Another rookie mistake

dbonsaiw

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In mixing my soil, I now realize I used wood mulch instead of bark chips in the soil. My understanding is that this is BAD as the wood mulch will sap the nitrogen. Question is should I change my soil now or wait for the spring? These trees have also been repotted already this season.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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Okay, so where does that nitrogen go?
Because to me, it sounds like regular composting with extra steps.

Nitrogen goes into the mulch, and slowly seeps out again over time. A steady release. It doesn't magically disappear. So for the first year, or until breakdown or saturation, it's a nitrogen sink.. All time after that it'll become a source.

The solution can be as easy as just feeding a bit more nitrogen.
 

dbonsaiw

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If it's not an emergency now, I will just wait for the end of winter and repot in a better mix. A good example of the dangers of a little bit of knowledge. Ingredients called for bark chips and the store didnt have so I just figured wood chips. Live and learn. Been doing a lot of that so far in this hobby.
 

rockm

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Um, there's no difference between wood chips and bark chips. Both are wood. Wouldn't worry about the N thing. It's overblown...If you're fertilizing in the spring, it's a non-issue.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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Keep an eye on the soil and see if it dries well. I left bark out of my mix because eventually it can stay wet for too long, causing more issues than it solves. Muddy and wet wood isn't ideal.

I believe we can all get better at stuff by trying it out and using logic on the side. Yes, bark and wood can become sinks. This echoes through the bonsai world, because it's true. That's the whole story for some. Yet very few try to think a couple months or years ahead; if that same nitrogen is cycled by the soil microbes that feed off the wood, that locked nitrogen will become available to the plants again.
Same thing goes for activated charcoal; while it does take up the nasties, it also releases it (nanotubes have open ends). I've used it extensively in biochemistry and we had to dispose the charcoal the same way as we had to dispose the chemicals themselves because charcoal literally breathes out whatever it took up in the past.
Some of the first 'timed release/slow release' drugs made use of that same principle. Not with good success rates though.
 

Tieball

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I wouldn’t worry at all. Wood chips. Barks chips. Basically providing the same benefit. If you opened a bag of wood chips you probably find bark chips as well…and the same if you open a bag of bark chips. There’s no conveyor belt sorter along the way.
 

just.wing.it

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If there is something to worry about at all, it would be whether or not your wood chips have been treated with anything to prevent rot....maybe that might not be great....or maybe it doesn't matter. But thats my only thought on it.
 

Joe_B

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I have good results with 1/3 pine fines in my mix
 

RKMcGinnis

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I used some mulch that was pretty long inch to inch and a half. And really skinny in a mix to try. I noticed they became really soft quickly and held to much water. Had to take tree out was bad. I know a lot of people who use soil conditioner with good results in their mix. You don’t want something that will turn to mush to quickly.
 

Joe_B

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Here’s my mix:

1/3 fine pine
1/3 turface (fired clay)
1/3 soil conditioner (slate)

works great for a generic mix
 

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