TOPIC: Mixing soil

Mixing soil 7 years 1 month ago #1312

Hey guys, i have watched my cousin make soil for his bonsai's before but i have not found out how to mix the soil and in the right ratio's etc.. I could ask my cousin but i want a whole lot of advice from you guys. What do people mean by "parts" of soil

So what i am asking is how do you guys go about mixing soil? Like how much potting soil, how much river sand, how much stone for drainage, how much palm tree peat etc.. Im going to make my own batch this weekend.
  • joncoh101
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Re: Mixing soil 7 years 1 month ago #1315

hm.. I use normal potting soil (The commercial stuff you get from a hardware store) and mix it half/half with coarse river sand, which contains 2-4mm stones. That's it.
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Re: Mixing soil 7 years 1 month ago #1317

I use potting soil mixed with diatomaceous earth(napa oil dry). I mix it about 40% potting soil to 60% diatomaceous earth. I just started mixing it myself this spring. It holds up well and is far cheaper than akadama.
I have read that some people use it alone as bonsai soil. It interested me so much that I am conducting an experiment. I have 3 willow trees..one in 100% potting soil, one in 100% "oil dry" and one in a mixture of both. I'll post the results next spring :)
one thing about bonsai soil...there are almost as many recipes out there as there are bonsai enthusiasts. Good luck.
Lance
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Re: Mixing soil 7 years 1 month ago #1320

soil really once i have learned about it thoroughly i realize there are alot of aspects to consider.it is basically drainage components and moisture retention components.actual"bonsai soil" has no organic material in it so there is no food for the trees in the soil this gives you total control of the trees growth through fertalizer. i have taken trees from inches of growth 1 year, down to no growth the next. putting potting soil in the mix adds organics so a stesdier growth will occur....:blush: sorry i have to go i can explain the rest later
  • manofthetrees
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Re: Mixing soil 7 years 1 month ago #1323

Mine that use for some of trees were made up by accident and they seem to love it.

50% Potting soil
30% Swimming pool filter sand
20% Vermiculite

My other trees are in 50/50 Potting soil and Course river sand.
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Re: Mixing soil 7 years 1 month ago #1342

Hi Jon,

I reckon a standard mix that suits most tree species is:

50% stone (2-5mm)
20% sifted compost
20% sifted potting soil
10% bark

This mix ensures great drainage but also water retention and some food for the tree.

Other additives include:
Bone meal
Superphosphate
clay (small amount)
hoof and horn

Once tree has rooted and starts growing, apply some organic fertiliser pellets and then feed bi-weekly with a liquid fertiliser.

By sifted I mean that all large particles (over say 6mm) and all fine particles (under say 0.5mm) should be removed if possible.

Oh and don't forget a drainage layer of stone, this will help with getting rid of excess water and also help air circulation within the soil mix.

Peace out
  • GRNJUS
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Re: Mixing soil 7 years 1 month ago #1345

GRNJUS,
Is this your own recipe for bonsai soil? I'm curious about the layer of stone at the bottom of the pot for drainage. Bonsai soil shouldn't need a layer for drainage. It should be free draining without the stone. If something is needed for drainage the soil is to compacted.
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Re: Mixing soil 7 years 1 month ago #1354

I am quite surprised at the number of you who use commercial potting soil. I've read from a few sites, including this one, that potting soil should not be used because it retains too much water and can actually be harmful to your trees.
www.bonsaiempire.com/care/repotting This link is from the Bonsai Empire site and if you scroll about half way down the page there is a section on soil. Also, scroll right down to the bottom of the page and click on the video about soil. Although they recommend *potting compost*, in my mind, this is not the same thing as *potting soil*.

What was recommended to me was (measurements are a guestiment, here) about 3 parts gravel and 2 parts shredded bark. Then it was further recommended that I add 1 part loam (screened top soil) to this mix *and* put a layer of medium-course, red clay gravel in the bottom of the bonsai pot. This red clay gravel is actually clay pots crushed up and has three benefits: it absorbs and retains moisture yet, at the same time significantly improves drainage so the roots have a decreased chance of sitting in water and, as GRNJUS mentioned, it improves air circulation within the soil.

I'm going to adjust this mixture somewhat by adding some compost while decreasing the bark and loam. Compost provides valuable nutrients to the soil that the average soils do not have. Personally, I think it's important for the tree to have a nutrient rich soil. It seems to me that using fertilizer as the only source of nutrients for the tree, while increasing and decreasing (robbing) the amount to control growth is risking the health of the tree...that's like a parent starving a child to control his or her growth; it is a scientific fact that there are long term health consequences in starving any living thing. In my opinion, pruning and trimming is the traditional and healthier way to control the growth of one's tree.
  • Leslie
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Re: Mixing soil 7 years 1 month ago #1355

Hey Leslie,
This post might be all over the place...so please forgive me.
I have a.d.d and also have a billion things running through my head right now.
I use potting compost..not soil. I should have been more specific.
There are 2 different types of bonsai soil. Organic and inorganic. people use inorganic soil to control the growth of their trees. inorganic soil has no nutrients so the owner uses fertilizer. they can control the growth of the trees very well. Organic soil has nutrients, thus less control of the trees growth. If someone uses inorganic soil they know enough(hopefully) to fertilize.
I am with you on the organic soil.
If you can find the site that recommends the layer of stone or clay at the bottom of a bonsai pot, I would love to read it. I'm obviously not understanding something here.
You may want to be careful about adding more compost and less bark to your mix. It sounds like that mix may be too moisture retentive. I use far less compost and more diatomaceous earth. the soil needs to drain well. Even with a layer of clay-stone it still seems like it would be too retentive.
Well I should stop. I don't want to seem like i'm being "nitpicky"
Anyway..What is your e-mail. I'd love to chat more.
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Re: Mixing soil 7 years 1 month ago #1356

Although, I do use 100% potting soil for my trees that I want to grow fast :)
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