MY Question Thread lol

MattE

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So i thought i would create this thread for me and any other newbie and or anyone who has random questions they cant find the answer to. If you wish to respond or put in your .02 im sure it would be greatly appreciated by all.

My one question i have to start this off as a noob is What is the best "generic" bonsai soil mixture. i have searched on this thread for a good recipe and havent found to much i have seen a couple arguments on the subject lol. as of right now in my plants i am using a cactus soil mix and perlite but i know its only temporary, my issue it yes its good at draining but over the past week's/ months the soil and perlite separate leaving the perlite at the top.

Any one have any good recipes ?
 

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MattE

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Good draining moisture holding particles of the same size (not too small, gravel size).
so bark , lava rock ect? i have done some google searches i just find peoples recipes are so different some have 2 ingredients some mix like 5, do you find it varies by plant or should it not matter as long as you fertilize ?
thanks for your reply cypress
 

aml1014

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so bark , lava rock ect? i have done some google searches i just find peoples recipes are so different some have 2 ingredients some mix like 5, do you find it varies by plant or should it not matter as long as you fertilize ?
thanks for your reply cypress
I used to run 50/50 pumice and orchid bark for everything, now I use 100% NAPA 8822 diatomaceous earth for everything, you just change your water habits per plant.

Aaron
 

Starfox

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Sorry Matt, I should give you a better reply it's just as you have noticed soil can be somewhat of a debate and it wouldn't be the first time such a question has sparkes such a debate therefor the amusing gif.

Being a newcomer all I can say is what I have settled on, ask me again in a years time and I can say better how I feel it works, then again there is a difference in climate between us so what may work for me may not be best for you or what is even available.

I am using a mix of Lava rock and Akadama, there are supposedly organics in there but no idea how much of that remained after sifting. As far as I can tell this should be far superior to the generic commercial Bonsai or Cactus mix(I use for germinating seeds) which is more potting mix like. It's basically a mix of little stones but already I can see how much more control I have with watering and so far the trees are not complaining about that at least.
 

GrimLore

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over the past week's/ months the soil and perlite separate leaving the perlite at the top.

What you are using will work no matter who wants to or does argue about it. I use 1/3 and sometimes more perlite in my mix and to stop it from floating takes a soft touch when watering in a no till pot.
I water VERY slowly until I see it draining and yes a very small amount does surface but the rest remains evenly distributed. That setback is pouring rain but that can be easily addressed with a shade cloth tent home made, light, and portable.
I don't fuss it anymore and if is comes a time I have any plant worthy of my old pots again I will use the same amount and cover the top with small lava or similar at about 1/2 inch. That will also slow the water going in and help the perlite stay in place...

Grimmy
 

Cypress187

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so bark , lava rock ect? i have done some google searches i just find peoples recipes are so different some have 2 ingredients some mix like 5, do you find it varies by plant or should it not matter as long as you fertilize ? thanks for your reply cypress
I'm kinda also a noob, but I learned very quickly the most important thing is drainage (so the water sucks new air into the soil), and therefor u need also some moisture retaining properties (otherwise the soil will dry up too quickly). So, acadama was always used because big particles and lots of moisture retaining, only problem is that it breaks apart very quickly (1 year?). I use baked clay (catlitter clay) 80%, and some random other stuff (perlite, lava, bark, gravel). I recycle all my soil so in a few years I think I will have a random mix, and will add more of the ingredients I think the soils lacks.
 

Adair M

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MattE,

What seems to be a simple question, doesn't have a single universal answer. Unless you can be content with "it depends..." as an answer.

Here's the thing: an all inorganic mix gives you the most control over the root system environment. You are responsible for providing fertilizer and water. It produces great roots, but using it properly will require you to pay attention as it can dry out easily.

Using organics is more forgiving. Commercial nurseries use it because it's cheap and holds water and fertilizer. They will accept the trade off of a poorer root system, because they never anticipate keeping the tree in a pot for its entire life. They expect the eventual owner to plant it in the ground, and as long as it doesn't die, the eventual owner is happy.

I have 40 years of bonsai experience. I have all my bonsai in 100% inorganic soil. All of them. If I aquire a new tree that has any organic soil, it will get transitioned to inorganic "at the earliest opportunity". That is, next repotting season. Some varieties can be changed out in one go, some I do "partials" over a couple years.

The "mix" may vary according to the variety of tree, but my basic mix is equal parts akadama, pumice, and lava, all screened to a uniform size.
 

jeremy_norbury

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Very much along the lines of my esteemed colleague, @Adair M : I also use 100% inorganic.

So, equal mixes of whatever inorganic stuff I happen to have, but typically Akadama, diatomaceous earth, pumice, mini-LECA and sharp granite grit. I use small grain size for small trees and medium sized substrate for bigger stuff. I often dress the top of my soil with small grain (shohin) akadama because it's pretty.
 

M. Frary

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Like Jerry and Adair I use all inorganic media. D.E. mostly. But this year I'll be picking up lava,pumice and,god forbid,turface to try.
I also listen to what @Smoke has to say about various substrates like bark. He is very very knowledgeable and grows excellent trees.
 

MattE

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well thank you all for the great info , i will be hitting up my nursery tomorrow and may pick up some stuff to try.
id like to get my shimpaku into more of an air breathing pot and into some good material.
 
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sorce

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Just don't use bark....
Feeders grow into bark....
Then they rip off if you try to remove it...

I call that.....corn stupid....

Not the hundreds of people that use it.

If you catch a yeti, use its hair and toenails.

Sorce
 

Adair M

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Like Jerry and Adair I use all inorganic media. D.E. mostly. But this year I'll be picking up lava,pumice and,god forbid,turface to try.
I also listen to what @Smoke has to say about various substrates like bark. He is very very knowledgeable and grows excellent trees.
Mike, my issue with turface is the shape of the particles, and their size. I prefer a "rounder" particle shape. Turface, being rather flat, can compact. Which results in less air space.

Pine bark suffers from the "flatness" problem, too.
 

MattE

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Just don't use bark....
Feeders grow into bark....
Then they rip off if you try to remove it...

I call that.....corn stupid....

Not the hundreds of people that use it.

If you catch a yeti, use its hair and toenails.

Sorce
Thank you source this does seem to make sense, i can see the advantage of it holding moisture but the trade off may not be worth it.
And our yetis up here like strong beer and maple syrup :p


Mike, my issue with turface is the shape of the particles, and their size. I prefer a "rounder" particle shape. Turface, being rather flat, can compact. Which results in less air space.

Pine bark suffers from the "flatness" problem, too.

that also makes alot of sense also , i will dable around and see what kind of concoction i can make. i will try to stay with the Keep It Simple Stupid method lol
 

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