Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => Evergreen Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Michael on February 07, 2012, 10:25 AM

Title: JBP+JRP Bare Root Seedlings
Post by: Michael on February 07, 2012, 10:25 AM
Hello everyone! Im pretty new to this forum, so excuse me if Im not posting this in the right place. I have a couple handfulls of bare root seedlings overwintering in my garage. I plan on planting them in 4" pots this spring but I'm not too sure what kind of soil mix would work best. Im in zone 6a (lower michigan) and the soil components I currently have in bulk bags to draw from are Turface, gran-i-grit (granite in starter and grower sizes) Crushed lava rock, and Farrfard aged pine bark soil conditioner. From these materials can anyone suggest a good mix to transplant these pine seedlings into? Also, any thoughts on trimming the roots before i plant them?

The seedlings in question are very healthy japanese black pine (mikawa) and japanese red pine which I bought from mathew Ouwinga (sp?)
Title: Re: JBP+JRP Bare Root Seedlings
Post by: Chrisl on February 07, 2012, 11:38 AM
Hi Michael.  Matthew uses pure Turface.  I think you could make a nice substrate with Turface, lava, grit and none to say 10% pine bark depending upon how much water retention you want.   Most here are using Boon's mix: (
I plan on eventually trying some akadama, but I have a lot of Turface already sifted and ready to go.

May I ask where you got your lava?  I've not found anyone here locally in the Chicago area that sells it. 

(I too got some seedlings from Matt this year.  Most are going in the ground, but the ones in pots, I'm going to use Turface, grit, lava if I can find it, and pumice.  But I'm here working out of the house so I can water freq. if needed during the summer.  If I had to work at the office, I'd add some pine bark)

Title: Re: JBP+JRP Bare Root Seedlings
Post by: Michael on February 07, 2012, 02:05 PM
Hi Chris, Thanks for imput on the soil mix. Thats great that you got some seedlings from matt. He just seems like a super easy guy to buy from. I'll probably go ahead and use all 4 of those components  (turface,grit,lava,bark) but I'll go easy on the bark.

When I can get my hands on the pumice and akadama, I'll incorporate them into what I'm already using and shift to Boon's mix. I too have lots of turface already screened and ready to go.  As for the lava......well dont laugh too hard, I get the ground cover size volcanic rock 1"-3" from a local nursery, and crush it with a hammer. Then I screen it to about roughly 1/16th-1/4" particles.  Its stupidly tedious, but I can get 50lb bags of either black or red for $6.00. I'm not sure if this is an accepted practice, but it seems like Im ending up with the right stuff.

Which species and cultivars did you buy from matt?
Title: Re: JBP+JRP Bare Root Seedlings
Post by: Adair M on February 07, 2012, 02:21 PM

I did the same thing as you for the pumice last year.  (Buying lava rock and breaking it up with a hammer.)

When I went to my bonsai shop to get some akadama, they had pumice, too.  It's SO much easier to work with!

I started a thread on making my mix.  See the recent "Soil Mix" thread I started in the General category.

For your black pines, I think you would do best by putting them in the ground.  Search through the threads on this forum, and you will find a poster "T-Town Bonsai", who planted some JBP in the ground, and put a tile under the roots when he did so.  Flattens out the nebari.  I have one of his trees, and I can attest that the technique works.  He also makes sure he keeps the area around the trunks weeded or mulched so there are no weeds that would block out the light low down.  That way, he still has good little branches down low to grow out after he chops the main trunk.

There is a world of great information on this site!
Title: Re: JBP+JRP Bare Root Seedlings
Post by: Chrisl on February 08, 2012, 09:53 AM
Michael...I did the exact same, crushed the big lava rock and then sifted it out.  WAY too much work for me.  So I have like 3 gals worth and that's it.  I think I'll just buy some pumice online and just bite on the shipping cost. 

I got quite a few seedlings from Matt: J. Quince, JBPs, Larch, a couple tridents and a couple JMs.  I've since told him that I decided I wanted to do a JM forrest so he set aside 15 JM more for me, and I also decided to buy one of his 4" J. Apricot Ume.  I plan to put almost all these in the ground.  (And I bought 10 6-8" shimpaku's for in ground development as well...after reading the thread that Adair mentioned with T- Town convinced me to go this route.  I think the thread was "Jim Gremel's Cedars")  I do plan though on putting prob. 1-2 seedlings of each in pots as well.

Adair, funny we are going the same route substituting pumice for lava lol  And I so agree, seeing Jim's shimpaku grown in ground for 10 yrs really impressed the hell out of me.  (I know mine will never be as good as Jim's but I can try lol)  And, after seeing T-Town's comparisons of colanders vs. in ground...they were not anything close to comparison.  Glad I just have some space in the backyard, but I know here in Chicago we don't get as many sunny days, plus, living in the city, I only really get afternoon light in the back.  So I'm setting my expectations now early on ;D