Small comparative study about soils

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Hey there guys,

I'm new around here so I'll introduce myself first. My name is Juan Luis Larroucau, 30 years old and I live in Santiago Chile in an apartment. I'm an electronics engineer by profession, I have worked till now as an entrepreneur in technological things (4 of them didnt succeed, one is ok but I'm not involved anymore and the other I have a small share but don't work there actively anymore) and have many hobbies. I'm an amateur microscopist specialized in water life, history self learner specially Europe and Japan for now at least), sea sports fisherman (surf mainly), amateur car mechanic, language self learner (learning Japanese right now), religions amateur student, plants lover, outdoors guy (lived till I was 15 literally between the mountains), amateur computers programmer (C#, C, C++, Python, Bash scripting) and some other minor things.

In terms of Bonsai I'm fairly new and it has been an answer to my living in the city. I was too used to live surrounded by wild forests and I have never stopped missing it (I would exchange everything I have for a stable life there) and so bonsai is actually a very good way to keep myself close to them. I don't like too aggressive styling requiring too much power tool and things like that and well, as many people, I had the huge problem: No Akadama nor any of the JP imported goods in my country. I experimented a lot with soils and stuff, I'm a guy who reads a lot and well, I finally decided to make a short comparative study involving most of the soil alternatives I have around me to get clear on their characteristics and make my blends. While doing the study I thought it might be useful for more people so I decided to write it down for everybody and make a small semi scientific paper.
This study is by no means an attack to anybody, its just a comparative study between the soils I can buy here. I will be attaching here the PDF with the study I wrote for you guys and the Open Office Calc file with the data for you to play with it. I decided to upload it here since I have been reading this forum for a LONG time now and I think its the most serious, active and respectful forum I have seen (bonsai forum that is). Any critisism: good, bad, evil, destructive and constructive will be well received.

NOTE: As the Forum does not let you upload ocdt files, I had to change the extension of the Data.ocdt file to Data.ocdt.pdf, in order to view it u must change the name of the file to Data.ocdt
 

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Omono
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Stunning expenditure of energy---however comparative studies and scrutinization of container substrate have been done--and done--and done. Some real good ones were done by universities long ago(Cal, Mich) The real missing part is not the science it is the translation--the regurgitation in an applicable digestible manner consumable by average bonzo-dorks(making sure they understand and not fall asleep and can apply it cheap with local crap). If one can hone this articulation part down anyone could become a soil(or anything) guru. Meanwhile science papers make me nod off.
 
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Stunning expenditure of energy---however comparative studies and scrutinization of container substrate have been done--and done--and done. Some real good ones were done by universities long ago(Cal, Mich) The real missing part is not the science it is the translation--the regurgitation in an applicable digestible manner consumable by average bonzo-dorks(making sure they understand and not fall asleep and can apply it cheap with local crap). If one can hone this articulation part down anyone could become a soil(or anything) guru. Meanwhile science papers make me nod off.
Oh, if you could lead me to one of those papers I would be soooooo thankful. I searched around to find comparative studies about those soils I listed in my mini study for some time and havent had any luck yet =(
 

JoeR

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This. We need more of this here.


When I find the time I may try a test of my own.
 

sorce

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@barrosinc

I believe there is officially 2 of you now!

Sorce
 

sorce

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I new Oso was gonna dig that shit!

Man....it's actually a pretty good read....

I think there is an Al line in there...

Good stuff!
 

Anthony

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Was that really compost in the first pdf?
That is not what we use looks like and it is sifted.
Good Day
Anthony
 

sorce

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Welcome to Crazy JLL!

Sorce
 
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Was that really compost in the first pdf?
That is not what we use looks like and it is sifted.
Good Day
Anthony
Well that's what in Chile is called "Tierra de hojas" which literally means "leave's earth" and its only leaves, bark and some soil composted at medium temp for some time. Its the most common soil for pots used in Chile
 

Bonsai Nut

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One thing that I would think Chile would have a lot of is pumice. They are listed as one of the top producers in the world.

Do you have access to crushed / graded pumice?
 

Smoke

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I new Oso was gonna dig that shit!

Man....it's actually a pretty good read....

I think there is an Al line in there...

Good stuff!
I stopped doing lines about twelve years ago.......most of the stuff I do now is in suppository form...
 
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That's exactly my hope. I haven't found in normal stores so I'm still looking for it. In case I can't, we always have one or two volcanoes erupting and so I'm going to go directly there (I know the place) and get a permit to get some by my own hands. Here is sold a lot as big chunks for other purposes but haven't found it crushed. That's actually what I hope the most to find


Edit: I was talking about pumice.
 

Bonsai Nut

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That's exactly my hope. I haven't found in normal stores so I'm still looking for it. In case I can't, we always have one or two volcanoes erupting and so I'm going to go directly there (I know the place) and get a permit to get some by my own hands. Here is sold a lot as big chunks for other purposes but haven't found it crushed. That's actually what I hope the most to find.
There's a lot of different types of pumice. The type we get here in California is ancient pumice out of the ground that is a light grey or off-white color. It is medium/light weight, will not degrade when watered, and can be easily crushed with sledge hammer and sieved/graded into smaller pieces.

I'm not so sure about "fresh" pumice... but if you go I want you to take lots of pictures :)
 
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Well the one we have here is the same one, u can even see it sailing down the rivers floating. Its ash-white in color and exceptionally light. Will not degrade with nothing except a hit or pressure. Here is sold mainly for beauty purposesthe size of a hand soap but quite expensive to buy a lot of those and crush them. I don't know if its fresh or not where I have seen it but its near the Osorno volcano. We have other rocks there as well which are blackish, as light as pumice (a bit more heavy) but lighter yes or yes than typical lava stones sold at normal hardware stores. I don't know what is but will get a lot as well. All of this is for a future project tho, its 1200km from here and I have to go by car to get a decent amount. For sure I will take pics, I was in a sailboats race there a month ago, going to upload a pic of the place. In the picture of the guy with the yellow jacket, all the ground is made up of that black stone.
 

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Oh, if you could lead me to one of those papers I would be soooooo thankful. I searched around to find comparative studies about those soils I listed in my mini study for some time and havent had any luck yet =(
I have the old printed version of a U of California's U.C.system for producing healthy container grown plants. U of Mich has stuff online. Over the years I have read scads of stuff on this subject that speaks to the nursery and GH industry, it really is old hat--plus the internet is filled with forums of hydro growers refining and producing plants at the highest level. Also orchid freaks have been comparing substrates for years. The fundamentals are laid out. Besides substrates and soil science as applied to bonsai is probably best worked out by scientists/artists with vast experience of the demands of growing and training bonsai trees in various climates--that way the right questions will be asked. What people are seeking when they become soil-obsessed is how to grow beautiful dwarfed trees--assuming soil is the singular key is just plain misguided (that is just one factor of many) really its all the maintenance--everything.

The funny thing is, the most interesting analysis of bonsai maintenance as it relates to culture is that by changing one variable you can compensate by adjusting another therefore you can use various substrates by changing other factors like climate, watering mode, exposure or visa versa. This means a bonsai heath regiment formula is dependent on all the colloquial variables of the time and place and resources and inclinations of the caretaker.
 

Anthony

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Juan,

compost is a material that is generally unrecognizable, as the leaves, twigs etc, have lost their structure.
So you would be looking for a dark matter and even then it should be sifted, set aside damp and aged
for a few months.

Can you locate some marbles, look at how they are touching each other. Spheres.

Second situation, the hydroponic balls, leca, test those as well, if you can find them.

Apologies, I cannot get the second PDF to open as of yet.

We have trees growing in marbles and compost, 3 mm glass spheres and compost.
There was a guy, Paul, from Australia, I believe a soil scientist who could have given answers in much
greater depth.

Freely draining, some ability to hold moisture and also fertiliser.

Perlite on our side is smashed by roots and we suspect it is an - imperfect glass - like pumice might be,
breaking down upon exposure to acids or alkalines.
Thanks for the PDFs and welcome to Bnut [ aka as Sorce has it CRAZY ]
Good Day
Anthony
 
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Juan,

compost is a material that is generally unrecognizable, as the leaves, twigs etc, have lost their structure.
So you would be looking for a dark matter and even then it should be sifted, set aside damp and aged
for a few months.

Can you locate some marbles, look at how they are touching each other. Spheres.

Second situation, the hydroponic balls, leca, test those as well, if you can find them.

Apologies, I cannot get the second PDF to open as of yet.

We have trees growing in marbles and compost, 3 mm glass spheres and compost.
There was a guy, Paul, from Australia, I believe a soil scientist who could have given answers in much
greater depth.

Freely draining, some ability to hold moisture and also fertiliser.

Perlite on our side is smashed by roots and we suspect it is an - imperfect glass - like pumice might be,
breaking down upon exposure to acids or alkalines.
Thanks for the PDFs and welcome to Bnut [ aka as Sorce has it CRAZY ]
Good Day
Anthony

About pumice: ah I don't know its chemical properties like to know if it breaks down when chemicaly attacked. Compost material is unrecognizable, as far as I know, depending on the time it has been composted but well to be honest I wanted to try everything as it is out of the bag, I will add to the doc pics of the material scattered over a white sheet so you can check it out, its for sure approaching to black. I never heard of leca before (I'm new in this) will look for some for sure. The experiment of degrading the pumice I have here with acids or alkaline sounds awesome to try. As soon as I'm back home I'll check out that leca tho which sounds pretty cool. Good to know that you have seen perlite degrading, its the first time I hear that, good info there. Thnks
 
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Ok, I managed to upload the second file with the data in the form of a Compressed ZIP file, can I somehow edit the main thread to exchange the files?
 

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