What is the best soil for newly collected material?

(Eric) #1

Is there a better “mix” than just using all pumice for newly collected material? I work all day and
I can’t water until the end of the day. The all pumice dries out too fast, would a pumice/perlite mix work? Or maybe pumice/perlite/bark? am i over thinking this?

Field Grown Material
(Jonas Dupuich) #2

There certainly could be better mixes, but straight pumice remains a popular choice among professional collectors.

Am surprised to hear it’s drying out so much - am curious what part of the country you’re in. One way to to preserve moisture is to use smaller particle sizes. Another is to use a mix with some akadama in it near the surface to maintain moisture there. Uncut white sphagnum moss can also help near the surface.

More important may be overhead watering during the day. It’s hard to keep these trees happy while they’re establishing roots without daytime overhead watering.

Shade cloth and moving the tree to a less sunny location can also help.

(Frank Corrigan) #3

I like Jonas’s response. Pumice has excellent water retention capabilities and has proven to be an excellent material for newly collected trees and i use it exclusively for air layers as well. The particle size does make a difference. For example i use fines with chopped sphagnum for air layers, small size for newly collected deciduous and medium for newly collected conifers. During the summer i use sphagnum moss on the surface to protect from drying winds and afternoon heat.
The material you use should drain well and allow air to mix in easily. I would not worry about the top layer drying out between watering.
One other technique is to set the tree a little deeper in the grow box when initially collected or separated. This will protect the recovering roots from drying out quite so quickly. Good luck

(Eric) #4

thanks guys for your info, very helpful.

Riversedgebonsai…you mentioned air layering… I have been trying to air layer for about 2 years now, with no luck. not even one. I’ve tried pine trees, maple trees, apricot/apple/quince/pear trees. there must be something I am missing. Do you have any resources I can study or thought about this?

(Frank Corrigan) #5

Their are a few methods or variations. Go to Bonsai Tonight Blog Archives and search " Air Layering".
Failure may be attributed to one of the following.
Wrong time of year ( should be just prior to growth period)
Edge of cuts not sharp and clean ( cleaner the better)
Bridge of material left between cuts ( prevents root formation)
Air Layer section dried out.
Not enough time has passed.
Some species are very difficult, others quite easy.

(Darth Masiah) #6

when i was only able to water my trees in the morning and at night because of work i liked to use a little 1/4" pine bark fines in my soil mix. you should check out bonsaijack.com’s soil mixes. i also like putting moss over the top of the soil and itll help out a lot with moister retention.