Pumice vs lava rock.

Mortalis

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Has anyone here used pumice stone as a medium? It looks similar to lava rock but seems more porous. Is it equivalent better or worse.
 

Mortalis

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Lets add Stalite Slate into this question as an after thought.
 

Ang3lfir3

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Has anyone here used pumice stone as a medium? It looks similar to lava rock but seems more porous. Is it equivalent better or worse.
Pumice is a common addition to bonsai soil... you can use either white or black pumice. One benefit is that it weighs much less than lava. It is also readily available in some places and holds a significant amount of moisture.

as to the Slate i don't know.
 

jonathan

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pumice is frequently used as a replacement / addition to lava rock.

pumice has an average porosity of 90% and has a tendancy to increase PH values (prob minimal effect on small scale use in bonsai).

lava has an average porosity of 70-90% (depending a bit on type and size) and is listed as an inert material so no influence on PH values.

as far as the slate i looked it up and it's listed as a 6% absorption rate (very weak) it's used as an additive for lightweigt high tension/strenght concrete and i think it'll be to expensive compared to the 2 alternatives above.

hope this helps a bit.

greets jona.

edit: info is based on result provided by a aggregate research labo.
 

waltr1

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My limited experience is with yamadori from Oregon Bonsai (Walter Pall's trees at Nature's Way) that I bought planted in pure pumice. I repoted two, a Ponderosa and a small RMJ, both had a tremendous amount of new roots when pulled out of the Johnson flats. Also the pumice was reuse when they went into mica pots (with a top dressing for appearance).
It drains well and both trees grew very well. I just wish I could more easily get a few bags.
 

pauldogx

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My limited experience is with yamadori from Oregon Bonsai (Walter Pall's trees at Nature's Way) that I bought planted in pure pumice. I repoted two, a Ponderosa and a small RMJ, both had a tremendous amount of new roots when pulled out of the Johnson flats. Also the pumice was reuse when they went into mica pots (with a top dressing for appearance).
It drains well and both trees grew very well. I just wish I could more easily get a few bags.

You and me both Walter!!! Wish we had a good source here for pumice and lava. Maybe we should road trip out to Oregon with a dumptruck!!!
 

kytombonsai

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Check at any local feed and grain stores for Dry Stall. This can be sifted and used with your normal bonsai soil. I found it at a Southern States store and it retails for about $10.00 for a 40# bag. I like to throw in the red lava rock too but I can't find it locally. Either one is a good addition to your soil mix.

Tom
 

pauldogx

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Check at any local feed and grain stores for Dry Stall. This can be sifted and used with your normal bonsai soil. I found it at a Southern States store and it retails for about $10.00 for a 40# bag. I like to throw in the red lava rock too but I can't find it locally. Either one is a good addition to your soil mix.

Tom
Tom--I've used the Dry Stall(my supplier has been back ordered for about month now though)---and its great, but the stuff from Oregon is a larger aggregate(I have a RMJ from Walter Pall in a Johson flat of it as well). I find the Dry stall very similar to Turface MVP in size. Just wish it were a bit bigger!!!
 

Mortalis

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I have easy access to all three from www.repotme.com. I am going to get some of the pumice soon and try the slate just to see how it goes.
 

JasonG

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Dry stall doesn't even compare to pumice. Dry Stall will break down, pumice won't. Pumice holds way more moisture and nutrients than drystall.

Pumice and lava are both volcanic byproducts. Pumice is much lighter and less porous than lava is and is only available in a white/grayish color.

Lava is heavier by nature and is more porous than what pumice is. Lava comes in many sizes and I find what works best for me on large and small trees alike is the 3/8" size. Lava won't break down either and can be reused like pumice if you choose to.

The best roots I have ever seen is with unsifted pumice. 100% pumice will create roots like nothing you have seen before. Doesn't matter if it is a trident, RMJ, Ponderosa, Hornbeam, Linden, etc..... the fine feeder root growth will be out of this world.

Sounds to me like I should start importing it back east...... LOL!!!!

Jason
 

kytombonsai

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Jason, Dry Stall is pumice, after sifting it, the size is a little bit larger than turface which is OK in soil mixes for smaller trees. Normally for my larger trees I use an imported Japanese pumice which is 3/8" - 1/2" in size. I normally mix it for my larger pines with about 60% akadama and 40% pumice. I have not had any problems with the Dry Stall breaking down. I just repotted a very large ficus on Sunday that had been in a tropical mix which included Dry Stall and saw no evidence of breakdown.

Tom
 

Shima

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Pumice and lava are both volcanic byproducts. Pumice is much lighter and less porous than lava is and is only available in a white/grayish color.

Lava is heavier by nature and is more porous than what pumice is. Lava comes in many sizes and I find what works best for me on large and small trees alike is the 3/8" size. Lava won't break down either and can be reused like pumice if you choose to.

The best roots I have ever seen is with unsifted pumice. 100% pumice will create roots like nothing you have seen before. Doesn't matter if it is a trident, RMJ, Ponderosa, Hornbeam, Linden, etc..... the fine feeder root growth will be out of this world.



Jason
Lava has variable properties depending on the minerals involved. The lava (cinder) here is as light as pumice but holds less water and because of the sharp edges locks together in a way that pumice doesn't. If I want a bit more H2O retention I mix in a small amount of milled sphagnum. Roots fairly fly through it. So instead of using the stuff I live on (volcanic island):D I have a local garden supply bring in "Black Gold" Pumice, the size is perfect and can be screened to small and medium with few fines. "Black Gold" is a nation wide brand and any store that carries it should be able to add it to an order.

Why mix it with lava unless you like the black and white effect.;)
 
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