Author Topic: Japanese Black Pine Acidification  (Read 16214 times)

Chrisl

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Re: Japanese Black Pine Acidification
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2011, 11:43 AM »
Wow!  Great information guys!!  I so much appreciate the suggestions.

mcpesq817, the box is the size Adams recommended for Maples, 24"X18"X3"D.  It hasn't helped it's rained so much the soil has stayed moist since the initial repotting.  This week will be 4 weeks after, so I can start fertilizing it now.  Any other organic fert. other than fish emulsion?  I have dogs that don't bother my plants, unless they smell that wonderful fish emulsion, and they will eat the soil.

 When I repotted, it was extremely root bound and had not been transplanted in three years accord. to the seller.  I believe it after I repotted it!
I'm working on getting an inorganic medium, I can find red lava easily here, but for the life of me, ( I surfed for 2hrs yest looking for Chicago source of Pumice Stone) I can't find Pumice Stones.  I thought I wait till Chicago's big Aug. Bonsai Show to see if I can get some Adadama and perhaps Pumice.

I'd really like to get this plant in the ground, not only to incr. the trunk, but to keep it outdoors during the winter.  Keeping my tropical bonsai indoors 2yrs ago gave me some fungus and mealy bugs that I have guaranteed, but I think they are lost..a ficus forrest planting.  And this winter, I ended up with scales on my Chinese Elm, the only one I bought as a 'finished' bonsai btw, and lost two main branches.  The ficus' were kept upstairs in the bright sun, and my Elm I put in our dark basement.  The diseases here are killing me!  In ten yrs in Berkeley, not one disease, here so far I've had fungus, mealy bugs, black spot, and powdery mildew.  Geesh!  So long story  short, I'd like to put in the ground the bonsais I want to thicken up and to avoid over the winter disease.  I'm thinking of getting a greenhouse, this one:  http://www.greenhouses.com/rionstc4prestigegreenhousekit.html
But haven't made up my mind yet.

Getting back to my pine, I'm going to return the Miracle Grow that i got at H Depot, and get some organic fert and a smaller bottle of M. Grow and mix these two up.  I'll also return the acidic fertilizer unless I should use that only for my azaleas?
I think I'm going to risk transplanting again and get it in the ground.  I'll use inorganic soil instead of dirt in filling it in.  Guess I'll just get some red lava and use that.  I'll be real careful removing the pine from the box while transplanting.

And John, Thanks for the simple time line of things to do...it substantiates what i was thinking.  But what about the very initial styling of the plant, can I do that now or wait till the fall and I can style, pull needles, maybe decandle and wire??
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 12:00 PM by Chrisl »
 

John Kirby

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Re: Japanese Black Pine Acidification
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2011, 01:14 PM »
Personally, I would leave it alone until next spring.
 

Chrisl

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Re: Japanese Black Pine Acidification
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2011, 01:35 PM »
Ok, will do!  Thanks John!
 

Chrisl

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Re: Japanese Black Pine Acidification
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2011, 11:20 AM »
I wanted to follow up also on this thread.  mcpesq817, you were absolutely correct in that the flat was too big.  It hasn't dried out once since repotting due to the box, and the rains here.  So I followed your advice and got rid of about 4" of soil all the way around the 24"x18" flat.  I put styrofoam, luckily I save a lot of stuff  ;),
around to fill the gap.  I just did this three days ago and it's still wet as we had a huge storm the other day.  It'll be 4 weeks after transplanting this coming fri, so I'm going to hit it hard with fertilzer...full strength M. Grow and fish emulsion.

So again, Thanks Everyone for the help!!
Chris
 

Chrisl

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Re: Japanese Black Pine Acidification
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2011, 04:09 PM »
Since it's so hot outside right now, I thought I'd start getting my inorganic material ready and I can sift and make it up now.  I've found/bought Turface, chicken grit, (1 bag of diatomaceous earth just to check it out, but it looks like it might be too fine), and crushed red lava rock.  I also picked up a couple bags of pine mulch.

So, my question is, does anyone have any recommendations as to what I should try?  I was thinking along the lines of 80% Turface, 10% chicken grit, and 10% crushed lava rock.  And I was going to sift these from 1/8"-1/4".  I could throw in say 5% pine mulch or use it as a top dressing during the summer.  Comments or thoughts??

Many Thanks!
 

Dave Murphy

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Re: Japanese Black Pine Acidification
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2011, 07:12 AM »
1 part each of turface, grit, and lava.  If you really must add the bark, I'd add 10% or less. 
 

Chrisl

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Re: Japanese Black Pine Acidification
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2011, 09:46 AM »
Thank You Dave for that 'recipe'  ;D  Much appreciated.  I don't have to add the pine mulch, I can just use it as a top layer if I find that the mix dries out too quickly.  So Thanks again Dave for the great information.

I wish I knew enough to contribute to this forum.  But it seems that all the forum members here are real professionals in my eye.  Even if it's a hobby, they are still extremely good.  Like the 3 entrees into this month's contest.  All just absolutely brilliant.  But I'll try to contribute when I can. ;)
 

Treebeard55

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Re: Japanese Black Pine Acidification
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2011, 10:17 AM »
... the pine mulch, I can just use it as a top layer...

Long-fiber sphagnum, such as is sold for an orchid growing medium at stores like Lowe's, also works well as a mulch in hot weather. A wad of sphagnum on/around a fert cake also helps keep it moist longer.

I wish I knew enough to contribute to this forum...  But I'll try to contribute when I can. ;)

We were all newbies at one time or another, so don't sweat it.  :) And FWIW, I've been in bonsai for most of the last two decades, and still sometimes feel like a kindergartner when I read some of the things here on BSG. But that makes it a good place to learn, of course.
 

mcpesq817

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Re: Japanese Black Pine Acidification
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2011, 10:50 AM »
I have mixed feelings about turface.  I think it's fine for deciduous trees that you are growing out and as backfill for collected material. But, I am starting to not like the fact that it can clump together, particular if you use organic fertilizers, leading to dry spots in the soil.  I've been phasing it out of my soil mixes for my better trees, preferring to mostly use pumice, grit, haydite and lava (if I can source the haydite and lava), and to a lesser extent, akadama.

That being said, I would think about maybe going 1/3-1/3-1/3 turface, lava and grit.  I used a similar ratio in the past swapping out the lava with pumice and had good results.
 

Chrisl

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Re: Japanese Black Pine Acidification
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2011, 11:58 AM »
Treebeard, I hadn't heard of using sphagnum moss that way.  Makes sense as that is what we use for air layering.  Good info.

I've been doing bonsai also for about 20 yrs, but did it all on my own and never took it "seriously" until recently.  I've read a few really good books, and started looking online for guidance.  Only then did I realize I how awful my progress had been, how many things I was doing wrong, and my bonsais didn't look realistic.
And now, I'm very bummed I hadn't heard of Boon while I lived in Berkeley.  I would've loved to do some of his intensives.  I'd be way ahead of where I am now.  But, what's done is done.  This is an awesome site to learn, and yes, I do feel like I'm in kindergarden and having to start all over again! lol

mcpesq817, I hadn't heard that Turface can clump.  What a bummer to hear.  I haven't been able to find pumice here yet, nor haydite.  I'll keep a look out for these.  Nice to hear some conformity on the make up though 1 part each of turface, lava and grit. 

Thanks Guys!!
 

John Kirby

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Re: Japanese Black Pine Acidification
« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2011, 03:38 PM »
Chrissi,
Look up Matt Ouwinga (Kaedebonsai.com) who lives in a Chicago suburb and is a visitor here from time to time, he is very well trained and does a lot of work nationally, Trident maples is what he likes to be known for (thus the Kaede) be he also is very, very good across species- including pines. For you he has the additional benefit of living in a similar climate. He may be able to help you source or at least find the soil components that you need. Jhn Kirby (formerly of Evanston, and many other places....)
 

Treebeard55

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Re: Japanese Black Pine Acidification
« Reply #26 on: July 20, 2011, 07:48 PM »
I'm largely self-taught too, until recently. I'm finding that as a result my knowledge is uneven: kindergarten level at one point, PhD the next. (OK, that's hyperbole, but you get my analogy, I'm sure.)

Turface is one of those topics on which you'll get 11 different opinions from 10 different growers! I've never known it to clump, tho it can take a while to re-wet after it's gotten too dry; I'm a little surprised that it's clumped for you, mcpesq.  ??? Jack Wikle, from whom many of us have learned a great deal over the years, has used Turface for decades. I recently had the chance to ask him again about it, and whether he's had any problems with it. He acted a bit surprised at the question, and assured me he's never had any problems with Turface. So you'll have to make your own decision!

I've used Jack's basic recipe for years (3:2:1 of Turface, bark or peat, and poultry grit.) Recently, urged on by Tom Brown and a few others, I've started experimenting with a lava-based mix as well. So far I'm happy with both. I get my lava from Bonsai by Fields in Indianapolis. One of our older girls lives in Indy, so I time my purchases to coincide with visits and save on shipping!  ;)
 

mcpesq817

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Re: Japanese Black Pine Acidification
« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2011, 09:47 AM »
Hi Treebeard,

Not to hijack the thread, but I think it's worth adding more detail on my experience.  I have found the clumping to really only occur when using solid organic fertilizers.  I've gotten the crusty clumping using other soil mixes at the surface, but it doesn't seem as bad as when I used 100% turface where the clumping appears to extend much further down into the pot.  I noticed the issue when I saw that after heavily watering trees that I had in pond baskets, the turface further down in the pot was not changing color in some spots.  If they weren't in pond baskets I would, have assumed that everything was ok because the soil as a whole remained well-draining - it was just that I saw through the holes in the pond basket dry spots here and there lower down into the basket.  I don't get the clumping issue with straight turface when using inorganics (or liquid organics), but then again, I don't get it with other soil mixes using those types of fertilizers either.  

Other than that, I've had very good results with turface.  Put a maple in 100% turface and you'll be amazed at the root system you'll get.  I just caution people that you could end up with dry spots.

For what it's worth, I'm still working through my fertilizer regimen.  I use liquid organics and inorganics once a week, but given that my soil is 100% inorganic, I think it makes sense to have some kind of fertilizer that slowly releases nutrients into the soil with every watering.  I have moved from cakes to Bio-gold and Osmocote, but I'm think of moving to solely using Osmocote and the Miracle Gro solid fertilizer pellets, mostly for cost and convenience reasons.

 

Chrisl

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Re: Japanese Black Pine Acidification
« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2011, 10:54 AM »
John, Thanks so Much for referring me to Matt Ouwinga!  I checked out his website and found some exc. bonsai!  He his talented.  I will contact him and see what he offers and such.  I'd really like to study under someone if I can afford it.  If not, I'll save till I can  ;)

So you used to live in Evanston eh?  Did you also have problems with diseases like black spot, powdery mildew, and scales?  Not one disease in 10 yrs in N. Cali, here, it seems like disease after disease.  I'm pretty sure I lost a 15+ yr old Chinese Elm to scales despite me using systemic insect control as well as a spray insecticide.  It's aggravating to say the least, but I'm also slowly learning about the climate and how important placement of one's bonsai to ensure adeq. air flow, and the right light.  

Treebeard (Hi Steve, my name is Chris....nice to meet you ;) ).  Funny you mentioned people having multiple opinions about Turface.  I'm also in high end audio, and the exact same thing happens there too.  One guy might thing a piece of gear is killer, but two days later, another chap says it's terrible LOL
You have to try it for yourself, in  your own home, to make a valid decision.  Sounds the same for Turface.
I also found Boon Manakitivipart's soil recipe:  
1 part lava rock
1 part pumice (which is lighter and holds less water than lava)
1 part akadama  (which will break down in about 2 years)
1/2 cup horticultural charcoal (per 5 gallon mix)
1/2 cup decomposed granite (per 5 gallon mix)

(I forgot to Thank Chris Johnson/bonsaikc.com for posting this on his blog!)

Substituting Turface for Akadama, and leaving out the pumice since I can't find it, it's quite close to the 1:1:1 mix.  Interesting he adds a bit of charcoal to the mix.
So I've found several possible mix recipes to try out. I love experimenting anyway so this should be interesting in the long run.

mcpesq817, your not hijacking the thread at all.  Your post was quite pertinent!
Hopefully by using a mix of inorganic media, and avoiding 100% Turface I can avoid any possible clumping issues.  Good to know there might be issues with using 100% Turface.  Thanks for sharing!

I too have been thinking of using Osmocote in addition to using both M. Grow and Fish Emulsion.  Seems like a "well rounded" fertilization routine.  

May I ask, you said you fertilize once a week, just curious, what about plants in large nursery containers that stay wet for a week.  Do you alternate then using plain water, then fertilize the next week?  

Thanks so much everyone for contributing to this thread.  I've learned a ton!!  Like bonsai, my learning is coming along slowly but surely  ;D

  
« Last Edit: July 21, 2011, 10:56 AM by Chrisl »
 

mcpesq817

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Re: Japanese Black Pine Acidification
« Reply #29 on: July 21, 2011, 02:52 PM »
May I ask, you said you fertilize once a week, just curious, what about plants in large nursery containers that stay wet for a week.  Do you alternate then using plain water, then fertilize the next week?  

My plants in large nursery containers are generally in 100% inorganic mixes, so they tend to not stay wet for a week.  That being said, I for the most part water them once a day as well, and fertilize them along with my other trees once a week.  It's worked for me, and I've seen better results fertilizing once a week as I have been doing this year compared to once every two weeks like I did in prior years.  

The key to this watering and fertilizing regimen is the 100% inorganic mix though, and not overly over-potting trees.  In my opinion, you pretty much cannot overwater your trees if you use a completely inorganic mix.  It might be a pain to have to water more often, but this for me takes out the risk of overwatering trees and having to guess whether trees need to be rewatered or not.

By the way, I base my mix on Boon's mix, though I modify it using other components since akadama and lava aren't readily available/are much more expensive.  That being said, this spring I repotted a shimpaku that I first potted with Boon at a workshop two springs ago using his mix, and the root growth and overall health of the tree over the last two years were very impressive.