paulad449
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:50 am
Location: New Jersey

Diatomaceous Earth As Soil?

After my order for was not fulfilled by Penjing Iron Works, I started searching for alternatives but most soil are far too expensive for me.

I don't have much experience with bonsai & have researched for hours but nothing seems conclusive. I've read that Diatomaceous Earth (NAPA oil absorbent) is ok for use as bonsai soil. Should it be mixed with bark or something else? I have all tropicals & one that needs repotting ASAP. So does anyone have experience with this?

Thanks
Danielle

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

You will find fans of high-fired clay products like Oilz-Dri. For me it has broken down into anoxic goo. I will never use it again.

I mix 1/2 granite chicken grit (Grani-Grit is one brand) with 1/2 crushed bark mulch.

I've used this mix for past fifteen years, works for me.

Diatomacious earth is calcium carbonate. I would not use it with acid loving trees like azalea, but it should work otherwise, even if it is very spendy compared to granite...
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

User avatar
manofthetrees
Senior Member
Posts: 236
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:14 pm
Location: west seneca ny

diatomaceous earth and speedy dry (calcined clay)i do believe are 2 differnt things. i know people in australia that use strait d.earth but they can get it in a more gravely form. here in the states after some extensive searching i could only find a fine sand mix that is used for pool filters. i have expieramented with the clay as a moisture retention element without any problems ,but i was only useing as 15% of my mixture .

toms got it right chicken grit and sifted pine bark works the best.the clay was used to up the moisture for my more finicky stuff

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Grani-Grit comes in (from smallest to largest) chick, feeder, layer, and turkey sized grits. Inasmuch as I don't do mame sized bonsai I buy as big a grit as my feed store will carry.

Years ago there was also a marble chip poultry scratch, that I don't recall the name of.

One (and only one) NH cinder-block mill also carried heat expanded shale. It was pretty spendy, but was a lovely black color.

Many gavel mills crush their own granite, and sell the finest crush which can be sifted out to essentially the same product as the chicken scratch at one heck of a discount by the ton, If your willing to pick-up and sift your own.

FWIW a ton of granite dust is 4.5 (33 gallon) barrels...
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

User avatar
manofthetrees
Senior Member
Posts: 236
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:14 pm
Location: west seneca ny

LOL i think id be locked out of the house if i brought that much home...
i can see it now dollying the barrels in the garage and trying to explain the cost effectivness while the house door slams and latches .

i am going to try crushed basalt as a rocky componentin a homemade mix.i bought a japanese soil mix a few years back that looks and works great and thats what was in it.
now my work is using the same thing for a large project and i can get it cheap. its a medium grey color and can be ordered from 1/2 inch to 1/16.i almost did a flip when i saw it...almost

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

The last year I bought a ton of granite, it cost me like $11.00. Last springs buy of four fifties was like $ 35.00. :cry: Please don't tell anyone they'll take away my Yankee passport.

If you are going to sift your own, you may need a set of sifting screens. I built mine out of 5/4 lumber and a 1/2", 1/4", 1/8" and window screen 1/16".

Buy the best your wallet will support. In sifters quality equals durability.
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

Return to “Indoor Bonsai Forum”