Tip of the Week #10
Welcome to our next installment of "Tips
Of The Week".
This feature is for the benefit of visitors to
this site, I would be happy to hear from you if there is something you would
like to see covered here in future weeks. Please direct your E-mail to Paul@bonsaiofbrooklyn.com
let me know if I should include your first name, last name, city, E-mail address
or no acknowledgement.
Interested in past articles? There's
a list at the bottom of the page.
|It is said that a house is only as strong
as its foundation. The same is true of a bonsai. The foundation
of a bonsai is the soil mixture in which it is planted. There
are a number of properties that good bonsai soil must have. The
first and foremost is good drainage. Others are water retention,
resistance to compacting, the ability to provide nutrients, and the ability to encourage and support
good root growth. If you purchase your potting medium, make
sure that it has a good deal of coarse material in it. If your
bonsai either dry out quickly or always seem moist, the mixture you're
using may be at fault. If you don't find roots growing around
the soil ball after a year, the soil mixture may not be right.
When I began in the hobby, there were no places to buy
bonsai soil, so I used a recipe that I found in the original edition of
Sunset Books "Bonsai". It called for 2 parts coarse sand and
1 part each of top soil and peat moss. It was simple enough,
but as time passed, I began to find problems with the mixture. Over
the next 20 years, I added & deleted ingredients until I arrived at the
mixture that I use and sell today. If you want to create your
own mixture, my advice is to start with the 3 things listed above. You
can replace all or part of the sand with #2 or #3 natural gravel. You'll
find it in almost any pet shop or aquarium. Another good ingredient
is "Turface". It is a baked clay that is primarily used to
soak up water on golf courses & sports fields. It's the stuff
that you see the ground crew pouring all over the infield after a rain
delay at a baseball game. If you can find pumice in about
1/8 inch size, it's another good ingredient. Agricultural
charcoal in small quantities will help keep the soil fresh.
Above all else, remember, this is a hobby that should be fun.
If you don't like to mix things, buy our bonsai soil. If you like to experiment,
make your own.
If you have trouble finding any of the ingredients mentioned above, many of them
can be found under "Bonsai Soil Ingredients" in the "Supplies" section.
Interested in past articles? Click for your
#1-Things to do in the spring
#3-Planning a trimming schedule
#4-Trimming Japanese Maples
(And other trees with opposing Buds)
#5-Trimming Chinese Elms
(And other trees with alternating Buds)
#6-Trimming Conifers (Such
as Pine, Juniper and Cypress)
#7-Improving Your Bonsai
#8-Things to Remember During
the Winter Months
#9-Some Thoughts About Tree
Roots. Their Strengths & Weaknesses
About Bonsai of Brooklyn
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Tip of the Week