Bonsai Soil – Bonsai Online

I talk about the use of bonsai soil and then mix up a batch from locally found ingredients.

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We’ll be talking about bone size soil I’ll show you how to mix your own basic soil mix and then we’ll talk a little bit about tailoring your soil to specific trees we’re here to talk about bonsai soil so what is bonsai soil why do you need it why can’t you just grow your tree and earth from the ground well we’ll try and answer some of those questions today before we talk about soil we should talk about you growing your bonsai there’s the the type of soil you use is dependent on a lot of factors one is how often do you want to water your trees two how much sunlight is your trees getting three your climate do you live in the tropics deliv in Canada deliver in the desert all these things will determine what your ideal soil mix will be let’s start with the requirements of the tree trees needs several of the elements to remain healthy I would say water is the number one item just like us humans we need water without water we can’t live very long and same with the tree the second thing it trees need nitrogen the air around us is 78% nitrogen and roots need nitrogen also they need oxygen they need nitrogen they need air so the main reason we grow bonsai trees in bonsai soil is to get air around the roots what is bonsai soil well it’s not magic it doesn’t instantly transform it for you to a bonsai tree it’s a soil mixture that allows water oxygen nitrogen fertilizer to get down to your roots easily if you think of it as basically gravel it has lots of air spaces in it lots of particles in it so the roots grow in between the pockets in the gravel and basically bonsai soil is a type of miniature gravel the bonsai soil

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allows you to water the tree it allows the water to get into every space in the soil because it’s so porous and any excess water will drain out the bottom so it tries to maintain a nice humidity level in the soil every time you water a tree you put water on the top of the soil and it drains through and as the water level drains through it’s pulling in air behind it so you’re getting this fresh air coming into your soil every time you water the tree so you’re getting fresh nitrogen in there fresh fresh oxygen so you’re exchanging the gases in your soil every time you water on size soil because of the particles in the air spaces it tends to dry out more evenly than if you had a really fine clay type soil it would dry out on the top and stay too wet in the bottom bonsai soil tries to keep an even humidity level throughout the soil so let’s get going we’re going to mix up a basic bonsai soil mix I’m going to show you the main ingredients I use one is it’s called safety zorb safety absorbent it’s called stay dry and it’s generally used for cleaning up oil spills you’ll see it at gas stations and bins they spread it on the ground and it soaks up the oil it’s using garages it’s also used on baseball fields to dry the field they spread it around it’s a redder color or a more red color they spread it around on the diamond and soaks up water and it’s nice to walk on um so I would say at least 50% of my soil is made from turpis which is a general name for this absorbent material and what it is it’s a fired clay particle it’s uh I believe it’s Fuller’s earth what’s it say 100% Fuller’s earth quickly and easily soaks up messy oil spills edie easy to use in transport cleans up spills that can cause accidents yeah it’s also sold as a soil additive or garden soil on that you can buy this in some of the farm stores like TSC Tractor Supply Company some of the seed centers carry it a lot of the automotive places will carry it and you can buy it online

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also if you want um the second ingredient I use is perlite you buy a bag of it it’s very lightweight the stuffs fairly heavy and I mix that with my surface or my safety absorb and I mixing it about twice as much surface as perlite so it’s in there it stops the turf ice from sticking together it creates a different type of material in there and helps create air pockets in your soil small air pockets so the soil can actually breathe so that’s the two main ingredients I use for my inorganic component of the soil and my inorganic component of the soil is usually at least 60 to 80 percent of the basic soil mix it’s basically inorganic material composed of fired clay particles and perlite so we’ve talked about the inorganic components of the soil and now we’ll talk about the organic components okay so I’ve got my organic components of the soil out now I should note that some people use a purely inorganic soil so all the uses either turis or stones you can use aquarium gravel and the nutrients of the tree are purely purely come from fertilizer so they apply either a liquid fertilizer or a slow-release fertilizer to the soil either in their water or in the actual soil and they’ve had good results – it’s uh it’s like hydroponics you know your nutrients are in the water the tree every time it gets water to get some nutrients and it’s quite effective your soil doesn’t clog up you know if you have an organic material in the soil it breaks down and starts to close all those nice air pockets in the soil in between the particles so generally the inorganic soils which are just pure stones and inorganic material but they’re a little less forgiving if you miss you know if you go on vacation you’re gone for the day it’s been a really hot dry day your soil dries out there’s not much safety in there for the roots there’s no you know organic particles in it that hold moisture longer than the stones so the danger drying out is increased so I would say generally most people as with the basic soil mix you use mostly inorganic material but you have some organics in there as a safety factor so it doesn’t dry out quite as quick so the inorganic components I use I use compost and I can use peat and I can use composted pine bark these are pretty standard ingredients for your free organic components in soil and I should note that all these materials get sifted as well as the inorganic materials before they get mixed into the soil into your final soil so all the fine particles are sifted out so you’re left with a fairly even particle size you don’t want it too big you don’t want it too small and it’s finally mixed together so your soil is very free draining if you have a lot of fine particles in it as I say all those little air spaces between the particles will clog up with in or with the organic material breaking down your drainage won’t be as good and your root growth won’t be as strong all this in order all this organic material will break down over time and that’s the reason we change our soil one of the reasons we change our soil the other is root growth to prune the roots so the more organic material you have in the soil generally the more you need to repot because it breaks down and your soil won’t drain as well so you can ask yourself the question do I want to use inorganic soil or do want to want to use more organic soil and the choice comes down to you if you use inorganic soil you’re going to be fertilizing a lot almost with every water application you want to put a dilute amount of fertilizer liquid fertilizer in with your water so it’s constantly being fed you’ll spend a lot of money and fertilizer that’s the disadvantage of an inner of the inorganic soil mix is you’re going to buy a lot of fertilizer and I can get expensive so generally you know using compost peat doesn’t have any really nutrients in it but it’s it retains water well and pine bark has some nutrients but not a whole lot so it’s served like a slow-release fertilizer in itself definitely the compost has nutrients and you know feeds a tree with a lot of elements that the roots need so yeah you have to decide yourself whether you want to go in organic soil or organic soil and it’s up to you you can experiment around and see what works best for you as with any hobby bonsai can be as expensive or as cheap as you want to make it you want to buy stuff that you can afford the main important thing with bonsai soil is to sift it is to get out all the fine particles and keep a fairly even particle size in your final soil composition so we’re going to start making our soil now and we’ll go through step by step and show you how I make my basic soil mixture with ingredients that I find in the local area you don’t have to have the same ingredients I use in your soil you can substitute it for anything you can substitute your turpis for aquarium gravel you can get gravel from the beach yeah you can use a lot of different materials to make soil the main thing is that you sift it to get an even particle size so we’ll start with our shifting our turpis and out of a bag like this you’ll probably get 70% useable particles and probably 30% will be too fine and it’ll go in another bin so what you need is a sifter and I bought these from Lee Valley tools they sell them in the garden center it has about a 8-inch particle size or four millimeters they’re stainless steel unfortunately the mesh in here isn’t stainless steel so it’s getting a bit of rust on it so you might want to keep them out of the rain so we’ll start I just scoop out two scoops and I sift over this bin which is my fine particle bin that I discard or use for smaller bone sight trees and you want to sift outdoors because it’s fairly dusty so you just take it around in here all your fine particles come out the bottom that’s good you can see the fine particles that have come out there’s still good stones but they’re smaller and then you put your sifted surface into your final bin that you’ll mix your soil in we’ll do one more and into the good day so you can see the difference in particle sizes there’s my sifted turfs see that girl get out of there and here’s the part will discard which is a finer finer turpis so we’ll do that we’ll mix up the rest of this bag of surface and then we’ll start on our perlite so I’ve got my turf is sifted out here and next we’ll start on our perlite and we’ll do the same thing well scoop it into the sieve and / lights generally a little finer so you’ll lose a little more to the sieve there put that on our bin scoop another one I generally I generally mix up small batches of soil I just it takes a long time to make a large bin of soil it’s nice to have in spring but I don’t know I just never seem to have the time to mix huge quantities of soil up there we go you can see all the fine stuff in here it still feels good and you want to make sure all your soil materials are dry before you sit them makes it a lot easier it doesn’t clog up the mess here so we’ll keep going we’ll keep sitting here until this bag of pearlite is done and then we’ll start on our organic materials okay so I’ve got my perlite all sifted and I’m going to start mixing this is the in organics that feels really nice running through your hands with different colored soil particles like this you can tell when it’s mixed well because it’s an even distribution of particles so sort of helps you looking pretty good so with the pearlite usually with a bag of pearlite you get about 50% usable and 50% that’s too fine so the next ingredient we’re going to mix up is the peat and generally we get even less out of this there’s a lot of fine stuff in here there’s a lot of really coarse stuff we’ll sift that up if you get big chunks like that you can just break it up with your hand and a lot of these particles are too big but I use them anyway I don’t think it hurts to have some you know fairly large particles in your soil long as most of it is an even consistency and we’ll dump that in our soil and mix up some more there sip some more this fine soil you’re left over with it’s great for starting seedlings in you can put it in the garden to grow vegetables in it’s actually pretty good stuff it doesn’t drain as nice as the civil side soil but it’s still pretty good stuff so the quantities I’m mixing this in are very approximate and it doesn’t really matter I mean you don’t have to get exactly 70% in organic and 30% organic material it’s all very approximate the main thing is that everything in your soil is sifted gets out all the fine particles the actual you know ratio of the different ingredients isn’t that important the next ingredient will be putting some compost in the compost I use is from our composter at home we just put vegetables no meat products in it just you know fruits vegetables banana skins onion skins leaves that kind of thing so and again you have to screen it so we’ll do that next we’ll do the compost so again the the compost is quite dry which is good you don’t want it to be moist so you’ll see in the compost there’s eggshells a lot of stuff you can break up some of these bigger chunks pick out any pieces of plastic or anything there we go and again we’ll mix our batch of soil here to get it all mixed in not too bad here’s a look at our final soil mix you can see it’s mostly inorganic material but there is organics in it so it’s a good mixture I’ve just mixed it up approximately looks good to me pick that stone out yeah so you don’t want to be too fussy about your you know your actual soil ratios close counts um I’m going to be using this mainly on deciduous trees if I was to mix a oil more specifically for evergreen trees I would put my composted pine bark in with it you can see these particles are really big that’s all I could find so what I’ve been doing in the past is getting the pruners and breaking them up into small chunks and then mixing it in with my soil that works quite well it just takes a long time but what can you do Hey some notes on bonsai soil you can always wieder your soil more but you can’t water it less so if you’re in a climate where you get a lot of rain you want a really free draining soil mix because it’s going to be raining even here we get five days of rain in a row and you want everything to drain well you don’t want your roots sitting in a pool of water so that’s another reason we use a really free draining soil mix growing moss on top of this soil it’s really easy because it needs a lot of water this loose porous soil dries out fairly quickly as I said you know you probably need to water twice a day in the you know a nice sunny dry afternoon in the summer either in the morning and at night or in the morning when you get home from work whatever so because you’re watering the soil all the time if you do have moss on the surface of it it’s getting lots of water lots of fertilizer and it does really well if you have a soil that’s not as free draining you don’t have to water as often dries out on the top more from surface evaporation and the moss doesn’t do so well so one of the secrets of growing moss is water and fertilize frequently and if you have a bonsai soil mix like this you can do that it’s pretty hard to overwater the trees all the excess water just drains out and you’re left with that ideal humidity level in the soil if you join a local bone sight Club they can help you get materials for making your own soil they’ll know where to buy all the ingredients they’ll know what soil works best for your area and your conditions and they’ll help you along so if you can join a bonsai Club in your area I highly recommend you do so so that’s it for today we talked about soil showed you how to make your own soil so Nigel Saunders 4kw on site we’ll see you next time

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