Many Days/Weeks Between Watering - Soil Modification?

Gravy Master

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Hello,

I have a Chinese Elm and a Dwarf Jade that I got last summer. They have been in Tinyroots All Purpose soil, which as I’ve gotten to learn more about bonsai, seems like a pretty fine, slow-draining substrate compared to what most people recommend.

When I water them, water will pool up on the surface of the soil for the first couple of minutes, and usually just flow over the rim of the pot. Then, depending on the weather and how they’re growing, it will typically be at least a week before the next watering. I’m quite certain I’ve never watered them more than 3 times in a month.

So could I order some lava rock and mix it into the soil and repot? I bought a large bag of the Tinyroots soil, so I’m going to be sitting on it for quite a long time; I’d prefer to just modify what I already have on hand.
 

TN_Jim

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Pics or it didn’t happen😂

I’ve never used it, though by the looks of the tiny roots soil in images from the bonsaioutlet site, it doesn’t look terrible and I believe adding 1/3(+) pumice or such (maybe 50% Napa DE, product works with elm and jade fine) could work well…again photos of tree(s) and soil would clarify any assertion.

houseplant or any plant, when I hear water just sits on the surface and takes extended time to drain -this is often a key sign of a need to repot. however, could be lack of drainage from pot etc…

I believe just about any any soil could be perfected on an individual basis as may likely be the case, though would not discount other factors at play as well.
 

TN_Jim

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Hello,

I have a Chinese Elm and a Dwarf Jade that I got last summer. They have been in Tinyroots All Purpose soil, which as I’ve gotten to learn more about bonsai, seems like a pretty fine, slow-draining substrate compared to what most people recommend.

When I water them, water will pool up on the surface of the soil for the first couple of minutes, and usually just flow over the rim of the pot. Then, depending on the weather and how they’re growing, it will typically be at least a week before the next watering. I’m quite certain I’ve never watered them more than 3 times in a month.

So could I order some lava rock and mix it into the soil and repot? I bought a large bag of the Tinyroots soil, so I’m going to be sitting on it for quite a long time; I’d prefer to just modify what I already have on hand.
Northeast US? Maybe put your usda zone or such in your info for more apt assistance. I’m 7a
 

Colorado

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Hello,

I have a Chinese Elm and a Dwarf Jade that I got last summer. They have been in Tinyroots All Purpose soil, which as I’ve gotten to learn more about bonsai, seems like a pretty fine, slow-draining substrate compared to what most people recommend.

When I water them, water will pool up on the surface of the soil for the first couple of minutes, and usually just flow over the rim of the pot. Then, depending on the weather and how they’re growing, it will typically be at least a week before the next watering. I’m quite certain I’ve never watered them more than 3 times in a month.

So could I order some lava rock and mix it into the soil and repot? I bought a large bag of the Tinyroots soil, so I’m going to be sitting on it for quite a long time; I’d prefer to just modify what I already have on hand.

That doesn’t sound ideal. Adding lava and/or pumice would definitely help with drainage.
 

sorce

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I'd call it more complicated depending on your level of design goal achievedness.

Pics!

Sorce
 

Gravy Master

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I took this pic today. It has been I believe 3 days since I watered them. I fluffed the soil surface with a chopstick a bit to try and get some airflow in there.

12A926AC-153F-45BC-AAC3-634DAF1D21D9.jpeg
 

Gravy Master

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I'd call it more complicated depending on your level of design goal achievedness.

Pics!

Sorce

Sorcerooski - I just posted a pic above. I’m confused by your comment, though. What are you referring to when you say you’d call “it” more complicated. What’s the it?

How’d you make out on your Thanksgiving gravy by the way? Was it rich and robust, redolent of the sweet and nuanced complexities one can only achieve through the slow and deliberate browning of an aromatic vegetable base? Or was it a disappointing flop that brought down the quality of anything it came in contact with?
 

kale

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You should repot both of them into better soil but consider how often you are able/willing to water. If you only want to water every few days then use a houseplant potting mix with lots (at least 33%) of perlite. If you’re able to water everyday then go full on bonsai mix of coarse, free-draining substrate like akadama/pumice/lava mix. Also are they going to be inside or outside? If inside, I’d go with the houseplantish soil.
 

Bricker918

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I would definitely amend the soil. Has your elm started to leaf out yet? If it’s has and is super healthy you might be ok but if it’s weak that might be a different story. You can repot your jade later in the summer.

In the future, you’re going to want a well draining bonsai soil, not slow draining. keep them outside if you’re not already.
If you don’t want to waste what you bought get a cheap soil sifter and get rid of all the fine dirt and dust in your tinyroots bag and keep everything larger than 1/8th inch particle size, adding lava/pumice as necessary. You can also ditch the humidity trays under the pots too, they will likely just encourage root rot/fungal problems
 
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TN_Jim

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Yea^, where’s the rest of them? That soil looks bad even for a spider plant, I’d ditch it and ease them both into full sun following your frost date.
 

Underdog

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I’m confused by your comment,
We all get that way from our beloved Sorce from time to time. LOL He makes us think.
I'd ditch what's in the pot and sift what you have left to use. Post a pic of the unused dry stuff you have after sifting. Use a colander to sift if you have no other way.
 

LanceMac10

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That looks like a lot of breakdown of soil components. The mix seems pretty bark heavy, but the amount of degradation pictured here is alarming.

Did you add anything like potting soil here?

I'm almost afraid to ask for a photographic representation of the foliar condition of the two trees presented here.
 

Gravy Master

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That looks like a lot of breakdown of soil components. The mix seems pretty bark heavy, but the amount of degradation pictured here is alarming.

Did you add anything like potting soil here?

I'm almost afraid to ask for a photographic representation of the foliar condition of the two trees presented here.
Here you go. I just reintroduced fertilizer a few days ago after three months without, so I anticipate the Elm should start popping out growth soon.
 

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Gravy Master

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I think I'd just make or buy new mix and skip trying to salvage that stuff.

I think I’ll end up sifting it to see what I end up with, but starting from scratch could definitely be a possibility.

Shout out Woburn. Shout out Horn Pond. Shout out tuna salad subs from Ken’s Deli back in the 80’s. Shout out super beef sauce mayo cheese all the veggies. Shout out Philly roll.
 

penumbra

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There is a lot of dieback on that elm. I'm pretty certain it has root rot.
 

TN_Jim

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yea, elm looks rough. wants to be outside as well my guess/move -real light

look at other photos on this forum -from above alone is not exactly an ideal image
 

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