Author Topic: Tell me about your soil components  (Read 6054 times)

David Fairbanks

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Re: Tell me about your soil components
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2009, 06:51 PM »
Anyone who claims to have a perfect soil mix is a fool. Especially on a forum such as this.

There are so many variables involved in this that the simple answer is that you are the only one who can decide on what is perfect for you. There are many recommended soil mixes on the internet (some with famous names attached to them) but this is simply there own perfect mix. Within a few miles of me, people use different soil mixes, as there garden faces in a different direction, and have different leveles of direct sunlight to consider (just one example).

If you want to find the perfect soil mix, stick to good horticultar and look at what is best for that plant in question (in your zone) as that would be a good baseline to start from. As long as you use trusted sources this should give you good results. Then you can start to develop it further to your individual requirements to get great results, and this is usually a trail and error practice.

If there was a universal national (statewide for americans) ideal soil mix, then you would be able to buy it, and there would be many rich bonsai soil sellers. This isnt the case, and thats why this coversation has happened for probally as long as bonsai has been going on.
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Tell me about your soil components
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2009, 07:00 PM »
David,

I don't believe anyone claimed to have the perfect mix.  The original question was "tell me about your soil components" which, for the most part, is what others have done.  Lots of good information in this thread to date.

Thanks for sharing!
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Tell me about your soil components
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2009, 07:00 PM »
McBonsai,

That was an interesting read.  Thanks for sharing.

Links are welcome as long as they're on topic and relevant.  However, you may find it easier to keep the conversation going by contributing information to the thread here.
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Tell me about your soil components
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2009, 07:05 PM »
Hi y'all. Hope I dont step on this thread but since the subject is soil, I was wondering how do you put these different ingredients together in the pot. Is it all mixed together or layered?? New to Bonsai here and I am getting ready to work with my first nursery stock.First time!! Excited and nervous. Thanks.

Joe,

Here's what I do, I'm sure others will share their methods as well.

Sift ingredients to two sizes (small and medium).  Since the mix I use is all equal parts it's easy to store in 2 separate containers.  Mix well and store for use.

When repotting Boon has us pretty well trained to follow specific techniques.  One such technique is to add a small drainage layer of pumice, then a bit of soil, before placing the tree.  Add more soil and finish the potting process.

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2009, 09:06 PM by MatsuBonsai »
 

joe cervantes

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Re: Tell me about your soil components
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2009, 08:21 PM »
Thanks John!
 

Jay Wilson

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Re: Tell me about your soil components
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2009, 09:03 PM »
Hey Joe,
I mix everything together...I've read about layering with different sizes and it might be the best way to go.
I'm just lazy and I don't have trees in bonsai pots yet so it might not make too much difference right now. I might have to get more motivated about soil when the time comes to put trees in bonsai containers.

Jay
 

subnet_rx

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Re: Tell me about your soil components
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2009, 10:59 PM »
Yeah, I just picked up some of the biggest bowls I could find at Wal-Mart, and a big plastic measuring cup.  I have component bowls and a central mixing bowl.  I finally got a real sifting tool from Dallas Bonsai, but before that, i picked up this replacement framed window screen from Wal-Mart to get the job done.   
 

rockm

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Re: Tell me about your soil components
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2009, 09:14 AM »
HAHAHAHAH!!!! :) A mixing bowl....????!!!

Sorry, couldn't help myself. I use simple brute force and a big Roughneck tupperware container with a heavy duty lid to mix my soil batches. Put all the ingredients in (using heavy duty hard plastic kids sand scoops-which are pretty tough) in the container (which is 2 feetX 15" by 20" or so) snap on the lid, kick the thing around, roll it over and over and over and over and over....Voila!!! soil....

I haven't sifted soil in 15 years. Not really necessary if you're not using alot of organics. In fact, I've found that sifting can actually break things down into tiny, fine particles.
 

subnet_rx

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Re: Tell me about your soil components
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2009, 09:40 AM »
Yeah, as stated in previous posts, I do use a good bit of organic material due to the 100 degree temps down here and local material that doesn't like to be dry.  The screens work great when you need to use some perlite. 
 

John Kirby

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Re: Tell me about your soil components
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2009, 09:50 AM »
Hi Mark, good to see you here.

I sift, especially whe  we are using fine akadama and volcanic which have a good number of fines.

I use an electric soil mixer (aka Cement mixer). everything gets sized and then unifrom particle sizes are mixed together. The last few yewars to save tinme, I have used a premixed soil product from Japan, I get it either from Cass Bonsai in St Louis or  Jim Gremel in California. Nice material, 3 different sizes that I have seen, but some folks find it a bit spendy. My friend Roger Lehman at Meco Bonsai in Pennsylvania has imported a soil mix from northern Japan that he really likes alot (he has been testing it out on his own trees)- I think it is called Aoki.

We have hundreds of trees in these mxes (actually in bonsai pots)- the Clay King from japan, Boon's mix, and kanuma/hyuga for satsukis. And they have been in these for years.

John

John
 

Mike Page

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Re: Tell me about your soil components
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2009, 02:29 PM »
The image shows my 4 main components, usually in equal parts, and modified to suit the situation.
At 9 o'clock is fired clay. At 12 o'clock is diatomaceous rock. At 3 o'clock it 1/8 inch lava. At 6 o'clock is 1/4 inch lava.
 

Sorce

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Re: Tell me about your soil components
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2013, 05:55 AM »
Poor man's mix.      Some free components that have found their way in my mixes.

Used aquarium gravel, used Repti-bark (with lizard dung fertilizer), sunflower seed shells, chopped McDonald's cups, shredded Styrofoam, used potting soil, river gravel, nail clippings, chopped straws, broken Terra cotta pot chunks, and handfuls of soil amendment from the baseball fields (i volunteer its not stealing)   ;)
 

Yenling83

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Re: Tell me about your soil components
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2013, 07:47 PM »
I use Akadama, Pumice and Lava with a little Charcoal in differnt sizes depending on the tree size.  I also use pure sifted pumice w/ some charcoal for newly collected trees. 
 

M. Frary

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Re: Tell me about your soil components
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2013, 11:18 PM »
  I put everything in floor dry with a small amount of poultry grit . Around 80 % floor dry and 20% grit. This mixture allows for free flow and moisture retention. The biggest benefit though is that it allows me to water every day without worrying that I'm over watering. I also put miracle grow fertiliser on at 5 to 6 times the prescribed amount on the package. Every week. My trees are thriving.
 Like everyone says try to find what works for you. Some people like organic soils and some like myself like inorganic mixes. Basic requirements are good drainage and moisture retention. Seems pretty simple.
 Good luck in your search and welcome to a very rewarding and challenging hobby.
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Tell me about your soil components
« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2013, 10:49 PM »
Aoki blend is the bomb.  My teacher, Fujikawa-san, consulted on the blend.  It's all we use over there;  4 different sizes of deciduous and four different sizes of evergreen.  The evergreen style mixes have a green kanji symbol (says. "Shohaku") in the bottom left corner.  Deciduous blends have no symbol.