Any one using zeolite or zeopro?

hitexplanter(8 a)February 11, 2007

Hi all, I am new to this forum but I have been reading avidly about the various challenges to container growing short and long term. Bark and pumice are two options but zeolite seems like a possible alternate to turface Too heavy IMO. Also I haven't found turface other than over priced Schulz in small bags and would like to know if anyone has used zeolite or zeopro for any extented time period and how it worked for them? It is a very light product almost like perlite but supposedly much more versatile for nutrient and air holding capacity.

I have been growing in containers for 20 years and the best single ingredient I have used was in Hawaii where volcanic cinder is used extensively. It comprised about 60% by volume for our tropical fruit tree nursery. It was cheap, easy to get and already ground to about a 3/8 inch minus in size (pumice is usually too small except in gallon or under size pots)IMO. Here in Texas all you can get is 1 cu. ft. bags cinder (pumice) of 1 inch size dia. or so. Too big for container growing unless you are doing 30 gal + in size. I digress, I want a light economical inert media with great water, nutrient and air holding capacity that won't collape in the long term 2 years+. Hence zeolite might be an option but I have only used it once, years ago and not enough to see how it works long term and as a major component to a soiless mix.

Thanks for any thoughts anyone might share on this product and their experiences with it.

Happy Growing David

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'll be experimenting with a zeolite product this season, but not zeopro. I see no reason why it won't be successful. I'm a Turface MVP devotee, however, and don't have a huge incentive to change.

Is there a Lesco or other company in your area that provides products to golf courses or other sports fields? I've been buying a 50# bag for about $11.00, or something like that. I'll be getting the zeolite for free this year, but I expect that it will even be less expensive than the Turface if I decide to buy it.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 11:25AM
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hitexplanter(8 a)

There is not a lesco in the area I am aware of. Is this an acronym for a name? There are plenty of golf courses throughout the area so I may need to dig deeper in that direction. Is Turface MVP and Schulz clay soil conditioner essentially the same product. If so I still feel that weight is the limitation to larger containers. AKA 10 gallon and above. Of course if you're growing trees this may be ballast for the base. I know they get the lava rock that I use from New Mexico. Too my way of thinking there is an incredible opportunity for these companies and landscaper suppliers refine cinder (pumice) to a better size and sell it as bagged and bulk amendment for soils and containers throughout large areas of the U.S. I have been in the nursery business for over 10 years here in Texas and only this last year have I started to hear a little about turface mostly from a few forums on gardenweb. I know of one place that used to carry zeolite and I am going to see if it is still available and at a reasonable price to consider for container amending. I like what Al says about the mixes he uses. I like this style of mix for indoor plant growing but I feel it is going to drain and dry too quickly through the summer months for folks growing say Hibiscus in 100+ temps. Maybe I can tweak it some more and the shading of the pot is going to help. I am trying to figure out a combination of products that are readily availble that will work for indoor and outdoor summer and winter conditions. This will require experimenting but heh that is a great part of playing with plants in general.
Thanks for the ideas and I will continue digging and see if I can find a source for pallets of Turface or Zeolite.
Happy Growing David

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 4:04PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I have been conferring with a friend who did his Master's thesis on Moisture Relationships and Irrigation of Container-Grown Nursery Stock. We spoke about ZeoPro, specifically. Our conversation goes, in part:

Hi xxxx.
I hope this finds you well & in great spirits, anticipating the onset of spring.

Have you studied or looked into the use of zeolite or specifically, the product ZeoPro? Just curious to see if you know of it or have used it. I've come across mention of it a few times in this weeks travels & in my mail, so started to take a look into it, but haven't delved too deeply yet. I'm off now to try to find a picture of it to possibly asses suitability for inclusion in various types of soils.
Take care. Al

Hi, Al
Yes, I have been aware of ZeoPro. Even drove an hour and a half or so down into Indiana to the closest source I could find in April '02. The man I bought it from said he wasn't going have it available after his stock was sold because "it didn't sell." So I got three (50 lb.) bags @ $15 per bag plus tax.

Anyway, I have used it experimentally at the recommended dosage (memory is it was 10% by volume to be incorporated in soil mix). does have a little fertilizer value, so this makes it hard to be sure whether the return could not be achieved more economically by using more fertilizer -- or by more sophisticated fertilizing. Working through all of this, I concluded that the return probably didn't justify the cost for me, especially if there was going to be a problem getting the product when I needed more. (A psychological barrier for me has been that I've always wanted to figure out how to grow plants well with materials that are reasonably accessible to everyone, and not be dependent on "special" ingredients that are expensive and may not be available to people who ask me for advice.) I have confidence that I have a pretty good soil mix without ZeoPro, too. So I haven't been using it the last couple of years.

If you can use a bag or two of ZeoPro at $15 a bag let me know. It's available.

Hi xxxx
I'll pass on the ZeoPro. I was wondering if you placed any credence in the claims of superior CEC - storage/exchange/easy replenishment of elemental nutrients. Do you know of or have you personally seen any advantages that couldn't be duplicated by the inclusion of a calcined clay product and/or an appropriate nutrient supplementation program? It appears that you've answered that question, but I don't want to read too much into your reply. Al

... The real answers to the questions you raise in your second paragraph here are, "I don't know for sure." But, I didn't see results that made feel I can't do without this.

Am thinking now that since you won't buy my ZeoPro, I will have to give you some from the opened bag if you come down and see me some time.
Will stay in touch.


I'll be seeing him at a meeting soon, so I'll likely be rewarded for my queries with a measure of Zeopro so I'll be able to assess, in the upcoming grow season, its value as a component in my own soils.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 5:28PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Calcined clay aggregates (Turface MVP) have an excellent CEC capacity (if it means anything, up to 12 me/100 cc) and 40-50% internal porosity. This translates to good water holding capability and a whole lotta cation attachment sites @ more than 13 acres of surface area per lb of aggregate.

For information regarding availability, call 800-207-6457 (Profile Sports & Golf Div) and ask for nearest distributors.


Here is a link that might be useful: I'll show you about Turface if you click me!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 5:44PM
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Hi David,

If you can make the drive to either the Houston area or the Dallas area, TXI has an expanded shale product under the trade name Tru Gro. Near Houston, CJM sells the stuff for in bulk for $65/yd. That basically comes out to about a buck fifty a bag. Also if you call around to the local nurseries, you may find some that sell haydite or other similar products in bulk. One of the nurseries by my house uses it in their growing mix and sells it for $85/yd. It is still a lot cheaper than buying the stuff in bags.

good luck,

Here is a link that might be useful: TXI - Tru Gro

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 6:35PM
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hitexplanter(8 a)

Thanks to you all for your replies suggestions and comments. I think I have found at least one source of calicined expanded clay thru Bwi they carry or did carry diamond pro products. I like the idea of bulk and still will look into that but shipping will be the kicker. I will have to see what pallets go for and then decide to check shipping costs of the trucks. If there were something nearer to San Antonio I think that would be the way to go but not from dallas or Houston. I will keep y'all post as the material comes in and I start some control project to see how they work through a full season of Texas extremes in a nursery setting as well as I will play with some containers at home for a secondary location and testing situation. Will call tonorrow on Turface and DiamondPro and Zeolite (gardenville website looks like they dont carry it any more:(.
Thanks again for the help and the kick in the pants to get the ball rolling. Spring be a comin soon ( even tho it is suppose to be in the low 20's at the end of the week :(
Happy growing to all David

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 8:42PM
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I've been using the horticulutural grade of ZeoPro. ZeoPro is the commercial, trade name of the NASA invention called zeoponics. I've been using ZeoPro for a year with great results. My plants were about three times larger than plants grown without ZeoPro. I have also noticed that it has eliminiated fungus gnats in the pots with ZeoPro in my greenhouse. You can buy it at Gardeners Wholesale Direct in Texas or from Tindara Orchids in Massachusetts. I think Everybody's Garden Center in Portland, Oregon sells ZeoPro also.

Personally, I think ZeoPro is a great all natural product and have purchased several bags. The 50 lb. bags out there, I believe, is not the horticultural grade.

Keep your eye out for this product, lots of potential.

Here is a link that might be useful: Advanced Soil Science

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 11:32PM
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hitexplanter(8 a)

I will be looking for it Tina and thanks for the localized info.
Happy Growing David
P.S. Gotta Run Saturday's are always a busy day in the garden center and today hopefully will no exception.
I have found Turface MVP thru a local vendor and will be ordering some for my own early spring trials based on info gleaned from this forum. Thanks to all your input and help!!:)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 9:24AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I believe I am detecting (at best) some "questionable cause" or "post hoc" reasoning in Tina's post. That she reports her plants are larger (than a control group?) than expected is not necessarily indication that the reason is attributable to ZeoPro. In other words, because A is associated with B, we cannot unequivocally say that A is the cause of B (questionable cause). Similarly, because B follows A (first I used a product, then my plants got bigger), we cannot attribute the cause of B to A (post hoc). This kind of reasoning is very prevalent on these forums.
I'll continue to remain rather skeptical of the somewhat expansive claims set forth in the link Tina provided. While the product may well have merit, I wouldn't say the link provided leads to any to "Advanced Soil Science". It is a commercial by folks selling a product. If the claims on a bottle of Superthrive were true, it would seem that all we need do is ad a drop or two to irrigation water & worry about having a machete on hand to clear a room to room path through the vegetation.

Forgive me Tina - my intent is not to discredit you, but to note that the likelihood of this product being as beneficial as touted are low. This is not to say it may not have benefit at all. As noted in my post above, a recent conversation with a scientifically minded man who did his Master's thesis on "Moisture Relationships and Irrigation of Container-Grown Nursery Stock" (and who has used ZeoPro) shows that he has abandoned it's use, citing that "I didn't see results that made feel I can't do without this (ZeoPro). This man has a national following for his plant and soil expertise.

For any reading this post: By all means, try it & see what you think, but don't expect miracles or even plants trebled in size. Though the previous poster's intent was not to "hype it up", I believe there is more than a little hype involved.

Remember please - it's only one man's opinion you just read, but I'll suffer any fallout from it.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 4:54PM
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hitexplanter(8 a)

I don't know the differences between zeolite and zeo-pro if any. I did play with zeolite but without enough controls or data variations to say yeh or nay and I will still look for it and judge it on its merits I put it to and see how it pans out before I offer a personal opinion on it or any other product(s) out in the field of hort. There is way to many unsubstantiated claims to all kinds of miracle- gro's (pun intended:) Some even work but buyer beware and test on small quanities that you can afford before commiting to anything that you are unsure of and don't have personal experience with. The best growers I know add a little expanded knowledge and products to everything they do each year and they keep pushing themselves to be better. I love learning and that is why I love horticulture ( you can never learn it all:) endless possibilties.
Happy Growing to all and keep up the good work as we all grow together to our mutual benefit.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 7:59PM
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Just curious, as this product is now being talked about in the Atlantic Giant (Giant Pumpkins) world!!! So I guess, it's out of the container now, eh? LOL Peace, Wayne

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 10:46PM
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The difference between zeolite and ZeoPro is akin to the difference between a rectangle and a square. Zeolite is an umbrella term for over 200 different microporous aluminosilicate minerals, at least 40 of which can be found in nature, the rest being synthetically man-made for use as commercial absorbents. Zeolite has many commercial applications, such as in laundry detergents, kitty litter, and as an alternative to activated carbon for water filtration.

This is due to zeolite's unique molecular make-up, which gives it a very high Cation Exchange Capacity, (CEC). So ZeoPro is simply a brand of zeolite marketed for horticultural use, whereas zeolite describes a whole group of minerals.

Whether it's Turface MVP, Coco Coir, or ZeoPro, it is important to understand CEC and how it affects your soil mix. If any of this is interesting or new to you, I would highly recommend doing a quick search on Wikipedia and reading up on both "CEC" and "zeolite."

All that being said, I myself have never tried ZeoPro, though I am thinking about it. Not as a replacement for Turface MVP in Al's Gritty Mix though -- I'm thinking about using it as a replacement for diatomite for my emersed aquatic Aroid collection. Many people use diatomite for aeration when growing emersed aquatic plants, though I have read that diatomite tends to "hold on" to salts longer than other similar products, making it harder to "rinse out" the salt build-up in your soil. If anyone has any input on diatomite, I'd be very interested to hear your experiences with it, especially compared to other alternatives. I'm also interested in trying out a thin layer of ZeoPro in riparium planter cups... but that's a topic for another forum. Hope this helps!

- Tommy

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 1:33PM
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