Bonsai tree supplies and bonsai trees - Bonsai of Brooklyn
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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 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 choice below.

#1-Things to do in the spring

#2-Forest Plantings

#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 Skills

#8-Things to Remember During the Winter Months

#9-Some Thoughts About Tree Roots. Their Strengths & Weaknesses

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