Is it possible, or easy, to over-water the gritty mix?

newgen(9 Central California)April 4, 2012

From what I understand, it's very difficult to over water this mix. I see water running out the bottom of the container (about 20-gallon) within seconds after I turned on the spray nozzle. Knowing that I need to have the Turface particles soaked, I kept the nozzle on for at least 5 minutes. When is the gritty mix considered to be "dry" and needs watering again? Is it when the top 1-2 inches are dry, or deeper that that?

Thanks,

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It depends - immediately after root pruning & repotting, you may need to water quite frequently to make sure there is an adequate level of moisture in the part of the soil occupied by roots. Once the roots have colonized the entire container, you needn't water again until the soil becomes quite dry deep in the container.

It's difficult to over-water a properly made gritty mix, one that has been made with particles screened to an appropriate size, but just as easy to over-water a gritty mix made with inappropriately fine ingredients as it would be using any soil with an abundance of fine particulates. If you're not going to screen the ingredients, or you're going to start adding fine particles to 'increase water-retention' that comes with the creation of a perched water table, you might as well save yourself the trouble of making it and use the 5:1:1 mix or similar instead, because you will have eliminated the most significant advantages - superior aeration and an insignificant (or no) perched water table.

Al

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 4:38PM
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baconquest

Bumping this message because it perfectly answered my question... I just got a Meiwa Kumquat and planted it in the gritty mix (screened turface and gran-i-grit!). No small particles. I noticed less than a day after planting that it was already dry, confirmed with my finger and the wooden dowel. I watered again, this time slowly, passing a larger volume through. I figured there was no way all of the turface and bark became saturated with such a short residence time. Good to hear my intuition was more than likely right.

You're the man, Al!

-Mike B

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 3:55PM
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calistoga_al

Before planting into the gritty mix, I always saturate the mix overnight, allowing a few minutes for it to drain before planting. Planting into dry gritty mix can lead to problems getting it to absorb water immediately after planting. Al

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 9:59AM
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newgen(9 Central California)

calistoga: that's what I think killed my wax jambu. The mix was not wet enough. Soaking the mix prior to putting a plant in sounds like a great idea. Thanks,

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 2:40PM
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baconquest

Well-noted for next time. For now I'll just water it frequently. I'm monitoring it daily with the finger and dowel test, and hopefully over time and after some thorough soakings it'll start retaining water better. Just glad to know I'm not alone on this one!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 4:17PM
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