Soil Question

daniel

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(Mods--please move this if it's in the wrong forum...couldn't find one specific to soil.)

I've been using Brussel's soil for a little bit now with no problems. However, almost to a man people say that soil "must" be inorganic and not have any organic material in it. Well, if you're familiar with Brussel's soil, it has mucho organic material in it. What gives? Who's right? Or, which is better? :confused:

Daniel
 

ginger

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I know the answer but I am not telling.

___ginger
 

Vance Wood

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You can probably grow bonsai in dog poop if you make sure it has good drainage. Soil's are like Bar-B-Q recipes. It depends on who you talk to, where they live, and what they grow. This is of course followed by some sort of feeding regimen and a watering cycle that works. Every one that grows bonsai for more than five years has a mix that they use because it works for them. This does not necessarily mean it will work for you. I use composted pine bark mulch as one of my major soil components, combined with #3 swimming pool filter sand, crushed red lava stone and Turface.
 

pauldogx

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Vance --are you able to source crushed red lava where you are??? I have not found a source here in eastern PA for it. You can get the larger landscape stuff---but not a smaller aggregate and as such have been crushing it myself which is annoying at best!!!
 
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You can probably grow bonsai in dog poop if you make sure it has good drainage. Soil's are like Bar-B-Q recipes. It depends on who you talk to, where they live, and what they grow. This is of course followed by some sort of feeding regimen and a watering cycle that works. Every one that grows bonsai for more than five years has a mix that they use because it works for them. This does not necessarily mean it will work for you. I use composted pine bark mulch as one of my major soil components, combined with #3 swimming pool filter sand, crushed red lava stone and Turface.

I second Vance's Op,
My mix is real simple, 50% turface, 50% Course pine mix. ( No Dog poop in my mix though):D!
The best way I go about it, is know what the tree likes and imitate it.
KJ
 

Vance Wood

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Vance --are you able to source crushed red lava where you are??? I have not found a source here in eastern PA for it. You can get the larger landscape stuff---but not a smaller aggregate and as such have been crushing it myself which is annoying at best!!!

We have one Bonsai nursery within driving distance that carries the stuff. They get it out of Colorado. I understand that this same Colorado Company will ship small amounts but the cost of shipping might make it a bit of a challenge. I recommend that you get a group of people together and order a pallet of it and dole it out equally, that's what we are going to do for next year.
 

JasonG

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What is "Crushed Lava"???? I live in volcano country where lava is plentiful....crushed lava is a dust.

Just curious to see what they are selling you guys in the midwest.

You should try pumice, it is just as good if not better than lava and its lighter as well.

Jason
 
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Tried pumice, not for me, but thanks anyhow. The lava Vance is talking about is about 1/8 inch in size, just like the lava rock you see for landscaping, but smaller. It works great and is used by a great number of bonsaists. In our area, it is also cheaper than pumice.

Daniel,

This article may interest you, http://knowledgeofbonsai.org/soil/secret.php



Will
 

daniel

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Tried pumice, not for me, but thanks anyhow. The lava Vance is talking about is about 1/8 inch in size, just like the lava rock you see for landscaping, but smaller. It works great and is used by a great number of bonsaists. In our area, it is also cheaper than pumice.

Daniel,

This article may interest you, http://knowledgeofbonsai.org/soil/secret.php



Will

Fair enough. I think I have my answer...

However, with anyone using Brussel's mix (or any high organics mix)--what is the appropriate watering schedule, or should I just watch for the amount of time it takes for my trees to need another watering? I assume that's the "appropriate" way...

Daniel
 

DaveV

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Daniel, The more inorganic it is the faster it drains and therefore dries faster too. That could be a good thing for some if they tend to water on the heavy side. The more organic it is the longer it holds moisture - stays wet longer. I belileve the reason they use more organic in some commercial bonsai nursuries is because it stays wet longer. In other words, if they were using mainly inorganic soil it would dry out faster and therefore someone would have to check all of those trees more frequently than if the moisture stayed around longer in the pot. In some nursuries with 500 or more trees, this would be a never ending job. For the hobbiest like yourself it is easier to check 15 -30 trees ( growing in a mainly inorganic soil) in the morning before you go to work as opposed to 500 - you would be late for work. I have moved to a more inorganic soil mix due to problems with root rot in the past - something I don't want to experience anymore ! This is only my opinion.
 
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BUBBAFRGA

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I have two different mixes..... most of them are in a 1/3 lava rock, 1/3 turface/ 1/3 pine bark compost and my Azaleas are in a 75% lava rock 25% pine bark compost.
 
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Fair enough. I think I have my answer...

However, with anyone using Brussel's mix (or any high organics mix)--what is the appropriate watering schedule, or should I just watch for the amount of time it takes for my trees to need another watering? I assume that's the "appropriate" way...

Daniel

There is no schedule, you water your trees when they need it, but here's the kicker, if you are using a free draining mix,, you can't over water your trees. Go at them daily, most likely you'll need to hit them a couple times a day in July, August......but don't be afraid to water them deeply and often.
 

Mortalis

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There is no schedule, you water your trees when they need it, but here's the kicker, if you are using a free draining mix,, you can't over water your trees. Go at them daily, most likely you'll need to hit them a couple times a day in July, August......but don't be afraid to water them deeply and often.


Hey Will what mix are you using? Mine is pretty free draining (50% 3/8ths to 1/2 inch LECA and 50% Coconut husk chips) and I still have to give my trees time to dry in between watering. It could be that I grow indoors under lights and that I have a humidifier set to 80% but all my trees are tropical.
 

Vance Wood

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Hey Will what mix are you using? Mine is pretty free draining (50% 3/8ths to 1/2 inch LECA and 50% Coconut husk chips) and I still have to give my trees time to dry in between watering. It could be that I grow indoors under lights and that I have a humidifier set to 80% but all my trees are tropical.

That's the difference. Growing indoors has a completely different set of factors. Outdoors there is wind and vastly fluctuating temperatures that all have an effect on soil evaporation and plant uptake. Indoors, weather conditions, if you can call them that, remain essentially static which means that watering on a schedule can be attempted. Outdoors it is often necessary during hot weather to water two or three times a days. Some people adjust for this by adding more organic substrates in an attempt to retain more moisture but this has a down size in cooler weather and wet weather when the tree may not dry out fast enough. So one of the old classic rules remains unchallenged; your water the tree when it needs it. This can vary from species to species requiring that the grower knows what a particular tree needs and provides it whether the rest of his/her trees need it or not.
 

pauldogx

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What is "Crushed Lava"???? I live in volcano country where lava is plentiful....crushed lava is a dust.

Just curious to see what they are selling you guys in the midwest.

You should try pumice, it is just as good if not better than lava and its lighter as well.

Jason

Pumice is great but also hard to source on the east coast. I've been fooling with stuff called Dry stall from california which is supposed to be 100% pumice(it seems to be). We also have a nursery near here that got a pallet of pumice from the northwest--its nice stuff but pricey.
You folks out west have it all over us on the east coast as far as substrate ingredients.
I cant even get haydite here and its made in the midwest!!!
 

Yamadori

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I wonder if what you call "crushed lava" isn't cinder. I really like cinder. It is much smaller volcanic material that comes from cinder cones or is tossed far from volcanic craters because it is lighter and smaller. I don't have a source to buy it. I (legally) collect it in volcanic regions of California. That is why the family vacation is to the desert this summer. I need more cinder.
 

IIIROYIII

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Taken from bonsaimonk web page

"Lava Rock is a naturally occurring volcanic cinder that has a porous structure which makes the material lightweight and highly moisture retentive. Incorporate into your Bonsai soil mix to increase drainage (aeration). It will absorb up to 40% of its weight in water. Small lava rock (1/4 to 3/8 inch) is the best "sand" component around because it is pretty "sharp" and has very irregular surfaces. 7 pound bag, approximately 1 gallon.
Note: we are not able to get lava rock in the 20 pound bag that was so popular. This shipment of lava appears to be a little finer than our previous shipment. "


I must have gotten the last couple of 20 pound bags.
 

HotAction

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That's the difference. Growing indoors has a completely different set of factors. Outdoors there is wind and vastly fluctuating temperatures that all have an effect on soil evaporation and plant uptake. Indoors, weather conditions, if you can call them that, remain essentially static which means that watering on a schedule can be attempted. Outdoors it is often necessary during hot weather to water two or three times a days. Some people adjust for this by adding more organic substrates in an attempt to retain more moisture but this has a down size in cooler weather and wet weather when the tree may not dry out fast enough. So one of the old classic rules remains unchallenged; your water the tree when it needs it. This can vary from species to species requiring that the grower knows what a particular tree needs and provides it whether the rest of his/her trees need it or not.

Well said, Vance. some of the best advice I have heard. So many variables at work, knowing your tree becomes the best knowledge you can have.
 

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