Horticultural charcoal

radsnell

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I've been told that it is a good idea to add a little charcoal into my soil mix. I've checked Lowe's and Home Depot, but they don't carry any. What is the best site to get some?

Boyd
 

mcpesq817

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I've gotten mine at a local nursery (non-bonsai). It came in a white bag and was already in small chips.
 

Rick Moquin

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Come April you can buy it anywhere, not the briquettes, the real stuff. It breaks up easily at a fraction of the cost and when your done using what ya need, cook a steak :D
 

RyanFrye

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I've been told that it is a good idea to add a little charcoal into my soil mix. I've checked Lowe's and Home Depot, but they don't carry any. What is the best site to get some?

Boyd

Jungle Grow soil at Lowes has charcoal mixed in....however I was there a few days ago and unfortunately they have added some perlite (not as much as other brands) to their mix. For a couple years now I've used Jungle Grow as the organic base to all my mixes
 
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I found horticultural charcoal in the garden center of my local big box store (don't remember which one). You might also try anyplace that stocks supplies for aquariums.
 

Rick Moquin

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I found horticultural charcoal in the garden center of my local big box store (don't remember which one). You might also try anyplace that stocks supplies for aquariums.

What's the delta between horticultural and ordinary charcoal if any, besides price???
 

garywood

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Rick, charcoal briquetts start as ordinary charcoal but a different origin. it can be from a number of sources such as chips, sawdust, or any wood source. it is then "crushed" to a fairly uniform size and a binder is used, usually clay, and then through forms, "briquetts". So, charcoal is charcoal but the briquetts disolve to mush in the soil.
Wood
 

Rick Moquin

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Gary understood but read my original reply I stated charcoal, not briquettes, which as you stated have binders added to them. I am trying to find out if there is a delta between the two.
 

Smoke

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Lots of good myth busting going on here.

I use charcoal for one purpose. Bacteria. With my high humus based addtitions I depend heavily on a good bacteria base to metabolize my humates. The addition of charcoal benifits this by allowing the growing apparatice for this bacteria. Coconut shell carbon is the best, and has the most surface area per cubic inch of material of anything on earth.

http://www.paghat.com/charcoal.html
 

Rick Moquin

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Lots of good myth busting going on here.

I use charcoal for one purpose. Bacteria. With my high humus based addtitions I depend heavily on a good bacteria base to metabolize my humates. The addition of charcoal benifits this by allowing the growing apparatice for this bacteria. Coconut shell carbon is the best, and has the most surface area per cubic inch of material of anything on earth.

http://www.paghat.com/charcoal.html
Al,

I'm finding it difficult to follow you here. You state you use it because of your humus use, yet you provided a link that states charcoal as very little if any value as a soil component. Can you elaborate. I know Walter often uses chunks as a filler on some of his deeper pots for weight reduction more than anything else. I have used it for propping trees in pots but not as an additive perse.
 

Klytus

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I swear by this product!

 

Smoke

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Al,

I'm finding it difficult to follow you here. You state you use it because of your humus use, yet you provided a link that states charcoal as very little if any value as a soil component. Can you elaborate. I know Walter often uses chunks as a filler on some of his deeper pots for weight reduction more than anything else. I have used it for propping trees in pots but not as an additive perse.

Because it adds nothing to the soil as an addition. I use it for that one purpose which is just to harbor bacteria on a microscopic level. If pumice or lava could do it at that level I would not add the carbon as I already have those other components in there. If a person is adding it because of those purposes refered to in the link, then the link is there to break those myths.
 

ghues

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Lots of good myth busting going on here.

I use charcoal for one purpose. Bacteria. With my high humus based addtitions I depend heavily on a good bacteria base to metabolize my humates. The addition of charcoal benifits this by allowing the growing apparatice for this bacteria. Coconut shell carbon is the best, and has the most surface area per cubic inch of material of anything on earth.

http://www.paghat.com/charcoal.html

Please excuse me for a slight side track of this thread

Al, Im just curious....about your bacteria base idea. I fully agree about that and the benefits of humic acid.
With Yamadori though….. I wouldn’t think one would have to add anything especially during the first year or so if you are careful and ensured that you incorporated some of the original forest floor material (that came with your wild one ) into your new soil mix.
I would expect that the original forest floors bacteria, mycorrhizae and other beneficial micro organisms would be there as well to facilitate a healthier soil environment, one that the tree is accustomed too.
I’m exploring this idea as it’s along these lines that I see a real benefit in using a recycled product up here (SeaSoil) which works so well in our mixes. It’s made up of hemlock, balsam, fir bark (no cedar bark) from industrial logging waste and fish farm processing material. I will provide a more detailed discussion with its own thread.
Cheers Graham
 

radsnell

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When I Google "horticultural charcoal", I get some returns of Shultz charcoal as an additive. However, the few places that handle it show it to be out of stock. I'll keep trying to find something.
 

bonsaibp

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Lots of good myth busting going on here.

I use charcoal for one purpose. Bacteria. With my high humus based addtitions I depend heavily on a good bacteria base to metabolize my humates. The addition of charcoal benifits this by allowing the growing apparatice for this bacteria. Coconut shell carbon is the best, and has the most surface area per cubic inch of material of anything on earth.

http://www.paghat.com/charcoal.html

And you know this is accurate how? 'cause it was on the internet? :)
Not agreeing or disagreeing but would like to see something to back up the arguement rather then statements made by who knows who. Someone called paghat!!!!
Personally I use it when repotting plants that had root rot- why? because Kengi said I should. I don't know how much difference it makes if any but it makes me feel better.
 

dick benbow

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Like bob, I add 10% aquarium charcoal because my mentor, David de Groot does so, up at Weyerhauser bonsai display.

I get my charcoal by the 40 pound bag from a warehouse that supplies aquarium stores of which a friend of mine that has a Koi retail shop gets access to. It needs a good sifting and i have used it for several years now with no issues.

can I explain scientifically as to what it does. Nope :) But I trust deGroot with close to 200 species from around the world.
 

KennedyMarx

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Is this the same type of charcoal that they used for fish aquariums? I found some at Walmart in the per section for a few bucks a long time ago when I was interested in making enclosed terrariums.
 

Poink88

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I think the link Smoke provided offers lots of good info with lots of misleading ones as well. Charcoal structure wise pretty much offers same things as the good bonsai soil components (lava, akadama, turface, pumice, etc.) does. It absorbs water, free draining, airy, light, etc. It however have a special characteristic that it doesn't rot and does adsorption...something only a few other materials can do.

I'd love to use it in my mix if I can find a good source too. Breaking charcoal is a bit messy but might go that route if all else fails.
 

agraham

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My understanding is that the charcoal needs to be "activated" to be at it's most effective. Charcoal for aquariums is activated. Charcoal used for cooking is probably not.
 

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