Yamadori conifers and soil mixes

Peter44

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I collect yamadori pines, firs, spruce, and larch in the mountains outside of town here. I have always had a problem bringing these home with 40-60% native soil around the root ball and then potting up in a grow pot using good bonsai soil. So now I have native soil in the middle, and bonsai soil all around that. The native soil retains moisture longer than bonsai soil and probably doesn't drain as well, so the whole picture there does not seem right to me. I end up adding so high grade potting soil, like "Happy Frog", to the bonsai soil trying to make the soil more consistent, which is the way some articles say it should be. I can't say I've had any problems with this method and would just like input on what others might do in the same situation. Maybe I should be doing it a little differently.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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I keep my soils as is. That is: forest floor soil surrounded by bonsai soil.
After three years of doing it like this I see a consistent behavior: trees root densely in the forest soil and some roots escape to the bonsai soil.
It takes 2-4 repots to get rid of the forest soil. But it degrades and washes out in the meantime, so the last repot is more a 'filling up the holes' kind of thing.
Because the bonsai soil allows so much air and water movement, I'm not worried about prolonged wetness of the native soil. My own experience taught me there's no reason to worry either, what did happen this year was more the opposite: the native soil was so dry that it became water repellent and because the bonsai soil wasn't retentive enough I almost killed my oldest pine.
 

leatherback

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I end up adding so high grade potting soil, like "Happy Frog", to the bonsai soil trying to make the soil more consistent, which is the way some articles say it should be. I can't say I've had any problems with this method and would just like input on what others might do in the same situation.
I would take an easy-going approach by over a period of maybe 4 years have 2 repots in which you exchange out half of the old substrate the first one, leaving the other hal as untouched as possible. And the second repot replace the other half.

I am a big fan of having one "type" of substrate in the pot.
 

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