Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => General Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Elliott on January 22, 2012, 05:53 PM

Title: soil recipes
Post by: Elliott on January 22, 2012, 05:53 PM
So I'm gonna try to mix my own soil instead of buying. I have boon"s recipe  and that of a few friends. Anybody care to share theirs? let me know if its for broad leaf or conifers, tropicals etc and sizes. I'm especially interested in what people are using in the hotter, drier climates like so. and central California.
 I was gonna use = parts akadama, hyuga, lava, a little hard Korean DG and some charcoal. For my tropicals I will add extra akadama and some screened cactus mix. About half my trees are Live oaks.
What are you guys having luck with?
Thanks!!
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: John Kirby on January 22, 2012, 06:55 PM
Boons mix, various sizes, sometimes add an extra portion of akadama for maples. California, Arkansas (hot) and CT cool.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: boon on January 23, 2012, 01:32 PM
my mix works well in sourthern CA.  if you worry about drying out, use screened new zealand sphagnum moss(orchids moss) on the surface.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Elliott on January 23, 2012, 04:17 PM
Thanks Boon. Yeah, I got your recipe from Peter Macashieb when he did a demo for my club , Sansui Kai. I even like the way your mix looks. The asthetic of a mix is often ignored, but even though thats the least consideration, some mixes look nicer in a show tree than others.
 I'm not worried about yours or any mix being to open as I'm home most days to water as much as needed. For tropicals, I may add some cactus mix,chopped coco husk, or the New Zeland sphangnum moss chopped.
 If I use your mix, the only thing I would change is I would replace the DG with Korean DG since its hard and wont break down after a couple years. Thanks!
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: nathanbs on January 23, 2012, 08:07 PM
any body in so. cal know where to buy the new zealand sphagnum moss? Everybody seems to caution against most kinds of moss.  I guess mail order will do as it is light weight.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Elliott on January 23, 2012, 08:13 PM
Lowes
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: John Kirby on January 23, 2012, 08:17 PM
I bought a bale from Vicky(sic?) at the House of Bonsai, but Walmart and ay other spot that has Orchid supplies.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Elliott on January 23, 2012, 08:21 PM
Vicky may have it and I maybe can get you(nate) a bale wholesale thru my reptile contacts, but that's alot of moss! I maybe going by House of bonsai this week if you want me to pick some up.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Yenling83 on January 23, 2012, 08:37 PM
any body in so. cal know where to buy the new zealand sphagnum moss? Everybody seems to caution against most kinds of moss.  I guess mail order will do as it is light weight.

I get mine on Ebay, I think that's where the best deals are.  The good quality New Zealand seems to be really clean.

 Also, I use boon's mix for everything except newly collected trees(I used pumice)  and it's worked much better than any mix i've tried.  
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: jtucker on January 23, 2012, 11:42 PM
This is from an intermediate bonsai-ist perspective, but also living in So. California. My wife already thinks I spend too much money on bonsai, so I tried to get the cheapest and easiest soil that would do the trick. Also, I only have a small condo yard so I don't have the luxury of buying a lot of soil elements and storing them. I use basically the same soil mix for all trees, but try to group species together in different parts of the yard based on sun/water needs.

My first year that I got serious about getting plants into decent soil, I mixed up 1:1 screened cactus mix:3/8 screened pumice in 5 gallon buckets. I'm about 6 mi. from the coast as the crow flies, and I found this mixture had way too much organic material due to the cactus mix. I also found that, after sifting the fines out of the cactus mix, there was almost more in my sifted discard pile than in my keeper bucket!

So for the past two years, I've done about 2:1 3/8 screened pumice:"seedling" size orchid bark. It's pretty fast draining and doesn't get too clogged up if I forget to scrape off organic granulated fertilizer for a while. Aside from it being mostly white, (this year I've been doing a top dressing of blackish skoria) I've been pretty happy with how this soil mix works with my watering regimen. However, one of our club members who runs a small nursery about 12 miles inland from me (way hotter in summer and way colder in winter) told me, "Man, if my trees were in that here and I didn't water like 5x/day in the summer, they'd be toast!!!"

I just happened to be at her place at the same time another guy who lived by the coast came to her with a tree in her soil that was waaaaay overwatered and she had to help him with some rehab. Other than particle size, I think it mainly comes down to balancing the water retention of your soil with the frequency of watering...

It's totally not a professional mix, but it's working ok for me so far. I'm also starting to pay more attention to the visual aesthetic of my soil, since I might actually get up the gumption to show a tree or two in the next year or so!

Jason
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: scottroxburgh on January 24, 2012, 12:54 AM
I live in Canberra, Australia with up to 45oC Summers and -10oC Winters.

I use Boon mix with Sphag moss on the soil surface, and have had better growth the last two years than ever before.

Bark, potting soil or cactus mix is not necessary.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: jtucker on January 24, 2012, 01:57 AM
I agree there are much better soils mixes than what I use :-) Would love to experiment with Boon's mix. The original poster asked if people would share their mixes.

I just have chosen components that are pretty easily available in smaller quantities at most decent nurseries here in Southern California. In time, I'll most likely try Boon's mix and fall in love with it and never settle for anything less. Glad to hear your successes with it, Scott!
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Larry Gockley on January 24, 2012, 09:16 AM
A few years ago, I got the formula from Guy Guidry's soil mix, and it has been working for me. It is basically 50% organic and inorganic, and I vary that accordingly for trops or junis. As mentioned before, not just the ingredients but the particle size is important. You need various size screens. I recently watched a video by Vaughn Banting, where he mentioned the value of clay products it the soil. Something about retaining fert and positive and negative ions. Does anyone have more info on this positive and negative ion  idea? Larry
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: nathanbs on January 24, 2012, 10:22 AM
elliot back to the sphagnum. Do you recall Al Nelson specifying a certain type of sphagnum and to be careful of all others. Im afraid what is commonly available at Lowes and even what Vicky has is against what Al was saying. Dont recall what his concerns were, just remembered if/when it was time to buy some i needed to be specific.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: John Kirby on January 24, 2012, 10:48 AM
NZ white is NZ white, the issue is that longfibered green sphagnum has been known to carry fungii, that can cause health issues after long term exposure. John
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Chrisl on January 24, 2012, 01:01 PM
I'd be using Boon's mix too if I could've found all the components.  I've only found 1/4" lava chunks, nothing smaller.  No pumice to be had here in the midwest either.  Too bad as I'd like to try it.
Chris
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: rockm on January 24, 2012, 02:44 PM
"NZ white is NZ white, the issue is that longfibered green sphagnum has been known to carry fungii, that can cause health issues after long term exposure. "

If you're talking about sporotrichosis, the health risk is pretty minimal if you wear gloves when working wtih ANY moss. New Zealand moss can carry the fungus that causes the problem. It's not species-specific to certain kinds of moss. You can also get it from cats...

Sporotrichosis  is a fungal infection that enters the body mostly through cuts or abrasions. It CAN enter through the airway, but that's pretty rare.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: John Kirby on January 24, 2012, 07:40 PM
Mark, it is a washing and process difference. I use both, bales of it. The main proble is for folks who use it frequently.

John
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: nathanbs on January 25, 2012, 10:22 AM
John,
How do you check soil dampness for watering when the surface is covered with moss? I typically dig a little into the soil to check for dampness.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: John Kirby on January 25, 2012, 12:23 PM
I don't. Once we start watering, we water everything, everyday. Good soil mix drains well, I really don't worry about over watering. John
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: nathanbs on January 25, 2012, 08:43 PM
do you know if boon waters everyday of the year besides when it rains, and i suppose if the moss is still wet its pretty obvious not to water
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Elliott on January 26, 2012, 07:14 AM
Nathan, what Al said was to use new zealand Sphagnum as opposed to regular sphagnum. Doesn't matter what source its from. The new Zealand is much cleaner with less woody chunks. It also lives/ last longer but more importantly, it re hydrates as soon as you water it. The regular stuff has to to be watered a while before it absorbs the moisture. I think the fungus/spore thing is pretty minimal.
 To the guy who mentioned the clay products, yes, soils like akadama which is a natural clay product work by holding positive cations ( I'm sure I got this wrong and someone will correct me) which equals nutrients to the tree. Ryan Neal says when you water a fast draining soil, everything goes right thru and the roots don't' get a chance to absorb nutrients, its like someone throwing a bunch of money in the air and you can only keep what you catch. Most of it will fall on the floor. Soils like akadama let that money land on the table where you can reach it.
 So what I ended up doing with my soil situation is I bought a bunch of akadama in large and small size, hyuga in small and large size, and black scoria, I picked up some of that axis from Napa auto parts also.
 The large akadama has big, med and small pieces in it. The med akadama has med and small pieces. I'm going to separate all 3 sizes on the akadama,and hyuga. Im also gonna pick up some large size scoria. I'm going to keep everything separate in marked tubs and mix up individual batches for every tree. I will have the size particle I need as I have small, med, and large trees, plus I can add more akadama for the broad leaf's and more organic for tropicals.
 I had a long talk with a friend of mine who is studying soil at Cal poly San Luis Obispo, and he said having a uniform size soil particle is very important because smaller particles will compact between the bigger pieces and cause drainage and compaction problems. He also said having a large particle layer at the bottom was important.
 I thought all the sieving of the soils would be a pain in the ass, but its actually a little fun once you get on a roll!
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Billkcmo on January 26, 2012, 07:23 AM
I have a friend who didn't sift his haydite ir coarse sand.  He used a screw driver  to make small  holes in the bottom of the bag and ran the garden hose in the top and washed out the fine particles.  I don't sift my haydite as I use it straight for my pines, maybe some dime size chuncks of peat.  When i water the find particles are washed away. 
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Owen Reich on January 26, 2012, 07:53 AM
@nathanbs, I wrote an article in ABS Journal last year covering how to prepare and use "mizu goke" (chopped long-fibered sphagnum moss).  We use chopped moss at Kouka-en on the surface of a variety of trees with different water needs.  We do know the water needs of the species; I won't go into the aspects of tree size, time of year, etc. but will say it helps monitoring water needs.  We use Aoki Blend Akadama for everything as we have deciduous and evergreen blends utilizing a larger particle size for the base layer.   

The article may be available on the ABS website now, a friend may have a copy, or maybe you could just join  ;). 
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: nathanbs on January 26, 2012, 10:03 AM
@elliot, Al was saying the sphagnum at house of bonsai is chilean sphagnum?? and that it was no good. Dont remember why of coarse. Glad to see you are mixing your soils and having some fun while you are at it.
@Owen appreciate the added advice. I will join just to read your article ;) right back at you
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: John Kirby on January 26, 2012, 10:26 AM
Boon sieves (through a soil screen) his and uses a very light layer on very specific trees after repotting. He waters at different intervals over the year, in the summer, every day- sometimes 2 or more times a day.

I guess, the funny about sphagnum moss is that people use what they like. Washed sphagnum (whether from NZ, Chile or Canada is washed sphagnum), is washed Sphagnum. You can buy Mountain Moss for use with Satsukis if you like, and those who do swear by it. I use long fibered on trees just collected or after having an initial major root reduction.  I have not seen a difference in rooting outcomes from the stuff you buy at Lowes or the stuff from House of Bonsai. If it is potentially an issue for you personally, buy NZ.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: nathanbs on January 26, 2012, 07:53 PM
I am oblivious to the differences except for color. I was just worried based on Al Nelson warning that what Vicky at House of Bonsai has is Chilean and not to use it, but i forget why. If the consensus is that sphagnum is sphagnum then great one less thing to worry about
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Owen Reich on January 26, 2012, 10:59 PM


Mizu Goke Article
     Upon my arrival to study in Japan, one of the first things I noticed about the bonsai here was that the surface of many of the trees were covered with chopped sphagnum moss.  My broken Japanese questions were answered with a smile, as mizu goke is an integral part of bonsai care here at Kouka-en and other nurseries in Japan.  Proper watering is the most important cultural practice for bonsai and any edge you can get should be considered for use.  Mizu goke means water moss, referring to the environment sphagnum moss natually grows in.  To avoid confusion, mizu goke will be referred to as "moss" and green, living moss as "live moss".  Live moss should not be left covering the soil surface of your bonsai indefinitely as it uses water, decreases the oxygen exchange for the bonsai's roots, and makes monitoring for dry bonsai more difficult.  It is best to apply live moss before exhibition or display in small chunks like a puzzle.  This keeps the air exchange rate higher than using large sheets.
     There are a myriad of benefits for the use of mizu goke.  The most common use is for newly repotted bonsai to stabilize the soil surface and evaluate root system health.  Sick bonsai due to weak roots can be better monitored as can newly collected yamadori.  Moisture sensitive trees and almost all shohin bonsai benefit a great deal as the hotter times of the year can be especially difficult to provide adequate moisture in a timely fashion.  Stewartia monadelpha a.k.a. Himeshara (meaning dwarf stewartia) thrives even in warmer climates as moss keeps the soil temperature lower; best recreating the cool, moist environment they natually grow in.  Trachelospurnum asiaticum var. 'Nana' a.k.a. Chiramen kazura (meaning handsome climber) is another species that hates to dry out completely.  All of the chiramen kazura and himeshara at Kouka-en are maintained year-round with moss covering the surface.  Another reason to adopt the use of moss is the uniform covering will decrease the incidence of new weeds and it's easier to spot new ones early for easy removal.  It will not unfortunately, not kill all the old ones.
     Mizu goke can be used for any species, but it will take some close observation the first time you apply for evaluation of your soil mix and local climate.  We don't use it for ancient Pinus parviflora or Shimpaku as the larger particle akadama used doesn't shift easily and water needs are well known.  
     Kouka-en uses blended Aoki akadama mixs for everything (a separate deciduous and evergreen mix) with a larger size of high fired akadama as a base to decrease the zone of saturation.  This is the area that stays wet between waterings in the bottom of the pot.  Satsuki azaleas are grown in Kanuma with a high fired akadama base.  Long fibered Australian peat moss is used here in Osaka for mizu goke, but Canadian long fiber peat moss will be readily available at garden centers or craft stores in America.  Just make sure it is a beige to brown color that isn't dyed.  Mizu goke is best prepared by soaking the dry moss in a container of boiling water and left to sit for three hours to fully saturate the dry moss.  Next, a large chopping knife is used to cut the moss into a fine particle size.  The smaller the size, the more uniform the application will be to the soil surface.  After mincing is complete, the moss is put into buckets of water for immediate use.  The ratio of water to moss is important as too much water will make it hard to remove the moss.  Too much moss tends to make the moss form
clumps and can lead to an uneven final thickness on the surface.  It will take some practice to perfect the ratio.  When preparing enough for later use, the wet moss is mounded up in flats with small drain holes in the bottom and allowed to dry.  If not used soon after preparation, it is best to allow the mizu goke to soak in a bucket overnight or at least three hours before use.  If too dry, application will be difficult and increase the incidence of a wavy surface that dries sporadically.  If left in a bucket for more than a day or two, add new water to provide oxygen.  Otherwise the moss with start go anaerobic and smell bad.
     Surface preparation is straightforward for newly repotted bonsai, as the soil surface should be made level or with a slight slope away from the tree already.  It is best to make the final soil level a centimeter lower than normal before mizu goke application.  On established bonsai, any old live moss is scraped off the surface save very close to the nebari on evergreens with flaking bark such as Pinus thunbergii as this area is usually left undisturbed during repotting.  The mizu goke should be applied in a thin layer over all new soil.  Again, this aids in keeping the soil from washing away or shifting so the surface is smooth and level.  If you prefer to keep your soil surface "green", live moss can grow in or through the mizu goke and reestablish itself at a uniform height.  If a more diverse live moss covering for exhibition is desired, moss can be applied over the mizu goke if space allows or it can be scraped off once the root system is stabilized after application.  This stabilization may take 3 months or longer.  Many of the bonsai in the Kokofu Ten Exhibition are repotted during the months preceding the show in February into beautiful, and generally old and extremely expensive, pots.  After the exhibition ends, the trees are potted back in their normal pots, terra cotta containers, or wood boxes.  Moss is often applied at this point as the trees have gone through many stressors; not the least of which was almost two weeks inside an exhibition hall with dry air and low light levels.  It is a testament of skill to the professionals involved that the bonsai masterpieces exhibited remain healthy during and after running such a gaunlet.
     Mizu goke application is done by making a shallow skimming-scooping motion into the bucket and almost slapping the thin layer in your hand onto the soil.  Grabbing a big handful and spreading it around is less accurate.  At a minimum, moss should be applied over all new soil around the perimeter of the pot.  Deciduous trees are covered from the edge of the pot to the nebari leaving these surface roots uncovered as it will decrease the incidence of adventitious roots in the wrong places and just looks better.  As mentioned earlier, evergreens don't need moss covering the undisturbed soil.  Also, a little bit of the overall surface devoid of moss can also aid in assessing water needs.  Next, a curved edged, flat soil tamp like the ones often opposite the business end
of bonsai tweezers should be used to press the moss down to form a slight outward slope on the inside edge of the pot.  Finally, a clean dry rag will aid in the removal of excess moss on the pot rim.  Once dry, mizu goke will stick to the pot and is unsightly and harder to remove. 
     As the new moss dries, it will lighten in color.  This is how to better judge when to water.  If applied to established bonsai, it will dry faster and when visually dry, it's time to water.  Newly repotted bonsai will dry out slower and watering rates need to be watched closely.  It is best to let the moss dry out to the point of looking like caked oatmeal early in the stabilization of new root systems; sometimes watering just the older part of the root system closer to the trunk is advisable as this is where the new fibrous roots will emerge.  As time passes after repotting, the rate at which the moss dries can be tracked and used to judge the vigor of your bonsai.  Really long drying times between waterings are a sign of a weak root system.  It may be time to apply a suitable fungicide.  At times, patches of moss can wash away.  Just apply some new moss in the same fashion.  The moss will sometimes turn green due to some sort of algae.  If too much of the surface turns green, the old moss can be removed and new moss  applied.  If your moss turns green all over, you are most likely watering too much.  Fertilizer cakes will discolor the moss under them but this is no reason for concern.
     The water needs of any species should be learned from bonsai professionals, seasoned local club members, or researching the plant's native habitat.  Mizu goke is not a cure-all for how to time your watering.  Moss is not going to fix any bad habits either.  It is however, a reliable aid in bonsai culture when used properly and may provide an "Ah-Hah" moment for bonsai you had trouble keeping healthy in the past.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Owen Reich on January 26, 2012, 11:01 PM
I found the article still in my iPod so in an effort to be more helpful, here you go.....
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: mcpesq817 on January 27, 2012, 09:33 AM
Thanks Owen, that's really great information that you shared.  Really appreciate it!
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: John Kirby on January 27, 2012, 05:32 PM
Chrisi, try www.weetree.com (http://www.weetree.com).
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Chrisl on January 28, 2012, 12:21 AM
Cool website John, Thanks.  I'll check into getting at least enough for a few trees and compare them to my readily available Turface.  Shipping is a killer ;)
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: John Kirby on January 28, 2012, 07:52 AM
Tell me, I just ordered two and a half pallets worth of material. Beats driving out to get it though, I have done that several times. Also, Cass Bonsai in Edwardsville Illinois (cassbonsai.com) sells Clay King premixed Bonsai soil (good stuff), if you ever feel like driving down towards St Louis on a weekend.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Chrisl on January 28, 2012, 11:03 AM
Wow, I don't even want to imagine the cost of that John! lol  And since I bought quite a few trees last year I feel like I'm going to need pallets of the stuff too ;)  But John, I saw that Weetrees only sells regular Akadama, any reason you and/or Boon don't use the double line or high fired Akadama?  Just wondering.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: John Kirby on January 28, 2012, 11:21 AM
They sell double line, I have purchased the double line high fired "hard" akadama in the past, didn't really see any advantages- but that may change in my new location.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Chrisl on January 28, 2012, 12:36 PM
Oh, so not a big difference in breakdown rate?  I thought that was the main advantage.  I'd think esp. important for conifers that don't need to be repotted very often.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Judy on January 28, 2012, 02:41 PM
What I have read, and I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, is that there are softer types of akadama that break down faster than others in a climate where there are freezing temps.  I don't think that places with mild climates have problems with this breaking down.

But I have heard of it turning to mush in cold zones, which is one reason (among others,- sourcing, and price being the others) I haven't yet tried it.  I have had a commercial mix that was partial akadama, and some of my trees have had it in the mix when I've received them, but I've never made a full switch.  I am considering changing some of my trees over to something with a larger particle size, as currently I'm mostly in turface. I hear good things about haydite, but don't know where to source that either.

I think that soil is more regionally effected than is generally thought of.  It seems to me that localized environments have so much to do with what the trees need in a soil, and these are highly changeable across the country.  What works for Southern Ca., might not work best for my climate necessarily.   Just seems like that would be the case to me...
 
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: kostas on January 28, 2012, 06:29 PM
Hi i live in athens at sumer we have 30c 40c with very  strong and hot wind if i use akadama i kill ol my plands so insdead i dig and take a mountain soil  from the base of pines  without  the niddles 2/5 compost 1/5 pearlite, lava ,pumice,1/5 small iron balls from sotgun sells, charcoal 0,5/5 peat 0,5/5 for deciduous end evergreen and for conifers instead  of peat,  river sand
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: John Kirby on January 28, 2012, 08:41 PM
Hmm, well I strongly recommend that those who don't like Akadama to not use it.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: kostas on January 29, 2012, 04:23 AM
hi akadama at sumer with dry hot windy wather becames like desert soil in greece. i must water the trees every 3-4 hours and the trees can not breathe,espesiali  when we have strong winds direct from libya. not doing for dry climates and not that i dont like it.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: kostas on January 29, 2012, 05:49 AM
hi akadama at sumer with dry hot windy wather becames like desert grund in greece. i must water the trees every 3-4 hours and the trees can not breathe,espesiali  when we have strong winds direct from libya. not doing for dry climates and not that i dont like it.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: kostas on January 29, 2012, 08:59 AM
hi. akadama at summer with dry hot windy weather became like desert ground in Greece. i must water the trees every 3-4 hours and the trees can not breathe,especially when we have strong winds direct from Libya. not doing for dry climates and not that i don't like it. sorry for the spelling above.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: Chrisl on January 29, 2012, 11:44 AM
Well I'd like to give it a try just to see how the trees respond. 
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: kostas on January 29, 2012, 02:21 PM
if you do look out the shot shell type, must be with a variety of metals not only lead. metals like steel, bismuth, tin and zinc. because you can not  find that quantities of this metals aneware else.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: kostas on January 29, 2012, 03:14 PM
pc   .be careful if your soil mix is acidic for trees like azalea then you must pout less quantities of shot shells inside fx shot sells 0,1 carcoal 0,4.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: John Kirby on January 29, 2012, 04:01 PM
Kostas,
so your trees dry out in the wind, have you thought of covering the soil with a mulch or with sphagnum moss, or better yet build a shade/wind screen to help or let you trees sit in water(below the bottom of the pot)? The mix you are using is interesting, do you have any highly refined trees in it? Athens has nothing on Arizona, the desert of Southern California or Nevada and folks use Akadama mixes  there- but who knows.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: kostas on January 29, 2012, 07:22 PM
I don't use sphagnum moss because i have problem
 with birds but i use pumice and lava 2mm on top with my recipe at summer and ihave shade/wind screen but when i buy a tree with akadama soil i repot it because it do sent work.  with second tho wt maybe  i build a greenhouse to use akadama.(the best soil its from deserts)
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: kostas on January 29, 2012, 10:46 PM
 sumthin else you ask me. if i have highly refined trees ?highly refined trees goes with akadama soil  together.Here  in Greece bonsai Hobey dos not exist (exept akadama is in stok many years now),even lime soulfour i fix it in my one so Idont have. i I'm very  yang to have an old tree infuct my favorite tree is only 3year old  (For you maybe its a joke).and the resent is that this tree learn me to do brunch Shari  with out any tool (not even a pro bonsai yet). that i want to tell is that bonsai is the real language of the tree,if you want a bonsai you must speak the language but to  learn properly its a project  of a life time.
 i want to ask you  something If akadama and fertilize is  vanish this means we can not have bonsai or highly refined trees with nice growth.


Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: John Kirby on January 30, 2012, 08:23 AM
My questions was more to the fact that soil type and structure is important for developing highly refined trees, doesn't have to be akadama at all. Walter Pall in Germany uses Baked Loam, I am not sure precisely what that is other than it seems to have the same kind of attributes that makes up a good bonsai soil mix. Good water retention, rapidly draining, relatively uniform particle size and resistant to decomposition.

On your other point, one way that I keep birds from stealing sphagnum moss is to cover it with window screen. Cut a square that is slightly larger than the pot, make a cut in it to slide around the trunk and then tie the screen around the pot using wire or string. Keeps the moss in place and really helps with water loss.
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: kostas on January 30, 2012, 11:47 AM
Sorry i misunderstood you. about  Good water retention, rapidly draining, relatively uniform particle size and resistant to decomposition i want to do an experiment about how different tempters of water in the ground play a role in that. IL take the same pot with the same soil in the same place for a wear water regularly and i water the first with water 15c and the Arther with 25c I want to see what happened. If the water is 10c defrend in a pot. Thanks for the advise with the birds. For  the uniform particle size and resistant i.believe that pH must defind the particle size of the soil because is the door for the nutrients that the tree takes.


Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: kostas on January 30, 2012, 01:55 PM
Sorry i misunderstood you. about Good water retention, rapidly draining, relatively uniform particle size and resistant to decomposition i want to do an experiment about how different tempters of water in the ground play a role in that. IL take the same pot with the same soil in the same place for a wear water regularly and i water the first with water 15c and the Arther with 25c I want to see what happened. If the water is 10c defrend in a pot. Thanks for the advise with the birds. For the uniform particle size and resistant i.believe that pH must defind the particle size of the soil because is the door for the nutrients that the tree takes.
For uniform particle size and resistant i.believe that pH must defind the particle size of the  ingredients of the soil mix because is the door for the nutrients that the tree takes.(powerful root system)and the Generating
That determinate soil resistans with the degree of oxidation that metals  have inside. sorry problems with the language.




Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: kostas on January 31, 2012, 10:22 AM
My questions was more to the fact that soil type and structure is important for developing highly refined trees, doesn't have to be akadama at all. Walter Pall in Germany uses Baked Loam, I am not sure precisely what that is other than it seems to have the same kind of attributes that makes up a good bonsai soil mix. Good water retention, rapidly draining, relatively uniform particle size and resistant to decomposition.

On your other point, one way that I keep birds from stealing sphagnum moss is to cover it with window screen. Cut a square that is slightly larger than the pot, make a cut in it to slide around the trunk and then tie the screen around the pot using wire or string. Keeps the moss in place and really helps with water loss.
I cant expres my self  like i do so maybe that i want to say, is not exactly that i have rote above.  This caint of soil  for Greece i think works better. its no so hard like akadama it have good water retention
And is rapidly draining.about resistant to decomposition is medium but you can change easily  pH.and i thing the particle size must be like the picture from the small to the large
Title: Re: soil recipes
Post by: John Kirby on February 01, 2012, 06:37 PM
Um, no, uniformity of particle size is important, not absolute but close.