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Author Topic: bad soil = bad root  (Read 3311 times)
bigDave
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« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2012, 04:11 PM »

Good stuff E-Fark,

So Kiln drying and kiln firing two different things.  If I remember my college Ceramics, apprrox

212 water turns to steam and leaves the clay
440-580 organics burn off, also sulphur,carbon
600-800 H2o in the clay molecule is burned off

This is where I think unfired akadama is cooled

1060 and up, clay turns ceramic, never again will it turn back to clay

probably where so called fired akadama is probably cooled

so if you find lady bugs its kiln dried not fired... and watch out of you find a tortoise, EF

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marie1uk
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USDA Hardiness: UK (wet a LOT of the time!) USDA 8b

« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2012, 03:08 PM »

How would you actually measure 1/4 (inch I am assuming) or 3/8? I have LECA but not sure of it's actual diameter...
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nathanbs
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« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2012, 04:26 PM »

By using measured screen or mesh to sift your soil. For example if you have 1/4" hardware cloth then all that falls through is under a 1/4 inch and all that stays is over 1/4 inch. You must do atleast one more size of screening to then eliminate the particles that are bigger or smaller than 1/4".
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Don Dunn
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2013, 06:49 PM »

Question about lava and Akadama for planting. When I was big into orchids we tried many different things for growing. Of course most orchids grown in trees with little or no soil. For Terrestrials like Cems, Paths and Phals we used redwood bark. Also often used was red lava. The problem we had with the lava is it breaks down after a couple of years like Akadama and you can end up with mush and rooted roots. So being on top of your re potting is very important if you are using anything that breaks down. We also tried every thing from marbles to gravel with excellent results as long as you stayed on top of the watering and fertilizing.
Sorry for being so long about my question but here it is.
I'm a novice in Bonsai so I may still not understand Akadama's use. Why is Akadama so popular when it seems to me that it is used to hold moisture? Lava I think holds moisture as well if not better and is way cheaper. If Akadama breaks down so easily then I think you would have to be re potting at least every couple of years. Which should probably be done anyways  just for root maintenance. If pumice, Lava and some type of granite or other rock works as well then why purchase the Akadama?

I really want to understand this because it does not make since to me and probably because I'm thick headed.
Is Akadama used simply because we want to replicate the Japanese method or Is it far superior to a mix of other types of soil?  I would rather spend my money on trees and tools but the correct potting medium is more important.
Why is Akadama better than lava?
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MatsuBonsai
John Callaway
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2013, 07:22 PM »

There are many threads here and elsewhere explaining (debating, arguing) soil components and their advantages.

I estimate that I spend about $10 per medium sized tree on soil at each repotting. I repot every 2-3 years. I haven't found it to be too cost prohibitive for me, and the soil ingredients I use seem to work for me, in my climate, with my watering habits, etc, etc.

Also, in that time I've never had lava break down. In fact, I rarely notice much break down of akadama, even with our freeze/thaw cycles.
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J

Don Dunn
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« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2013, 08:26 PM »

Thank you John
 One thing for sure, if it is working that well for you then no way you would or should ever change. I know there are a whole lot of post about Akadama I just have never seen any one say why it's better than the other mixes. I have seen a lot of very large words used in their explanations but why is it better. I still do not know the why.
I guess some times you just have to accept what is. I am really not trying to beat a dead horse but some how to me it's still a mystery. I'll pick up a bag at the next show.
I do appreciate your reply
 
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Adair M
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« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2013, 10:30 PM »

Don,

All akadama is not alike.  Some is fired at higher temperatures, and so will be harder.  It doesn't break down as easily as others.  It won't hold as much water, however.

The advantage with akadama is while it can (will) break down over time, as it breaks down, it retains it's "grainularity" rather than becoming "mud".  However, you should be repotting often enough that it doesn't become an issue.

Oh, if there is a domestic product that works as well as akadama, we'd all use it.  I've heard that some are experimenting with a product mined in California.  Nicknamed "Caladama".  We'll see how that works out.

Oh, by the way, Boon said that a commercial mix called "Clay King" is pretty good.  I have no idea where you can get it.
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Don Dunn
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« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2013, 11:50 PM »

 Adair
Thank you and every one else for being so patient with us rookies. That does help I did not know it stays granular I figured it would just crumble and turn into mush. At the BIB show I was told they had the kind that  did not break down as fast. It was being sold for $28 a bag. I almost purchased it then and there. At the  next show the end of this month I will try to get some then. I don't have that many trees so it will probably last me awhile. I live in California so maybe I can see what that caladama is .
Thanks Don
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Adair M
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USDA Hardiness: 7B

« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2013, 10:00 AM »

Don,

$28, is a good price.  I have to pay about $45 here in GA.  (Assuming it's the same size bag, of course!)

Akadama is kinda hard to find here.  I buy it whenever it's available.
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Don Dunn
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« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2013, 01:12 PM »

It's kind of hard to find here also, I've only seen it at shows so far. That's one of the reasons I was looking into other potting mediums.
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Adair M
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USDA Hardiness: 7B

« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2013, 01:31 PM »

Don,

Did you meet Boon at the BIB show?

He's the best resource for all things bonsai in your area.

I travel from Georgia to take his Intensives 3 times a year. If you are at all serious about bonsai, you should become one of his students.
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Leo in NE Illinois
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« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2013, 01:08 PM »

@Don Dunn
Welcome to another orchid person. When I give orchid talks I do end up telling people you can grow anything in any soil if and only if you understand how and when to water it. More or less holds true for bonsai.

Actually after a long close read of Walter Pall's fertilizing recommendations I have modified this statement. By the way, I could not use Walter's method, for reasons that follow.

Potting media components and particle size, water quality, water frequency, fertilizer, and local climate (whether indoors or outdoors) all interact and will determine the success or failure to grow. You can change to just about any media, and if you can modify the other factors in the right directions, you can grow in it. The reverse holds true. If you don't water as frequently as Walter Pall water's his trees, you can not, and should not try to use the fertilizer concentrations he uses. He needs to use high concentration fertilizer because he flushes plants twice daily with clear water, every day for the two weeks between fertilizing. Use his high concentration without the heavy flushing with clear water, and your trees will  burn up in a month.

Back to akadama, I don't like two things about it, it is not easily available near me. I can only get it at three shows, each show venue is more than one hour drive from me, so a long drive and only 3 days a year to get Akadama without spending an arm & leg on shipping make it a less than ideal media. Second thing I don't like is inconsistency. One bag, one brand (I can't read Kanjin) breaks down to a gritty sand consistency in one season, the next bag I got the particles are still hard 3 years later. Can't read the labels, can't be sure what I am getting. Often by the time I get to the shows there was an earlier mob scene, and there is only a bag or two left.

I think a stable particle size is key in choosing soil components. Multiple component mixes have less trouble with compacting than single component mixes. But not need to get too complicated. A 3 or 4 component mix should be adequate. I like Turface, Dry Stall, and Poulty grit or Turkey grit grade of crushed granite, all available 6 days a week from a Feed store and Farm and Fleet store. Source should be local, so any day you run out you can get more by the next business day. It should not feel like you have to re-finance the house to get. (that's relative, to some Akadama is cheap enough, to some it is expensive)

Savior of many a tree are the sieve sets. Screen all potting materials, eliminate fines.

Experiment, settle on one mix design to test, try it, try adjusting water and fertilizer to match the mix design. This is key - different potting mix demands a different watering schedule. Give it a growing season or two, then evaluate and either tweak it or try something new until you settle on the right mix for your own growing technique.

Unfortunately, while this is all easy to say, it always seems to be a moving target. I am constantly changing the way I grow, so I haven't quite 'settled' down yet. Some summers I get in the nearly daily watering, some summers I have to find ways to help the trees get by with once every 3 or 4 days, as work, life and other things interfere with the hobby. In the end, the few trees I have that have survived more than a decade with me are trees I cherish for their adaptability and resilience.
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