Gritty Mix + Citrus Plants + Foilage Pro - Questions
Hi - I have some bare root plants on the way that I'd like to try in the gritty mix and I just want to be sure that I have things ready for when they arrive. I'm hoping al or someone more experienced than me can shed some light on the situation..
My basic setup:
- I'm using reptibark for the pine fines (I actually have access to pine fines locally but they are slightly larger - however they will be partially composted, should I use that instead?)
- I have several bags of #2 cherrystone grit ("Traction grit" and "#2 medium") which I will wash. This was expensive and I'm wondering if I can use what my local guy calls "trap rock" in the future?
- I have screened turface
- I have a bag of "Gypsum - Calcium Sulfate" (though I'm not sure exactly why).
- I'm using poly teracotta-colored 5 gallon (12") pots with the built-in drip pan below. I have screens for each pot to prevent the mix from falling through. (Should I remove the drip pans?)
I've decided to try to use Foilage Pro as my fertilizer as it is 9-3-6 (close to the 5-1-3 for citrus), can be mixed into water, and contains micronutrients.
My local water tests at an absurdly high 9.7 ph (is this normal?) I read that citrus prefer 5.5-6.5 soil ph. Is this mix ph neutral to the point that I need to be making sure the water I'm adding is in the 5.5-6.5 range? Do I do this with vinegar as I have read in several places here or with magnesium sulfate (as my local nursery guy said) - I've tried lowering water ph with the epsom salt and it didn't seem to do anything, maybe it doesn't work in water, just soil and mixes?
I have the following additional questions:
-Any glaring errors in my setup?
-Do I need to moisten the mix before I put the plants into it so that the turface doesn't suck all the moisture out of the roots before I get them situated?
-How should I be using this gypsum? What quantities per 2-3 year old citrus tree in a 5 gallon (12") pot?
-Will things like beneficial bacteria that I use in soil work in this mix?
-Where does the fertilizer end up being stored in the pots? Does the turface or bark suck it up? Do I need to fertilize with a weak solution every watering since a lot will drip through or foilar feed or etc?
-Are there any chemicals to leach out of the turface that won't be good for fruit?
Sorry - it's a lot of questions but I've never tried anything like this before and just want to be sure before I have some more dead trees on my hands (this time my fault).