Reusing inorganics

bonsai barry

Omono
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Most people advocate using fresh "soil" dor a repot. However, if you have a healthy tree growing in inorganics (indicating that it doesn't have any disease in the soil) that can't be "exhausted" why not reuse it?
 
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I take my soil dregs and till them into growing beds, to take advantage of the grit. However, even though I do not use any organic material, that doesn't mean that my soil doesn't break down. I use akadama, which does break down fairly quickly. The effort of washing the soil and getting out root bits, etc., may be fine, but I don't want to spend it.
 
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I recycle my bonsai soil, both inorganic and organic materials by placing the used soil in my growing beds. I never reused bonsai soil for bonsai. Unless you're re=potting way to often, the soil particles have started to break down, why start out a freshly re-potted bonsai in old, partially broke down soil?


Will
 
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Boondock

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I removed a juniper from a pond basket to remove about 50% of the soil from the root mass. I then put it back into the pond basket with one side of the soil completely new. When I watered it, the water drained immediately from the fresh soil and pooled on top of the old soil. I use bone, blood and fish to fertilize, and I think this fert maked the soil components stick or clump together.
 

cbobgo

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I must admit that I occasionally will reuse soil. Generally only inorganic things like lava or turface. I rince it pretty well, so that any small particles from broken down organics are washed away.

Now, I wouldn't do that if I was repotting one of my really nice trees, but for little throw away stuff I don't think it's doing any harm.

- bob
 
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I don't know why my wife always gets a funny look on her face when I say "I have to go make soil."
 

rlist

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I re-use substrates when I am repotting. Same substrate used for the same tree - for the most part. In the past I would take all old substrate from healthy trees and mix it all up and then re-use it. With inorganics, healthy trees, healthy soil and large grow boxes or Anderson flats, I saw no problem doing it. I also had no issues doing it.

This year I replaced 100% of my substrate, as it was a couple years old and time - regardless of the condition, I wouldn't reuse it more than once. Oil Dry was a prominent component of my older mixes, and like akadama, it does have a relatively short life.

Note: I got blasted on BT for saying it is ok, within reason, to re-use substrates. So, take it from me or take it from one of the much smarter people that told me I was a fool - your choice.

Another note: Yes, I said substrate. Walter hammers us on calling it substrate, as these mixes do not contain anything that would normally be considered soil. That said, around the house I tell my wife I am going to go make up a new batch of dirt. She seems to know what I mean...
 

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