Author Topic: Soil components and testing CEC  (Read 2594 times)

Joshua Hanzman

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Soil components and testing CEC
« on: October 11, 2013, 09:48 PM »
I have been mixing my own soil for a few months as I have access to good prices on components like lava rock, high fired clay, argulite, and decomposed granite. Now, I was interested in running some tests on my components and akadama, and maybe a few other components to see how they held up against each other.

My questions are what other components should I look at, or rather, what compounds do we have stateside that have high CEC. Is there anything other than CEC I should look into?

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John Kirby

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Re: Soil components and testing CEC
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2013, 10:11 PM »
Why don't you search soil and see what you find here. I believe everything from Akadama to Zeolite has been tested. Peter tea dif a nice piece on his website, search soil.
 

John Kirby

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Re: Soil components and testing CEC
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2013, 12:18 AM »
Joshua, in response to your pm, bonsai soil needs to have three main attributes (other than being nontoxic and relatively inert/nonreactive):
1. Uniform Particle size to prevent compaction and maintain oxygenation (aka gas exchange);
2. Rapidly draining yet moisture retentive;
3. Be relatively stable over a long period (1-3 years, or more).

If you read Peter's article on soil, the key points are that what materials and percentages you use are dictated by your watering and to a lesser extent, fertilizing, regimen and the state of development of your tree. I think he covers it very well.

Among the professionals, most use only inorganic mixes. These soils will include the inerts for drainage and aeration, things like haydite, pumice, gravel, grit, scoria, ground bricks, etc. and a "clay" for moisture and nutrient retention, you will see many things like calceined clays, turface, akadama, kanuma and Walter Pall's loam.

Myself I use Akadama, pumice (hyuga) and scoria. I wash and sift because I want a clean (low dust) and appropriately sized soil mixture. I see no reason to change what I am doing or what materials I use. I also do not subscribe to using cheap/inexpensive soil for bonsai. For trees in nursery containers during grow out, I will use commercial growing mixes, however once they go into a bonsai pot, then they are shifted over to bonsai soil.

Best of luck
 

Joshua Hanzman

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Re: Soil components and testing CEC
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2013, 11:04 AM »
Thank you John! I have been testing the montmorr clay/argillite/lava mix for about 8 months now, in different conditions-I have one kept wet all the time, one kept slightly wet, one wet in the freezer, and one damp in the freezer. So far so good... the ones in the freezer are allowed to thaw every three months. I then test the particles with the force in my fore fingernail and thumb. The montmorr clay is the only one that I can even break (at most 1 out of ten of them fracture from this pressure). The argillite is really great also, any have experience with it?

Also, I have been inoculating my soil with mycorrhizae, but I am not seeing the classic white film of the rhizae. I would like to have the soil already be permeated with rhizae in an attempt to create a sort-of Bonsai Band-aid soil, where, if a tree is collected with extremely few roots, or for whatever reason not doing well. If can then be placed in this soil, the theory being that a simple connection to the tips of roots will then provide exponential connections to the framework of the rhizae already present.

Any thoughts on this? Has any heard of something along these lines? Do you think this would work?
 

bwaynef

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Re: Soil components and testing CEC
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2013, 11:44 AM »
I'm not familiar with some of the soil components you're using.  Could you post a picture and tell where you're sourcing them from?

As for pre-innoculated Mycorrhiza, it's very species specific ...and I'm not sure how long it'd last w/o the symbiotic relationship of the host roots.  (That last part I'm not sure about though.)  You could just be throwing money away, particularly depending on what trees you're hoping to rejuvenate.

 

Joshua Hanzman

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Re: Soil components and testing CEC
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2013, 12:52 PM »
I'm using components sifted and dried from a place in north jersey , they sell substrate for baseball field/tracks. I will post a picture later. I would think any place that sells baseball field/track substrates would have the same ones...

bwaynef- I guess I'll try the rhizae experiment and let you know the results. I wasn't thinking about a specific tree, in general just any tree short on roots that needs access to minerals and water asap. I was thinking that if I used chopped up roots instead of chopped up bark/branches for the 10% organic part, that might help the rhizae grow.
 

jlushious

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Re: Soil components and testing CEC
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2013, 01:45 PM »
My understanding of how the mycorrhizae work is that it's a symbiotic relationship, which means the fungus and the tree need something the other provides in order for it to survive. Trying to grow mycorrhizae without the tree present is like trying to keep a tree alive without mycorrhizae - I am not sure trying to grow it on its own will work! I could certainly be wrong though as I am still new to this whole arboriculture business. But I am definitely interested in hearing your results!
 

Sorce

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Re: Soil components and testing CEC
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2013, 06:12 AM »
Another Reverse Placebo.

   Right along the lines of rooting powder, superthrive, and any other thing that makes us think our trees are "going to live no matter what". 

    Energy and money are better spent on proper collection tools and tactics, a greenhouse with auto climate control, and a misting system.

  Then, instead of checking on trees everyday, you can clean tools, make sure the thermostat works, and check your misting system everyday.

   Just saying, its constant work no matter the situation. Anything (special soil) that we think gives us an edge, actually makes us think we have less work. Which IMO, especially with newbies, leads to doing less work and being less attentive.

Like a doctor who gives you a dose, if the nurse never comes around to see of you are ok, you may die from an allergic reaction.

 That must be why they call them nurseries!   

  Josh, you are on a fact finding mission and it shows.  Even if that juniper dies, the next one probly won't!  Gather that info Jers.