Author Topic: Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?  (Read 5124 times)

Chrisl

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Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?
« on: March 07, 2014, 12:56 PM »
Can't find 'uncrushable'/hard akadama.  Clayking was an option, but no longer available.  How about Akoi, anyone with exp. using this?
 

John Kirby

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Re: Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2014, 08:59 PM »
You don't need uncrushable akadama, try what Cass' have inported. Aoki has a lot of proponents, too expensive for me. Ask Owen.
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2014, 01:20 AM »
I really like Aoki Blend.  There are actually 10 different mixes under that name.  They can also change the ratios if you order enough.  At Kouka-en, we use (a different ratio for the evergreen and deciduous blends) Shohin, Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large for drianage.  It is more expensive in Japan so more expensive to import.  It is not "better" than anything else, but you do just pour it in......  I've got no complaints from those that have used Green King for a while that I work with.

Most that I've seen in America for sale is the Medium size for deciduous.  The conifer blend has a green kanji character on the lower left corner that says "Shohaku" (evergreen).  The deciduous blend has a higher ratio of softer akadama.  If it is cheaper to buy akadama and the other ingredients for this blend separately and mix yourself is unknown.  I think it likely evens out depending on quantity of different media types purchased due to shipping costs for pallets of stuff. 

When I can get it, it's what I use.  The last number I heard put it twice or a little more the price of a bag of akadama while still in Japan.  But again, how many bags worth do you want and is it worth buying bulk for your needs?
 

Chrisl

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Re: Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2014, 11:30 AM »
You don't need uncrushable akadama, try what Cass' have inported. Aoki has a lot of proponents, too expensive for me. Ask Owen.

It IS expensive John, no doubt!  I do have lava and pumice already.  But I'm taking classes with Ryan N. now and he uses an akadama he imported himself awhile ago that is harder than what I've found here in the US.  He uses it as he so we can keep the juniper repots to every 6-8 yrs.  You can't do this with the soft easily crushable akadama. 

Btw, I'm glad I could ask this question and not get a bunch of non sense posts!

I really like Aoki Blend.  There are actually 10 different mixes under that name.  They can also change the ratios if you order enough.  At Kouka-en, we use (a different ratio for the evergreen and deciduous blends) Shohin, Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large for drianage.  It is more expensive in Japan so more expensive to import.  It is not "better" than anything else, but you do just pour it in......  I've got no complaints from those that have used Green King for a while that I work with.

Most that I've seen in America for sale is the Medium size for deciduous.  The conifer blend has a green kanji character on the lower left corner that says "Shohaku" (evergreen).  The deciduous blend has a higher ratio of softer akadama.  If it is cheaper to buy akadama and the other ingredients for this blend separately and mix yourself is unknown.  I think it likely evens out depending on quantity of different media types purchased due to shipping costs for pallets of stuff. 

When I can get it, it's what I use.  The last number I heard put it twice or a little more the price of a bag of akadama while still in Japan.  But again, how many bags worth do you want and is it worth buying bulk for your needs?

Thank You Owen for sharing your experience!  Cass is selling it for $45/bag... so about $15 more than akadama give or take.  If I give it a try, I'll def. be on the look out for Shohaku grade...again, Thanks Owen.

Chris
 

John Kirby

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Re: Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2014, 08:31 AM »
Roger Lehman is importing a much harder Akadama, but it is expensive.

We repotted Japanese White Pines after 9-10 years this past year, on their own roots, with good soil structure still with double red line akadama. But while I live where the trees are frozen for a long time each year, we don't get the rainfall like Ryan gets outside of Portland.

The deciduous formulation of Aoki can be blended with pumice/lava screened to the right size to get the drainage you prefer.
 

Chrisl

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Re: Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2014, 01:32 PM »
Ouch, that is expensive.  But nice to know Meco carries a harder akadama.  Has anyone heard that we might be getting dbl red line again?  I know the co. was sold, so I'm hoping...

I need to do a cost analysis to see if it's cheaper for making my own, our just bite the bullet and buy 4ish bags of Akoi.  This yr. I have several conifers that are finally ready to go from wood box into bonsai pots.   

Thanks everyone for the help!
 

Chrisl

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Re: Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2014, 12:45 PM »
I ordered some Aoki and a small bag of Dbl. Red line  Milt.  Thanks everyone.
 

Chrisl

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Re: Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2014, 11:24 AM »
Thought I'd share, Cass Bonsai was great to work with.  The Aoki is a very good mix by the looks of it.  And he had a small Double Red Line that I bought a bag...perfect akadama for my needs.  I have pumice and lava, so hopefully DRL will become more widely available soon. 
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2014, 11:40 AM »
As John said, you can cut Aoki Blend Deciduous with pumice and lava to stretch it out.  That's what I do.  I add more low fired akadama and pumice for deciduous and more lava for conifers.  I would not promote the use of Aoki if I had not seen bonsai grown in it for a number of years and watered a ton of high-end bonsai daily for a few years.

That is an important distinction that I will stress again here; high end trees that are well ramified need more precise media compositions.  Trees in rough stages don't really need all the fine tuned particle sizes while bulking up a trunk or transitioning from the ground.  It certainly doesn't hurt, but that can get expensive really fast.  I would grow everything in Aoki Blend if I didn't have 300ish trees in training.
 

Chrisl

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Re: Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2014, 02:25 PM »
So sorry I missed your post Owen.  I am bringing this thread back from the dead to say how impressive I am with Akoi.  Wonderful growth so far...even the weeds are loving it (which btw I rarely ever had any grow in turface based blends) lol  There's, unfort, nothing like this available here.  No wonder trees do so well in akadama...the soft clay seems to be an ideal medium.

Great tip on cutting the blend Owen ;)
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2014, 03:59 PM »
I believe John Kirby mentioned it first, but I do cut it even for deciduous trees.  People ask me what I use and I always tell them I have no "mix". I go by the tree species, stage of development, and container style. 

At Kouka-en, almost every tree we have or acquire has had root work done in the past, so pouring pre-mixed Aoki Blend in is ideal.  Most bonsai and pre-bonsai in America are in a bad mix or are transitioning out of the mix from field growth, collection, or nursery container. 

This is something to keep in mind when buying trees; trees in bonsai containers don't often come with the risk of major root surgery or long transitions into a mix suitable for your area and watering style.  Personally, I tend to add more Akadama as I travel basically all the time and worry about my trees.

Aoki is worth the money for shohin without a doubt.  No guesswork and a bag goes a long way.  For refined medium and large deciduous bonsai in shallow containers, it's also a win and goes pretty far. 
 

Chrisl

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Re: Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2014, 11:49 AM »
I also used an akadama based soil in some of my developing trees too this yr...again, they are doing fantastic.  My only 'failure' this yr so far...knock on wood...was having a super healthy pp go to the shitter b/c I removed too much duff this yr.  This is the 3rd repot so I thought I could remove it all.  Major mistake.  This is one area where I still have much to learn:  transitioning from duff to all bonsai soil. 

Good idea Owen to add more akadama for your traveling...do you still have someone there to water your trees I'm curious?

 

Owen Reich

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Re: Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2014, 07:52 PM »
Yep, have a trained team who rotates.  During the summer some need to be watered twice a day.  Expensive, but necessary.
 

Chrisl

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Re: Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2014, 10:27 AM »
Given you do this as a professional, it's easy to understand this expense as an 'insurance' policy so to speak ;)
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Anyone with Experience using Akoi blend?
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2014, 05:36 PM »
I'm about to sell about half my rough stock (about 100 plants).  I stocked up thinking I'd have lags in travel.  Anyone passing through Nashville, TN is welcome to contact me for info. 


There is a concern many do not address when purchasing bonsai from others.  When was it last repotted?  Were the roots dramatically reduced?  Any recent health issues, how much sun was it kept in?  You'd be surprised where a bonsai or plant for sale was just before you saw it or the size container it was recently in before the tree became available.  Some shift trees out of nice containers and sell in a smaller pot.