acer palmatum soil "uk"

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acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  kingbean on Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:13 pm

Hi everyone,
I have been reading books on the subject of which soil would be best to use in the re-potting of my maples.
Because before I was under the impression that pure akadama would best suit maples,
Now after reading more info I understand that sand is a good soil to use reason being
It dosen't freeze to bad in winter and helps split the roots more to promote root ramification
Thus ramifying on top also can anyone shed some light on the subject please ?

kingbean
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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:54 pm

kingbean wrote:Hi everyone,
I have been reading books on the subject of which soil would be best to use in the re-potting of my maples.
Because before I was under the impression that pure akadama would best suit maples,
Now after reading more info I understand that sand is a good soil to use reason being
It dosen't freeze to bad in winter and helps split the roots more to promote root ramification
Thus ramifying on top also can anyone shed some light on the subject please ?

The root splitting thing is a myth. The sharp sand just doesn't do any better than other soils, as long as drainage is good.

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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  JimLewis on Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:30 pm

And just-plain "sand" usually has too-small particles. Here is the classification of soil sizes:

particle diameter

clay less than 0.002 mm
silt 0.002 mm – 0.05 mm
sand 0.05 mm – 2.00 mm
fine pebbles 2.00 mm – 5.00 mm
medium pebbles 5.00 mm – 20.00 mm
coarse pebbles 20.00 mm – 75.00 mm

For bonsai, you want soil particles at the upper size limit for "sand" to about the lower middle of the "medium pebbles" classification.

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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: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  Kev Bailey on Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:11 pm

In the UK I use horticultural grit, sophistical pink cat litter and chipped bark for my maples.

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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  gope on Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:15 pm

Kev, is your mix made of equal parts of grit, cat litter and bark?
Regrds
Marcin

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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  Kev Bailey on Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:31 pm

Yes, that's right.

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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  gope on Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:11 pm

Information worth its weight in gold. Thank for sharing!
Regards
Marcin

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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  Kev Bailey on Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:14 pm

Just make sure that if you do use cat litter it is Sophisticat Pink or Tesco calcined montmorillinite. Both are high fired and will not break down for more than ten years. Any other type turns to mush instantly and is worse than none at all.

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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  gope on Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:28 pm

Kev, I only use Tesco's Light Weight (danish pink) but this year wanted to add some organic parts for my maples as it was to dry in my opinion and here you go, ready recipe from such acer specialist Very Happy. Thanks again

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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  GrumpyOldMan on Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:48 pm

I was curious to try the cat litter so this year I potted two or three trees in it, not mixed with anything else. All was going well until I knocked one of the pots over and the whole lot poured out, lol.

Ian.

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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  kingbean on Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:09 pm

Thank you for answering my question everyone.

kingbean
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re Maple mix

Post  LANCE on Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:03 am

Kev, where do you source your chipped bark, what particle size is it?

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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  Kev Bailey on Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:52 am

Hi Phil,

I prefer the best quality pine bark nuggets I can find. J Athur Bowers "Premium Golden Pine Bark Chips" is my favourite. http://www.william-sinclair.co.uk/gardening/products/barkandmulches I only locate it rarely at certain garden centres. I guess any would order some in if they stock William Sinclair products.

I use B&Q mini bark at a push, but it requires lots of hand sorting to remove wood chips and occasional rocks!

This is necessary as I then pass all types of bark through a garden shredder to create smaller sized chunks. Then I sieve it to remove fines and grade particle sizes for different mixes. The "Premium Golden Pine Bark Chips" produces very little waste and is usually a dry uncomposted type of bark, that holds up well for a couple of years in the mix.

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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  my nellie on Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:42 am

Well, this is not absolutely related to acers but I would like to ask your patience and pose my question here.... (dear Kingbean, thank you for your... hospitality Smile )
Azaleas are acid lovers and I have read that pine bark is often added to the substrate mix for bonsai azaleas.
Here in Greece azaleas plants are preferably grown into compost of chestnut leaves (and they do thrive this way!).
I wonder whether pine bark could be replaced by shredded chestnut leaves keeping the same proportions for the mix for a bonsai azalea.
One can find plain chestnut leaves in local nurseries here in Greece....

Thank you for your attention!

my nellie
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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  Dave Martin on Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:45 pm

For those living near Dorset try Roffeys of Bournemouth www.roffey.ltd.uk for Pine bark. They do a 75 litre bag for about £9. It is sold as Melcourt pine bark available in a number of grades for bonsai purposes propagating grade is the best. Virtually no waste no sieving and very long lasting.

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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  wabashene on Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:53 pm

Dave Martin wrote:For those living near Dorset try Roffeys of Bournemouth www.roffey.ltd.uk for Pine bark. They do a 75 litre bag for about £9. It is sold as Melcourt pine bark available in a number of grades for bonsai purposes propagating grade is the best. Virtually no waste no sieving and very long lasting.

BandQ Soil Conditioner is/used to be composted bark and is pretty handy to put that touch of organic into your mix without too much fiddling around.

thks

TimR

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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  Mike Jones on Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:35 pm

My Maples are in similar. I have used a similar mix for decades and they have remained pictures of health. As follows.

Sifted and graded Akadama (never tried cat litter) larger particles to the lower area, content % at a guess (ish) around 50%

Used to use Kyodama but now use marine aqua-grit. 25-30% content

As already mentioned the finest (IMHO) propogating bark is by Melcourt, waste is minimal and this is one fine product. 10-15%

No good at sums, but the balance would be some frit (trace elements) calcified seaweed and some chopped sphagnum moss, oh and some Naruko if I have any at the time of repotting.

I mix it dry. Place a layer of grit on the base of the pot (if I remember, usually just as I put the finishing touches...sigh) and finally I top dress with the smaller Akadama particles; that way I can remove the top layer and redress if showing etc.

The above is what I do with Maples.

Others will no doubt say it is to fussy, but I find the entire process very therapeutic, coffee or 'other' by the side, traditional oriental music softly playing in the background ...ahhhh, life just couldn't be better Very Happy

Mike

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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  roberthu526 on Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:44 pm

Pure sand is fine just remeber to use corse and fine sand together. You will be amazed how the root grows in 6-month. I have had this experience with four of my tridents. Also sand is easy to remove. You just lift up the tree and shake, everything will drop off and leave only the roots so you can work well with them. Just one thing, fertilize them regularly, like other inorganic medium, sand doesn't hold nutrition and water well like akadama or lava rock, so you have to fertilize more. Other than that I think sand is a fine medium. All my four tridents grew in sand had over two feet long fine roots in just six months. Maybe sand can even cure bald......

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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  R3mco on Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:59 pm

I have bad experience using sand in bonsai soil.
It gets infected with ants quite quickly.

As i live in the Netherlands, it's almost the same soggy weather in England, so using a quick draining soil is the best.
I prefer lava (black, hard) with akadama (1 part lava, 2 parts akadama).

The trees in organic soil have problems (lots!!!), the trees in akadama have almost no problems ...

I have tried cat litter as well (i have cats, so its cheap both ways), but i wasnt fond of the colour (white-ish).

As far as Acer Palmatum goes, after the 1st year in the pot in akadama, nice moss appears on it because its breaking down and attracting spores more easily, so thats my no.1 choice atm.

Hope it helps Wink

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Re: acer palmatum soil "uk"

Post  marcus watts on Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:33 am

hi,
you firstly need to decide how wet your winters are, how much dry wind your garden will recieve in summer and how deep a pot you are going to use., along with the position in your gargden you keep the trees - prevailing wind, hrs of direct sunlight, hrs of shade etc

i'm in Cornwall so have very wet winters and generally moister than average air blowing in summer, along with some large old acer bonsai.
The most important thing is that the soil must retain enough moisture to supply every leaf on the hottest, windiest day - otherwise they will crisp on the edges in one single afternoon. While the tree is in leaf and actively growing it will draw lots of water but come winter water uptake is virtually nil so roots will rot if the soil mix remains waterlogged, but this is more easily sorted pre winter than using a soil that dries out too much in the summer and ruins the tree's leaves.

1) hot days - dry winters....pure akadama but feed properly, no nutrients in this soil - SE england, not Cornwall haha
2) as your regional winter gets wetter add kiryu or grit to the akadama, up to 40% grit to combat very wet winters but watch summer drying out (feed properly too)
3) For my trees it is essential (to me) the leaves remain perfect so i use 70% Akadama, 25% kiryu, 5% fresh chopped sphagnum moss. Set the pot up properly though - seive the grades and make sure the drainage layer is the largest particles to avoid holding too much water standing low in the pot. - The moss/akadama combination holds plenty of moisture for the roots and leaves, but for winter I tilt all my large flat oval pots so excess water drains quickly, and in the past i've covered the soil with plastic sheeting so excess water runs out quickly when you get a week or two of solid rain.

personally (not wanting to start an off topic debate) cat litter is for cats to poop in, akadama, grit, kiryu, kanuma, bark, moss, etc etc is to grow bonsai in - and i havent seen any very good trees growing and thriving in cat litter yet, normally it is used when poeple say import soils are too expensive - to use on their expensive pride and joy trees !!!! scratch scratch

Acers are very hardy though if you dont rot them in the winter below the soil, if the leaves crisp up it wont kill the ttree. just learn from it, reposition the tree in your garden and either water more or adjust the soil mix next time to hold more water

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