Sifting Soil   3 comments

I have no idea why we call this stuff soil. There is really nothing in it resembling soil at all. Maybe aggregate would be a better term. Course that sounds more like concrete than bonsai soil so soil it is.

I started sifting six akadama size bags of aggregate I bought at Murayama’s last spring. I purchased too late for repotting last year, but plan on using it this year. I have used this in years past, but the nursery quit carrying it for a period and it was not until last spring and a trip to Sacramento for a bonsai exhibit that I came across it again. The dark granules are a little water that seeped into the bucket.

The aggregate is a pumice blend. It is called Mocha Lava and looks rather like haydite in a way but is volcanic rather than heat expanded shale. The particles are a mixture of some hard lava and a brown pumice material that is full of microscopic pores like haydite. Seems to be some really great stuff. I am grading it into only two sizes, the medium screen on my sifter. That screen is 3/16 and what falls thru I will use for the shohin trees and the rest will go into a blend for all the larger trees. The larger particles run up to larger than 1/4 but not more than 3/8. Mostly around 1/4 inch 5/16 size.




Now all I have to do is sift the cali dama, and the akadama and blend it all together and I will be ready for repotting.

This is the Cali dama stash. Getting harder to get but I have the source here in town.




Close up of the Cali dama. This is a crushed hard pan (clay) product that will never break down and can be used over and over again. Just wash it off and replant in it.



3 responses to “Sifting Soil

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  1. Getting close to that time!

  2. So is your soil mix one part of each Calidama, akadama, and mocha lava? Do you change the ratio between conifer and deciduous trees?

  3. I do not use calidama. I use 50/50 mocha lava and akadama. I do not change the ratio. I make the ratio good for watering not good for the trees per se. The trees needs are the same as far as water and nutrients, changing the ratio means changing the watering in the different soils and that seems stupid to me. I make what works for my schedule. I also plant in 100 percent mocha lava also. That mix dries out super fast though and I use it for plants that sit on the ground and can escape thru the bottom of the colanders. These are purly growing containers and not plants with detailed canopies yet.

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