Making Soil with local items

remist17

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I really can not afford to keep buying already made soil. I did some reading on this site and have found some items. I am looking to see if these will work together and how much of each I cshould use.

I found the following items
- NAPA stay dry
- Shreaded Pine bark
- Chicken Grit
- Small river rock (Aquarium)

will this work?
 

mcpesq817

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I'd be a little leery about aquarium rock unless you know what it's made of.

Do you have a Southern States near you? You can get Turface MVP and Dry-Stall (pumice) there for pretty cheap. Just make sure you call them ahead of time because they are a co-op chain, and different locations sell different products.
 

rockm

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"NAPA stay dry
- Shreaded Pine bark
- Chicken Grit
- Small river rock (Aquarium

will this work?"

In short, no...

Shredded pine bark mulch is too large and ungainly to use. Aquarium "river rock" is far too smooth and non-porous for bonsai purposes. NAPA stay dry could turn to mush quickly...

You're re-inventing the wheel and asking for soil advice here will lead you down all kinds of unnecessary or even irrelevant paths.

Best thing to do is ask a local bonsai club what they using and where they get it. There is no shortage of bonsai clubs in Pa.

Go here:
American Bonsai Society

click on the state. You won't have to be a member in those clubs to just call and ask about soil. They will most likely tell you just to help you out.
 

remist17

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Well thanks for the answers:
- yes I have a southernstates by me.
- I have tried to contact several clubs but they have not answered.

Can someone point out to me then what I should use in common material or material I can order from the web that is not expensive. example I am paying 7 dollars for a small gallon bag size of soil.
 

FrankP999

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Grani-Grit found at farm supply stores
Nature's Helper mulch at home/garden stores
Dry-Stall (pumice) at Southern States stores

You will need to sift the DryStall ay it has lots of dust. Wear breathing protection. The above three in equal parts will get you started- maybe a bit less of the mulch for pines.
 

jk_lewis

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Schultz aquatic plant soil is carried by most Home Depots and Lowes and anywhere that seems materials and plants for ponds. It is the same thing as Turface, though the grains may be a tad smaller.
 

remist17

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Schultz aquatic plant soil is carried by most Home Depots and Lowes and anywhere that seems materials and plants for ponds. It is the same thing as Turface, though the grains may be a tad smaller.

do you mix anything with this? Depot and lowes does not carry by me go figure.
 
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remist17

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Grani-Grit found at farm supply stores
Nature's Helper mulch at home/garden stores
Dry-Stall (pumice) at Southern States stores

You will need to sift the DryStall ay it has lots of dust. Wear breathing protection. The above three in equal parts will get you started- maybe a bit less of the mulch for pines.

Grani grit is this a chicken grit ?

I found Dry Stall from Southern States that is 100% dry pumice.
I found Turface MVP at Southern States. What else do I need?
 
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PaulH

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Be careful with the chicken grit. Some is plain granite which is heavy but ok. More often chicken grit is limestone (calcium for eggshells) and that is not good for most trees. Other chicken grits have ground oyster shells and other ingredients that your trees won't like. Check your feed store for Dry Stall, pure pumice and a great soil ingredient. I pot a lot of newly collected trees in a mix of just turface MVP and Dry Stall and it works great.
Paul
 

remist17

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Be careful with the chicken grit. Some is plain granite which is heavy but ok. More often chicken grit is limestone (calcium for eggshells) and that is not good for most trees. Other chicken grits have ground oyster shells and other ingredients that your trees won't like. Check your feed store for Dry Stall, pure pumice and a great soil ingredient. I pot a lot of newly collected trees in a mix of just turface MVP and Dry Stall and it works great.
Paul

Picking up a bag of MVP and Dry Stall on Wednesday. Is this all I need to put in the soil? what about organics?

50/50 mix or should I put some sort of organic mix in? I have been using the miracle grow orchid mix.
 

fore

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May I ask, for adding say 5-10% fine pine mulch, is it best to compost it first or just use straight out of the bag?
 

alonsou

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"NAPA stay dry
- Shreaded Pine bark
- Chicken Grit
- Small river rock (Aquarium

will this work?"

In short, no...

Shredded pine bark mulch is too large and ungainly to use. Aquarium "river rock" is far too smooth and non-porous for bonsai purposes. NAPA stay dry could turn to mush quickly...

No disrespect here rockm, but I'm wondering why or under what circumstances will the Napa stuff turn into mush quickly? I ask because I've been using the very same stuff since day one and I have never seen anything like you describe above. My mix is is 75% Napa stuff, with 10% Pine bark and 15% red lava rock. sometimes I might even trow in a hand full of pumice. and I use this as a general mix. so I'm really wondering what others do different than me that will turn their Napa stuff into mush.
 

rockm

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"No disrespect here rockm, but I'm wondering why or under what circumstances will the Napa stuff turn into mush quickly?"

Non taken. There has been considerable regional variation in Turface and other fired clay products where one person has a batch that turns to mush after a winter or two. Adding to my caution is that the Napa product is aimed at absorbing liquid and then discarded. It's not made to stand up to weather, in other words. There is, IMO, a lot of room to think hard about using it in bonsai soil.

The biggest question I have about it is using it in temperate climates. The freeze/thaw cycles in Pa.-- and most of the eastern U.S.--is a big issue for soil ingredients. Freezing is a destructive process for porous materials that may stay wet through the winter. The water inside the particles freezes and expands, which pulverizes them pretty quickly. I've seen turface break down in only a year here. I can't find any listing of how Stay Dry is made. I don't know if it's fired in a kiln at all...High firing increases durability.
 

FrankP999

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Grani grit is this a chicken grit ?
Yes Grani-grit is a chicken grit from granite. Be careful when using chicken grit because some are crushed oyster/seashell which you do not want. Grani-grit is the name of a specific product.
 

alonsou

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PaulH

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Picking up a bag of MVP and Dry Stall on Wednesday. Is this all I need to put in the soil? what about organics?

50/50 mix or should I put some sort of organic mix in? I have been using the miracle grow orchid mix.

I never use organic ingredients in my soil. The mixture of Turface and Dry Stall will work just fine. Just remember to sift out the fines and keep a close eye on your feeding and watering.
That said, trees that I value highly are always in my regular bonsai mix of 1/3 akadama, 1/3 pumice, and 1/3 lava. Its a little more expensive but worth it. What's an extra $25 in soil when the tree is worth $1000?
Paul
 

rockm

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"calcined" DA but I have no idea is that is the same as being "kiln dried"

Calcined clay means its' fired, but it is the amount of firing that is the critical factor in having it hold up to freezing. Fired clay reaches several stages of durability, increasing with the temperature used. Low fired clay --terracotta-- can't be used in bonsai containers that are exposed to freezing. They, like low-fired clay particles -in bonsai soil--burst when they're frozen wet. High-fired clay--stoneware--is frost resistant. It's all in the temperature used to fire the particles....and apparently that varies greatly according to the makers of calcined clay products.
 

monza

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That said, trees that I value highly are always in my regular bonsai mix of 1/3 akadama, 1/3 pumice, and 1/3 lava. Its a little more expensive but worth it. What's an extra $25 in soil when the tree is worth $1000?
Paul

Rockm did mention it. You living in CA would not have an issue, but Akadama does turn to mush in one winter with a lot of thaw freeze cycles. So not a good soil choice for PA I'm thinking.
 

PaulH

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Rockm did mention it. You living in CA would not have an issue, but Akadama does turn to mush in one winter with a lot of thaw freeze cycles. So not a good soil choice for PA I'm thinking.

I see. One more reason for me to stay in California. (despite our crooked state government)
 

greerhw

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I really can not afford to keep buying already made soil. I did some reading on this site and have found some items. I am looking to see if these will work together and how much of each I cshould use.

I found the following items
- NAPA stay dry
- Shreaded Pine bark
- Chicken Grit
- Small river rock (Aquarium)

will this work?

For what ? I wouldn't put a dead tree in that crap, sorry.

Harry
 

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