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  • Results 1 to 7 of 7

    Thread: Bonsai soil

    1. #1
      Robert's Avatar
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      Bonsai soil

      I had a email asking about the soil I use for my trees. I'll post it here and tell ya some of my "secrets" .

      The first secret is I'm cheap, and not going to pay some nursery $10. for a little bag of bonsai soil. Not when I use a wheel barrel full of it every spring. So I got my sifter out and ::::

      I use three basic components for the soil;

      1. Turface, its a soil conditioner (hi fired clay) that is used for things like baseball fields and golf courses. Runs about $10 for a 50# bag.

      2. Lava rock, I get the smallest stuff I can find around here, around 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Runs about $3.50 a bag. Too big for the soil mix but stay tuned the "secret"is coming .

      3. Pine bark compost (mulch), again too big for bonsai soil, runs about $2.99 a bag.

      Here's my big secret , I spread the pine bark out on the driveway and get out my trusty Sears leaf bagger ( the kind that chews up leaves and sticks) it also chews up the pine bark mulch. One trip through the leaf bagger and it gets sifted and anything thats still too big gets run through again.
      The same can be done with the small lava rock, although its a little harder on the equipment but works. you can also crush it down by rolling your car tires over it or using a lawn roller will smash it too.

      Soil for bonsai must be free draining but retain enough moisture to keep the roots from drying between waterings.

      I use equal parts of the three ingredients and use more or less of the pine bark depending on the trees need for moisture.

      Again this is just my preference that works for me. Other people use everything from straight fired clay (Turface, etc.) to mixtures with a gazillion ingredients.

      Robert
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      The only finished bonsai is a dead one
      V. Wood "92

    2. #2
      steveamy's Avatar
      steveamy is offline Senior Member
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      Using this soil mixture would make watering everyday needed? What is the benefit of the lava rock?
      Steve


    3. #3
      Robert's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by steveamy View Post
      Using this soil mixture would make watering everyday needed? What is the benefit of the lava rock?
      Yep, sometimes twice a day in summer
      I've used granite before (chicken grit), flint grit, and sharp sand. But it's solid and does not hold on to water like lava can. Also granite is more on the alkaline side where lava is more neutral PH. Plus I've read where it can release some minerals to the soil. I prefer lava, but had no problems using the others.

      Robert
      The only finished bonsai is a dead one
      V. Wood "92

    4. #4
      dick benbow's Avatar
      dick benbow is offline "The Koi Coach"
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      think the mix mentioned is a good basic mix. For my pines I use nothing but "boon's" 3-way mix. All inorganic material that doesn't hold moisture.
      It's a real help in the spring and fall around the pacific northwest but a pain during the summer with frequent waterings. Still, pines don't like "wet feet"
      and since using it have noticed a real difference.
      With my quinces I add more organic to the mixture% as suggested in the original post here, as they really like things moist

    5. #5
      oldbill57 is offline The Bonsai Man
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      I agree with Robert. I use the same mix and most all of the people I have talked over the past few years are using it as well. Only thing I would add to this is that you should sieve the fines out ,particle's less than 1/16" . They tend to block the drainage screens. And you don't want water to stand in the pot.

    6. #6
      oldbill57 is offline The Bonsai Man
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      Same as turface Montmorillonite Clay, Calcined http://www.moltan.com/reddiamondcccond.html
      Out of Tenn. $8 a bag when you buy a ton I lose about 1/3 of the bag when i sieve but that does not go to waste, good for amendment in the garden.

    7. #7
      Robert's Avatar
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      There's lots of brands of clay soil amendments. Be sure its high fired so it dosen't break down to fast (some kitty litter will do this). Turface has a ten + year lifespan when used on golf/baseball fields.

      Robert
      The only finished bonsai is a dead one
      V. Wood "92

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