Screening Gritty Mix

oberciJanuary 21, 2013

Hi all, this is my first time prepping gritty mix and I want to make sure I am doing it correctly.

Here is the smallest fir bark I found:

Here is a picture of the screened bark:

Screened with 1/4" screen ("the larger particles"):

All that fell through with super fine particles not yet sifted out ("the smaller particles"):

It seems there are many small particles in my "larger particles" picture which would be suitable for the mix, but they just are not falling through the 1/4" screen because they aren't uniformly that size and thus remain on top. I feel like I'm sending a lot of good material to waste. Should I use a larger screen for the extremely large pieces, sift out the fine particles and just keep the rest?

For reference, I have 10 cups of the "larger particles" and 4 cups of the "smaller particles". So more than 2/3 of each bag will be going to waste if I continue this way. Please let me know your thoughts on the size of the small bits within the "larger particles". Meanwhile, I'll go run that batch through a larger sifter and repost some pictures to this thread.

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Here's something that might help you. I think the fines that are less than 1/8' should be sifted out as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gritty Mix

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 6:40PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

That's the bark that I use, as well.
It is wonderful stuff. It certainly goes further when making 5-1-1.

How are you screening it?


    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 12:28AM
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Vance- thank you for the link. I actually already read it over, but I am trying to find an alternative to the expense of ReptiBark. I was so frustrated that I actually gave in and went and bought a bag of ReptiBark to compare to the GreenAll. Except for the fine particles in GreenAll, the particles are really similar in size, so I think it may just be okay.

greenman-do you use it for the gritty mix as well? why do you say it goes further in the 511? And I was screening it for large particles using a 1/4" wire mesh and hardly any particles were falling through. I went up to 1/2" and much more went through with only very large particles staying behind. For fine particles I ordered a bonsai sieve since I know I'll get good use out of it :)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:21AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I do use it for Gritty Mix, indeed.
I use a 1/4 inch gridded plastic nursery flat, over a pond-basket, which has 1/16 and 1/8 slots
all around the outer surfaces. This eliminates the fine dust from bark, perlite, turface, et cetera.

Most of the bag can be used in the 5-1-1, so it makes much more mix. With the half-inch mesh,
only a small fraction of overly large particles are left behind.

When you screen the bark, do you use a hand to vigorously roll the material over the screen?


    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 10:50PM
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I was using my hands to help pieces through. But some pieces weren't falling through unless I turned them specifically to the orientation that was the proper size. Im thinking a 3/8" screen might be my best solution since more small particles will make it through and more large particles will remain behind.

Should I be going through all this trouble when the repti bark has pieces the same size and yet so many seem to use it "right out of the bag"? I'm almost thinking that screening out the tiny particles will be enough. And a few larger particles left behind wont do much harm.

Greenman, how much waste do you get from a bag on the Greenall?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 1:01PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

The advice to use Repti-bark straight from the bag has been tempered in light of the
overly large particles in the bag. For Gritty Mix, it will certainly require screening.

I've never measured the waste in a bag of Greenall. I use the large bark as mulch in the yard,
or I use it for Orchid, Hoya, or Jungle Cacti mix where a more coarse texture is desired.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 2:31PM
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