Zombiefreak
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Akadma, red ball, River sand a few questions???

I purchased recently Akadama red ball clay and in the past the "akadama" I had purchased looked to be river sand or some sort of course grit. Well yesterday when I recieved my akadama I was hard pressed to figure out if I still will need to add course grit to my mix as well as the original sphagnum I had planned on mixing with it. Why am I confused, mostly because this soil has IMO strange comopsition. It seems like I could use it directly with out any additives, but is this soil compostion good enough to provide the same quality as inorganic grit ? So mostly trying to understand this soil and debating on mixing in grit and organic materiel. I would love to here others thoughts and opinions on this thanks in advance.
Zombie

opabinia51
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From my understanding Akadama is pulverized clay that has been cooked to a high heat. It shouldn't have a lot of grit because the size of clay particles (0.002 - 0.05 mm in diameter) is so small. Some persons grow their plants in pure akadama but, I came to the conclusion myself not to.

Personally, I would mix it with some other soil media, if I understand correctly it is not gritty?

Zombiefreak
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I was thinking that way myself but I believe it maintains the granules in a coarse manner but it seems more organic, than sand or rock, its clay if you look it up on the internet they mention that you can use it by itself I'm just not sure that I want to it seems like the trees grown in it may fare better if I mix in some more coarse inorganic and added my peat as an organic source as well , the akadama I have is pretty brittle in can be crushed between your fingers not to mention that a part of potting is the visual appeal of the medium this really doens't maintain any particular attractiveness to me.

ynot
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Some say Akadama is the holy grail of soil media[&it wor

From my understanding Akadama is pulverized clay that has been cooked to a high heat. It shouldn't have a lot of grit because the size of clay particles (0.002 - 0.05 mm in diameter) is so small.
Akadama is not pulverized, In fact it comes in various sizes and two degrees of hardness [Low and High fired].
See it here [url]https://images.google.com/images?q=akadama&hl=en&btnG=Search+Images[/url]
It can be costly though, Many people substitute Haydite, Turface, Arcillite
[Or for acid loving plants Kanuma] in it's place. All of these are also forms of fired clay. It increases both drainage and aeration of the soil substantially. This promotes a fine and fibrous feeder root system which in turn promotes excellent ramification. :D

I can use an entire gallon jug to water a single training pot [9"h x 7"w Containing Arcillite and a Crepe Myrtle 8) ]and the water drains from the pot as fast as I can pour it in, Literally.
[img]https://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y291/novusordo1/BC%20Virts%20and%20random%20bonsai%20stuff/Soil/P4190334.jpg[/img]Sharp sand is often mentioned also as an inorganic ingredient. This a picture of it Note the size of the particles [NO fine/small ones at all ] w/ a 1£ coin as a size re: [About the same as a nickel.]
Some persons grow their plants in pure akadama but, I came to the conclusion myself not to.

Walter Pall is one such person, Take a look at his gallery of trees. [He has over 700 btw]
[url]https://walter-pall.de/galerie.html[/url]
Just a bit about soil for you. :)

ynot
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Re: Some say Akadama is the holy grail of soil media[&it

I know this thread is old, But it was the first mention of akadama I have seen here.
Zombie, when you say this
...fare better if I mix in some more coarse inorganic and added my peat as an organic source as well
The peat that you refer to... Do you mean long fibre spaghnum moss [Such as that used for orchids-Which is the right kind 8) ] OR do you mean the powdery variety that is very fine almost dustlike- It is dificult to get wet and then stays wet for a long long time...?
If it is the second powdery kind PLEASE do not use it in your bonsai medium. It is a terrible choice for bonsai. It stays too wet too long, It inhibits aeration, clogs drainage holes...ect Not suitable at all for bonsai.
ynot wrote:
From my understanding Akadama is pulverized clay that has been cooked to a high heat. It shouldn't have a lot of grit because the size of clay particles (0.002 - 0.05 mm in diameter) is so small.
Akadama is not pulverized, In fact it comes in various sizes and two degrees of hardness [Low and High fired].
See it here [url]https://images.google.com/images?q=akadama&hl=en&btnG=Search+Images[/url]
It can be costly though, Many people substitute Haydite, Turface, Arcillite
[Or for acid loving plants Kanuma] in it's place. All of these are also forms of fired clay. It increases both drainage and aeration of the soil substantially. This promotes a fine and fibrous feeder root system which in turn promotes excellent ramification. :D

I can use an entire gallon jug to water a single training pot [9"h x 7"w Containing Arcillite and a Crepe Myrtle 8) ]and the water drains from the pot as fast as I can pour it in, Literally.
[img]https://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y291/novusordo1/BC%20Virts%20and%20random%20bonsai%20stuff/Soil/P4190334.jpg[/img]Sharp sand is often mentioned also as an inorganic ingredient. This a picture of it Note the size of the particles [NO fine/small ones at all ] w/ a 1£ coin as a size re: [About the same as a nickel.]
Some persons grow their plants in pure akadama but, I came to the conclusion myself not to.

Walter Pall is one such person, Take a look at his gallery of trees. [He has over 700 btw]
[url]https://walter-pall.de/galerie.html[/url]
Just a bit about soil for you. :)

Zombiefreak
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The peat that I'm using is sphagnum peat moss this is recommended in alot of books as it prevents root rot moss in general seems to retain water for a while. It is also used in the process of air layering by many. The intial post about akadama was to find out mostly if it is an organic or inorganic. It is considered to be inborganic from the craig coussins book I read and also the gentleman at dallas bonsai told me the same thing. It was mostly because I had confusion over river sand I had that was marked akadama.
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ynot
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Zombiefreak wrote:The peat that I'm using is sphagnum peat moss this is recommended in alot of books as it prevents root rot moss in general seems to retain water for a while. It is also used in the process of air layering by many. The intial post about akadama was to find out mostly if it is an organic or inorganic. It is considered to be inborganic from the craig coussins book I read and also the gentleman at dallas bonsai told me the same thing. It was mostly because I had confusion over river sand I had that was marked akadama.
ZF,
Sorry sometimes the crux of the initial question loses it's emphasis as the thread extends...lol, My bad :? .
Yes, Akadama is inorganic. For the purposes of bonsai soil look at it like this
Organic= Anything that was once alive.
Inorganic= Anything that was never alive
[Fred at DBG is awesome 8) ]

The spaghnum peat moss that you have, Is it the powdery kind that looks like dust? or did you get it near the orchid supplies and it looks like this:
https://images.google.com/images?q=sphagnum+moss&hl=en&btnG=Search+Images

The dusty stuff is the WRONG stuff[This cannot be over emphasized!], It is difficult to get wet, it stays wet far too long. Limits aeration of your soil ect.. I really hope you have the long fibre stuff that you must chop up a bit.

Sorry for the emphasis but people do get the wrong stuff often and it is a hazard to your trees.
Thanks for the reply as I know this thread was old.

Did you check out Walter Palls trees?...A must see. 8)
later
ynot,

Zombiefreak
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The Powdery moss as you put it is probably what I have. I bought mine from my work it is commercial moss used for soil amendment. So far to date I have used it without problems. Its to late in the season for me to change up the composition now. I will have to wait until spring for repotting time and get the new moss then.

I will keep all those factors in mind as I watch over my trees heading into fall and winter. Its interesting that you mention this as in the books they never get that specific. Most like myself would assume that sphagnum of any kind would work. The sphagnum was sifted and the larger fibers used though when I did my repotting so hopefully that will be a saving grace. I did that based on my understanding that finer particles should not be used in repotting because they will reduce drainage drasticaly.

While were on this maybe you should review for others what it is that we are looking for in repotting and what we are trying to accomplish during new root growth. I will contribute how I can but I would like to see what you as well as others have in there mind on the perspective of roots.
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ynot
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Have you looked at the links to Walter Pall in last 2 posts

The Powdery moss as you put it is probably what I have. I bought mine from my work it is commercial moss used for soil amendment. So far to date I have used it without problems. Its to late in the season for me to change up the composition now. I will have to wait until spring for repotting time and get the new moss then.
I am glad you are aware of the timing issue :)
Do you have deciduous trees: [Outdoor, Loses leaves, Needs dormancy]
Or tropicals: Serrissa, Ficus, Schef, ect.?

While you are correct that it is too late to repot a temperate tree, Tropicals can safely be repotted at any time with good aftercare.
[Though obviously good aftercare should go without saying...] If you do have to wait until repotting, Please Be aware of your trees watering needs. Knowing when not to water is as important as knowing when. I'd wager overwatering causes more bonsai deaths than any other single cause.
I will keep all those factors in mind as I watch over my trees heading into fall and winter. Its interesting that you mention this as in the books they never get that specific. Most like myself would assume that sphagnum of any kind would work.
Good point about the distinction not being made, It is an extremely common mistake that has not so much to do with the people shopping, As the info they are going on.
[Who knew there were 2 kinds w/ essentially the same name but which bring entirely different properties to your soil mixture.]

IMO the confusion stems partially from the fact that the authors of these books are of differing international origin, [UK, Taiwan, Aus, Canada, USA, Japan, ect]
Not everybody has so many kinds of 'sphagnum peat moss' on the shelf, Meaning that in their local shop these two horticultural soil amendments may have two entirely distintive names and they are unaware of the need for making note of the difference. [Just OTTOMH on this, It does complicate things though...]
The sphagnum was sifted and the larger fibers used though when I did my repotting so hopefully that will be a saving grace. I did that based on my understanding that finer particles should not be used in repotting because they will reduce drainage drasticaly.
Absolutely correct wrt the fine particles. Excellent to hear you are Sifting your soil components.:D That is doing your trees a huge favor right there.
While were on this maybe you should review for others what it is that we are looking for in repotting and what we are trying to accomplish during new root growth. I will contribute how I can but I would like to see what you as well as others have in there mind on the perspective of roots.
Is there anything speific you were wondering about as sometimes a general overview doesn't hit the mark if you know what I mean.

Do you mean wrt timing, or the purposes of repotting, or components of good soil, I will give it a shot.

Sort of a general overview including links will follow. [I have to see if I have {READ: Locate } Suitable pictures and move them to a suitable hosting site for posting.

Thanks for the interest :)
ynot

DISCLAIMER: I am an enthusiast, Not an expert....lol
NOTE: see the Subject ;)
Last edited by ynot on Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

opabinia51
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I agree with YNOT when he says that Akadama is inorganic. It is just clay and actually contains very few nutrients. I choose not to use it for these reasons. A while back, Scott and I had an extensive conversation on Akadama so, if you use the search engine within the site and search for Akadama, you can find the thread and read it.

Zombiefreak
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We have established that it is an inoragnic.
Mostly all the information I post is never usually for my benfit. I do utilise the info but I just like to see information about topics such as roots being shared. This gives others a reference point and basic info. There are lots of questions FAQ on this board and assembling a bit more order to the topics people can better utilise this info. But in the meantime I love to see information being freely shared so that others can browse through and educate themselves.

There is another sight I frequent as well that I won't mention here but they subdivide lots of catagories and have so many topics archived that its basically and living active book that is being written. Alright anyways I'm off on a tangent.

Roots thats our info, educate others share your knowledge and create unity.
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ynot
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About akadama:
Could you expand on your reasons here please? I am wondering why you view these specifics as reasons not to use it?

I see it as a highly functioning soil medium, Albeit costly.
opabinia51 wrote:I agree with YNOT when he says that Akadama is inorganic.
Inorganic= A primary [required] component of bonsai soil, How is this a negative?
opabinia51 wrote: It is just clay and actually contains very few nutrients. I choose not to use it for these reasons.
I have explained in a previous post that akadama is not 'just clay'. It is baked at temps up to 2200F [High fired] which gives it a popcorn like shape w/ many rough edges to promote root division and it holds a high percentage of air/water for it's weight.

'very few nutrients': Yes it is inorganic and has no nutritional value for the plant which is of no consequence at all as that is fulfilled by a well rounded fertilizer program.

I look forward to hearing the other side of the coin.

Zombie-F,
I'll be getting to the root issue with some links and some whatnot soon.
ynot

ynot
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To the top....

Bump! :?:

ynot
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Re: To the top....

ynot wrote:Bump! :?:
Still waiting on the answers above....

ynot
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Re: To the top....

ynot wrote:
ynot wrote:
ynot wrote:Bump! :?:
Still waiting on the answers above....
Lather, Rinse, Repeat.... :shock:
I am now curious how long this will take. :?
....[img]https://img97.imageshack.us/img97/4898/chasinchickenhv8.gif[/img]

opabinia51
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You are most correct YNOT, Akadama is clay that is baked to high temperatures. I was not directly quoting you and just gave my advice about the fact that clay tends to have little or no nutrients.

Actually, I have actively researching soil and soil physical properties and as it turns out; clay usually is loaded with both inorganic and organic nutrients but, these nutrients are bound into highly resistant molecular complexes called: SOIL AGGREGATES.

So in theory, both Akadama and plain clay (thanks for the confirmation on Akadama :wink: ) could actually be "organic" and contain nutrients. It's just that these nutrients would be bound in soil aggregates that are unattainable by plants. (at least in the short term.


MORE ON SOIL AGGREGATES:

Here is the magic with soil aggregates: the more organic matter (chemical compounds made from carbon, though with gardening we usually refer to leaves and other plant/animal material) that is added to a clay soil is equivalent the more soil aggregates being formed.

The more soil aggregates that are formed, the more water insoluble nutrients the soil will consist of and the more nutrients that are available to plants.

Soil aggreates also form with sandy soils but, the form much more stable compounds with clay soils. I've not researched how aggregates form with akadama though.

ynot
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opabinia51 wrote:
So in theory, both Akadama and plain clay (thanks for the confirmation on Akadama :wink: ) could actually be "organic" and contain nutrients. It's just that these nutrients would be bound in soil aggregates that are unattainable by plants. (at least in the short term.

I understand this, But the [Lack of] availability of those nutrients is of no consequence due to a thing called 'a fertilizer regimine'.
So that is not really an issue.

opabinia51 wrote: The more soil aggregates that are formed, the more water insoluble nutrients the soil will consist of and the more nutrients that are available to plants.
Yes, {If I understand you correctly} though the amount of water retained by these materials is not condusive to the amount of drainage and aeration required to promote a healthy root mass in bonsai. {Required due to the limited space for roots available.}
IE: That soil stays to wet and with too little oxygen.

ynot

opabinia51
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Hmmmm, let me think about that for a bit. I'll get back to this later.


With regard to the soil aggregates in clay: the nutrients are actually available to plants, just not in a water soluble form. What plants do is release small amounts of either acid or base to sequester nutrients locked up in soil aggregates.

That is what is great about having clay based soil aggregates with a lot of organic matter as the tree can secrete chemicals to acquire nutrients when it needs them. I grow my bonsai in high humus containing soil (not with Akadama or clay but, I think I'll give it a try) and they are very healthy.

ynot
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opabinia51 wrote:Hmmmm, let me think about that for a bit. I'll get back to this later.
Cool :)
opabinia51 wrote: That is what is great about having clay based soil aggregates with a lot of organic matter as the tree can secrete chemicals to acquire nutrients when it needs them. I grow my bonsai in high humus containing soil (not with Akadama or clay but, I think I'll give it a try) and they are very healthy.
IMO For most newbies this invites overwatering as this mix will retain alot of moisture. [Watering whilst the media is still quite wet-leading to an allways wet condition.]

I would be quite interested in seeing the root developement you are acheiving with your [high humus] mix. I am very happy with the results I am having with my primarily inorganic mix.

ynot

ynot
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I have mentioned the Capitalization point in previous PMs.

opabinia51 wrote:Hmmmm, let me think about that for a bit. I'll get back to this later.
.....It is now later.... :P :wink:

ynot [NOTE: NOT in capitals.
Please, There is no need to shout my name.]

ynot
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opabinia51 wrote:Hmmmm, let me think about that for a bit. I'll get back to this later.
:arrow: It is now much much much later....This must be a heck of an answer :P :wink: :lol:

ynot

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