Author Topic: Boon Mix?  (Read 24535 times)

nathanbs

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Re: Boon Mix?
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2012, 03:39 PM »
its absolutely based on science but that's not to say that you cant grow a tree in pure sawdust and it wont survive.  The goal here is to find the soil that creates the best or shall i say the most optimum conditions to grow a tree that does not only appear to be healthy but is actually resistant to disease, hot spikes, cold spikes, etc.  Our trees aren't always as happy and healthy as we think they are. They may be one hot day away from dying.  To support your claim Roy Nagotoshi(very well known bonsai artist) grows entirely in lava and redwood mulch.  He has surrendered to adding akadama in a 1:1 ratio for his black pines.  It has a lot to do with your watering habits more so than your soil ingredients. However there are soil mixes such as the "boon Mix" that are overall more forgiving when it comes to watering and hot/cold conditions. Key word "more". Look at all of the nurseries growing in dirt, however the pots are taller which subjects the moisture to greater gravity than a shallow bonsai pot.  Bottom line, a mix such as lava, pumice, akadama, will yield better results across the board more than just straight lava.
 

cbobgo

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Re: Boon Mix?
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2012, 04:37 PM »
Nathan I agree that you can grow in anything, if you know what you are doing.  But my question is what is the scientific evidence that lava and pumice behave in such vastly different ways at the microscopic level?  I did some pretty exhaustive searches on the topic, and found nothing like what you said in your previous post.  Are there papers published somewhere?  Is there an experiment comparing them, or is this just people's personal experience?

- bob


 

coh

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Re: Boon Mix?
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2012, 05:54 PM »
To add to what Paul said. Just because a soil particle is porous does not mean the pores are big enough to allow the roots to freely detach the water molecules, nor too large(lava) to even truly absorb water, rather water just sits on the lava particles surface. Pumice offers very little air to the roots, whereas lava offers very little water in comparison.

The underlined statement (in particular) struck me as interesting, especially since many collected trees (such as those available at Nature's Way Nursery in Pennsylvania) are potted in 100% pumice, which supposedly encourages "tremendous" (quoting others) root growth. I have a collected engelmann spruce from Nature's Way, it is in 100% pumice and I was basically advised (by Jim Doyle and Walter Pall) to water everyday, that it (almost) cannot be over-watered. So pumice alone must provide some pretty good aeration!

Note this is the only tree I have that is potted in 100% pumice, so my sample size is rather small. At first I thought it was holding too much water so I cut back on watering - but the tree started to suffer (browning and dropped needles).  When I increased the watering it recovered and produced strong root growth (evident through the drain holes).

Chris
 

nathanbs

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Re: Boon Mix?
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2012, 09:54 AM »
Nathan I agree that you can grow in anything, if you know what you are doing.  But my question is what is the scientific evidence that lava and pumice behave in such vastly different ways at the microscopic level?  I did some pretty exhaustive searches on the topic, and found nothing like what you said in your previous post.  Are there papers published somewhere?  Is there an experiment comparing them, or is this just people's personal experience?

- bob



Scientific Experiments(read, just doing it and seeing dramatic differences) :)
 

nathanbs

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Re: Boon Mix?
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2012, 09:59 AM »
To add to what Paul said. Just because a soil particle is porous does not mean the pores are big enough to allow the roots to freely detach the water molecules, nor too large(lava) to even truly absorb water, rather water just sits on the lava particles surface. Pumice offers very little air to the roots, whereas lava offers very little water in comparison.

The underlined statement (in particular) struck me as interesting, especially since many collected trees (such as those available at Nature's Way Nursery in Pennsylvania) are potted in 100% pumice, which supposedly encourages "tremendous" (quoting others) root growth. I have a collected engelmann spruce from Nature's Way, it is in 100% pumice and I was basically advised (by Jim Doyle and Walter Pall) to water everyday, that it (almost) cannot be over-watered. So pumice alone must provide some pretty good aeration!

Note this is the only tree I have that is potted in 100% pumice, so my sample size is rather small. At first I thought it was holding too much water so I cut back on watering - but the tree started to suffer (browning and dropped needles).  When I increased the watering it recovered and produced strong root growth (evident through the drain holes).

Chris

I think it is a very good point you are making but i think what it boils down to is that there is obviously gaps in between your pumice particles that is your air. The fact that you have to water it often is a good indication that water freely leaves pumice, whereas lava stays wet forever because the pores are so large the water gets trapped. Now where i am thoroughly confused is how does lava provide air if its pores are filled with water? Fill a pot with lava, water it and see how long it stays wet for. Would be terrible to promote roots.
 

cbobgo

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Re: Boon Mix?
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2012, 01:05 PM »
nathan, with lava its the space between the particles that lets the air in, same as with pumice (or any soil ingredient, for that matter).  As I said I grow in lava and bark, and my trees do not stay wet all the time.  During the summer I have to water every day, when it's hot sometimes twice a day.  The lava drains just fine. 

I did some more reading on actual science, not anecdotal experience, and I did find a few comparisons.  Obviously these are not studies involving bonsai trees, but I think the information is useful nonetheless.

Here's a textbook chapter where they put pumice and lava (which they call tuff) in the same category of soil amendments, making no difference between the 2 horticulturally.
http://www.worldagroforestrycentre.org/NurseryManuals/Research/Substrate.pdf

Here's a study comparing lava (again called tuff) to 2 different types of pumice in growing roses.  The lava had a higher hydraulic conductivity - meaning it was easier to get water through it, and also had higher growth rates than the pumice.
http://journal.ashspublications.org/content/124/2/205.full.pdf

- bob

 

cbobgo

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Re: Boon Mix?
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2012, 02:57 PM »
Here's another study on adding pumice to a bark based soil mix.  Conclusion was adding pumice decreased total porosity, container capacity, available water, and water-buffering capacity.

http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/32337/1/IND44225834.pdf


In this next one, they compared pumice to lava, which they called scoria.  Water filled porosity (the ammount of water remaining in the media after letting the water drain out) was only different by 5%. Air filled porosity (the amount of air in the mix) was different by only 0.4%.  Fruit yield was higher in the lava.

http://www.nftgroup.co.nz/site/hydrotech/files/Articles/ScoriaCucumberReport.pdf

So to sum up the science I've found, the differences are very small, if any.  And lava may actually perform better.  So I suppose in an established tree, if you were wanting to slow down growth, there might be some evidence to suggest adding pumice might be a benefit.  But I've found nothing to suggest adding pumice improves growth in any way over lava.

- bob
 

Alain Bertrand

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Re: Boon Mix?
« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2012, 06:41 PM »

Quote
http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/32337/1/IND44225834.pdf

This study is not relevant to our problem because pumice is never added above 30% though we use in substrates that are almost or completely granular with each component roughly of the same size. The result presented in the study just illustrates one well known result, that is mixing components of different size is usually bad for physical properties.

Quote
http://www.nftgroup.co.nz/site/hydrotech/files/Articles/ScoriaCucumberReport.pdf
I have done my own porosity measures and they  are in fact consistent with the data you found out. Also in a French book dedicated to nursery practices, the same kind of results where presented.
I have trees in both and I don't see any differences.
I like lava rock for small pots because it is heavy, and pumice for large pots because it is light ;).
Additionally, pumice doesn't damage cutting instruments as badly as lava rock does and most important factor, I could get my hands on a one cubic meter of pumice of adequate size for 150 € though I could not for lava rock.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2012, 06:56 PM by Alain Bertrand »
 
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cbobgo

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Re: Boon Mix?
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2012, 08:25 PM »
Thanks for your input Alain.

Here's Brent's (from evergreengardenworks.com) comment on the topic:

"Personally, I don't think soil makes any difference at all as long as the structure is right (size and shape, porosity) and you water and fertilize properly."

- bob

 

Chrisl

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Re: Boon Mix?
« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2012, 10:54 AM »
To add to what Paul said. Just because a soil particle is porous does not mean the pores are big enough to allow the roots to freely detach the water molecules, nor too large(lava) to even truly absorb water, rather water just sits on the lava particles surface. Pumice offers very little air to the roots, whereas lava offers very little water in comparison.

The underlined statement (in particular) struck me as interesting, especially since many collected trees (such as those available at Nature's Way Nursery in Pennsylvania) are potted in 100% pumice, which supposedly encourages "tremendous" (quoting others) root growth. I have a collected engelmann spruce from Nature's Way, it is in 100% pumice and I was basically advised (by Jim Doyle and Walter Pall) to water everyday, that it (almost) cannot be over-watered. So pumice alone must provide some pretty good aeration!

Note this is the only tree I have that is potted in 100% pumice, so my sample size is rather small. At first I thought it was holding too much water so I cut back on watering - but the tree started to suffer (browning and dropped needles).  When I increased the watering it recovered and produced strong root growth (evident through the drain holes).

Chris

Ditto here too Chris.  The two PP's I got from Jim is in !00% pumice and are doing great. 
 

gtuthill

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Re: Boon Mix?
« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2012, 03:18 PM »
Like most folks i have tried various combinations in mixes and have my own anecdotes. 

This potting season i will be moving to a "Boon like"  mix of turface, pumice and lava for trees to display and just pumice for all the stuff in training.

I can't get akadama and had to import my own turface.  pumice and lava however (we call it scoria here too)  are very and readily available.

I like the lava because it adds weight to the pot more so than pumice or turface. 

I also like the colour to be more earth like than just pumice. 

Anyone else think soil colour is important in this art?  I've never heard it mentioned.
 

Jason E

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Re: Boon Mix?
« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2012, 11:32 PM »
I used clay king on a few trees that I repotted this year and it looks really nice, natural earth tones. but pricy.
 

edro

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Re: Boon Mix?
« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2012, 08:01 PM »
I like the lava because it adds weight to the pot more so than pumice or turface. 

I also like the colour to be more earth like than just pumice. 

Anyone else think soil colour is important in this art?  I've never heard it mentioned.
Yes, I think it is very important.

I cannot stand soil with white particles. Chicken grit and pumice are pure white.

I stick with turface, haydite, pine bark, lava, etc. It has to be Earthy or I won't use it.
 

John Kirby

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Re: Boon Mix?
« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2012, 10:29 PM »
If you don't like the white of pumice, and don't want to try a tan pumice like Hyuga, then top dress with your soil mix without pumice.
 

jtucker

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Re: Boon Mix?
« Reply #29 on: April 26, 2012, 11:35 PM »
So there's reddish skoria and black skoria, a lot of times here in Southern California we have a mix of the two which comes out somewhat brownish. I like that for top dressing. However, for many of our bonsai species, doesn't straight black or straight red top dressing look just as "unnatural" as the white of pumice or grit?

Or maybe it's possible that bonsai folks generally darker top dressing because it provides contrast with often lighter bark of our trees, so that the nebari stands out better? After all, how many species have super dark bark that would blend in and get lost in a dark top dressing? Brown or tan-ish seems to be a good compromise, no?
« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 11:37 PM by jtucker »