
Oil Dry™– 6.0

Pretty close.

Well I'm going out to repot now. I have to pot the Hornbeams today.

Happy repotting everyone.

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Re: homemade soil question

Post  drgonzo on Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:36 pm

lordy wrote: the Turface drains quickly, but there can still be puddles on the floor of the pot unless you tip to let it run to one end and drain in corner holes.

Looked at another way; it lets us know that the substrate itself is not holding on to execces liquid, the floor of the pot is.

lordy wrote: you must fertilize more frequently with liquid because everything runs through it.

this feature can be used to your advantage by allowing for a more frequent fertilizing schedule.
-Jay

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Re: homemade soil question

Post  marcus watts on Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:29 pm

The ability to freely drain must help to flush excess salts and minerals from the medium too.

It is interesting about puddles in pots - many pots have areas that puddle and it can lead to root problems unless you are fully aware of where they drain and where they dont. I remember in the early days a pot that made a puddle in the middle and it made a wet black area under the trunk of one of my early white pines so much so that i lost several branches but luckily not the tree - and this was in a very free draining soil. if you are potting a moisture sensitive species i'd always reccomend watering the empty pot to see if it puddles and then decide whether to use it, or at least where to sit the tree.

marcus

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Re: homemade soil question

Post  lordy on Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:33 pm

marcus watts wrote:The ability to freely drain must help to flush excess salts and minerals from the medium too.

It is interesting about puddles in pots - many pots have areas that puddle and it can lead to root problems unless you are fully aware of where they drain and where they dont. I remember in the early days a pot that made a puddle in the middle and it made a wet black area under the trunk of one of my early white pines so much so that i lost several branches but luckily not the tree - and this was in a very free draining soil. if you are potting a moisture sensitive species i'd always reccomend watering the empty pot to see if it puddles and then decide whether to use it, or at least where to sit the tree.

marcus
I learned about tilting pots to empty them of water not absorbed or retained by the soil and roots from someone at the US National Arboretum. Apparently it is standard operating procedure there (assuming they can lift the pot in question--they have some hefty specimens!) Try it sometime. Water as usual, let drain until no more comes out. Then lift one end a few inches and see if more liquid doesnt run out. I even do this on pots that only have a single hole--the water sometimes runs over the rim on smaller trees. I wouldnt chance it on larger ones. The soil could come out as well, especially if recently potted.

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Re: homemade soil question

Post  marcus watts on Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:42 pm

Yes, totally agree - but tilting only works if you have a hole near the very edge of the pot - if you have central holes tilting makes a wetter spot as the water pools down one end.

Every winter I prop all my big oval pots on a brick so they tilt - it means the lower end traps a bit of water beyond the last hole but 95% of the pot drains perfectly.

cheers Marcus

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Re: homemade soil question

Post  GaryWood on Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:48 pm

Lordy, don't confuse that with lengthening the water column. Saturate a sponge and lay it flat on a screen and drain until it stops. Then turn it on its edge and see what happens.
Wood
http://thingsofwood-gary.blogspot.com/

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