Friday, April 3, 2009

azaleas, no need for kanuma

Some expert tell me that the only substrate possible for azaleas is kanuma. Well, why is it that in the biggest azalea growing area in the north of Europe they ONLY use rough peat for millions of azaleas? I have planted these into baked loam 60 % and 40 % rough peat a couple of years agao. Do they look sick? The foliage could not possibly look heathier. Another bonsai myth crashed.




8 comments:

meushi said...

The other funny myth about substrates for azaleas is that they can't live in akadama, I guess the so-called experts should explain that to the bonsai producers in Japan ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for casting light on the shadows of the bonsai world. Could you please provide a photo of "rough peat" as to see the texture?

Anonymous said...

Hi and thank you for this.

This is very interesting read for me because in my part of the world kanuma doesn't exist.

based on your post I am using 40% peat and 60% clay balls of ~.4mm. and hope I will get good results.

A couple of questions if you please

1) In http://walter-pall-bonsai.blogspot.com/2008/12/over-watering-root-myth.html you say not to mix soil with substrate but here you do is it an exception for azaleas ?

2) The easiest thing I can find is perlite so most of my mixtures are 30%~40% peat and the rest perlite (sometimes I do add pine bark) is it a good practice ?

3) You also mention Styrofoam flakes ? can these be used as substrate ?

N.b. I live in the Mediterranean

thank you

Walter Pall said...

1) rough peat is not soil in my definiton.

2) perlite is fine

3) Styrofoam can be used, but swims and is ugly.

good luck

WP

Ken Krogholm said...

Walter,
If pine bark is used either as a supplement to or as a substitute of rough peat - what sizes of bark particles are alright in your opinion? I can only get hold of size 10-20 mm.
Thanks,
//Ken

Walter Pall said...

Ken,
sorry, this is five times to large. The bark particle should be about 2 to 6 mm.

WP

Ken Krogholm said...

Walter,
Thanks for your comment - I guess pine bark is out the question then - impossible to get in Denmark.
As a plant physiologist by profession - I find your statements and practice on growing substrates extremely exciting and I need no further proof - I have been studying your gallery and they all look very healthy. I have two more questions in relation to the substrate:
1) due to the nature of the modern growing substrate you use - do you see any differences in the amount/pressence of the beneficial fungi?
2) I've read that you use the rough peat right out of the bag - but as you recommend 2-6 mm pine bark particles - do you avoid using the really rough peat or do you sometimes cut it into smaller pieces and remove larger pieces of wood etc.?
Thanks,
//Ken

Walter Pall said...

Ken,

1) I see not much difference, rather less presence of fungi. As far as I understand fungi are very important when the tree has bad to very bad growing conditions. I understand that most trees can live perfectly without fungi as long as they get enough water and nutrients. I certainly prefer to have fungi but depend on them coming as they like.

2) I use the roughest peat that we can get. It often has long fibers, but they are thin and work like a sponge. Bark would be thick and not easily take on water. This is why I would want to have smaller bark. The smaller the particles the larger the open area that can take water. I assume that it is not a straight line, but exponential.

Peat or bark are not only to keep more water. They create a healthy living 'soil like' condition in the substrate.

WP