Author Topic: Substitutes for ...Akadama  (Read 44802 times)

coh

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Re: Substitutes for ...Akadama
« Reply #105 on: November 04, 2014, 09:59 PM »
Talk about splitting hairs...

Sure, if you add some granite and charcoal, then the final mix will be slightly less than 1/3 akadama. Let's see, there are 16 cups in a gallon. So if you make up 5 gallons of 1/3 pumice/lava/akadama, that's a total of 80 cups, and each component equals 26.67 cups. If you now add 1 cup of granite and 1 cup of charcoal, you now have a total mix of 82 cups. There are still 26.67 cups of akadama in the mix, so 26.67/82 = 32.52% instead of 33.33%.

But what's the point again?

Chris
 

M. Frary

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Re: Substitutes for ...Akadama
« Reply #106 on: November 04, 2014, 10:24 PM »
  People still argue about substrates. Akadama is the greatest. No it sucks. Everything has to be the same size. Kitty litter is awesome. If you're a cat wanting to poop. Charcoal,pine bark,busted bricks,pumice on bottom no on top. Wait it'll float away! Your tree will only just hang in there. It will grow too fast. It's just going to die. Hahahahaha! What do I do? What will I use? I need someone to tell me something I already know The substrate holds up the tree. But wait. Apparently some prop it up better than others. The more it costs,the harder it is to obtain the better a soil is? That can't be right can it? We waste a lot of time discussing dirt.
 

akeppler

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Re: Substitutes for ...Akadama
« Reply #107 on: November 04, 2014, 10:26 PM »
I have found this useful for moving my trees around. I would like to patent it. I think I will call it a "wheel"
 

63pmp

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Re: Substitutes for ...Akadama
« Reply #108 on: November 04, 2014, 10:54 PM »
I continue to think about this post, and at the risk of being a pain in the ass I would respond to this bit;

"Akadama has a property you didn't consider:  it breaks down over time. Which is actually beneficial."

I have considered this.  Its in the Air Filled Porosity bit, particle stability is very important here.  Particle size determines the air filled porosity (AFP) in a potting mix.  That is how much air is retained in the mix directly after watering.  This is the minimum amount of air the mix will have till the next watering.  The amount of AFP required varies with each species, obviously mangroves and willow don't need much, J maples need lots.  Decomposition of soil components and root growth always lowers the air filled porosity.  There is a threshold at which plant growth suffers, if your mix falls below this point the plant will begin to decline, the further AFP reduces, the more the tree will decline until it dies.  I don't see the decomposition of any component in a mix beneficial.

You may notice that boon recommends a smaller sized particle for plants that like a bit more water, this is because it produces smaller pores which hold more water, but also less AIR. The mix with smaller particles will have a lower AFP, for better or worse. 

Organic based potting mixes did this frequently and was the reason why people moved to inorganic mixes.  I have no issue with Akadama, as long as the particles remain stable till the next repot. 

I do have issue with using asphyxiation as a technique to reduce plant growth.  I find it worrying that bonsai professionals are always saying the tree must be healthy before you can work on it, and then purposefully do something, like starving it of oxygen, that impacts on the plants health to stop it from growing. 

From what I understand akadama and kunama was made when tuff from a volcanic explosion was buried some long time ago.  It underwent a degree of re-mineralization and cementing while buried, similar to how diatomaceous earth hardens.  Tuff usually breakdowns very quickly to clay minerals and silica when left on the surface of the ground, however, when buried it solidifies like concrete. This solidification process, ironically, was how the residents of Pompeii died in 79AD .

Paul
 

akeppler

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Re: Substitutes for ...Akadama
« Reply #109 on: November 05, 2014, 12:49 AM »
I do have issue with using asphyxiation as a technique to reduce plant growth.  I find it worrying that bonsai professionals are always saying the tree must be healthy before you can work on it, and then purposefully do something, like starving it of oxygen, that impacts on the plants health to stop it from growing. 

Paul


How does air exchange take place in the ground compared to our pots? It seems plants live quite happily in an enviroment which must be devoid of air exchange 6 inches under the earth?
 

63pmp

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Re: Substitutes for ...Akadama
« Reply #110 on: November 05, 2014, 02:34 AM »


How does air exchange take place in the ground compared to our pots? It seems plants live quite happily in an enviroment which must be devoid of air exchange 6 inches under the earth?
[/quote]

One would think there's hardly any air in the ground.  However, the soil, while it looks solid is highly porous, they are just really small.  But, yes oxygen decreases the deeper you go, but it is in feet rather then inches.  Also most of the root activity happens in the top 3- 12 inches. There is often problems with agricultural soils due to compaction from traffic, and degradation of soil structure due to salinity and overworking.  This does have a serious impact on crops, in the range of billions of dollars of lost production per year.  If you look at tire tracks across a paddock, the compaction of the soil surface below the tires affects not only water movement, but air movement, into and out of the soil, preventing anything from growing in the tracks  (water can still enter the soil under tire tracks due to capillary action, and why they are often soft after rain.) 

If you dig up a healthy garden soil you will see that it falls apart into small crumbs, well it should, but doesn't always, there are little tiny continuous pores around these crumbs, these let air in.  Also worm holes, ant burrows and other macropores allow air movement into and out of the ground.  Soil physics spends much of time looking at measuring soil porosity, connectivity, water movement and storage, field capacity and total porosity are all important parameters in soil science.

Ground soil is continuous and very large, gravity has a very powerful effect on slopes pulling what amounts to tonnes of water down hill, even on very gentle slopes.  However, sometimes things get saturated, after really wet weather, and it has an effect, plants drown in boggy regions (bogs are natural regions of where water can't escape).  Landslides occur because of saturated soil, water cannot drain out of it quick enough and the soil liquifies, then slips.

Mostly air moves into the soil by osmosis, though it can be sucked into the ground following rain as the soil drains, also on slopes water pulls a lot of air into the soil as it is pulled downhill by gravity.

In pots it's the same.  Air is pulled into the potting mix as water drains out of the pot, when it evaporates out, and when plants suck it up.  It also moves in by osmosis when gross water movement stops.   

In soil, and potting mixes, water moves from big pores to small pores to smaller pores.  The force needed to extract water from pores increases with decreasing size.  Plants can extract a lot of water from ground soil because the roots are in very close contact to small pores.  This is not the case in bonsai pots where roots are surrounded by really big pores and soil components are in lose contact with roots, here water in micropores is unavailable, so we have to water more often (or use a component that roots can grow through, such as perlite, pumice and akadama). 

Bonsai pots represent a small amount of soil surrounded by one extremely big pore (the atmosphere)  Since water moves from large to small pores, it is reluctant to leave the pot and go out into the wider world.  This is why there is always a saturated layer in the bottom of a pot. Basically the weight of water in the pot is not enough to overcome capillary attraction of water for soil particles.   The size of the pores dictates how high this saturated zone is.  If we use garden soil in a pot the saturated zone will be very high and necessitates special care of the plant.  So we use large grained components to allow the soil to drain enough to get the right balance of water to air.  The old sponge demonstration is the iconic example of this.

Oxygen travels through air a thousand times faster then through water.  This is important as roots are surrounded by water, they sit in a film of water, so oxygen has to be absorbed by the water on the root and then enter the cell.  This film of water may only be in the order of 100th of a millimeter thick.  When roots are sitting in a saturated potting mix, the thickness of the film may now be in the order of millimeters to centimeters thick, it easy to see that oxygen is not going to get to the root cells quick enough to keep them going.  Roots have some capacity to cope with this of course, some better then others. During dry hot weather plants will extract the extra water and its not a problem, in wet cool weather, the saturated zone may last for weeks, roots won't cope with that. Hence the concern with decomposing soil components. 

Sorry for rambling a bit, been a long time since I visited this stuff.

Paul 

 


In pots the saturated zone   
 

Anthony

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Re: Substitutes for ...Akadama
« Reply #111 on: November 05, 2014, 04:38 AM »
Judy, Adair,

you seemed to have missed my apology, and are assuming that I read at this site religiously.
As John says, I am from the Tropics, and that can blind me to many topics on your side.

Remember I only came here to read about J.B.pine pruning and because our trees are already lush, needed no information on soil.
Once again, an apology for my stupidity.
Good Day
Anthony
 

Anthony

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Re: Substitutes for ...Akadama
« Reply #112 on: November 05, 2014, 04:55 AM »
Paul,

as always, thank you for the information.

We bought the book -

Soil conditions and plant growth - E.W.Russell 10th Edition,

which you recommended. AND so you don't think this is lip service - pg 209 - mound builders are fungus growers, but in Australia they are not.

It will take a while to get through this book, as K also has a few weeklys as well - for example- New Scientist.

I have tried to leave enough basic information in this topic, so the readers, who only read can look up in the Library on soil information.
AND at times, I will make a fool of myself, or step on toes, but on our side we try to keep the cost of Bonsai, as hobby, down to almost zero, so others with less money can still enjoy it.
The gravel we use still has to be purchased, at $ 65.00 TT [ 10 US or so ] for 25 Kili / 50 lbs +
[ apologies - We went metric since 1970, but the North Americans didn't, so I keep trying to convert and am often too lazy to use the tables on Google.]

It would probably help a good deal more if some science was added to the use of Akadama, other than it works or I don't care how it works, but I suspect that will be rectified by those to come.
Good Day
Anthony
 

Sorce

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Re: Substitutes for ...Akadama
« Reply #113 on: November 05, 2014, 05:00 AM »
It's not the soil.
It's the watering.

It's not the oxygen.
It's the watering.

It's not the care.
It's the attention.

It's not the Sponge.
It's the Patrick.
And wouldn't it be nice if squirrels had fish bowls on their heads?

One could water in more compost to the mix to simulate the great property of Akadama.
As Anthony does.

The hydro version of this arguement would go....
My water is wetter than yours.

Explain the vigorous rampant growth of nursery potted trees. Of course. They grow them in Akadama and secretly plant them into "nursery soil" when you turn your back at the register.

Let's start a "my tree is smarter than me" thread. And it's teacher is dirt.

I know you fellers just hold stock in Akadama......

Soon, us Great Lakers will be shipping pails of water to California.....it will be more expensive than Akadama. Stock in this company, as well as a bridge, will be available soon.....

Sorry for rambling a bit, been a long time since I visited this stuff.  ;)

Science Rules!
Sorce

 

Anthony

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Re: Substitutes for ...Akadama
« Reply #114 on: November 05, 2014, 06:36 AM »
Ha ha Sorce,

you may not have seen - The Air Pots - from Scotland, made from waste plastic and boy do they make roots efficient.

The Tamarind we grew it in, ended up with a wooden root core and bits of inorganic here and there.
I also believe that the nurseries are supposed to use 100% compost, and this is with really big trees. Youtube has the images.

What we also learnt [ went back and bought litre to 10 litre pots ] was the roots became more efficient, but ageing is unaffected.
We are presently testing air clay pots - ha ha ha. Results in writing after January 2nd.
Thoughts about bonsai shaped airpots that can be placed into a traditional pot for display.
Imagine having to root prune and tidy the core of those babies. Ha ha ha.

Probably akin to cutting a cake.

It's a new world, and one cannot get away with -
Sifu, how does this work ?
Shut up student, this is how we do it by tradition.

Understanding and the ability to explain is important, for the brighter and more inquistive minds, no matter the age of the body.
Tried to explain this with the Art practice versus Science [Restoration ] bit earlier

Bonsai - Horticulture - Biology - Soil Science .....................
Bonsai - Design ------ some form of Art training other than a triangle with bumps.

The topic is -------------------- Substitutes for Akadama
Substitutes listed ........
Health and density of branches / twiglets to be checked [ Akadama mix to Substitutes ]
5, 10, 20, 30 year ........................ checks.
Practices listed for both studies

Should be an interesting study.
Science Rules, but remember ------- Technology does not a Civilization make.
Good Day
Anthony

* I believe I saw the name of K.Murata linked with Akadama [ and probably Bio-Gold ]
 

M. Frary

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Re: Substitutes for ...Akadama
« Reply #115 on: November 05, 2014, 02:22 PM »
I have found this useful for moving my trees around. I would like to patent it. I think I will call it a "wheel"
[/quote

  Don't you think you ought to give that back to Fred? Flintstone that is.
 

akeppler

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Re: Substitutes for ...Akadama
« Reply #116 on: November 05, 2014, 02:50 PM »
I don't think so. In light of recent events it looks ripe for reinventing.
 

John Kirby

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Re: Substitutes for ...Akadama
« Reply #117 on: November 05, 2014, 08:14 PM »
Ah, substrate conversations. Lile I said previously, please don't use akadama.

Thanks,
John
 

Sorce

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Re: Substitutes for ...Akadama
« Reply #118 on: November 06, 2014, 06:06 AM »
The latest shipment of Akadama was hijacked by pirates........  :D

           ¶
         ¶¶
       ¶¶¶     £
  \_____ll_____/
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~/\~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Anthony

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Re: Substitutes for ...Akadama
« Reply #119 on: November 06, 2014, 06:29 AM »
Sorce,

be careful teasing these guys. What is not being said, is simply, put up examples that will stun us Designwise, using the substitutes.

We have pines from seed at over 25 years, lush and so we know two things, one our simple soil mix works, two, we have to use pots with at least the base being porous, because of water retention in our rainy season. Even with 80 to 90 % of the soil being builder's gravel [ silica ], the rest is just compost.

As I also wrote previously, we have to try Adair's idea for soil removal. We have been advised by folk in Europe, China and Japan to go slowly, especially since we have no way of obtaining new trees save by seed or now, cuttings.
Which is why we are now focused on growing so many test victims.
It will probably be say 5 to 10 years before we get through the pruning situation.

We got long candles on command this year, much later than most folks, but long candles - Yahoooooooooo!!!!
Soon short needles.
Good Day
Anthony