"Help Smoke"

docs_bonsai

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I need a little help with my soil mix…I’ve used “John Nakas” soil recipe here for years and it has served me well…The high summer heat in the Sacramento area has increased year by year…I find myself watering twice and sometimes three times a day…Everything in one and two gallon pots hold moisture just fine…When I repot into shallow Bonsai pots they dry out over night…”Constantly watering”… Knowing your location what would you recommend as a good soil mix to help hold moisture for a longer period of time in shallower pots?
Doc

Basic Soil Mix:
1 part soil
2 parst organic
1 part sand
1 part crushed lava
 

Bill S

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Doc, I know you are looking for Al's input, a couple of questions he might ask about your recipie.

What are the organic, and soil parts actually consist of?

Pumice might be part of the answer, til you answer the questions though i'm stymied, because the organic and soil parts to me say" hold water" , Be interesting to see what Al has to say on this.
 

docs_bonsai

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Bill, this is what the organic consist of..

Basic Soil Mix:
1 part soil (clean top soil)
2 parts organic (sphagnum, peat and fir bark mix)
1 part sand
1 part crushed lava

Thanks
 
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adding more organic or soil would definitely do the trick, they are going to help retain the moisture... myself I tend to not like using peat, just because it goes from being wet to bone dry very fast, but small amounts should be fine... we have had an abnormally dry season here as well, a sign maybe of things to come???
 

rockm

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"When I repot into shallow Bonsai pots they dry out over night…”

This is probably your problem and not really the soil per se --

Recently repotted trees haven't colonized the pot with roots. That means more air is exchanged through the soil. Shallow pots have less soil, so they tend to dry out even more quickly in situations with newly repotted trees. I noticed this in the spring after I repotted a couple of amur maple forests that had been in inch deep 20" long rectangle pots. The tree hadn't needed more water than any of my other trees in years. They hadn't been repotted in about five years, which means they had dense root masses.

This spring, I sheared off 90 percent of their root masses at repotting. I used a coarser bonsai mix (with about 40 percent orchid bark and some pine mulch fines). The pots dried out in about half the time they used to take. I have had to water them two or three times a day, depending on the weather. Low humidity levels, intense spring sunshine and wind will dry them out completely in a few hours.

I've slowed the evaporation rates in recently-repotted trees by laying on a some wet long fibered sphagnum moss and keeping it in place until the roots of the trees have developed enough to slow evaporation down a bit.
 

cquinn

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Yep, not a soil problem. Try shade cloth.
 

Smoke

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I need a little help with my soil mix…I’ve used “John Nakas” soil recipe here for years and it has served me well…The high summer heat in the Sacramento area has increased year by year…I find myself watering twice and sometimes three times a day…Everything in one and two gallon pots hold moisture just fine…When I repot into shallow Bonsai pots they dry out over night…”Constantly watering”… Knowing your location what would you recommend as a good soil mix to help hold moisture for a longer period of time in shallower pots?
Doc

Basic Soil Mix:
1 part soil
2 parst organic
1 part sand
1 part crushed lava


I still am watering once a day even with the temps at triple digit this week. I did move a couple shohin size plants under the shade cloth, though they showed no signs of stress, I just thought it better to be safe.

I have a totally inorganic soil mix similer to what Boon uses, though many were using this mix years before Boon. Boons mix has just been in print so often that it has come to be known as "Boon mix".

I use nearly 60 percent akadama though. Water retention with the Japanese clay is superior to other clays like haydite and turface. They dry much faster.

The first shot is of three plants on a wagon sitting in the hot sun right now. 102 degrees and I havnt watered yet since 4 PM yesterday. The small cork elm in the middle is in a half gallon bulb pot. About 3 cups of soil.


the next shot is most of my shohin tridents, about 30 on a shelf under the shade cloth. It is the same time of day. Shaded by trees and shade cloth.
 

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docs_bonsai

Yamadori
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"Soil Help"

Thanks Al, I've never used Akadama until recently...I got a nice redwood from Bob Shinion...He suggested Akadama for retention...Maybe you guys are on to something...The redwood loves the stuff and we all know that they love water...I'll give it a try and I'll post the results...Thanks Al, and everyone that responded...
 

bob shimon

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soil mix

Hi Doc - The redwood will do fine in straight akadama. I would use 2 parts akadama, one part each of pumice and lava rock for your other trees. I teach workshops on a fairly regular basis in Sacramento, and we have had good luck with this mix. Good luck
 

docs_bonsai

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"I'm changing"

Well it looks like I'm changing my ways, Akadama it is!! Thanks Bob we'll see you at the next demo...
 
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A little off topic, sorry about this, but do you guys know a good source for Akadama?

I went to the local nursery and talked to the greenhouse manager who is a big bonsai enthusiast. He said the only way to get it in the area is to have it shipped in, costing an arm and a leg. He recommended cutting it with pumice, turface, 5% peat moss (very hot summers here) and permatill.

I wasn't able to get the Akadama shipped in, so just repotted in the permatill, pumice, turface, and peatmoss mix. So far my JBP loves the stuff, but I would like to incorporate more Akadama in the future, as I've heard nothing but amazing things about the stuff (well, other than price).
 
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