Author Topic: soil recipes  (Read 11732 times)

Elliott

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soil recipes
« 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!!
 

John Kirby

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Re: soil recipes
« Reply #1 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.
 

boon

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Re: soil recipes
« Reply #2 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.
 

Elliott

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Re: soil recipes
« Reply #3 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!
 

nathanbs

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Re: soil recipes
« Reply #4 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.
 

Elliott

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Re: soil recipes
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2012, 08:13 PM »
Lowes
 

John Kirby

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Re: soil recipes
« Reply #6 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.
 

Elliott

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Re: soil recipes
« Reply #7 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.
 

Yenling83

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Re: soil recipes
« Reply #8 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.  
 

jtucker

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Re: soil recipes
« Reply #9 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
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 11:44 PM by jtucker »
 

scottroxburgh

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Re: soil recipes
« Reply #10 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.
 

jtucker

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Re: soil recipes
« Reply #11 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!
 

Larry Gockley

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Re: soil recipes
« Reply #12 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
 

nathanbs

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Re: soil recipes
« Reply #13 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.
 

John Kirby

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Re: soil recipes
« Reply #14 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