Lime Sulfur, Tung Oil, BLO, Wood Hardener, Smith's CPES, Paraloid, Titebond III, Secret formulae...

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#23
My research into disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT), aka borates

Summary: Don't

First, I'm looking at the materials mentioned in the thread and the underlying problem for all is that they do not penetrate throughout the deadwood. There will always be the likelihood that the inner deadwood is rotting away, and one day, the surface of the deadwood will collapse like a deflated balloon.

Then I started looking into what would penetrate and kill the problem, even if it doesn't harden punky wood. I could kill all the fungus with a fungicide to protect the wood from rotting, then cap the deadwood with a hardener. That search lead me to "borates" which lead me to THIS RATHER LONG MASTER'S THESIS (thank you, Aliya Ann Turner for doing the work, I hope you got your degree) where I got the full name disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT). I had used a product containing this compound to protect exposed studs while rebuilding my home after Hurricane Katrina. "Bora-Care" boasts that it will penetrate far into the stud (or all the way through) taking DOT with it. Looking to see if borates are toxic to plants, I found several articles that reminded me that I had missed an important element in the first word of DOT: diSODIUM

Borates are salt acids.

Turner's paper (link above) shows and explains how borates penetrate the sapwood portions of dried lumber. Borates can even be leached from treated wood to form DOT crystals on the surface of the wood. All well and good for preserving historical woodwork. But what about where deadwood meets the living? Turns out, it's bad news. As a salt, borates function as a mover of water. Ever burn a section of grass, or foliage of a bonsai, by leaving too much fertilizer in one place? Many fertilizers are chemical salts. When high concentrations, even dry crystals, rest against leaves, water is drawn from the cells faster than the plant can replenish it. Then the affected cells die and turn brown and we say we "burned" it.

I came here to look for mentions of borates and I found this 2011 post by @crust:
I tried borates on some old rotten trunks and it was clear after two years this treatment leaches out and kills the tree outright-kaboom. Don't use borates.
Note his use of the word "leaches". Imagine, then, burning the living tissue of your plant from the inside. Borates draw water from the living tissue. The living tissue is being replenished by the roots, but the borates always want more. The water is drawn out further and further by the salty deadwood. Away from the xylem and out to the surface of the deadwood where the sun and air take it away. Water that is supposed to be flowing to higher points in the bonsai is being redirected into dry dead wood. This is done, not as a crystal sitting on a leaf, but an area as big as where the deadwood you desire is in contact with living tissues.

Could an equilibrium be found where there is just enough borates in the deadwood, but they do not leach water from living tissue? No. It's a salt. It will always be in the tree sucking water away.

And those DOT crystals wicked out on to the surface of the deadwood? It gets washed into the soil, of course, where the borates find a new friend: your roots.

@crust is right. Borates leach the life out of trees. I need to pay attention to him more.
 
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#24
So no one answered my question. Anyone out there want to confirm? After I apply lime sulphur, if I like the look, I then can apply Minwax Wood Hardener? And a year later you need to apply lime sulphur again on top of the wood hardener?
 
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#27
So no one answered my question. Anyone out there want to confirm? After I apply lime sulphur, if I like the look, I then can apply Minwax Wood Hardener? And a year later you need to apply lime sulphur again on top of the wood hardener?
No. Wood hardeners lock in the color and change the outer layers to a hard resin or plastic (or some such material). You don't lime sulfur over chemically hardened wood. You're supposed to be happy with the result of the lime sulfur before hardening.

When applying a hardener over lime sulfur, blot the wood with your application brush. If you drag the bristles along the wood (as most painting is done), you'll be dragging the lime sulfur and changing the look of your deadwood. Gentle dabs with your compound until the wood will no longer absorb the hardener.
 

Nybonsai12

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#28
Do you use it in a certain concentration?
Different concentrations for different trees?
I'm following this because i need to figure out what exact lime sulfur product to buy and how much to dilute it so i don't get the fungal issues i've had with J. Maples this past season. I think @markyscott indicated he used 4 oz per gallon of water, but that may have been with a different product.
 
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#29
I'm following this because i need to figure out what exact lime sulfur product to buy and how much to dilute it so i don't get the fungal issues i've had with J. Maples this past season. I think @markyscott indicated he used 4 oz per gallon of water, but that may have been with a different product.
Take a look at the reviews for HI YIELD LIME SULFUR SPRAY. There a review from someone who uses it on their bonsai. (If it's the Howard I'm thinking of, I just saw him this past weekend, which is funny)

Like Howard, I use it neat. Even though the product label reads "It is a violation of Federal Law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling." [PDF link] We bonsai boys are rebels.
 

Nybonsai12

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#30
Take a look at the reviews for HI YIELD LIME SULFUR SPRAY. There a review from someone who uses it on their bonsai. (If it's the Howard I'm thinking of, I just saw him this past weekend, which is funny)

Like Howard, I use it neat. Even though the product label reads "It is a violation of Federal Law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling." [PDF link] We bonsai boys are rebels.
Thanks. Unfortunately i don't believe that product is still available for purchase.
 
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#31
Thanks. Unfortunately i don't believe that product is still available for purchase.
Well hells bells

I guess it's off to the vet for lime sulfur dip. Some here say it's the same thing. So give it a try.

I haven't purchased lime sulfur in years. The last time I bought it, it was because I couldn't find the first bottle. So here I am with nearly 2 quarts of lime sulfur.

I also have a pint of Kelthane, which some people tell me is no longer on the market. When I die, my kids are going to find out my backyard is an EPA Superfund site. Hell, where ever they bury me is going to be a Superfund site.

A neighbor of mine passed away. The daughter told me I could go into his shed and have any of the chemicals in there. That old guy had some old stuff. Including another frigging bottle of lime sulfur.
 
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#32
No. Wood hardeners lock in the color and change the outer layers to a hard resin or plastic (or some such material). You don't lime sulfur over chemically hardened wood. You're supposed to be happy with the result of the lime sulfur before hardening.

When applying a hardener over lime sulfur, blot the wood with your application brush. If you drag the bristles along the wood (as most painting is done), you'll be dragging the lime sulfur and changing the look of your deadwood. Gentle dabs with your compound until the wood will no longer absorb the hardener.
Thanks Bill!!!! How long do you wait until you apply the hardener?
 
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#33
Thanks Bill!!!! How long do you wait until you apply the hardener?
Here's the smartass answer: When it's the right time.

The hardener is going to lock in the color. When you feel the deadwood has the color you like, that's the right time.

Personally, I HATE HATE HATE white deadwood. I like it to have a weathered look. People in dryer climates can utilize the climate to get a nice dry, clean deadwood. Here in NOLA, if I'm not careful, I'll get green growing on the wood. Where others may have a nice long month to find the free time to apply the hardener, I'd have to look at the wood daily. When the right time shows up, I need to make time to do the work right away.

Hardening deadwood is a permanent thing. Test our your techniques on similar wood that is not currently attached to your beloved tree. Maybe find a dead bonsai? That's how I'm testing different hardeners. I have a dead bald cypress and it'll be the guinea pig. A dead guinea pig, but useful.
 

GrimLore

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#34
Thanks. Unfortunately i don't believe that product is still available for purchase.
I am the one that preaches watering in Lime Sulfur :p I use 2 tablespoons of powder to 1 gallon of water. I use the Bonide, it also breaks the Cedar rust cycle on fruit trees if watered in Spring, Summer, and Fall -


Bonide Sulfur.jpg

Grimmy
 
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#35
I am the one that preaches watering in Lime Sulfur :p I use 2 tablespoons of powder to 1 gallon of water. I use the Bonide, it also breaks the Cedar rust cycle on fruit trees if watered in Spring, Summer, and Fall -


View attachment 175290

Grimmy
I'm scratching my head on this one. Does this product turn white? I ask because it's not lime sulfur. Both the Hi-Yield [PDF] and Ortho [PDF] products use (or used) 28% and 29% calcium polysulfide, not just sulfur.

I won't argue with success. If this works, it works, and that's great.

Too bad lime sulfur had to go and screw with people's ground water. Right now, many states will fine the supplier for selling it and/or importing it.

I'd be curious to find out if making your own lime sulfur is illegal. It's a fascinating ingredients list that must produce more lime sulfur than you'd ever be able to sell, much less use:
  • Concrete blocks
  • Firewood
  • Gloves
  • Protective clothing
  • Large pot, barrel or metal drum
  • 110 lbs. flower of sulfur
  • 50 gallons water
  • 50 lbs. stone lime
  • Solid stick to stir the pot
  • Glass gallon jugs
  • Funnel
  • Cheesecloth
I'd have to start selling the stuff to get rid of it. For that reason, I would add:
  • Remote location in New Mexico
  • 1986 Fleetwood Bounder RV
  • Smith & Wesson 4506 .45 caliber 8-round semi-automatic handgun
  • Anyone named Jesse
  • No one named Gus
Bonsai is starting to get weird.
 

GrimLore

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#36
I'm scratching my head on this one. Does this product turn white?
Most definitely if you mix it with water into a paste. It is 90% Sulfur powdered - the other 10 % is the inert stuff to keep it a powder. I use it as I would Lime Sulfur as I do not see it is not... I use the diluted watering in method that I learned many years ago from a Rose expert - my Dad.

People here have come to my house to work on plants and another use I find for the paste if applied, dried, rinsed properly is the ability to stop moss growth applied during removal - If you take your time and rinse between properly it prohibits new growth with minimum whiting. I apply it with inexpensive artist brushes as a few here can attest to.

I have this quote in my notes for a better explanation -
"Lime sulfur is obtained by reacting calcium hydroxide, commonly called slaked lime or hydrated lime, with sulfur. Hence the word 'lime' in Lime Sulfur.
Both, elemental sulfur and lime sulfur are used as organic fungicides and insecticides. Both benefit the plant health by killing pests.
Elemental sulfur is also used to decrease pH of the soil."

Grimmy
 
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#37
I buy 2.5 gallons of Lime Sulfur at a time, and it delivers to me for $52 total. Yup, $52 for 2.5 gallons of the good stuff. Rather than post the link, just ask me in person or send me a message if you want to buy it. (I do not sell it, it's just a website, as its on many, the hard part is finding a place that will actually *ship* it to you ;)).
 
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#38
Most definitely if you mix it with water into a paste. It is 90% Sulfur powdered - the other 10 % is the inert stuff to keep it a powder. I use it as I would Lime Sulfur as I do not see it is not...
The absence of calcium compounds on the label should tell you that it is not.
I have this quote in my notes for a better explanation -
"Lime sulfur is obtained by reacting calcium hydroxide, commonly called slaked lime or hydrated lime, with sulfur. Hence the word 'lime' in Lime Sulfur.
Both, elemental sulfur and lime sulfur are used as organic fungicides and insecticides. Both benefit the plant health by killing pests.
Elemental sulfur is also used to decrease pH of the soil."
Grimmy
I'd like to see the difference between freshly painted and 1-week later on any of your deadwood that have been treated with sulfur powder paste.

One thing I like about the label on the Bonide product is the caution on using the product near an open flame. It's extremely flammable. That's all I would have needed to read when I was a kid. Lime sulfur has no warnings about open flames.

One last thing, in the post where I posted PDF links to the Hi-Yield and Ortho product labels, I used the same link for both. Here is the correct Ortho product label PDF: LINK HERE
 
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#39
I buy 2.5 gallons of Lime Sulfur at a time, and it delivers to me for $52 total. Yup, $52 for 2.5 gallons of the good stuff. Rather than post the link, just ask me in person or send me a message if you want to buy it. (I do not sell it, it's just a website, as its on many, the hard part is finding a place that will actually *ship* it to you ;)).
$52?? When I can MAKE IT MYSELF?
I'm trying to figure out how I sneak over to Adam's and convince him to let me make it on his property.

Here is a lime sulfur cooking party with photos!
Here is the first recipe I posted above. A serious volume!
Here is another recipe, this one with photos

I reposted the link to the earlier recipe link because I looked at the Ortho information from the EPA. There's 3 lbs in one gallon of the compound, which weighs 10.59lbs. The reposted link calls for 50lbs of lime and 110lbs of sulfur. 160 pounds of the compound goes into 50 gallons of water. If we allow for a 25% loss in our in-exact process, then we have 120lbs of the material combined and suspended in the liquid. Calculate the volume: 120(3/10.59) = 33.99 gallons. Given we're starting out with 50 gallons of water and a large volume of sulfur and lime, 34 gallons of finished product seems like a good ballpark figure.

Repackage in 16oz containers gives us 272 pint-sized bottles. Sell it for $8 and we have $2176. Not even close to the attorney fees when we're busted.
 

GrimLore

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#40
I am telling you what works and for the record on a dime - old school... You can reinvent the wheel if you like, not my business and I refuse to argue it or get into production methods for distribution at my age.

Good growing,

Grimmy
 

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