What type of soil??

Messages
192
Reaction score
126
Location
Wyandotte, mi
I have been trying to grow out some trees in nursery pot 3 and 5 gallons. I am using some soil with peat moss in it and I hate it. What is the best grow out mix you guys use. Thanks in advance. I want something that is well draining but best for the tree. I dont want to use bonsai soil.
 

Paradox

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
6,933
Reaction score
7,830
Location
Long Island, NY
USDA Zone
7a
I cant really offer you some advice except to just say that I once tried to use cheap stuff I could find locally because I didnt want to "buy dirt"
I used sand and gravel and I found even though it did drain, it still stayed very wet and it didnt promote good root growth because it compacted.
fIt was also very heavy to move around.

I now use a mix of akadama, lava and pumice and its much easier and lighter to move the pots around and my trees love it.
I get good root growth and healthy trees in it.

If you're worried about expense then cut back the number of trees you have and it becomes much more manageable for supplies
 

River's Edge

Masterpiece
Messages
4,100
Reaction score
10,333
Location
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
USDA Zone
8b
I want something that is well draining but best for the tree. I dont want to use bonsai soil.
Of the three stipulations you state, two are opposites. Best for the tree and not wanting to use bonsai soil.
Well draining is easy with any number of components, just pay attention to particle size and water retention characteristics. Then watch out for too rapidly decomposing and PH altering characteristics.
You can buy inexpensive soil and screen it to the right size, mix with granite grit or lava. the only problem is that a $5 bag of soil is pretty expensive when you sieve away 80% as too large or too small. The lava can be purchased in bulk, then you can crush, sieve and work with the remaining small amount that is the correct size, and that will provide good drainage and inorganic characteristics. But it is no longer an inexpensive substitute. Ditto for Pumice. If you end up using a fraction of the initial purchase it becomes pretty expensive in the end.

But then you have been on this site for over five years so I expect you have encountered all these explanations time and time again.

I grow out hundreds of trees in my nursery in containers and grow beds. I use bonsai soil as the most economical and effective substrate. My grow beds have functioned well for decades with the original pumice, granite grit , low percentage soil components 5%. occasionally I top up the level with pumice and grit as I remove plants and weed the amount becomes somewhat depleted. When I repot from the containers the mix can be reused in the grow beds or screened and reused in grow boxes if desired.
Basic {Pumice, Granite Grit, Lava ) If you add soil sieve it and keep it a low percentage, but recognize that you will need to change the mix more often.
For grow out in containers 40% pumice, 20% Grit 20% Lava, 20% Akadama.
I only use higher amounts of Akadama when refining trees and preparing for maintenance pots or show pots.

I use granular slow release osmocote type fertilizer, as well as liquid and fish fertilizer. My main type of fertilizer for well developed and into refinement trees is organic.

PS: it does not come in a bag labeled Bonsai Soil, just components mixed for a particular purpose!;)
 

River's Edge

Masterpiece
Messages
4,100
Reaction score
10,333
Location
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
USDA Zone
8b
Pine bark is what most nurseries grow out their trees in. Brent from evergreen gardenworks says half screened pine bark and half perlite works well, and that's a lot cheaper than bonsai soil. https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/soils.htm
Works well for Brents climate and purpose for small pots, that is not his mix for growing out trees in larger pots or grow boxes.
 

Tums

Mame
Messages
237
Reaction score
224
Location
Woburn, MA, USA
USDA Zone
6a
Works well for Brents climate and purpose for small pots, that is not his mix for growing out trees in larger pots or grow boxes.
Hmm, the link says that should be good for up to 10 gallon pots. I know he's posted about it here but couldn't find it on my phone so maybe there are updates I missed.
 
Messages
192
Reaction score
126
Location
Wyandotte, mi
Thanks guys. I am thinking of now going to use my mix I use for my trees pumice akadama and lava.. maybe pure pumice.. I didn’t want to use bonsai soil but I have to do what is best for the trees.
 

River's Edge

Masterpiece
Messages
4,100
Reaction score
10,333
Location
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
USDA Zone
8b
Hmm, the link says that should be good for up to 10 gallon pots. I know he's posted about it here but couldn't find it on my phone so maybe there are updates I missed.
My comments were based on the trees I purchased from Brent and the visit I made to his newer location three or four years ago. Lighter substrates can be used if trees and pots are secured in wire grids or tethered to support systems. one must also keep in mind that variations in climate may require less water retentive mixes. What works in California is not the same for all locations.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom