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Author Topic: Akadama Substitutes  (Read 10012 times)
Owen Reich
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« on: May 06, 2012, 10:38 PM »

Hi all, before anyone gets riled up I love the stuff and may import a whole lot of it one day.  I've heard about Calidama, but I'd like to hear of other small American suppliers of products that may also be used.  I am not talking about the following: kitty litter, turface, Primera one, permatil, mule mix, etc. etc.

Having been raised in Georgia (Macon and Acworth), I've seen kaoline and clay mining sites all over.  There must be a site that has "the right stuff" in America.  If you have something you personally have used for multiple years, please comment.  A little more info or a link about Calidama would also be great. 

Thanks
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Yenling83
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2012, 04:35 PM »

Hi all, before anyone gets riled up I love the stuff and may import a whole lot of it one day.  I've heard about Calidama, but I'd like to hear of other small American suppliers of products that may also be used.  I am not talking about the following: kitty litter, turface, Primera one, permatil, mule mix, etc. etc.

Having been raised in Georgia (Macon and Acworth), I've seen kaoline and clay mining sites all over.  There must be a site that has "the right stuff" in America.  If you have something you personally have used for multiple years, please comment.  A little more info or a link about Calidama would also be great. 

Thanks

When you said "the right stuff in America" do you literally mean akadama that is processed in the U.S.?  Or has anyone found a source and started producing akadama in the U.S.?   I have never used Calidama, but have heard it's much differnt than akadama- I believe it's not a volcanic product like akadama. 

Why the interest?
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Owen Reich
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2012, 05:41 PM »

I'm interested in a more locally produced product.  Even if I buy the stuff myself here in Japan and import it, it's not exactly cheap.  It would be nice to have something produced in the States without all the hassle. Akadama is not a imported in super-high quantities when looked at on a "big picture" level, so I worry it may one day be banned on a whim by the government types....
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FrankP999
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2012, 05:55 PM »

The Monastery in Conyers, GA has this statement on its web site about akadama,

A note about akadama.

The Double Line Brand company went out of business in early 2011. We have a new supplier who shipped 18 liter bags of akadama of the same hardness as the Double Line Brand.


The USDA has stopped a shipment of akadama from entering the country. Until this situation is resolved, akadama supplies will be tight and prices will be steady.





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Judy
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2012, 06:10 PM »

I applaud any efforts to find a local (US) source of a definitive good (best) soil material.  Akadama is already pretty pricey, but factoring in shipping makes it pretty non affordable for me.  (and I'll bet a lot of hobbyists) Add to that the fact that it does indeed break down in freeze/thaw/freeze climes, and it's not something that I'll use again.  Maybe now that there are more pro's in the USA, we can sort this out and get our own perfect substrate.
Thanks for this post Owen, keep at it, and maybe you can change the face of soil here.
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nathanbs
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2012, 06:57 PM »

Hi all, before anyone gets riled up I love the stuff and may import a whole lot of it one day.  I've heard about Calidama, but I'd like to hear of other small American suppliers of products that may also be used.  I am not talking about the following: kitty litter, turface, Primera one, permatil, mule mix, etc. etc.

Having been raised in Georgia (Macon and Acworth), I've seen kaoline and clay mining sites all over.  There must be a site that has "the right stuff" in America.  If you have something you personally have used for multiple years, please comment.  A little more info or a link about Calidama would also be great. 

Thanks

When you said "the right stuff in America" do you literally mean akadama that is processed in the U.S.?  Or has anyone found a source and started producing akadama in the U.S.?   I have never used Calidama, but have heard it's much differnt than akadama- I believe it's not a volcanic product like akadama. 

Why the interest?

Akadama is a clay particle not an igneous or volcanic product. I believe Calidama is a sort of shale or slate hard pan that is broken up. It is likely some sort of sedimentary rock
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John Kirby
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2012, 07:18 PM »

Akadama is volcanic clay, that is clay in a volcanic region- thus some of its properties.

Judy, akadma breaks dow, all clay products will break down. Means you need to repot on a schedule. My trees freeze thaw- have for years, I just repotted a number of trees (about 100 that were in Akadama-Pumice-Volcanic or in Clay King Premix) that were last repotted in 2005-2008. Now, I don't let my trees freeze down to the -0 F level, we do protect and provide heat to keep above 15 F, no real issues. Yes the akadama is not as highly structured as it was, but it certainly was still functional. SO may be the issue lies with the quality of the akadama used, the repotting regiment and perhaps if the soil is appropriately screened, etc.

Interesting conversation, I too am looking forward to the day that we have a good Akadama equivalent in the US. I buy enough that having it available is important to me.

John
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akeppler
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2012, 08:54 PM »

Cali dama is just silicised clay. Very hard and has to be crushed between rollers.

Many articles with pictures here:

http://bonsaistudygroup.com/general-discussion/natural-cat-litter-as-alternative-to-akadama/

http://bonsaistudygroup.com/general-discussion/why-should-i-sift-bonsai-soil/

http://bonsaistudygroup.com/general-discussion/calidama/

There is another product out here in California that is the best I have seen. It is really cheap and available to us here. I have no idea where it comes from but I know it is delivered by truck so it has to come from somewhere. It is called Mocha Lava.

Really good stuff. If someone knows what hugya looks like, then this is the same thing only dark brown. Not soft, very hard and does not break down. It can be broken with thumbnails but takes some effort. 7 mm in size, about 1/4 inch or a little larger. Irregular in shape and appears to be crushed. It is already mixed in with some regular lava of black and red. This stuff was available for years and then dried up. I recently have it again and bought 5 five gallon buckets at 5.00 a piece. A five gallon bucket full is equivilent to a bag and a third of akadama in volume. So I got about 6 and half bags of mix for 25.00. Thats pretty cheap.

I have to drive to Sacramento to get it, but there is plenty to do there to make a day of it.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2012, 09:00 PM by akeppler » Logged

akeppler
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« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2012, 08:58 PM »

The plate above has some dry and wet. The pile in the picture shows where I dug out my five buckets. I didn't put a dent in that pile. Probably about 5 yards there.

In this picture I broke a piece in half. You can see it is still wet inside after three days. It is also very porous and I love this stuff. Pretty dang light too. About the same as hugya, maybe just a tad heavier.
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Owen Reich
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« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2012, 10:50 PM »

Mocha Lava definitely looks interesting.  Thanks.  I kind of figured a logical substitute would come from the west coast due to more recent volcanic activity.  What about ancient lake-bed clay?  Just thinking out loud here. 
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nathanbs
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« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2012, 09:02 AM »

Akadama is volcanic clay, that is clay in a volcanic region- thus some of its properties.

Judy, akadma breaks dow, all clay products will break down. Means you need to repot on a schedule. My trees freeze thaw- have for years, I just repotted a number of trees (about 100 that were in Akadama-Pumice-Volcanic or in Clay King Premix) that were last repotted in 2005-2008. Now, I don't let my trees freeze down to the -0 F level, we do protect and provide heat to keep above 15 F, no real issues. Yes the akadama is not as highly structured as it was, but it certainly was still functional. SO may be the issue lies with the quality of the akadama used, the repotting regiment and perhaps if the soil is appropriately screened, etc.

Interesting conversation, I too am looking forward to the day that we have a good Akadama equivalent in the US. I buy enough that having it available is important to me.

John

Out of curiosity is it clay formed from the ashes?
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John Kirby
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« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2012, 11:48 AM »

Nathan, no idea, it does cause one to wonder.
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nathanbs
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« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2012, 02:44 PM »

i cant stop thinking about this mocha lava. Can you ask the yard you bought it from where they got it?
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Jim Doiron
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« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2012, 08:52 PM »

I recently made it out to a dealer not to far from me for few bags of a product called drystall. It is for keeping horse stalls clean and is about $12-15 a bag. It's white so it's not the most aesthetic but a little top dressing of something better fixes that. Here is the description from the website of what it is:

Quote
"Dry Stall" is the optimum in horse bedding. It is a horse bedding that will NOT decompose or have to be removed -
it is permanent.

"Dry Stall" is a naturally occurring lightweight volcanic aggregate. Due to its porosity, it is an ideal medium for aerating, softening, and draining your soil. "Dry Stall" is more absorbent and offers better soil conditioning than decomposed gravel or sand.


The website is http://www.drystall.com/dry_stall.html

Their site has most of the info except the dealer information.  I was turned on to the local dealer by John Callaway (a frequenter of this forum) maybe a call would somebody there. Hope this helps
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MatsuBonsai
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« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2012, 09:13 PM »

Drystall is pumice. Not exactly an akadama substitute, but plentiful in horse country. They're friendly enough and more than willing to help locate a local dealer.
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J

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