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Intriguedbybonsai
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Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:03 am
Location: Escondido, CA (USDA Zone 9-10)

What soil do you use?

So what soil are you guys using for your bonsai? I just bought a bag of Akadama soil from a bonsai dealer. Supposedly it's volcanic rock that has been farmed in Japan. Before that I was getting by using a mix of sand, potting soil, ground soil, and gravel.

TomM
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Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:28 pm
Location: Cedarville (SE of Utica) NY, USA

For some people it's different soil mixes for different trees. For some people it's different soil mixes depending where they live and what's available locally. Bonsai soil is a big big topic and opinions vary greatly.

For me it is simply a convenience to use what a club member of ours makes - and he wholesales it all around the Northeast US. He has 3 or 4 different grades. But basically it is turface, grit and ground pine bark available in coarse or fine size.

Akadama IMO is best used in warmer climates and for mature trees. It is pricey, in part because of shipping, and it does not hold up well in cold climates.

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Intriguedbybonsai
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Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:03 am
Location: Escondido, CA (USDA Zone 9-10)

I see. I think I can get by with using Akadama because I do live in a warm climate. I understand what you're saying about it being pricey, but I found a dealer on eBay https://www.ebay.com/itm/Akadama-Japanese-Bonsai-Soil-Red-Line-1-Gallon-Small-/170397983527?pt=Fertilizer_Soil_Amendments&hash=item27ac82e327 who sells it for reasonable prices. Plus they are located in San Francisco, CA. I'm in Escondido, CA so the shipping isn't bad.

The trees I'm most serious about are my JBPs, and I'd like to begin using what the pros use. I found a video https://www.youtube.com/user/chasnsx#p/u/16/eF3uxyb0x3o where a person shows what he uses for soil.

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manIK
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Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:01 pm
Location: Rhode Island

I use a mix I make and it varies. It's basically a mix of potting soil, sand (Home Depot leveling sand) and gravel (snow melt gravel) mixed accordingly.

tomc
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Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

If a one gallon horse-feed scoop is one 'part'.

1 part sifted crushed granite chips

1 part sifted crushed pine bark

1/4 cup crushed (sifted) oyster shell

1/2 cup sifted finished compost

Suitable for deciduous trees.

You can substitute heat expanded shale for the granite grit if a darker soil mix floats your boat.

Sifted granite and crushed pine park is the 'middle' of what will pass through a 1/4" hardware cloth screen; and will not pass through a 1/16th" hardware cloth screen.
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