Question

Organic vrs inorganic

  • Organic

    Votes: 10 27.0%
  • Inorganic

    Votes: 27 73.0%

  • Total voters
    37

Ron Dennis

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I am doing a four month study course with Brian Van Fleet. Excellent course of study! Brian has us researching soil and we are to come up with our own preferred mix and be able to defend our choice. I am doing extensive research on my own but have a question. Not thinking about the species at this point, do you prefer inorganic mixture or one with organics included? Why? If you prefer an organic mix, what do you use?
 

bonsai barry

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I think it depends on various factors such as: Your climate, the species, your watering regime, your fertilizing regime. A third option in your poll could include: a mix of both. That's what I use most of the time.
 

wireme

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I like my organics but haven't grown much without to compare.

I collect it from the forest floor, scraping up the humus layer or breaking apart highly decayed nurse logs and sifting and using the stuff that is still chunky. 1/8- 1/2" particles usually. Collected under deciduous canopy for deciduous trees and coniferous for conifers.
I like it for moisture absorbsion and release.
For the way roots grow into, through it and divide out the other side.
For a carbon source/long term food source for soil microbes and to aid nutrient storage and longer term cycling by microbes.
Because it just seems like a natural thing to do and I'm happy with the results I've had so far re: tree health and root development.
Been using it at about 10 percent so far, planning to experiment both with none and with much more someday.
 

0soyoung

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I use only Turface MVP. Since I recycle it, there may be some organic bits (a few root fragments and a little sphagnum), but I purposely don't add anything. It is inexpensive and non-compacting, and, for me, locally available; other stuff, not so much. I get superb growth, especially of angiosperm roots.2013-03-05_12-21-44_654.jpg

I use osmocote fertilizer and/or non-prilled chemical ferts and do not use organic fertilizers (don't put shit in Turface).

I usually grow moss atop installed Turface. Even though I started doing this to keep the Turface from washing when I watered, it is effective in reducing evaporative loss, more so than incorporating spagnum/bark within, as a mixed medium (differing boyances can cause these to separate and they do with my style of watering).
 

M. Frary

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I go completely inorganic. If you take in the fact that if you use inorganic you can water everyday and not over water or have different watering schedules for different trees makes it very desirable.
 

wireme

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I go completely inorganic. If you take in the fact that if you use inorganic you can water everyday and not over water or have different watering schedules for different trees makes it very desirable.
You can do the same with a bit of organic in the mix, esp. if its in particle form. I have almost no fear of over watering, and most trees are watered and fed the same.

Not that I'm convinced that my mix is the raddest or anything, but I'll bet you could water it just as hard as yours.
 

Stan Kengai

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I use only Turface MVP. Since I recycle it, there may be some organic bits (a few root fragments and a little sphagnum), but I purposely don't add anything. It is inexpensive and non-compacting, and, for me, locally available; other stuff, not so much. I get superb growth, especially of angiosperm roots.View attachment 67296

I use osmocote fertilizer and/or non-prilled chemical ferts and do not use organic fertilizers (don't put shit in Turface).

I usually grow moss atop installed Turface. Even though I started doing this to keep the Turface from washing when I watered, it is effective in reducing evaporative loss, more so than incorporating spagnum/bark within, as a mixed medium (differing boyances can cause these to separate and they do with my style of watering).
Hard to argue with results like that, Young Bear.

I use 10-20% pine bark on deciduous and chopped sphagnum for quince, along with a base of pumice, scoria and Turface.
 

Ron Dennis

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I use only Turface MVP. Since I recycle it, there may be some organic bits (a few root fragments and a little sphagnum), but I purposely don't add anything. It is inexpensive and non-compacting, and, for me, locally available; other stuff, not so much. I get superb growth, especially of angiosperm roots.View attachment 67296

I use osmocote fertilizer and/or non-prilled chemical ferts and do not use organic fertilizers (don't put shit in Turface).

I usually grow moss atop installed Turface. Even though I started doing this to keep the Turface from washing when I watered, it is effective in reducing evaporative loss, more so than incorporating spagnum/bark within, as a mixed medium (differing boyances can cause these to separate and they do with my style of watering).
Your results with the roots speaks for themselves.
 

Ron Dennis

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I think it depends on various factors such as: Your climate, the species, your watering regime, your fertilizing regime. A third option in your poll could include: a mix of both. That's what I use most of the time.
Totally agree. What I am hoping to discover here is what results others have experienced in organic vrs inorganic.
 

Eric Group

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You can do the same with a bit of organic in the mix, esp. if its in particle form. I have almost no fear of over watering, and most trees are watered and fed the same.

Not that I'm convinced that my mix is the raddest or anything, but I'll bet you could water it just as hard as yours.
Dude, did you just use "RAD"? I haven't seen that one used since about 1988, but I think it is totally Awesome bruuuhhh! LOL
I think it is time to bring it back!
 

Eric Group

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I use only Turface MVP. Since I recycle it, there may be some organic bits (a few root fragments and a little sphagnum), but I purposely don't add anything. It is inexpensive and non-compacting, and, for me, locally available; other stuff, not so much. I get superb growth, especially of angiosperm roots.View attachment 67296

I use osmocote fertilizer and/or non-prilled chemical ferts and do not use organic fertilizers (don't put shit in Turface).

I usually grow moss atop installed Turface. Even though I started doing this to keep the Turface from washing when I watered, it is effective in reducing evaporative loss, more so than incorporating spagnum/bark within, as a mixed medium (differing boyances can cause these to separate and they do with my style of watering).
That image IS truly worth 1,000 words! Never seen anyone have that kind of result with 100% turface... Til now!
 

Eric Group

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I am going to assume we are talking about trees IN bonsai trays, fully in training... Not trees in larger nursery pots or in the ground to be grown out correct?

I have always had some organic in my mix, but just this last growing season mixed up some "Boone's Mix" type inorganic stuff. I planted multiple trees in it late in the year so I am still waiting on full results. What I have noticed so far- the Akadama I used breaks down quite easily if you so much as Bruce a finger across it... Don't know if that is normal, OK, good or bad... Or a sign I should have used the "high fired" stuff instead... But while I expected some of that, I didn't expect it so early or so easy...

The pumice and Lava are fantastic ingredients if you can find them. I have used Pumice when it could get it for a couple years- good stuff!

Turface is fine by me too- cheap, doesn't break down, drains well but holds a decent amount of water. Hard to wet back up when it completely dries out though, and can become kind of "compacted" if there is too much in the mix!

Organics- always used Pine bark smalls,sometimes a bit of peat moss...
 

wireme

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Dude, did you just use "RAD"? I haven't seen that one used since about 1988, but I think it is totally Awesome bruuuhhh! LOL
I think it is time to bring it back!
Hey, ya bud, I was just out for a rip and nearly missed your reply. Us bush folk in the great white north are slow to pick up the slang eh, and even slower to put it down right? Just started saying rad up here ya know?
 

sorce

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I haven't heard rad since mix tapes were fad.
Lotta soil mistakes til I gotta right mix type.
Not to fix text, inorganic's not a typo .
With a heavy feed, cakes, and the growth is out of sight bro!

Ha!

Sorce
 

Anthony

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Okay, test post.

Now could those who have had the same soil mix, for say 10, 20, 30, 40 ..... years please say what they are using and how it affected the quality of the tree [ say root density, branch density, leaf colour, healing etc.]
Please also say how long you have been growing.
Do we need visual samples ?
Good Day
Anthony
 

wireme

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Somewhere around 12 yrs. The organic component has always been as above, sometimes fir bark chunks instead. Inorganic components started as crushed granite, then mixing in perlite, then Scoria then pumice. The change in inorganic components has had less affect than expected. A bit drier than anticipated with lots of pumice. Generally I feel that changing the particle size of inorganic components has more affect than a change in material. Will be repotting the last of the trees living in mostly granite this spring. May go back to using it more if roots are looking good as its the easiest to source.
 
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I use 100% inorganic mix on almost everything.
My favorite mix is akadama, hadite, lava and pumice.
I prefer 100% akadama for shohin.
I do use Turface MVP, and have used it 100% on many trees over time with mixed results. It does not work very well when used with organic fertilizer cakes, unless you manipulate the soil periodically. I use it only because its cheap and I use a high volume of it. However, I also use hadite by the truckload, and it is far superior to Turface.

If I had no limitations, I would use 100% akadama on everything except satsuki which get 100% kanuma. That is not debatable.
 

Bonsai Nut

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I use 80% inorganic (100% pumice) and 20% organic. The organic is bark fines or pine park mulch.

I use inorganic because it maintains void space for water to flow between the particles and for air to penetrate. I like pumice because it is absorbent. It absorbs water and maintains humidity without creating situations where water is trapped or pools.

I use a small amount of organic because... not sure exactly why :) As I use organic fertilizer, it breaks down into the soil anyway, so I think organic in the soil just gives my repotted trees a "head-start". But I keep the amount of organic very low.
 
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