Thursday, April 9, 2009

rough peat

As most of you have read many times I use as substrate baked loam/zeolith/chabasai/pumice/lava split/ turface/ or similar (one of those or mixes -makes NO DIFFERENCE) 85 % and add 15 % rough peat. Nothing else!
I keep getting requests what in the world this miraculous rough peat is and where one can buy it. We get it in any garden center and it very cheap . It is bog soil of not decomposed sphagnum moss. It is also called 'white peat' which leads to further misunderstandings because it is not white!
It is the ideal addition to the rough particles because it holds water, maces the reaction more acidic, contains lots of humin acid, which acts as hormones.

This mixture of 85 % particles plus 15 % rough peat I use for all trees. Look at my galley for results.

37 comments:

rommel said...

Hey Walter,
i would like to know your opinion about compost as a soil ingredient.I use it along with peat in my soil mixture.I use about 60%akadama,30%compost,10%peat and a bit of river sand.I change akadama with kiryu when i want to repot conifers.
Do you have any comments to make?

Walter Pall said...

Yes,

leave out the compost. Only for very few trees this would be OK. Modern substrate and compost don't go togehther. Compsot destroys the free draining and aereating properties. Then you have something like an oldfashioned bonsai soil again. You would have to be extremely careful about watering.
With modern substrate pure you don't have to worry about over-watering. No individual watering of trees, only dayly agressive watering of all trees and they are happy.
You probably take compost to ensure feed. This is a msitake. With modern substrate trees are fed every two weeks to ten days with regular plant feed throughout the active vegetation periode. No feeding with compost!!
Forget what you read in your bonsai books. This is professionla modern gardening applied to bonsai.
Don't trust all this? go look at my gallery. ALL trees are treated with my method without exception.

WP

Anonymous said...

walter

what do you think about 50% akadama and 50% lava split?

Walter Pall said...

That's fine if it makes you feel better. It absolutely makse no difer4nece whether you use hard akadam, lava, pumic, turace, zeolith, styrofoam pieces. coconaut fibers, barks particles or whaterver other, or a mixture of any of these. Only do NOT use soft akadama because it decomposes. There is WAY too much discussion about soil!!!

WP

Anonymous said...

Is this the same as peat moss sold here in the states?

Walter Pall said...

In the USA you often get the dust kind which is very bad. Thsi is why I show this here. In the USA if you cannot get this kind of peat you better find bark particles which are small. I know they are thsre. In Europe you cannot get the bark on teh other hand. So it is all fair.

WP

Anonymous said...

Yes, pine fines is what is most readily available here in the states.

Christian said...

Hi Walter,
Are you screening the rough peat to eliminate dust and very small particles like we do with out pine bark fines inthe states? Vielen Dank!

Walter Pall said...

Christian,

no, I use it as it comes out of the bag.

WP

Anonymous said...

Walter,

It´s difficult to water your soil.
I can´t see if it´s wet or dry.
Even though it is impossible to overwater.
Feeding is also difficult because it
will be washed out.
Biogold isn´t very well for this soil.
And why you do rough peat in it.
Is it for holding water?

happy Ostern

Walter Pall said...

It's pretty clear that you still have not understood the concept. It does not matter what you see, whether the soil is dry or not. You just water every day!!
Feeding is very EASY. You just put two or three caps of a a liquid fertilizer into a can of 10 liters and water all your trees every ten days to two weeks with this. What's so difficult. You can also throw some fertilizer onto the surface of your substrate and let it wash in with every watering. No problem!
Biogold is extremely good for this kind of substrate. It was invented for akadam and my substrate has almost the same properties as akadama. Rough peat is for holding water and for adding something which makes the soil slightly acidic. In addition peat seems to contain some hormones which are very good for trees. Without the peat you have to water twice a day.

Why are you questioning something that has been proven by many professional bonsai growers without obviously not having tried it for yourself. The Japanese grow everything in akadama or kanuma. Where is the difference other than that I add peat? They water two to six times per day which I am not ready to do.
You should take this as proven facts.

There are folks out there who have an agenda. They want to sell you akadama, biogold, bonsai feed water softeners and such stuff which you don't need. Or they just want to believe books which were written forty years ago. All this is just modern professional garden know-how applied to bonsai.

WP

Anonymous said...

What do you think about Boncoco?
I had a piece 15x15x5(no boncoco). In the water it soaked to 15-20 liter.

Boncoco is also an agenda. They don´t sell pressed and dry. They sell it soaked.

Mixed with baked loam (it´s not needed) it fantastic

Walter Pall said...

Boncoco is very good. I can certainly recommend it.

WP

Pawel said...

Hi Walter, what kind of fertlizer do you use usually? Greetings
Pawel

Walter Pall said...

Pawel,

mostly liqid fertilizer as it is sold in garden centers for regular plants. At least three times during a vegetation period some organic fertilizer like chicken pellets.

WP

Pawel said...

OK, but this liquid fertilizer is mineral or bio? And how do you use chicken pellets? Is it not too strong for plants in shallow pots?
Pawel

Walter Pall said...

My liquid fertilizer is minerl. If you have one with organic contents is should be ven better.
pellets: in general people use way too little strenght in their fertilizing. 99 % of bonsai are under-fertilized. Trees need lots of nitrogene to grwo!!
Forget everything that is written in bonsai books.

WP

Jarek said...

Hi Walter, In this year, for the first time I use mix of perlit, baked loam and decomposted pine bark, in the same proportion. My question is: How long after repoting to such substrate, do you starting fertilize? Sorry for my english.
Jarek

Walter Pall said...

Jarek,

your mixture sounds fine to me.

I feed right away! Professional gardenners do this too with alls orts of plants including trees. They should know better than amateur bonsaiists. It has become a bonsai myth that recently repotted trees should not be fed. The contrary is true. In the old days the thought was that a tree which is not active will not take up the feed and thus salts would build up in the soil. With modern substrate this is not an issue anymore. Salts will be washed out with dayly aggressive watering.

It seems that NOTHING is as it used to be!

WP

Anonymous said...

First of all I would like to say hello Walter. This is my first post here(probably not the last one ;]).

I need to say that your tips are very useful. Especially about that what is written in bonsai books.
Those books were my guide for last 2 years.
After few days reading your blog I learnt more interesting things that I could imagine.

Small question about soil from my side. For most of my trees Im using mix 80-20 baked clay(Tesco product similar to akadema)with white peat. Im watering trees once a day (every 2 weeks with liquid fertilizer).
Do you think is it good mix or would you suggest to add or change something?
Thank you so much for the answer.

Dominik

PS Your trees are amazing and inspiring.

Walter Pall said...

Dominik,

sounds perfect to me.

WP

Anonymous said...

In the US where decomposed pine bark is available, would it hurt not to sift it like you do with your rough peat? Another question,it's a real pain sifting by hand in a little sift- either bark or turface, do you know any better ways that are less time consuming? How do you sift your soil? We hear about all of this stuff that the more you sift the better off you are, is this true anymore? Thank you for your time, answering all of our questions, and making this awesome blog- its the best on the internet.

Walter Pall said...

In general one does not have to sift the pine bark. If there are too many dust particles you should though. I don't knwo of any method other than by hand with a sieve for bark.
For turfacea and other similar stuff : you put it into a bucket and add water with a hose. Then you pour out the ugly dirty water and if you do this a couple of times you got rid of all dust particles. You could try this with bark too.

WP

Anonymous said...

Hi Walter
I have been looking for rough peat in Australia for a while and I am not sureI can get it. But I can get fresh Sphagnum moss. Everything I read tells me fresh Sphagnum moss will accomplish the same.
Whould you agree?
Thanks kindly to your reply in the Feeding, Substrate and Watering
Article now I must consider a plan for Spring.
Brett

Walter Pall said...

Brett, Rough peat IS old sphagnum moss. So you can well use the stuff.

WP

Jonathan said...

Hello Walter!

I've been following your articles and posts for quite a few years. They are always very informative and I always learn something new. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge! I have just finished college, and now I finally have time to dive into the art of bonsai.

Your writings about suitable substrates are very clear. And I appreciate that. I have found a perfect substitute for turface MVP as we don't have it around here. It is called "Alltreat Red Terra Small". It is a terra cotta like substance, and it comes in both large grades and small grades.

I live in Ontario, Canada. I've called and/or visited nearly all of the lawn care centers, green houses, nurseries and hardware stores in my community. The only type of peat moss they seem to sell is the heavily compacted stuff that resembles regular, black potting soil. I am aware this is not suitable for substrate to use with bonsai. I have also searched high and low for small bark nuggets to no avail. I explain what I need, and am met with confused expressions.

These places have an abundance of cedar and pine mulch, however. I've compared it to the picture of the "rough peat" you have posted, and it looks quite similar. It is mainly stringy, mixed with finer chunks, and is not dyed. It doesn't look dusty, but it does have quite a lot of smaller fibres. I think it could work. Have you ever had any experience using mulch such as this in your substrate?

Here is a link to a photo of the mulch in question. It is not the same brand name, but the product appears to be the same.

http://linders.com/plants-products/garden_amendments/linders-cedar-mulch/

Thank you for your time.

-Jonathan-

Anonymous said...

hi walter

i just read this article

http://naturlink.sapo.pt/article.aspx?menuid=7&cid=14059&bl=1&section=4&viewall=true#Go_4

about sphagnum. Can i jus dried it and use it as substitute of boncoco that is expensive? thanks

Walter Pall said...

Yes, you can. But be careful. Apparently sphagnum moss can contain a toxic fungus. Protect your breath.
WP

Anonymous said...

can that toxic fungus make some bad efects in the trees?thanks and is very refreshing learn all this things from a great guy like you walter.

Walter Pall said...

No, but it can kill you. A person actually died from this fungus.
WP

Anonymous said...

hi walter

can i use vermiculite as substitute of peat?

thanks

Walter Pall said...

No, you can use vermiculite instead of any other modern substrate. But as an additive you need rough peat, or cocount fibres or small bark particles. These are organic matters which decompose very slowly. They make sure yuor substrate is alife and moist and does not need watering too often, like three times per day.
WP

Anonymous said...

what about this?


http://www.pixmania.co.uk/uk/uk/6568624/art/pro-rep/reptile-beech-chips-fine.html


The chips vary from around 4mm-10mm, are the chips very big?

thanks

Walter Pall said...

I don't know this product. Could be that it works. I would havbe to have it right here to make a decsion. the particles are not too big.
WP

Anonymous said...

hi walter

but theoretically it may work right?

it,s organic and eventualy will decompose, right?

nice trees and photos you have recently added in your blogg, love your work.

thanks

Walter Pall said...

It could work, yes.

Bogs said...

Hi Walter!

Im new in the bonsai hobby. All my materials are planted in a ordinary top soil which makes me worry.

Bonsai soil materials is pretty hard to find from were I live.

When I read your post, I was thinking by using crushed terra cotta as a substitute for turface (my neighbor makes earthenware, he has a large pile of broken terracota) and a coco peat for organic since there are a lot of coco peat sellers in my area.

My mixed would be:

85% crushed terra cotta pots
(I can collect pumice in the river but that would be so laborous)
15% coco peat

Is it ok? Forgive my english