Soil and Root Balls

YaBoyMyth

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ok so this is probably a newb question! But here goes anyway. I have some JBP seedlings and a small procumben that are sitting in lava pumice and akadama. I recently watched a YouTube video though that stated during development you should have soil and not substrate. The reasons were the development of a root ball needs soil, also soil promotes root extension. Any thoughts on this?
 

Deep Sea Diver

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Yep the video has correct information. The best and fastest way to grow out young seedlings is in an organic based mix.

For example @Brent at Evergreen Gardenworks, recommends his cutting grown young trees be planted in a mix with approximately 50/25/25 Premium garden mix/pumice/lava, up potting as need until the trunk is the correct caliber. Alternately you could plant these in the ground. given they can handle the weather by the 210! You might need shelter or shared cloth down there too.

btw: Lots of people here have their own special soil mix, but Brents will do the trick,

Once they have grown out to the caliber needed, that’s the time to move into bonsai pot and media…. or later 😎

Cheers
DSD sends
 

Shibui

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We can grow most plants in a wide range of media. Pines are no exception and will grow in both organic and inorganic mixes. Find the soil mix that works well in pots in your conditions and under your care and watering regime. That's the best soil mix for you.
I have found it much better and easier to use one mix for all my trees. Then I can water and feed them all the same without too many problems with root rot, etc.

If Lava pumice and akadama works for you keep using it.
If you really want to test what is best try a trial with a few trees in different soil mixes and see if you can see a difference. Whenever changing soil mix I'd recommend trying a few in the new soil for a year to check it suits your needs. It can be risky swapping all trees to an unknown, untried mix
 

0soyoung

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Yep the video has correct information. The best and fastest way to grow out young seedlings is in an organic based mix.
I don't agree. In general organic mixes/soils give inferior root growth and overall growth (lower AFP). However the are convenient, in that they require less attention to watering, plants don't require being secured to the pot to prevent root movement in the pot.
 

Mikecheck123

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I don't agree. In general organic mixes/soils give inferior root growth and overall growth (lower AFP). However the are convenient, in that they require less attention to watering, plants don't require being secured to the pot to prevent root movement in the pot.
This is my experience. Any organic soil prevents root development because it stays wetter and the roots don't have to do anything.

Then one day in August you forget to water one time and the seeding gets burned to a crisp in one day because it never developed robust roots.

Another source saying the same thing: Bonsai Heresy.
 

coltranem

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Actually Bonsai Hersey mentions organic soil as a great way to bulk up nursery stock still in nursery pots. So if sort of depends on how th OP us growing and developing his trees.
 

Deep Sea Diver

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(@coltranem …As does Ryan Neal)

I can see the point, yet I guess I’ll have to agree to disagree on the stance of using non organic based media for young stock as far as overall actual development goes..

Like I mentioned there are numerous opinions on what media is the best. I do have a lot of young trees growing out. Watering habits are a separate issue

Overall I’ve experienced better growth with Brent’s mix for the hundred odd young stock here then in inorganic mixes. Yet it may depend on the tree species we have.

Also young stock of different species are notoriously variable for root growth as compared to others.

In fact I’m finding out, to confound this issue, even different groups of cultivars, for example azaleas have different patterns of root growth.

Here’s an example of two azaleas roots after routine washing so these can be transferred to a kanuma mix. These two plants were grown out side by side in the ground in 60/25/15 bark/peat/soil for three years. I dug these two up yesterday.

Shinnyo no Tsuki
B332D5AA-730E-4DE5-8B70-79CF352B4D52.jpeg


Issho no Haru
CF0DA9B0-31BC-4419-A5C9-4CA531CA42B7.jpeg

I’ve now root washed literally over a couple hundred different trees, maples, pines, azaleas etc and seen the pattern repeated over and over.

So another variable.

The young plants I’ve gotten from various bonsai growers in inorganic media tend to have leggy root growth. When all young stock comes in I gently root wash before transferring into the standard growing media used here. Then root wash a couple years down the line before transferring into bonsai media . (For some odd reason I rarely lose a tree).

I’ve also found these organic mixes require learning a different pattern of watering them our usual bonsai skill set. Softer, less frequent and less water.

So for me there are a lot of variables, yet an organic mix does the best for the young stock I use.

So just my experience. one this topic.

Happy Easter
DSD sends
 
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Mike Corazzi

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I can't see a problem with a ...small..bit of organic clinging to a "root ball."
A bit of shaking and tapping should dislodge most if it's not caked on.
I started graduating my soil with larger particles as you go deeper.
The lowest part is lava, hyuga, and larger particle MIX.
I NEVER use pure akadama that is not...mixed...with lava and/or pumice.
Graduating the soil particles has shown much better growth and green.
:)
 

Sae Nguyen

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I can't see a problem with a ...small..bit of organic clinging to a "root ball."
A bit of shaking and tapping should dislodge most if it's not caked on.
I started graduating my soil with larger particles as you go deeper.
The lowest part is lava, hyuga, and larger particle MIX.
I NEVER use pure akadama that is not...mixed...with lava and/or pumice.
Graduating the soil particles has shown much better growth and green.
:)
That sounds reasonable. Coarser substrate for emerging roots to populate.
That and smaller mix at top to regulate evaporation.
 

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