Welcome To Crazy - now I have piles of substrates

zero

Sapling
Messages
37
Reaction score
31
Location
Richmond, Virginia
USDA Zone
7a
Hey everyone,

I’m working to formulate an affordable local alternative to buying Boons Mix, and have ended up with lots of bags of dirt and rocks! Welcome to crazy is right! I’m fascinated staring at stumps and dirt now. Will normal people understand? I am at this point thinking of mixing Napa 8822 (sifted) and Permatill (Expanded Shale) and Pine Bark fines. So- it would real help put my mind at ease to have anyone’s feedback on this mixture and if I should work to improve it before going with it for some trees. I have my nice “first” tree in Boons Mix and will most likely use that for refinement, but after having read through SO much soil talk here, I’m feeling almost comfortable enough to go with what I’ve decided, yet I’m hoping to hear some opinions and feedback. I also have all sorts of organic potting mediums from top soils to potting mixes to cactus mixes to Hoffman’s Bonsai soil to soil conditioner with Humus and Pavers Sand. Any thoughts are appreciated!
 

leatherback

The Treedeemer
Messages
10,661
Reaction score
18,019
Location
Northern Germany
USDA Zone
7
I think the tree barely cares as long as you water & fertilize with appropriate interval. Appropriate for the species / local climate / substrate. And of course, as long as it is not a dense airless muck.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
30,534
Reaction score
41,974
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
Permatill (Expanded Shale) and Pine Bark fines

What shape is the Permatil?

Like @LanceMac10 Avathair? Lol!

Just wondering cuz you might run into problems of it's raisin bran shaped like the pine bark fines....can be.

The "house of cards" structure they can take can cause some problems standing and when it falls.

Sorce
 

PA_Penjing

Chumono
Messages
540
Reaction score
853
Location
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
USDA Zone
6b
You won't know til you try, that mix sounds a little bit "wet" to me. But that may be what you need down there. Remember that having similar particle sizes is very important otherwise the substrate slowly migrates around the pot. It sounds silly to bother worrying about but the largest particles absolutely will end up on the surface as the smallest fall to the bottom. If those particles are two different types of substrates it can be an issue. I personally love 8822, but can't find another cheap component that sifts to the same size in a large quantity. So I use it straight for seedlings and rough stock (deciduous).
 

zero

Sapling
Messages
37
Reaction score
31
Location
Richmond, Virginia
USDA Zone
7a
Here's a photo of my Permatill - It is surely larger than the 8822 and probably the size of the pine bark fines- So The best course of action would be to sift for the smallest pieces of the permatill and the pine bark and just work with an approximate sizing to the DE?

tempImagez48WTl.png
 

PA_Penjing

Chumono
Messages
540
Reaction score
853
Location
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
USDA Zone
6b
Im not aware of permatil's properties but it looks a lot like lava, I would only mix the smallest sifted pieces with 8822. My personal mix is lava and orchiata pine bark. It's not cheap in the scheme of things but it's by far cheaper than the "boon mix".

Be careful searching out opinions online when it comes to soil. Some love what others hate and everything works differently based of climate and pot size. A retired dude with no other hobbies might like a dry soil that needs watering 3 times a day in the summer while a busy parent might like only having to water every other day. I know I'm hypocritical for giving you advice but sometimes seeking knowledge just adds to confusion. This is one of the few times in bonsai where I think it's better to just learn by experimenting. Just my 2 cents
 

ShadyStump

Omono
Messages
1,066
Reaction score
1,467
Location
Southern Colorado, USA
USDA Zone
6a
Welcome to crazy is right! I’m fascinated staring at stumps and dirt now. Will normal people understand?
Um, no...
Just no...

Be careful searching out opinions online when it comes to soil. Some love what others hate and everything works differently based of climate and pot size. A retired dude with no other hobbies might like a dry soil that needs watering 3 times a day in the summer while a busy parent might like only having to water every other day. I know I'm hypocritical for giving you advice but sometimes seeking knowledge just adds to confusion. This is one of the few times in bonsai where I think it's better to just learn by experimenting. Just my 2 cents
Also, this 👆
But don't stop asking either. Every time you get more confused, but then you just go back and do whatever you were doing anyway, but this time KNOWING what you're doing... sorta.
 

zero

Sapling
Messages
37
Reaction score
31
Location
Richmond, Virginia
USDA Zone
7a
Here’s a formula I am going to experiment with a few different trees on my patio with. 8822 sifted 1/4-1/8, Permatill Exp Shale at 3/16”, Pine Bark at 3/16-1/4. It’ll be fun to possibly update this in the future-
757721DC-89C8-4B72-9575-7C8E0226C99A.jpeg
I may not be retaining everything at once but it’s been great learning on this forum. Thanks for everyone’s posts and incites shared.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom