Soil Recipie?

roelex14

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I understand that all plants differ in what kind of soil they will do best in.
But i just want a general list of materials and their proportions to make a soil mixture/layering that can be used for a wide range of plants. Just something that will allow proper drainage and nutrient support.

all advice is greatly appreciated!
thanks!
 

head_cutter

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The best soil mix I ever found was a combination of Haydite or screened coarse Turface and screened Pine Bark. 60% Turface and 40% PB for most Pines, reverse the mix for deceduous trees. It allows good drainage, remains open for a good while. It also produces very good root growth.
In my experience the Haydite is the better coarse materal than almost any other.

Bob
 

treebeard55

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There are a lot of good recipes. The one I rely on most I call "Wikle mix:" 3 parts Turface, 2 parts organics, 1 part poultry grit. I tweak it a bit for different species sometimes.

Possibly more important than the exact ingredients is that everything be sifted to remove the fines. Standard window screen will do the job; throw away whatever falls thru. I go farther, sifting all ingredients for uniformity, but you don't really have to do that for decent drainage.
 

roelex14

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where can i get turface? haven't looked into it much... would i have to order online?
 

Mortalis

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turface is not the best stuff in the world. Small LECA, Lava rock, or pumice is much better. Less compaction and more air space.

You can do much worse than 75% one of these and 25% AAA spag or Coconut husk.
 
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head_cutter

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Ya, ha ha, I didn't realize how easy I had it in the states. Here I have to load the stuff on the moto and go about 25 miles out of town to a place I found to get nice coarse sand ( I dig it out of a hillside I found and haul it back) then look around for some road making to get my hands on crushed Basalt. I'd love to get my hands on a bag of Pine Bark mulch!!

Bob
 

shohin kid

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I understand that all plants differ in what kind of soil they will do best in.
But i just want a general list of materials and their proportions to make a soil mixture/layering that can be used for a wide range of plants. Just something that will allow proper drainage and nutrient support.

all advice is greatly appreciated!
thanks!
It really depends on several variables. Where you live, what types of trees you have, what stage a tree is at, and even how much time you can spend with them.

Cass Bonsai Gardens has a good soil, they are located about three hours away from you. http://www.cassbonsaigardens.com/

Here is what I use,
Kanuma for azaleas, Cass Bonsai soil for shimpaku and other junipers and boxwood, and akadama premix for my pines and maples.

Cass's soil is a good general mix, I know there is haydite and fur bark in it. If you work full time and can not water your trees as often, peat can be good to hold more water.
 
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rockm

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"You can do much worse than 75% one of these and 25% AAA spag or Coconut husk."

If you live in an area that gets frost, coconut husk is an extremely bad soil ingredient. It turns to a slimy mushy mess after it thaws from its first freeze. That slimy slush will hold alot of water, which will rot roots. Don't use it. Don't even think of using it, if you get freezes.

Turface is a very good material to use, especially when pumice and lava rock cost triple what it costs per pound--IF you can find a reliable appropriately sized supply.

The best mix is the one you can find and pay for and drains well. This largely depends on what's around you. The bottom line for a soil mix is that it has a components that drains well, but holds water, and is durable. I use expanded shale (haydite, and/or Turface, crushed granite and/or swimming pool filter sand and baby orchid bark.) I've also used brick mulch in a pinch (if you use the smallest particles), and an expanded shale product that was originally intended to deter gophers and moles from digging in gardens. Once you're familiar with what a good bonsai soil looks and feels like, you can riff on what can be used based on what you can find and what's affordable.

There is no "perfect" bonsai soil, by the way. All have their strengths and weaknesses, but some are weaker than others. Contact the local bonsai club and see what they're using.
 

pauldogx

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"You can do much worse than 75% one of these and 25% AAA spag or Coconut husk."

If you live in an area that gets frost, coconut husk is an extremely bad soil ingredient. It turns to a slimy mushy mess after it thaws from its first freeze. That slimy slush will hold alot of water, which will rot roots. Don't use it. Don't even think of using it, if you get freezes.

Turface is a very good material to use, especially when pumice and lava rock cost triple what it costs per pound--IF you can find a reliable appropriately sized supply.

The best mix is the one you can find and pay for and drains well. This largely depends on what's around you. The bottom line for a soil mix is that it has a components that drains well, but holds water, and is durable. I use expanded shale (haydite, and/or Turface, crushed granite and/or swimming pool filter sand and baby orchid bark.) I've also used brick mulch in a pinch (if you use the smallest particles), and an expanded shale product that was originally intended to deter gophers and moles from digging in gardens. Once you're familiar with what a good bonsai soil looks and feels like, you can riff on what can be used based on what you can find and what's affordable.

There is no "perfect" bonsai soil, by the way. All have their strengths and weaknesses, but some are weaker than others. Contact the local bonsai club and see what they're using.
I've been using the Espoma soil perfector(which is the mole stuff--expanded slate) cause I cant get haydite here. Its generally larger than the MVP turface so get some different aggregate size going in the mix. I've been foolin with Dry Stall(pumice--but very fine and back ordered currently). MVP turface is a mainstay and I've been using Granigrit grower size as well.

I just discovered they sell fir bark in a good size as reptile bedding at pet stores. A little expensive--but you dont have to sift a 50 lb bag of bark mulch!!!

So the training mix I use is turface, drystall, granite grit, expanded slate, and bark--in varying quantities.

For stuff In Bonsai pots I use North Country Soil(by Bill Jones in upstate NY)--a good basic bonsai mix sold by the nurseries around here. I am going to experiment with a 50/50 Basic soil/akadama mix that Jim Doyle at Natures Way has had great success with.
 
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Bill S

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And sitting in standing water will kill them, when they are dead they start to rot.
Walters article was regarding overwatering, not standing water. In a free draining soil is the qualifying part of the article, when the husks turn to mush the soil isn't free draining anymore, that is the critical point often missed.
 

rockm

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"Roots don't rot because they get too much water, they die for some reason and then rot once dead."

You've misread what is being said. In a free draining soil mix, roots can't be overwatered. Too much water can indeed kill roots. If the soil is constantly soggy, roots cease to function--the tolerance for this can vary from species to species, but by and large, roots in standing water or even soggy soil tend to die--which can be the result of fungal infections--which are basically rot...

For what it's worth, there is pretty big volume of research that refutes the thought that root rot doesn't cause death in plants. It is far from "only a symptom":
http://www.ppath.cas.psu.edu/extension/plant_disease/pythrrot.html
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/pp/notes/Fruit/blueberryinfo/phytophthora.htm
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/pp/notes/oldnotes/odin13/od13.htm
http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-2321/F-7621web.pdf
http://www.forestpests.org/southern/shoestringrot.html
http://plantanswers.tamu.edu/publications/cottonrootrot/cotton.html

I could go on. A simple search on "root rot" turns up hundreds of university and government backed studies...
 
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cquinn

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Junis and pines - Akadama 50% and Builders Sand (grit) 50%
diciduous for the most part - Akadama 33.33333%, Builders Sand (grit) 33.3333, Spagnum Peat (Fafard 52 is good) 33.3333.

This will make your trees grow healthy and not just grow. You'll notice a huge color difference, as well as incredible vigor that turface, lava, and pine bark chips can't produce. You won't understand the difference until you see it for yourself. I have about 25 Trident seedlings all potted together because I didn't have time to separate them this year, and they all have .25 inch to .5 inch trunks already just growing in a nursery pot together and fertilized with fish emulsion. I may just put them in individual training boxes next year instead of the ground.
 

ghues

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Root Rot

In the forest seedling container nursery business.... root rot can be a huge issue from overwatering at the wrong time of year..........if interested goggle "Fusarium/Cylindrocarpon root rot.
G
 

Hisaoka

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I'm kinda new here, but I use Super Absorb sold by Napa Auto Parts. 100% diotomacious earth. granular. I learned that some bonsai clubs have been using it exclusively for years and have had great results with it. So far so good for me, and it's really cheap.
 

cambi

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Hisaoka are you mixing it with other material, or 100 % Super Absorb?

I'm having trouble in finding crush lava, turface, ect.

so much fun!
 

Mortalis

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If you live in an area that gets frost, coconut husk is an extremely bad soil ingredient. It turns to a slimy mushy mess after it thaws from its first freeze. That slimy slush will hold alot of water, which will rot roots. Don't use it. Don't even think of using it, if you get freezes.

Oh did not know that tidbit. I only grow Tropicals and the stuff lasts 3 years easy with no freeze.
 

Mortalis

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I'm kinda new here, but I use Super Absorb sold by Napa Auto Parts. 100% diotomacious earth. granular. I learned that some bonsai clubs have been using it exclusively for years and have had great results with it. So far so good for me, and it's really cheap.
Is it freshwater diatomatious earth? I have been testing some of my ficus in freshwater diatomatious earth and it would be great to get it cheap and local.
 

Mortalis

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I answered my own question.. It is freshwater diatomatious earth. I have been trying diatomatious earth on several of my ficus for a couple of weeks. So far so good.
 
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