I have been visiting every lowes, home depot, and nursery I can find, and no pine bark fines.
Can anyone help?
Not sure exactly where you live, NYC is 5 boroughs. I lived there for 12 years. My only suggestion is to try and get outside the city a little. Maybe Westchester, NJ, or Long Island. There has to be some sources not TOO far away. I would just keep looking. Make a lot of phone calls and internet searches. I thought I was going to have a hard time finding it here in Syracuse, kept coming up empty. After a couple weeks of looking I ended up with 4 sources. I would check all the big garden centers/nurseries and mulch/topsoil places. With the size of the population in that area, there must be a market for it. Keep looking, you'll eventually find it.
OP check to see if there's any Suwanee River Pine Mulch stocked at your local home depot(s). If you look closely at the bag it clearly states "Pine Mulch Fines", and the brand has been favorably mentioned as a soil amendment in the past (google). Going to pick up a bag myself to break up some clay soil in a new sub-plot i'm starting. I'm going to work it into the soil and place a layer over it as well.
I'm sure you'll find some larger sticks scattered about, you can just pick those out by hand, or get yourself a 1/4" or 1/8" wire mesh to sift the smaller stuff out.
Another soil amendment mulch i'm going to try this year is licorice root mulch. I'm sure it would have to pre-sifted before going into a container however, Home Depot sells it as "Garden Pro Right Dress". I've read good stuff about it, and here's an article that describes why it may be better than other mulches as a soil amendment/replacement: http://www.ehow.com/list_6921375_benefits-organic-licorice-root-mulch.html
Here is a link that might be useful: Home Depot Suwanee River Pine Mulch Fines
Not sure what bags you are looking at but the "soil conditioner" bags are often bark fines. Just read the ingredients.
Jane_ny has mentioned many, many times that she uses pine bark fines in her soils, so she should be able to tell you exactly where you can find them. You can email her through her member page (see below). Please let us know what she says, so I can make a note of the source, as I do keep notes of where to find materials for either the 5:1:1 mix or the gritty mix, and NYC is particularly difficult.
Here is a link that might be useful: Her Member Page
If you find a place, I'd love to know where! I live in Brooklyn and have a hard time finding a lot of things.
hey, I thought I was getting email updates! Good thing I checked.
Thanks for the help everyone. Luckily, i have a car, so I was able to drive to Sprain Brook Nursery a bit north of NYC. They carry a line called "coast of maine". One product is called "dark harbor blend", and it just says "very old bark". It is dark black. I screened out lots of fines but I'm not sure I did it right. I will post some shots. My main mission is repotting an orange tree, a clivia, and a south american rhododendron.
pearsaml, I am a dog walker and trainer in the slope, and I saw bags of it at a client's place. If I see them I can ask where they got them.
ok, here is what I got from screening. about 50/50
I recently discovered these forums, and read through many posts of the famous Al's gritty mix, and am trying to find a place to get the ingredients in the NYC area too. I found in another post a list of places to get the ingredients for the gritty mix in different areas, NYC included.
I am new to these forums so I don't want to steal someone else's post, but here's the link (the poster was "smoochas")
I only started keeping houseplants last year and have had mixed results. Can't wait to get my hands on the gritty mix and see if I have better results this year going forward.
Here is a link that might be useful: Supplies by State/Region: Al's Gritty Mix
I live on Long Island and finding a source didn't come easy. Finally ended up going to Petco (but there are several sources) and buying a bagged pine bark product called "Repti-bark" (it's reptile pet bedding) and I sift it. Pieces that are too large either get used in my garden, or I smash them with a rubber mallet. Someone on this forum originally suggested it and I have luck with it.
I live in the North-East Bronx, just South of Westchester, NY, and I find that most of the local nurseries, garden centers, and Home Depots/Lowes etc. suck, if you're trying to find anything that approaches an "exotic" ingredient for making Al's growing medium. None stock Turface-MVP, and they never heard of it. I've been to them all, and haven't found anything that could be called "pine-bark fines"...just shredded mulches....that will mat down, and clog the mix.
After you factor in the cost of gas, your personal time, phone bills, cost of the products, time used to screen out unwanted materials -which doubles the cost, if 50% is wasted- the mix becomes very expensive. I can't be bothered hunting down all the ingredients anymore.
I cut my losses. I just buy premium grade Repti-Bark at the local Pet-Co/Pet-Smart, a 20 lb. bag of aquarium grit, and a bag of Turface-MVP, and make the mix. NAPA Auto has oil-dry compound that can sub for the Turface. Some of the bark nuggets are too large, but, what the hay. Most of it is usable out of the bag. Hit the big pieces with a hammer.
Yes, there are cheaper alternatives for the ingredients that I have mentioned, especially the Repti-Bark, but I'm not driving all over the state just to collect the ingredients that I need. Re-read the 2nd paragraph.
Just my two-cents worth. The mix is great,...if you could find what you need, EASILY. My Clivia love the stuff, and you can not over-water plants! No PWT either!
PS....When the bark breaks down, just wash out the residue, and re-cycle the Turface-MVP, and the grit. Use new bark chunks, and you're good to go. Just the bark-fines break down.
I have to correct my earlier post: Repti-Bark is fir, not pine, but that's not a problem for making gritty mix...can be either. I get my Turface MVP on
e-bay...it's fine price-wise for me because I don't have a large number of plants.
It seems to me that folks are talking about two different products (or I am mistaken). Pine bark fines are composted bark used in 5-1-1, whereas the bark for gritty mix is uncomposted. Living in the Northeast, finding pine bark in any form is a challenge. Big box stores carry very different products regionally, so what brands and products people find in other Home Depots or Lowes is not universally available in their stores in other areas.
I've resorted to the internet for seedling bark from orchid supply vendors for gritty mix. As for fines (no one even knows what they are around here), maybe you could buy bags of pine bark mulch and leave them out to compost to use the next year? I can usually find pine bark mulch around here. I actually have a couple of bags of bark mulch that I used in garden paths left over from last year. I'm going to check them and see if they've broken down enough to count as "fines" by now.
If that's a bad idea, I'd appreciate someone pointing it out.
Mr. John from HeritageOrchards.com is selling all TAPLA Gritty mix ingredients. He is coming to deliver in NYC in first week of April. He has very good pine bark fines, Gran-I-Grit and Turface. He is very helpful. Shipping cost can be low for New Yorkers if we can order it before first week of April.
His details are:
I've tried for a couple of years to find bark fines to try out Al's mix. Last year I found them at the Gowanus Nursery (I'll add the link below) but didn't have a car to transport them or desire to pay the $30 shipping charge.
I'd be interested in going in on an order from John at Heritage orchards as mentioned by Imran above if anyone else is interested. We could split the $30 or $50 shipping charge? Let me know if anyone else is interested.
Here is a link that might be useful: Gowanus Nursery
I was just at Gowanus Nursery yesterday, and they still carry pine bark fines. They use it for their own mix, so they say it's likely to be in stock next season too - which is when I need it because I already made my mix. Here's a pic of it. Particles probably too small for the gritty mix, but may be acceptable for the 5-1-1 mix. They charge $11 for a 2 cubic foot bag. They sell turface, too, "by the scoop", they say (aren't we New Yorkers with our tiny apartments and our tiny flower pots adorable to the rest of the country?! Aww..)
This post was edited by greentoe357 on Mon, Jun 10, 13 at 5:51
Crest Hardware store in Williamsburg had this "Golden Trophy 302 Pine Bark Mulch". A bit too coarse for any of the two mixes Al advocates. I actually ran it through a blender and broke the stubbornly big pieces by hand a bit to the acceptable level for my 5-1-1 mix.
Finally, Lowes on 2nd Avenue had this "Premium MULCH Pine Bark Fines" a couple of weeks ago. Comes in a green / dark turquoise 1.5 cu ft bag. Particles are even smaller than at Gowanus Nursery and look more composted. The stuff was very wet - I can snap a pic of when it dried a bit if that is beneficial.
They do not have the same thing in stock now, but I see they have "Scotchman's Choice 2 cu ft All Natural Nugget Pine Bark Mulch". I might check out how it looks next time I am there just to collect data.
This is all I found in NYC when it comes to pine bark fines.
Thanks for posting greentoe357. If it were me, I'd probably use the gowanus bag and omit the peat for the 511 mix.
How many cu. ft. do you need? Maybe I can get a few extra bags from Agway next season for you.
Hey Dan, thanks for the Agway offer. Can you post a picture of what their PBFs look like nexto to a dime? My brother works on Long Island and has a car, so he can probably pick some up for me assuming they are the right size/quality. For now I am set, but will need a couple of bags (3-4 cu ft) probably next season.
I do want to try the gritty mix next spring or even earlier as well, and I understand ingredients there are even more difficult to find - and then there is the messy screening and washing (I think) process. No idea how I'll do that in my apartment. I am ready to trade my help with lifting/mixing things at somebody's back yard for a couple of bags of the resulting mix - and I'll pay for the share of the ingredients, of course.
Why I actually like this process is beyond me. :-)