Hydroton instead of Akadama

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In Indonesia, we only use volcanic sands for over 40 years. I tried akadama few years ago and found no better, but the price was sky high compared to our local volcanic sands.

Our local volcanic sands fulfils all the advantages requirement for bonsai e.g. :

- Porous. The porosity is beneficial to the growth of root-hairs. Healthy root-hairs will give healthy foliation that lead to healthy tree.
- Good water-retention. Water-retention is important to maintain the sufficient quantity of water in the soil to keep the moisture.
- Good drainage. Good drainage will maintain the quality of the soil, avoiding too much water that may cause the root rot and kill the tree.
- Good aeration. Good oxygen flow in soil is important for the living of good bacteria, mycorrhizae to live which is needed to process the food in the soil.
- No break down. Break down will form the soil to solid mush and disturb the drainage and aeration. The compacted soil will also disturb the growth of root-hairs and damage the root system during repotting. Can be cleaned and reused again.
- Neutral in ph. The neutral ph is suitable for most bonsai.
- Very cheap. Volcano lava is much cheaper compare to other inorganic soils.

Few years ago, it was recommended by Prof. Amy Liang from Taiwan in one her lectures in China; since then, the volcanic sands from Indonesia are widely used in China, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

The best proof of good soil is the hair-roots condition as shown here :

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This bonsai had been at least more than 2 years before the repotting. The soil surface looked like solid and very hard...

4.jpg

But when it was taken out from the pot, the soils was very loose. Just by gently shake, all were loosen and the roots system was remained undamaged, especially the hair-roots.

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LOL, you can also seive and use it on the surface, looks neat and clean for display...

7.jpg

...and you can wash it and re-use again and again as it does not break down.
 

bonsaiasia

Seedling
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Hi Robert,

The first picture looks like the volcanic sand has lumped up together and no longer in pieces.

Just curious, do you guys use purely volcanic sand (100%)?

I've tried using pure volcanic sand from Indonesia (sieved to 2-6 mm sizes) to replace the old soil of my bonsais (removed old soil totally). They initially get very dry and they even dropped lots of their leaves (heavy watering 2-3 times a day + slightly above average fertilizing).

As I was afraid that the tree might die of being too dry, I added about 20% of "coconut chip", they do slightly better now, but still towards the dry side.

Does this usually happen? If yes, how long before it gets back to its normal state?

Thanks!



In Indonesia, we only use volcanic sands for over 40 years. I tried akadama few years ago and found no better, but the price was sky high compared to our local volcanic sands.

Our local volcanic sands fulfils all the advantages requirement for bonsai e.g. :

- Porous. The porosity is beneficial to the growth of root-hairs. Healthy root-hairs will give healthy foliation that lead to healthy tree.
- Good water-retention. Water-retention is important to maintain the sufficient quantity of water in the soil to keep the moisture.
- Good drainage. Good drainage will maintain the quality of the soil, avoiding too much water that may cause the root rot and kill the tree.
- Good aeration. Good oxygen flow in soil is important for the living of good bacteria, mycorrhizae to live which is needed to process the food in the soil.
- No break down. Break down will form the soil to solid mush and disturb the drainage and aeration. The compacted soil will also disturb the growth of root-hairs and damage the root system during repotting. Can be cleaned and reused again.
- Neutral in ph. The neutral ph is suitable for most bonsai.
- Very cheap. Volcano lava is much cheaper compare to other inorganic soils.

Few years ago, it was recommended by Prof. Amy Liang from Taiwan in one her lectures in China; since then, the volcanic sands from Indonesia are widely used in China, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

The best proof of good soil is the hair-roots condition as shown here :

View attachment 17891
View attachment 17893
View attachment 17894
 
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