Pine Bark screening size

merlinjr(9)March 26, 2014

hi pretty new to this site but already have found tons of great info on container mixing and 511. however before i dive deep into buying tons of the product i found locally i would really feel better if someone would chime in on this bark and screen size. its basically named pine bark mulch and is shredded and has lots of fine particles i dont' mind screening and have done a small batch so fa. i am hoping this will work since there are lots at a local home depot. Its made by Gardenese. ihave no problems with perlite and lime etc etc i just need to know if this will work before going further thanks in advance

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

It looks pretty good from here.
The size is just about right, and if you run it over a 1/2 inch screen should be even better. The inclusion of sapwood doesn't look too high, but pull out as much of the yellow "matchstick" stuff as you can. Depending upon how much really fine bark dust there is, you could cut back on the peat/potting mix, and then increase the perlite until you get a nice texture.

Josh

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:07AM
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merlinjr(9)

Thanks Josh,

I am pretty much screening it with 12mm then 8 mm i am still waiting on my actual hardware cloth to come in to do larger amounts and will do the 1/2. One other thing out of a 2 cf bag i am pretty much getting 50/50 of bark pieces and dust and very fine stuff. couldn't i use the dusty and very fine stuff instead of peat at the same ratio of 1/3rd? i have a huge bag of sungro perlite says course but i think shipping kind of crushed alot of it down (pretty dissapointed about that actually lol) so basically do i need to worry about smaller size perlite when using the very fine pine bark instead of peat and lime?

thanks
Merlin

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 12:35PM
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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

RE: "so basically do i need to worry about smaller size perlite when using the very fine pine bark instead of peat and lime? "

You still need lime no matter what for 5-1-1 unless growing blueberries or azaleas or low pH lovers like that. It does not serve the same purpose as fines. It raises pH and adds calcium.

I recommend screening or washing the perlite dust off. That stuff is nasty IMHO -- don't breathe it in, You want the perlite chunks between 1/4" to 3/8" or so.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 5:48PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

That bark is almost perfect for all intent and purposes. Probably I would up the peat moss to give it a bit more moisture retention property.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 9:29PM
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merlinjr(9)

Thanks for the help and info, the perlite dust is horrible and i finally got my screen in today to do larger portions of that with a mask of course lol. Last question about peat, im actually saving the very fine particles of bark fines and basically filling up the empty bags of bark with the fines couldn't i just use that instead of peat along with screened perlite? i do have potting mix but would like to find a use of the really fine pine bark. i assume i don't need to do anything just replace peat with the pbf correct?

thanks again for the help looks like this mix is going to be alot nicer for the peppers than pure peat based stuff i had last year.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 9:43PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, yes you can use fine bark dust to increase moisture retention. Reduce the peat moss/peat-based potting mix, and increase the perlite if you want. Bark dust holds practically the same amount of moisture as peat, but is a bit more durable.

Josh

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 1:11AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Just for the record, you don't need to screen out the small stuff for 5-1-1. You only need to remove pieces over 1/2 inch wide. You can screen stuff, but if you need a large batch for several containers, that can take hours. Your bark looks great just the way it is.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 9:49AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

im actually saving the very fine particles of bark fines and basically filling up the empty bags of bark with the fines couldn't i just use that instead of peat along with screened perlite?

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
As Ohiofem pointed out you DO NOT want to screen the bark to exclude the fines. Those fines are essential part of the 5-1-1 mix.

My other comment is : WHY do you have to screen perlite ? What harm can perlite fines can cause ?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 11:13AM
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merlinjr(9)

@sysonn i was talking about perlite dust which the bag i received had huge chunks that crumbled to dust so i am screening the dust (with masks) cuz it just seems too dusty. the bark fines i only screened because it had loads of very fines and i wanted to make sure the mix is in the correct amounts ie: 5 parts bark, 1 part peat/OR veryfinepinebrk and 1 part perlite. Sorry but didn't know if that was a general question about the perlite fines or for me any case thats why I"M screening it

merlin

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 11:40AM
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charina(6b)

Just for the record, you don't need to screen out the small stuff for 5-1-1. You only need to remove pieces over 1/2 inch wide.
Are there not times when some portion of the fines should be removed? There are two major providers of composted pine bark fines here in UT. The product that both providers put out is more dust than it is chunks. When I put this composted pine park fines into a pot, it is anything but well draining.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 3:55PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Charina,

Probably what you got is too fine to begin with..
There are so many different bark products, : Large Nugget, Medium Nuggets, Small Nuggets, Mini Nuggets, Shredded/crushed mulch. And there is no standard out there. These product are made and sold regionally and used as mulch in land escaping. This is one of the difficulties in making a good consistent 5-1-1 mix.
Having said that, my understanding and conceptualization is that 5-1-1 has to have a balanced amount from dust to nuggets up tp 1/2" . Depending on the grade, you can play with the peat. In your case you may eliminate it and further more screen SOME of the fine dust out of the bark.

Once again, mixing 5-1-1 is not very routine and I don't think it is for everyone.
JMO

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 4:21PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Where can i get a 1/2 inch screen? I had a decent product, but this year, the size is bigger, still good, but a pain to remove the larger pieces. I don't really make a 5-1-1 mix, but still need product for the mixes I make.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 10:42PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Drew, 1/2 inch "hardware cloth" should be available at most hardware stores.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 12:14AM
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