Supplies by State/Region: Al's Gritty Mix

greyslate(7A (Maryland))April 6, 2009

When starting out looking for the supplies for Als Gritty Mix, I ran into some walls. Aided by the indomitable tapla;), I was lucky enough to find everything needed. I thought that we could start a thread in which everyone who is using the Gritty Mix posts where they found supplies  in order to help out new converts in their area. IÂve started with some Maryland information  please follow-up with what youÂve found!

If youÂre still looking, and no oneÂs posted/found supplies in your area, use these tips from tapla:

Grani-grit  "Go to MSN Yellow Pages; Enter Grain Elevator under 'Business name or category'; Enter Location under 'Location'; Call those businesses with 'grain', 'elevator', or 'farming services' after the bold 'category'; Ask for crushed granite grower grit. If they say they have it, be sure it is crushed granite before you head out to pick it up. It might be helpful to ask if it is packaged under the name 'Gran-I-Grit'." I also got lucky looking under "feed suppliers/stores" ...

Turface  Use the website to find local distributors:

State/Region/Province: Maryland (Central/North)

Turface: Newsom Seed Company, locations in Fulton and Gaithersburg (sells by the 50# bag),

Grani-Grit: The Mill, Parkton (Does not normally stock it, but readily orders it for no extra fee; will sell small quantities) (410) 329-6558

Bark fines: "GardenPro, Premium Bark Mulch" from LoweÂs (must be sifted through screens for size, but decent to start with)

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I was able to locate all the ingredients for al's recipes at Strange's Nursery and Garden center in Richmond VA, for anyone near enough to get them. They all seemed to be reasonably priced, in sizable bags.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 10:08PM
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Here's some ingredients for both mixes from Northern Virginia.

RSSY (rock stone and sand yard)
9824 Richmond Highway
Lorton, VA 22079
FAX 703-550-8090

This is a wholesale place, and gave me a shovel to dig stuff from a big pile into my buckets.

Home Depot has some clay buster stuff that specifically says aged pine bark fines plus gypsum.

Merrifield Nursery's Superfines are NOT 100% pine but 50/50 with hardwood bark.

Wolf Trap Nursery in Vienna has Nature's Made soil conditioner that they told me was pine fines. They recommended against using it as more than 10% of a potting soil.

Holly, Woods and Vines, Inc. : 8453 Richmond Hwy., Alexandria, VA 22309 : TEL (703)-799-1607 had Espoma Soil Perfector. They said it was the same as Turface. Think it was 13 for a 27 pound bag. I've price compared a couple things and they were quite a bit cheaper than Merrifields. I was surprised by how much they have behind what looks like a small storefront.

Springfield Topsoil on Telegraph Rd just S. of Fairfax County Pkwy in Lorton on a web page says "Special Soil Mixes, Sand, Hardwood Mulch, Gravel Deliveries, Fill Dirt, Clean Top Soil, Bluestone, Topsoil, Shredded, Sawdust, Pine, Pick Up & Delivery, Hardwood" but when I called they said they didn't have any sand.

Inside Out Garden Supply, 6517 Backlick Rd., Springfield, VA 22150 has good prices on large bags of perlite.

As time goes on, I'm finding more good sources for cheap container gardening. Wish I'd known this last year.


1 Like    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 1:03AM
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Those are great lists greyslate, jaclyn and Alice. Thanks for taking the time to compile them. Very good info!

Alice, you mentioned that Home Depot has aged pine bark fines for use as a soil conditioner. Can you provide more details on this? Brand name or anything? I looked at my local Home Depot here in Michigan a few days ago and saw nothing like that. Saw nothing on the HD website like this either.



    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 5:24AM
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AREA: Fresno, CA in San Joaquin Valley

Horizon (Irrigation, Landscape Specialty and Equipment) has about 60 locations in the West and even one in Georgia. Website and other locations here: Horizon Locations

Carries Turface MVP, Axis Regular, and Playball. They've heard "Axis is superior, esp for container soil" rumor is they will be phasing out Turface. Be sure to get Turface MVP they tried talking me into the Red.

Napa carries their Super Absorbent #8822 product in stock.

Pricing was as follows:
Turface MVP 50# Natural - $21.
Playball Regular 25# - $13
Axis Regular 25# - $16 (which is labeled as 1 cubic foot)
Napa Super Absorb 25# - $6 (have yet to soak-freeze test).

As you can see, Axis was the most expensive at $16/cu.ft. Napa was cheapest at $6 and Turface at $10.50.

Believe it or not, finding the Grit is difficult in Fresno and 30 mile radius -- and we are a huge ag / livestock / poultry community. I called all the Farm Feed Supply and Elevator stores in the book that sold retail. Supply should improve if traveling further than 30 miles either direction (such as Cow-chilla or San Joaquin/Coalinga). Nobody knows the brand Gran-I-Grit (explained it and asked for stock at each of the 15 feed places I called). There is a product made locally (though sold nationally) called Manna Pro which everyone carries. I guess this is a luxury model brand because it's expensive and pricing ranges from $5 to $17 for 5# bag (check Internet and you'll see).

Though nobody knows Gran-I-Grit everyone knows "well we have Grit" but it mostly turned out to be oyster shells, or pigeon grit. In one case it was a bag with just the word "GRIT" on it described eloquently as "der just rawks from farmars" (give me a break).

Here are the companies that sell TRUE Crushed Granite Grit that is supposedly screened to fall within various range specifications. The below companies know it as "O.H. Kruse Grit" with the title "Granite Roofing Grit" but the bag I purchased was made by A1 Grit Company and O.H. Kruse just stamped their label on it. Apparently some other bags might have labels for King Feed, LA Herd Company, and others. Manufacturer Link

Note: There are different grades (sizes), I bought the #10 size and a 50# bag runs from $8-10. I have yet to confirm with Al Tapla the #10 is the correct size.

720 E North Ave. Fresno, CA 93725
Phone: 559/485-7232

3V Feed & Garden Supply Inc.
28342 Highway 145 , Madera, CA 93638
(559) 661-0038

Roberts Feed & Pet Supply
4571 E Belmont Ave Fresno, CA (559) 454-1859

Rosenbaums Rockery Their sales rep said they get the local bonsai folks in there sifting rocks (which is a good sign). They carry "decomposed granite" which you can sift and only pay for what you carry out by the bag (something like $5 for #50 bag). Perhaps even better (at least from one excite response by Al over BB sized pumice) they said the bonsai folks also buy their "Cinders" which are supposedly BB sized. I didn't get pricing nor confirm the size, but if I recall this is better than granite if you're looking for a more water retentive gritty mix. But whatever works.

Still no luck here, except the expensive Wonder Bark "orchid bark" from Orchard Supply that runs $9 with tax $10 a 1 cu/ft bag. There are two sizes to Wonder Bark, the "medium" and "fine". As you can guess, "Fine" is the one to use. The medium looks like any other bag of bark chips.

I've been to several nurseries and all the big box stores for any type of alternative to Wonder Bark. I *might* have lucked out with an older bag of Earth Gro bark for $4 for 3 cu.ft, but the newer ones were very different in size and material so I won't get anyone's hopes up.

A previous posters suggested using OSH Redwood Soil Conditioner (careful, one is compost and one is bark fines). The bag I purchased had WAY too much shredded bark and wood chips. I didn't even bother trying to sift that for such a small % of true bark fines.

Hopefully someone may post a source I can find for pine or fir bark fines.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 3:07AM
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Chris, that's great information. This thread should help many people out for sure!

I stopped in at Home Depot and Lowe's looking for "soil conditioner" products. The garden center at our Lowe's appeard to be deserted, probably because of the cold weather and snow! I looked around but saw nothing there resembling pine or fir bark fines and nothing labeled as a "soil conditioner". There was no one around to ask either.

I asked a Home Depot garden center employee about "soil condioners" but he had no idea what I was talking about and had not heard of anything like that. All they had was typical pine bark mulch in 3cf bags, but the sizes were much too large for use in containers.

Seems like the hard-to-find ingredient this year is going to be pine bark fines.



    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 12:00PM
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What a joke!!

I just talked to 7 nurseries, and none of them hadn't a clue as to what I was asking for.
I have to explain what kind of bark I need, and when I even say it is the bark in potting soil, bark fines, they say, there's no bark in potting soil. Mostly peat!! They even laugh at me..
Then when I try to explain what peat does to our pots over time, you know, the compaction thing, they disagree with me. They say peat is what they use, and they never have a problem with it.
They tell me the more peat the better, then proceed to say that this is the reason why bark sold seperately is probably a specialty item. They, the nurseries have no need for it...Unbelievable!
Are we dumb, and all these experienced nursery men correct?
I don't think some can even begin to understand the needs for certain plants and their roots.
In fact, the last one I just spoke to, told me any soiless mix with bark in it, is then cheaply made just to get rid of bark!!!
What a knitwit!
Looks like I will have to drive over an hour to the place I had to go last time, and sift and sift and sift...
Guess the only thing nursery men know of around here is already prepared soils....
Oh well

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 3:35PM
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I forgot. There is one good thing I found out yesterday!

The Bonsai place nearby uses pro-mix, but amends theirs with sand and YES!!!! TURFACE!!!

Told me a place to buy some..Yippy!!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 3:41PM
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Those looking for bark can always try Fafard. Click here and then select 'Find a Sales Rep'.

Fafard sells a product called 'Aged Pine Bark' that is ideal for the 5-1-1 mix, but would need to be screened for the gritty mix. It comes with a premium price tag due to the Fafard name, but at least it's a 2.8 cu ft bag.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 4:39PM
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Is it labeled organic soil conditioner?

If not, what is it called? Under what link did you find it on their site?

I have a local, one mile up the street called "Griffins Greenhouse Supplies", and they sell every kind of soiless mix you can think of by farfard. And yet, they never heard of just bark...That in fact is one of the places that couldn't understand why I wanted

I will have to see if they can special order, unless they only order by the pallet...:-(
They do cater to the local nurseries and sell in bulk. You can't even buy just one pot there. You have to buy 150 at once..

Thanks Jag. I am calling them tommorrow and going to show this to them. I just need to know where exactly it is on that site.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 7:51PM
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>> peat does to our pots over time, you know, the compaction thing, they disagree with me. .... They even laugh at me

Same here. The nursery owner even gave me the "I've been doing this for 30 years and I have a degree from .... so I know what works"

When I described the Clay/DE/Shale product component he said "you're going with synthetics and adding rocks????" ... whatever

Or what about this one...

"Where did you get this crazy formula?" and they roll their eyes "OHH, the Internet eh?"

Get's old fast, so I mostly keep my mouth shut. At least the Horizon guys who sell Turface knew exactly what I was doing and the Rockery place respects the bonsai folks.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 12:52AM
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I've run into similar problems, especially at the big box stores. Typically the garden center employees there know the basics, but that's about it. When you try to explain things like growing plants in a mix of granite, Turface and pine bark most have no idea what you are talking about. If you need bags of mulch or peat-based potting soil then they can help you, but beyond that you're pretty much on your own.

Example: I found a 50# bag of Shultz Soil Conditioner (i.e. Turface) at the local Aco Hardware store for about $10.00. The clerk working in the garden section didn't know what it was used for or what the material was.

The small, family-owned garden centers are a bit better if there is one near you. Sometimes you get a staff member who is familiar with bonsai so they know a bit about using inorganic materials in containers. I've found the sales people at those places are a bit better, but still not always helpful.

The more you know about these materials the better off you will be.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 7:49AM
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I, too, have found that most store personnel are less than helpful, and more to the point, less than knowledgeable. Most only sell the stuff... they don't anything about how it works or why you'd use it.

I will say, though, that a few greenhouse owners seemed interested in the concept, and could understand why this approach would work. They still don't carry the ingredients or use anything like it themselves, though.

The entire industry is built on making money, not necessarily on keeping plants healthy beyond the sales floor. It's rather frustrating.

I'm still searching for something resembling pine bark fines, though I think I might have the turface nailed down.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 9:03AM
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Mike, it is labeled 'Aged Pine Bark'. I didn't see it on their web site, but they do sell it.

See ;)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 9:29AM
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To CEBURY and other Fresno area participants: I recently travelled south on 99 and saw a bulk landscape supply place with big signs over its bins. It was near Goshen, if I remember correctly, (just befor Visalia) and is visible from the highway, on the west side. One of the big signs said "Pine bark fines". I did not stop to investigate.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 12:07PM
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AREA: Kalamazoo (southwestern), MI

BAKED/CALCINATED CLAY: (i.e. Turface, Shultz Soil Conditioner, Shultz Aquatic Plant Soil, etc.)
Horrock's, Battle Creek, MI
Aco Hardware, Battle Creek, MI
Wedel's Nursery, Kalamazoo, MI
John Deere, Comstock, MI (special order)

HAYDITE/EXPANDED SHALE: (i.e. Espoma Soil Perfector)
Battle Creek Farm Bureau, Battle Creek, MI

AutoZone Auto Parts, Kalamazoo, MI/Battle Creek, MI

GRIT PRODUCT (crushed granite):
Battle Creek Farm Bureau, Battle Creek, MI

I'm certain many other stores in this area carry these products but these are the stores that I have actually seen or purchased these products.



    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 8:57PM
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WISCONSIN suppliers, Anyone? I'll report back as I learn more.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 11:14PM
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Illinois - Central IL, Rantoul area - Rural King stores...
Manna Pro poultry grit - insoluble crushed granite. May need screening to remove dust.

Still hunting for pine bark fines... anyone?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 10:40AM
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Kimcoco, I am in Wisconsin as well. What are you looking for?

Floor Dry (similar to Turface) can be had at any Napa Auto Parts store.

Turface can be found at Reinders (W239 N390 Pewaukee Rd (Hwy J) Waukesha, WI 53188) is the one I usually go to, but there are others.

Pine bark can be found at BFG supply. I use 19775 Sommers Dr, Brookfield, WI - (262) 797-6482, but there are other locations. Sometimes a suitable product can be found at big box stores, but this isn't too common in the area I check out.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 10:57AM
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thanks Justaguy2.

I still need Gypsum (any big box store??), Gran-I-Grit, and micro-nutrient powder (recommendations? the only fertilizer I use is Miracle Gro with the exception of organic bulb fertilizer), and what controlled release fertilizer is recommended???

I have a couple questions, though...

Is Al's 'Gritty Mix' the same as his basic container soil mixture? I'm looking at another print out I have that calls for pine bark fines, peat, perlite, garden lime or gypsum, and micro nutrient powder. Al says, 'garden lime or gypsum in some cases' what cases would I want to use the gypsum vs. garden lime? And then in another post the basic mix is pine bark fines, turface, granIgrit and gypsum.

The mix I'm looking for is for my new window boxes.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 12:12PM
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The 5-1-1 mix I think is the one with the peat. The gritty mix is 1/3 pine bark fines, 1/3 Gran-I-Grit, and 1/3 Turface or equivalent, with one Tablespoon per gallon of gypsum. I found gypsum in either Lowes or Home Depot (I went to both in one afternoon; they're next to each other). It only comes in 30-50-lb bags. It's amusing measuring a few tablespoons out of it. I actually was almost laughed out of a garden store when I asked for gypsum!

I live in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area. I was able to buy Playball from Northern Nurseries in Marlton NJ:(609) 714-3500 . I would phone them first, because they are wholesale. The larger Agways (like Burlington NJ and Sinking Spring PA) have the Gran-I-Grit; they often have only one or two bags in stock. I was able to get the pine bark from Lowes/Home Depot; it may be a little fine for the gritty mix, but I remember Al saying that the particle size wasn't as crucial for the bark in the gritty mix. I'm amused at all the bizarre mulches on sale: dyed, rubber, etc., but was able to find pine bark with little trouble. Agway has it too; it might be a little too coarse.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 6:57PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Kim - Gypsum is easy to find in the spring. Most big box stores carry gypsum and dolomitic (garden) lime in 50 lb bags for under $8, or you can buy 5 lbs of either, packaged by Espoma, for about the same price. You would use gypsum in the 5:1:1 mix for acid-loving plants and use it (nearly) always in the gritty mix.

You probably want the 5:1:1 mix for your window boxes.

If you use a CRF, try to find one with somewhere near a 3:1:2 ratio, like 19-6-12 Osmocote.

If you want crushed granite, try rural elevators that sell feeds. Just call around and ask for 'starter grit' by Gran-I-Grit.

The micro-nutrient powders like STEM soluble or Micromax insoluble are often difficult to find. You can solve the issue by using a fertilizer that contains all the essential elements for good growth, or use a micro-nutrient supplement like Earth Juice Microblast.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 8:29PM
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Ok, I found Gran-I-Grit at Wauke Mills on Capitol Drive and Hwy 74 in Pewaukee.

You were right, I was able to locate a bag of gypsum today at a local garden center.

Guess I'll be driving around the county tomorrow. LOL

Al, this is off topic, but I have two window boxes, one for each side of the front of my house. The south window box will get a little sunlight, and the north window box will get absolutely none. Do I dare plant impatiens and risk only one box having blooms throughout the season -- which will look odd. Or, should I just go with ferns in all my front window boxes? Impatiens need SOME sun to bloom, right? This is east facing, a huge maple towers overhead, and windows have awnings (only for curb appeal, obviously).

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 12:30AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Impatiens (filler or spiller - use a trailer and an upright for both), Coleus (filler - use C. repens for a spiller)), asparagus fern (Asparagus plumosus - thriller), begonia (filler), english ivy (spiller) - all in any combination make nice plantings. The Begonias and Impatiens will bloom in full shade with no problem. Keep the bloom heads pruned off the coleus & pinch often. I'd send pics, but I'm @ wk and can't get to them. ;o)


    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 8:54AM
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Thanks Al. I'm printing this out for reference.

I have another question for you on your container soils post, so I won't double post here with the same info.

I do have one question though...when would I use the lime in my soil mixtures? The nursery told me to add sulphur to my soil for my acid loving plants...pachysandra, evergreens, azalea and rhody...use gypsum instead, or am I way off base?

If you are so inclined, I would love to see those pics of impatiens, begonias, etc.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 12:55AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I don't want to get too far off topic here cuz it's not my thread.

You would use lime anytime you build a soil from generally acidic ingredients like pine bark and peat. Other soils, made from ingredients with a relatively higher pH would use gypsum as a Ca source.

S is insoluble and takes a LONG time to work in soils. It's only marginally helpful in containers. You're better served using an acidifying fertilizer like MG 30-10-10 in containers and mixing in a little potash when you make the soil or using a soluble K supplement when you fertilize.

... not my thread, so send me an e-mail (so I have your addy) and I'll sort out some pics of shade containers to mail to you.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 9:00AM
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coolbugsuz(OH, zone 5-6)

OK, I live in central Ohio (Lancaster), and found the Turface Allsport at the John Deere Landscaping store near I-270 & Rt 62 (the Grove City exit off of 270). I got the Gran-I-Grit at Granville Milling in Lancaster, and the pine bark fines came from Ohio Mulch (many locations around central Ohio).

I've got ingredients to make both the 5-1-1 and the gritty mix too. Can't wait to start planting! =)


    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 10:24AM
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zubababy(6b Utah)


Turface (50#) apx $13 / Axis - DE (25#) apx $13
I tried Axis this last time, and like it better than Turface - Not has heavy.
Available at Steve Regan

Still unable to find - I have checked Steve Regan, IFA, Lowe's, Home Depot
I have been using "paver base" gravel (smaller than pea gravel) (1.5 CU?? can't remember) apx $4
Available at Lowe's

Still unable to find - I have checked Steve Regan, IFA, Lowe's, Home Depot
The only bark I have been able to find here is the local Miller brand. Lowe's did have Greensmix 2 winters ago until Miller took over. Wish I would've stocked up when they had something good.
The only Orchid bark that I have found here, is the large size.
I have gone with the more expensive option of purchasing bark from Petco "Zoo Med Premium Repti Bark" (24 qts) apx $17 (Petsmart 24 qts apx $24)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 11:40AM
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I found GardenScape Soil Conditioner (Aged Pine Bark Fines)at Old Country Gardens 414 Wilson Rd. Wilmington, DE. I'm actually in northern NJ but can't find the fines anywhere around me and was visiting in the Wilmington area. Fafard doesn't even list a rep in the entire state of NJ and only one local place didn't ask "Pine bark what?" when I asked.

The folks at Old Country Gardens were surprised that I had trouble finding them - it's one of their standard products. The service and response from the manager were excellent. Hope this helps someone.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 3:41PM
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For those of you having trouble finding pine or fir bark fines, this may be an option.

I found something at the local Meijer's that might be a good choice for pine/fir bark in the gritty mix. Its a product called "reptile bark" and it's made of small pieces of uncomposted fir bark. Particle size looks really good from what I can tell, between 1/4 and 1/2" in size. I bought a small bag (4 quart) as a test. Not to many fines in it either.

It comes in several different size bags, and is available via mail order (see link). You should be able to find this bark, or something similar, at pet supply stores.

Al, not sure if you've seen this before, but what do you think?

The only drawback I can see is the price, which is considerably higher than a 2cu ft bag of pine bark. If you only have a few continers and cannot find pine bark in your area then this *might* be a good alternative.



    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 12:05PM
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Lots of great sources in the Charlotte, NC, area...

Pine Bark Fines: Blue Max Materials (sold as soil conditioner), Wallace Farms, Daddy Pete's (in Stony Point), and most dirt/compost/mulch suppliers. Most of these guys also have really nice coarse river sand.

Perlite: American Beauty Garden Supply (on Central Ave), Protech Environmental Supply. Both these places also have vermiculite, lime, peat, and lotsa fertilizers. ABGS is geared more towards the indoor growers and hydro systems, PES is a wholesale supplier for landscape contractors.

I found those places pretty quickly...toughest was the perlite until I got a challenge from Al, betting he could find it within a couple miles of my house before I could ;)

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 3:14PM
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I was at the local farm feed store today and they had two different kinds of grit, starter and grower grit. You should be able to find granite at local feed stores in your area.



    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 6:27PM
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BTW, forgot to mention that at the feed store right next to the granite was crushed oyster shells. Be sure you don't use them in your container mix. I think Al and others have mentioned they have a high salt content.

At this store it would be easy to grab the wrong thing!


    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 7:07PM
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zubababy(6b Utah)

Are you in Utah? If so, which feed store are you referring to?
I have checked all the feed stores that I know of. All of them carry the shell grit, not granite. The pet stores sell granite grit for the birds, but it is a tiny bottle that will fit in my hand for $5.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 9:44AM
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For katskan41 and others looking for Home Depot Pine bark fines. Under the Name "Garden Pro Clay Breaker Soil Conditioner" in a orange n yellow bag UPC # 74011422026 item number A 321-297 provided by Costal Suppliy @ $4.77 for 2 cu ft. This is the information here at HD in Northern VA.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 3:29PM
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I'm in Michigan not Utah, so i can't help you with local souces. All I can tell you is that our local Farm Bureau stores carry the crushed granite in two grades, starter and grower grades. Starter grade is very fine, you probably want the regular grower grade for containers. The Farm Bureau sells it here in 5lb bags for about $1.50 or 50lb bags for about $10.00. All I can tell you is that your best bet is to look at livestock or feed stores in your area. Someone who raises livestock should be able to tell you where to get it.

Geeboss, thanks for the info on the soil conditioner. I was at Home Depot last week and there was nothing on the racks that looked anything like the bag photo you posted. In fact, none of the big box stores in this area seem to have anything like a "soil conditioner" or a "clay buster". I can find haydite (Espoma Soil Perfector) but that is explanded shale, not pine bark fines.

I looked at the fir bark I purchased this weekend (see link). this seems to be just about perfect for containers, although expensive compared to pine bark. Again, might be great for people like me with only a dozen or so containers, but not for those with many containers. I have a white pine growing in a container that I can try this bark on. Will keep you all posted.



    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 6:20PM
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ragtimegal(9 CA 19)

I've been on a wild goose chase for pine fines for the 5:1:1 in San Diego for a few months now. Came across this manufacturer, which makes products suitable for both the gritty AND the 5:1:1. The products are sold by John Deer Landscaping, which has several locations around the county. (I would imagine that they have other locations, but I have not looked out of this region.)

They were EXTREMELY helpful, and I ended up buying the Turf-n-Tee for the 5:1:1. It's $9.99 for a 3 cubic foot bag. The Orchid Bark (fir) that is 1/8-1/4" is $7.95 for a 2 cubic foot bag.

Had I not already bought peat, I would have purchased it from them just to give them more of my business. I didn't ask about the other ingredients, as I am not making the gritty mix, and I already have perlite.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 1:51AM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

Still striking out on anything resembling pine bark fines in NJ right up to Staten Island, NY.

Even if a retailer listed on Fafard's web site still carries their products they don't carry the "organic soil conditioner" because they have to buy it by pallet and they don't find any call for it...besides me.

Nearest Agway could order pelletized lime and coarse perlite by the bag but nothing even in the universe of bark fines.

Can't do much with the lime/perlite without bark fines.

I'm running out of time to get supplies for potting seedlings and larger plants.

I know this isn't the gritty mix but it's a problem trying to get ingredients in some places.

If I had a shredder I'd get smallest pine bark mulch I could find and grind it down but a shredder isn't in the cards. I'm about to be banned from my father's property just for getting lights/heat mats for basement this year.

Frustrating, to say the least.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 11:37AM
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It can be frustrating, many can empathize. Have you tried the mom and pop nurseries around you where they might make their own mixes?

I think that a lot of the time folks focus on the large stores that cater to a market that wants to do as little for themselves as possible, but prefers prepackaged solutions for everything.

Often it's the smaller places who do things themselves that make the best sources. Y'know, the kind of places that we all drive by a million times, but never actually visit. ;) These are the places where the passionate folks are and often they will bend over backwards to earn our business while everyone else is heading to Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 11:46AM
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claudia_sandgrower(SC Zone 8)

Holy Smoke! Al - you ever thought about manufacturing your mixes? You've got a market right here... sell it on the web... I know I'd buy it!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 12:03PM
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Libbyc -

I'm in the south jersey area too (Cherry Hill). Thanks so much for the info. Which home depot or lowes did you find the pine bark fines at? I've been to a few but I've only seen coarse strips of pine bark, nothing very fine. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 12:06AM
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Turface Source in the SF Bay Area (plus all western and southern states.)

I found 50 lb bags of Turface MVP at Ewing Irrigation for $12.50 per bag. On their web site (link below) they have a branch locator by state. Their stores are located in the southern and western US.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 3:46PM
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5-1-1 Mix, Madrid, Spain
Pine Fines: Special Order from Los Peñotes Garden Center, Alcobendas. Call them up and ask for Juan Carlos Fernandez, who does all their special orders. What you want to order is Costiña Substrate, 0-8mm composted pine bark. Refer them to

Perlite: Horticultural grade perlite can be found at any Leroy Merlin for 3 for 3L. Or, you can go to ProJar at C/ Camino de las bodegas, 5, Fuente el Saz. They technically only sell to businesses, but if you just walk in and ask for a couple bags of Perlite and pay cash, they shouldn't give you any trouble. It's good stuff, too. 1-5mm, not too much dust. Wear a mask! 100L for 7. 2 for 2 masks at Leroy Merlin. Not contracting Silicosis -- Priceless.

Peat: What you want is Turba Rubia, sphagnum peat. Can be had anywhere, ranging from 100L for 15 to 300L for 30. I have no idea what properties one needs to look for for peat, so I've gone with the cheapest, which is the peat I had left over unused from last year. So far I haven't been able to find any place that sells wetting agents, but you can apparently get Peat loaded with wetting agents from the Pindstrup company.

Gritty Mix:
Pine Fines: Same source as above
Gran-i-grit: Can't be had, what you want is coarse silica sand. Only place I've found for this is El Molino Marmoles Triturados in Paracuellos del Jarama, behind Barajas Airport. They'll sell the perfect sized 2-4mm sand, no dust, 4 for 40KG
Turface: Simply doesn't exist! Haven't found a source for Pumice either... the closest I've come is the Kitty litter sold in Eroski, non-perfumed. It's comprised of 50% Attapulgite, 30% Montmorillonite/Illite (stuff turface is made out of) and 20% "Other clays"

It does break down if you squeeze it hard, but I've had a Cyclamen which almost died on me at Christmas (Only 3 leaves left, all flowers long gone), planted in 100% Eroski Kitty litter for 6 months now. With only one application of fertilizer and weekly watering, it has put out astounding growth to the tune of 15 leaves. The kitty litter hasn't broken down yet either, should be fine for indoor plantings.

One strange side effect of this stuff is that if you go for a long time without watering, it will audibly fizz the next time you water. Useful for me to judge when I've gone too long without watering. About 2 for a kitty litter sized bag of 5KG, about 10-20% is lost during screening. pH-8.3

Still no source for Dolomitic lime, checking out Ceramic-maker shops. Looks like this can be had at in downtown madrid, but I have yet to get over there.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 4:33PM
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I found starter and grower grit at Primex in Glenside, they sell small bags for around $5.99 and big bags, don't know the price. I paid $5.99 for a small bag (I think 5lbs.) for a bag of Turface.

I found Aged Pine Bark Fines at Achin Back Garden Center in Pottstown for $7.99 for a 1 cf bag (buy 3 get one free)

Also NAPA auto parts ordered a bag of DE for me for $8.00, I think it's a 8 lb bag.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 7:57PM
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After looking at the bags of bark it says Aged Bark, not Aged Pine Bark. Bummer. It's ICBIN, I don't think it's Pine Bark. But last year I did buy two bags of Soil Conditioner from GreensGrow in Philadelphia, guess I'll have to go back there. But it's really expensive. About $18 a bag.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 9:50PM
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maxsio - thank you so much for the pointer to Ewing for Turface. I am in San Carlos, and they have a store right here in san carlos :) Though a 50 lb bag is way more than what I want right now!

Has anybody been able to locate gran-i-grit / crushed granite in the SF Bay Area?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 1:57PM
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I haven't been able to find pine bark fines in Louisville but Bigg's in Cincinnati sells them as soil conditioner. Luckily I have family there. :)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 8:39PM
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jajm4(z5 w. mass, usa)

I can't get Turface MVP. They sell the powdery stuff but that's all. I tried the locaters, and no dice. What is a reasonable substitute?

Also, everyone told me they didn't sell crushed granite, but when I called it "grower grit" they suddenly knew what I wanted.

I had the same problem with sand. They kept telling me they didn't sell coarse or sharp sand, but when I asked for SILICA, for POOLS, they had it. Though they loaded the wrong size into the car (even though I told them exactly what size I wanted), so I don't know if I can actually use it. Still, it seems to make some difference what you call stuff around here.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 4:34PM
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Finally found the fines!!! Thanks to justaguy with the link to contact a Fafard distributor. I'm going to make the 5-1-1 mix for the first time. Where do I go to find the directions for mixing this as I believe I read somewhere that I need to wait 2 weeks before planting in the mix.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 7:25PM
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Area: Northern KY, Greater Cincinnati

Pine fines-As mentioned by another poster, Ohio Mulch with locations in Ohio (duh) and N KY has bags of pine fines (which are currently on sale) as well as pine bark in bigger pieces.

Turface MVP-These places:
have it and sell to the general public. They also have locations in MI, OH, KY, IN and MO

Gran-i-grit-Fedders Feed, 16 Russell St, Florence, KY, 41042
8.95 for the 50# bag.

Hope this saves you time if you are in the neighborhood.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 4:12PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Sharlabel - The link below has the info you're asking about.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 6:48PM
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Thanks maxsio for the ewing link. I was able to pick up two bags in glendale, ca!!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 5:21PM
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There has to be some place in western MA to get Turface MVP. It is used by a lot of baseball facilities at every level (Little League to Pro) to maintain the infields. Have you checked with any businesses in western MA that supply baseball fields with supplies?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 5:40PM
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Hi, I'm in the UK and I've been looking for supplies for the gritty mix (and to a lesser extent the other mixes) for a while now.

Pink Bark: search for Melcourt Propagating Bark. The manufacturer's website says that the particle size is 2 to 7mm. I've ordered a bag to try, it looks like good stuff, the particle size is uniform and there's little or no dust. However it's outside Al's optimal range, which is 1.5 - 3.5mm.

Melcourt also do:

Potting bark, which is far too big at 3mm to 15mm,

Sylvafibre which is 0 - 6mm, with over 40% of fines and dust, (also it is wood fibre not bark), and

Growbark Pine, 0-6mm, >40% dust and fines, but at least it is pine (I have a bag on back-order to try).

Melcourt propagating bark:

Melcourt product range
For the granite, I have found that various places including my local garden centre will sell "Cornish Grit", (Michael King's is one manufacturer) - it seems to be the right kind of stuff, I think it's a mixture of quartz and granite. The particle size is in the right range but perhaps not uniform enough. It certainly won't break down any time soon.

Cornish grit:

I've drawn a complete blank on the Turface, it's not in the UK as far as I can tell. Seramis might be a possible substitute, but it's very expensive, around £24.99 for a 30 litre bag, plus postage. That's way too expensive for any large-scale use. Haven't found a good solution for this yet.

Seramis supplier

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 7:44PM
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Here are some Madisoon / Milwaukee places that have a lot of things I've been interested in. I can't say I've locked in on any one thing yet. My interests are earthbox knockoffs andlarge scale (up to 100 sq. ft or more) containers, rooftops, raised beds for growing veggies, and I'm not sure some of the concerns and constraints of trying to keep mixes in containers going really apply to what I'm trying to do. I want something cheap, light, will hold some water and fertilizer, and allow for high density vegetable growth for a season.


Certified Products, far west new berlin. Lots of different types of mulch, straw, soil. Got some double shredded pine out there for $24 / yard. Haven't found any straight fines or aged at any of the sites around here. This stuff is definitely not fine or aged. There are lots of 3" x 1/2" chunks in it, but probably 60-70 pct would qualify as coarse fines. Stuff does seem to grow in it, with fertilizer of course ... noticed some corn a foot tall that had roots over a foot long in this stuff. Perhaps they would screen it if asked, don't know.

BFG Supply

Fafard distributor - On Sommers, in the industrial park take janacek road south off blue mound road just east of the barker road / hwy 18 interchange by 84 in waukesha. They have just about everything in terms of various pine bark / peat / vermiculite / perlite / coir mixes in bags. Dozens of different types of mixes ... didn't see the aged pine bark fines on hand but it's available

Jung's seed company Fitchburg (south of madison) off beltline south on fish hatchery road to nesbitt and one other little road. Have a lot of things of interest to container garderners. Earthboxes, worm castings, several types of 3.8 cu ft bags of peat $15. 4 cu ft bags of perlite $14. Osmocote, the whole bit . They have double shredded wood, can't remember if it was pine.

Stein's had leaf compost and peat moss ($10 on sale for 3.8 cu ft this June). Several locations in Milw. area

Silbrico - in southern chicago suburbs about 100 miles from us here in western Milwakee burbs. They sell the 4 cu ft bags of perlite to retailers. Can get it in supersacks apparently. Sales guy responded to my emails.

Therm o rock east and west. Got samples of gro mix 41 (rooftop approved, of special interest to me) and 52. Pretty sure they will ship straight pine bark fines since they specialize in mixing. Should be able to handle plain fines easy enough. Supersacks of 60-75 cu ft available. Tremendous variety of products.

Municipal compost - for all the talk about gritty this and granny that, I find veggies are growing great in the leaf compost I have piled around and are doing pretty well in it in the earthtainer knockoffs I've made. Everyone who sees the stuff our municipality has raves at it. 20 foot high mounds turned every once in a while - turns black and rich, not too fine, though, holds moisture well , lots of air and micronutrients, I should think.

Growing Power - I don't know that they sell anything, but they make they're own using whatever carbon source they can get, mix it with waste food and brewer's grains, let the worms at it for a year or two, use that as their base mix and add coconut coir and worm castings to the top / growing zone area. They put it in large plastic pots and bottom water with fish tank water / effluent.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 11:27PM
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Hi again - another post for the UK. A contact in one of the the orchid growing clubs says that Tesco's Premuim lightweight cat litter is a good substitute for Turface - it's a baked clay granule, reddish, and slightly perfumed, though that wears off quickly. 16 litres for £5.50.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 4:28AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I wouldn't use a perfumed product. Hopefully, you'll find a similar product (that you can freeze in water to test for stability) w/o the scent.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 9:05AM
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I live in Montreal and I'm trying to find the ingredients for the gritty mix. My problem is that I cannot locate a place where to find turface and crushed granite. Yesterday, I visited two garden centers and 1 nursery and none had either of them.
I believe that in other threads I read that cat litter could be an option? Is that right?
Can any Montrealer give an idea of locations where these could be found?

Thanks a lot!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 12:01PM
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Thanks to cebury!

I was able to find crushed granite at A1 in southern california.

The location i went is in irwindale , CA
Here is the address

13550 Live Oak Ln
Baldwin Park, CA 91706-1318

Paid $6 for the #5 crushed granite 80 lb bag.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 3:13PM
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Turface MVP can be found in Madison, WI from

Reinders Turf & Irrigation
4217 Nakoosa Trail
Turface MVP 50# @ 11$ a bag

I may have foudn a supplier for Fir Bark fines but waiting on some more detail. The stroe carries this brand:

Waiting on additional details on the particle size..

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 1:38PM
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Cherry Stone Poultry Grit #2 is carried by Blaine's Farm and Fleet.

As I understand it this can be used as a substitute for Gran-I-Grit

50# bag @ 8.99

2202 South Stoughton Road
Madison, WI 53716-2897
Phone 608.221.3851

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 2:48PM
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Still looking for Pine Bark Fines in los angeles :(

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 1:48AM
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These guys are in Riverside and have fine fir bark if you are making the gritty mix?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 9:13AM
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Fir bark found in Madison, WI area. A little on the pricey side selling @ $25/3cu. Ft. bag. 1/8" - 1/4" size.

Orchids Garden Center & Nursery
4823 Hwy Q
Waunakee, WI 53597
Phone: (608) 831-4700

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 2:52PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)


Is that a different product than the Rexius brand you mentioned a few posts back? Because Orchids Unlimited here in MN carries Rexius, but it's $28/2cu. ft. according to their website.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 4:58PM
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Someone needed a source of pine bark fines in/near NJ. This one is in northern NJ:

Willow Run
1 County Rd
Cresskill, NJ 07626-2232

I have a reservation about the management on a personal level, but for GW'ers in the area who have no other source...

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 11:35PM
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NJ NYC area Turface allpro available at Lesco- now John deere landscaping in Edison NJ, 40 Brunswick, check turface website for addie and phone, saturday hours are short, Gran-i-grit available at Agway in Liberty, NY finally, broke down and purchased fancy reptile litter 24 quarts for 19. dollars at Petco, pine bark fines are too elusive.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 9:19PM
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Wow, all the posts from NJ, Mass and Eastern Canada come up empty. Me too on Long Island, NY. What is up with this?
The last post is the first to find anything anywhere near the tri-state area. Wow. Luckily I have to go to NJ to clean up my grandparent's grave soon. I think it is near Edison, definitely near New Brunswick. Otherwise, Liberty, NY? Isn't that way Upstate?

Anyone in Vermont or even Maine know where to find these ingredients? My brother lives in Vermont and my aunt in Maine. I am not driving over 5 hours away just to get some grit; I need that to be the "secondary" reason for the trip ;)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 2:32AM
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Gran-I-Grit: Morristown, NJ Agway store. Always stocked.

Turface MVP: Pollack Paint, Yonkers, NY. Always stocked.

Aged Pine Bark Fines: Gowanus Nursery, Brooklyn, NY. Usually stocked, but not a year round store and limited hours, so call first. Also Nables Nursery in Mamaroneck, NY says they usually have them, but it's the first week of April and they don't yet have them in, whereas Gowanus does.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 9:02PM
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For those in the Philadelphia area I found soil conditioner in 2 cf bags for $6.89 a bag at Mr. Mulch in West Chester, PA and Turface at Primex Garden Center in Glenside, PA.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 11:58AM
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rh fedders feed store in covington
has turface mvp 50# 13.95
grani grit growers 50# 7 bucks
pine fines/soil conditioner 2 cu ft about 7 bucks!
nice salt of the earth kinda folk. just like us!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 10:04PM
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scubastan(z8B-9A/20 Los Angeles)


*** TURFACE MVP - 50# 12.50 bag
Tomark Sports
1180-A California Avenue
Corona, CA 92881

Try looking up Sporting good stores, or ask local highschools, colleges where they get their infield supplies.

*** Crushed Granite
Look up roofing companies. Alot of the ones near me carry grit.

A-1 Grit manufactures the grit, and sells it to a number of companies through out the west coast. Call them and see if they supply anyone near you. 1-800-266-GRIT If you get A-1 Grit you want Size #5.

Allco Roofing Materials 80# bag $5.75
8650 Garvey Avenue
Rosemead, CA 91770-3269
(626) 288-2922

*** Fir Bark
This was the hardest thing for me to find.
Al really likes "Shasta Forest Products" and I called the company to ask for stores that carry their product.

Kellogg Garden Products
8605 Schaefer Avenue
Ontario, California
Phone: 909-673-8065

I decided to use OF Wolfinbarger. It was more affordable. Its not Shasta brand. But it is Fir Bark.
OF Wolfinbarger 2cu ft $4.50 bag. 1/2cu Yard $26.50
5675 Francis Ave;
Chino, CA 91710
-They also have BARK FINES for anyone making 5:1:1 mix.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 11:24PM
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@ natschultz - my mother lives in maine and was able to find the turface and bark at the John Deere in Gardiner. The gran-i-grit is at all of the Paris Farmer's Unions in the state, from what we could tell - she lives in Lewiston and was able to go to the Paris in Auburn to pick it up. Hope that helps you :)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 12:12PM
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mainegrower(Z5b ME)

jaclyn6bva: As far as I can tell, there is no John Deere in Gardiner unless it's so new it is not available through internet search or Gardiner business directory. Do you have an address?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 5:45AM
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Central IL- Champaign-Urbana area...FS Farmtown is your one stop shop. They have the granigrit, turface AND pine bark mini nuggets!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 9:00AM
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Scranton, PA

Miller's Country Store-Agway
1148 Old Trail Road
Clarks Summit, PA 18411-9255
(570) 586-6006

Stocks Pearlite, Vermiculite, Grani-Grit, Garden Lime, Peat.
Their Pine Bark Mini Nuggets might work for 5:1:1 with screening.

John Deere Landscapes
1000 Springbrook Avenue
Moosic, PA 18507-1832
(570) 451-7450

It's tucked in behind another building so it's tricky to find.

Stocks Turface Allsport $18/bag
Couldn't (or wouldn't) order any of the John Deer bark products mentioned.

Corky's Garden Path
1312 Justus Boulevard
Clarks Summit, PA 18411-8837
(570) 586-9563

Stocks Pro-Mix BX and Dr. Earth Potting Mix

Jerry's For All Seasons
201 Jessup Street
Dunmore, PA 18512-2031
(570) 341-3692

Stocks Dr. Earth Potting Mix and Gardentone

PetSmart Dickson City
650 Commerce Blvd
Dickson City, PA 18519
(570) 347-1006

Stocks Repti-bark

Griffin Greenhouse & Nursery
200 Mountain View Road
Morgantown, PA 19543-8886
(610) 286-0046

Will special order Farfard Aged Pine Bark by the pallet. Delivery is $20 with $250 order ($35 below).

Local Home depot and Lowes stock Peat and Garden Lime.

I have not seen bark suitable for either Gritty or 5:1:1 at any local places.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 10:50AM
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Napa Auto Parts
1614 Main Street
Olyphant, PA 18447-1334
(570) 383-2481

Will special order Napa Floor Dry Part# 8822 for about $10 bag. The Oil-Dri product they normally stock may not be suitable.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 11:00AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Bumping this...

Mike, scroll down to April 27, 12:05 fir bark link.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 6:21PM
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Found Pine Bark Fines at Rhodes Nursery in Montgomeryville, PA yesterday. $7.00 2 cf bag.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 4:06PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Northern California - Sacramento, Roseville, Lincoln, Auburn, and other near-lying communities:
I bought two 50 lb. bags of Turface MVP at Sierra Pacific Turf Supply in Rocklin, California.

1175 Tara Court
Rocklin, CA 95675

Nice guys, very helpful. The man behind the counter was quite familiar with soil construction, bonsai,
and soil ammendments.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 4:23PM
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imstillatwork(8-9 Oregon Coast / Ca Border)

CarQuest DE products may work for your mixes also. less fines than Napa, 7.99 #25 bag @ my local CQ.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 11:22PM
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Any clues about fine pine bark in phoenix az?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 12:51PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Hi nutcr0cker~
I'm in Tucson, and I found mine at a local John Deere landscape dealer. I hope that helps.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 1:11PM
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drudadunat(9b Tampa FL)

Any suggestions for Tampa FL?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 11:06AM
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smoochas(zone 7a-NYC)

For the New York, NYC, Long Island people:
After much hard searching I've found Aged Pine Bark Fines at the Gowanus Nursery in Brooklyn. The brand is ENRICH
I called everywhere, found a wholesaler but no one wanted to order for me coz they considered them a competitor oddly enough.

Found Oil-dri at Napa Auto Parts Stores
Agway has turface, crushed granite (but call for stock as i think both are popular items...)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 1:10PM
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pkapeckopickldpepprz(z9 a/b FL)

Looking for Gran-I-Grit here in SW Florida (Sarasota) checked all the feed stores and they carry the oyster shell crap. Even a place called Southern States lists the Gran-I-Grit on their website but the local store doesn't carry it and cannot order it!

John Deere Landscaping does carry the Turface "All Star" (50# for $12.00) (Same as MVP).

NAPA with the "Floor Dry" product (25# for $6.00)

Big Earth (Formerly Wholesale Landscape Supply) carries the Pine Bark Fines in 2 CU. Ft. for $2.75 a bag ***They were out of stock today other than the display bag but should be getting more next week but said it is a different manufacturer so who knows if it will be the same consistency and price)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 12:06AM
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Any recommendations for Colorado (front range?). Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 4:35AM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

I found a mail order source for bark. Of course there is the shipping cost. It will be significant.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 9:36AM
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Just a thought, how much more user-friendly would this post be if people would change the "Subject of Posting" to the State and City they are providing info for?

I found Turface MVP for 12.00/ 50lb bag at:
Ewing Irrigation
5264 Trail Lake Drive
Fort Worth - (817) 370-4610

Gran i grit grower size for around 12.00/40 lb bag at:
Marshall Grain
2224 East Lancaster Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76103
(817) 536-5636

I sift the HD Premium Pine Bark mulch "Sure Stay" to get my pine fines (lots of sifting required and one 2cf bag (2.98) yields only a 1/3 of actual fines with 1/3 dust and 1/3 large bark, but I have uses for the dust and large bark so its worth it to me)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 9:33AM
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Any leads on where to find pine fines in Canada? I'm in the GTA area,and to say that I'mhaving difficulty in locating them, is a gross understatement.

I may have to try the lawn mower method.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 4:23PM
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I live in the GTA and can't find any pine fines for Al's mixes either. Home Depot does sell pine bark for mulching, but the pieces are too big for a growing medium. (Unless if you have a shredder, that could work for you.) I bought their cedar mulch hoping to use it instead of pine, but there's a lot of conflicting opinions as to whether its harmful to the plants. I'll probably continue looking for pine bark instead, and I'll let you know if I find anything. Let me know if you find anything as well.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 9:28PM
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In California Areas (esp. Central and Southern):

I'm glad folks are connecting with the A1 Grit products since they are located in LA area (Irwindale + another location). Roofers and Poultry are main clients in CA, but also Pet Shops can get it. Keep in mind there are many different A1 Grit products and sizes, not all grit is the same. If you do find a roofing company that stocks it, ask specifically for A1 Granite #10 Grit
. This is from their website, the "Crushed Granite Line"

A1 Grit also provides a "Poultry Grit Line" (, which may or may not be labeled as such. You can often find the true A1 labeling on the package, even though a different label is applied in larger writing. Many times the sizing is stamped on the bottom (if the bag is standing upright). Here is what my bag looked like:
It is a 7/8 cubic foot, 75 pound bag, double layered paper over sealed plastic interior.

The #16 Chicken Grit from their Poultry product line is too small. And I'm not sure why the #10 Pigeon Grit is red colored, so I can't recommend that without at least some reservation until I talk with them.

There are two reasons I included the Poultry link, even though the Crushed Granite line is preferred. First, I am finding that almost all Pet Shop stores in my city can special order it. If you are in Central CA or LA area and have a pet shop close by, they might easily get it for you -- I pay $9-$11 per #75lb bag, this includes their retail markup. Some people still tell me it's a #50lb bag when it is very clearly labeled and weighs at 75 lbs, so just FYI.

The second reason I'm including the Poultry line is the Pet Shops unknowingly provided me with either #10 and #12 Grit. I have a feeling what they called #10 Poultry Grit was really the Crushed Granite Grit #10, it looked exactly like the picture I posted above and was not the red colored one in their Poultry line page. Notice the shapes of the rock: they are are odd shaped, angular, which is generally preferred for the standard gritty mix.

For Folks Creating Gritty Mix in Hot Arid Areas
The #12 Poultry grit is not even included on their website as a valid product line. Yet that is what I received. The particles looked identical to the #16 Chicken Grit, but were larger. Though the biggest difference is size (of course), but the shape is spherical (not ideal, but it still works) like is shown in their #16 picture.

The #12 size is also acceptable for the gritty mix, but it WILL hold more water. Per Al, it perfectly walks the border of being small but not small enough to create a perched water table. If you only have #12 grit available or are in a desert area and want to create a mix that holds a bit more water, this is one way to accomplish that and still maintain at 1:1:1 ratio.

The Turface component is required to be near the same size as your grit component. Otherwise the grit tends to fall through the pores and after long-term watering will be distributed unevenly with more on the bottom of the mix. Keep this in mind when sifting -- if using #12 you'll need some smaller Turface particles in your mix (NOT dust, just more numerous smaller ones). Instead of using aluminum insect screen to sift (which has mostly square holes), I used fiberglass screen to sift (smaller rectangular holes, half size of the squares) which still eliminates all the dust but does retain smaller Turface particles that are large enough to avoid a PWT and be friendly with the #12 grit.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 2:35PM
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Okay, now I am confused after going thru some of the postings for my So.CA area:
On April 11th, scubastan says to ask for A-1 Grit in #5. But the latest posting, by cebury, says to ask for #10.
Which one is correct? I think I can now find some of this grit, at last! But need to know what size from this co.
I will probably go the roofing route, rather than the pet store, as the pet/feed store I last contacted did not want to special order grit for me, but again, at that time I only asked about Gran-I-Grit.
Thanks for any clarification!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 3:04AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

To get the most out of your soil, grit sizes that range from #10 (a little under 1/10") - #5 (just under 3/16") are best. Ideally, you would use a product that is #7 mesh, so 6-8 mesh is excellent.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 10:46AM
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Gritty Mix Ingredients: Bay Area, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose

For those in the bay area (San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose) that are embarking on the quest to source ingredients for the Gritty Mix here is what I have come up with.

Let me preface this with, after much, much searching I have found the easiest way to source the ingredients, no matter where you are, is to call the manufacturer directly of the product you are looking for and ask if any retailers in your area carry it. This works much better than randomly calling the garden/landscape/feed/roofing retailers who will often have no idea what you are talking about. Also you have to be willing to devote some time to this and drive a little.

- Ewing Landscape & Irrigation Supplies (San Francisco)
- 1618 Jerrold Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124-2135, 415-695-9530
- Around $13 per 50 pound bag.

- Lyngso Garden Materials
- 19 Seaport Blvd, Redwood City, CA 94063, 650.364.1730
- What you want is the "1/8" Desert Gold (which is crushed granite).
- Al has verified that this will work in a previous post.
- Notes, this is a bigger landscaping supply store. You have to bag it yourself out of a big pile but it isn't too hard.
- $5 per bag which is about 100 pounds.
- In Al's notes he refers to this as Gran-I-Grit (grower size) or #2 cherrystone.
- For this product you can either go the chicken feed route (feed & grain stores), the roofing gravel route (roofing suppliers) or the lanscape supply route (crushed granite).

- In a prevous post of Al's he talked about how Shasta Forest Products was one of the large manufacturers in our area for fir bark. They sell 3 cu ft bags of fir bark in the perfect size "1/8" - 1/4")
- I called Shasta and they told me Nurseymen's Exchange in half moon bay carried the product.
- Nurseymen's Exhange (2651 North Cabrillo Highway, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, 650-726-6361)
- 3' Orchid Bark (1/8" - 1/4") (Mini)
- Note, Nurseymen's Exhange is a massive complex, when you pull in go up a little and to the right and park in the customer parking section. I think this place is for wholesalers but they did sell me.
- 3 cu feet for $15 each.

For all these places I would definitely call ahead and confirm they have the product in stock. Good luck and happy hunting. You _can_ find all these products, it just takes a little bit of time.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 5:19PM
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deburn(6 - Boston MA)

So today my quest for all 3 ingredients of the gritty mix ended, finally :-)

I had earlier picked up the Gran I Grit from Dodge Feed and Grain in Salem NH, thanks to meyermike_1micha . A bit of a drive from Boston, but doable. This was less than 10 bucks for 50 lbs!

Jodik put me on to Reptibark from any pet store. I got mine from PetSmart, I think it was 18.00 for 20 quarts or something like that. A little expensive but worth it, at least to get started!

And (drum roll!) today I got the equivalent of Turface from a NAPA dealer. It's called Floor Dry and was 10 dollars and change for a large bag (no size mentioned on the bag, maybe 30 lbs?).

I got this from Genuine Parts Company, 275 Salem Street, Woburn,MA 01801
(781) 933-5222. I went to another chain within the NAPA system yesterday, called Highland Auto Parts who did not have Floor Dry. They had something else which I did not buy since it did not specifically state "diatomaceous earth" as the primary ingredient, as I was told on this forum. The part # is NAPA #8822 Floor Dry.

Even the store that I got it from did not know it as Floor Dry. It was only when I told them that it was used to dry oil spills and it was like kitty litter that they figured it out. HTH

Many thanks to all of you who shared their findings!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 10:34PM
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It's our pleasure to help! I'm glad you found what you were looking for! :-)

ReptiBark might cost a bit, but it's perfect if you don't need a mountain of the stuff! Besides, you can use it straight out of the bag... no sifting, no rinsing, no separating, and no waste! Since I only need it for my indoor plants, it works out better than I could hope for!

The beauty of Al's recipes is that the ingredients can be easily substituted for other items if you can't locate the exact list. I couldn't find turface, so I used granite chips, instead. My mix contains fir bark, granite chips, and perlite. Those are the items easy to obtain for me.

The most important thing, I believe, is maintaining a relatively similar size between the particles. Amounts of each item can be played with until you find the right amount of moisture retention that works for you. I don't even measure... I eyeball as I pour my items into a bucket for mixing.

The important thing is that you found what you need, and you're ready to start! We're happy to help everyone to that end! :-)

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 10:20AM
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deburn(6 - Boston MA)

The one thing left on my list is something to sift with. Till I can buy one, I've been washing the gran- i - grit and turface which at least gets rid of the fines.

The gran i grit and turface seem to be similar in size but the bark is a lot bigger. I've repotted a couple with the mix already and had already potted a couple with just the gran i grit and bark, before I picked up the Turface

Jodik, Turface retains water doesnt it? if that's the case then how is granite chips a substitute for it?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 3:37PM
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I wouldn't think turface holds THAT much moisture... and for soil/medium volume, it's about the only thing I can locate. I wouldn't feel good about using just perlite and fir bark, although I probably could, so the granite chips round out the ingredients and add a bit of weight. If I feel I need a little more moisture retention, I add a handful of vermiculite or other moisture retentive item to the mix.

Don't forget... I'm only using the medium for indoor growing at this point, and the largest pot I have is probably 14" to 18". Most of my bulbs are potted in 8" to 12" pots, so I don't really need to sweat the little bit of added moisture retention that turface gives.

For my uses, the granite works fine. For someone else, it might not. They might prefer to use the turface if they're planting large pots or keeping them outdoors.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 6:17PM
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Per the sifter, here is a pre-made 1/8" version:

Also if you want to create your own, here is a good site that has many different sizes of hardware cloth.

I created a 6x6 version:

And also a 9x9 version:

I was able to find 1/4" hardware cloth at a local ace hardware that I used to screen out the big pieces.

Note, be careful about using "insect screen". I think there are different sizes of insect screen but the mosquito version is a really small netting and will only screen out very small fines.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 1:31AM
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I have a set of two wire mesh colanders that look rather like these

I'm thinking they will work for screening out what still goes through the 1/8" hardware cloth.

They also work perfectly for cooling coffee beans when they have finished roasting....


    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 11:20AM
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deburn(6 - Boston MA)

Jodik, great to know how your adaptation of the gritty mix is working for you. I have 2 pots with just the gran i grit and bark, that I did because I was too impatient to wait till I got the turface, so now I have two versions to compare!

kernul1 and landperson, thanks for those links. I will check them out asap. Right now as a matter of fact :-)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 10:27PM
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deburn(6 - Boston MA)

kernul1, that soil sifter is amazing - just what I was looking for. The ones that I've seen so far were either too small or too big (I have very little outdoor or storage space). This is perfect and not too expensive.

Love the site too, thanks for the link!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 10:43PM
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Quite honestly, it's the concept of the medium that's important... understanding why it works and how it works. Because every area of the country, and of the globe, will have different ingredients available to local growers, substituting an ingredient now and then is going to be unavoidable. But if you know the general concept of the medium, you'll know what substitutions are acceptable, workable. You'll know what to look for, and what you can get away with using. You'll know how each ingredient relates to the others, what items to avoid, and you'll get a feel for how much of each makes the best mix to use in your own environment, for your particular uses.

I've been gardening and growing container plants for literally decades, and once I became interested in concentrating on one type of plant, I became interested in finding the best medium to grow in. I've tried just about every suggestion I've been given over the years, but nothing gave me the results I was looking for.

When I read Al's article on Soils, Water Retention, and PWTs, it all became amazingly clear. However, I was still stuck locating the listed ingredients with which to mix a better medium. After much searching, I found three workable ingredients for my growing situation... and I haven't looked back!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 3:09AM
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johnweh(10 Boca Raton FL)

I finally found a pine bark fines supplier. The Bushel Stop carries 2 cu.ft. bags for $6.75. They have several locations
in southeast Florida.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 1:56PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

That is excellent news, John! And a great price, too!
Floridians rejoice ;)


    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 6:05PM
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johnweh(10 Boca Raton FL)

I found Timberline Pine Mulch at the Coconut Creek FL Walmart for $2.68/2cu.ft. The bag only says pine mulch, but the receipt rings up as pine bark mulch. I went on Timberline's website & saw that they have another product called Soil Conditioner. The website gives no details on either product so I sent them an email for more info.
I spent $6.75/bag at a different store last week. Hopefully the Timberline mulch is of good quality because the price can't be beat.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2010 at 6:22PM
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American Plant Products (wholesale, will sell retail)
9200 N.W. 10th St.
(405) 787-4833

They sell 3 cf bags of pine bark fines, Turface, course sand and perlite, sphaghnum peat, everything you need for Al's mix. Very inexpensive, too.


    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 8:26AM
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Pine Bark Fines- Sources wanted in Central Pennsylvania, Harrisburg/Hershey area.

I've been looking for acceptable fines for years, literally. Anyone with any sources for pine bark fines, I would greatly appreciate any information. Laura

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 7:27PM
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In case you're still reading this, Jodik is mostly correct in that a critical part of the soil is the size of the ingredients largely determines how it works. But Turface IS the most water holding ingredient out of the 3 common ones. Although you CAN substitute Turface with other products that hold less moisture (like pumice, lava rock, etc) your total water holding capacity is reduced and you WILL need to water more often. If you eliminate Turface in one particular mix, and if your plant is outdoors and you live in a zone 8 or above, your risking having to water more than once a day (depends on many, many factors obviously). But that is a real risk. The gritty mix already requires a higher demand for watering frequency compared to what a beginner is used to, so I'd tell everyone to hold out until Turface or it's counterparts are found (Turface, Floor Dry, Axis, Playball, etc).

On April 11th, scubastan says to ask for A-1 Grit in #5. But the latest posting, by cebury, says to ask for #10.
Which one is correct?

As Al answered, you can get anything from #5 to #10 (or even #12 as I stated, but you're walking the border going that fine). The #6-#8 mesh is probably ideal. I fight hot 110+ dry weather where I live (~10" rain per year) so I was intentionally going with smaller granite that will force the mix to hold a bit more water. Anyone in the Bay Area or coastals of CA don't need to do this, despite hot temps.

If I were building a soil for indoor houseplants, I would ideally use #8 mesh.

Just understand the tradeoff: the larger pieces you use, the less water it holds but the more aeration it has. As long as they are within the ranges stated above.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 4:48PM
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lindasewandsew(So Cal 9)

Bulk perlite and pumice. Price list on the website.

Wolfinbarger Landscape Materials
5675 Francis Ave., Chino, CA 91710
Green All Micro Bark: Lots of other goodies.

Whittier Fertilizer
9441 Kruse Rd. Pico Rivera, CA 90660
Phone: (562) 804-8736
For decomposed granite, small gravel, and a huge selection of rock and gravels.

Sunburst Decorative Rock
282 Live Oak Avenue
Baldwin Park, CA 91706-1311
(626) 446-4994
For Turface products:

Ewing Landscape and Irrigation supplies
Click on the Branch Locater. They cover a wide area of the country as well as many stores in California. My nearest is San Dimas.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 1:52AM
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Thank you, cebury... I should have added that understanding the role, and the attributes, of each ingredient will help you to better choose substitutions, when necessary.

Since I couldn't get turface, I did have to adjust watering.

I think what I was getting at is that the closer in relative size you can keep all the ingredients, the better it will work... but we should also understand what each ingredient brings to the mix.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 8:26AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Thanks, Linda. You're a peach for adding those. Did the email addy I supplied work for you?


    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 2:22PM
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lindasewandsew(So Cal 9)

Hi Al, I sent an email and haven't gotten a reply yet, but hope to soon. Wow, I'm not often accused of being a 'peach', lol. Thanks so much, Linda

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 11:03PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

You need to choose your perspectives better. It's a compliment and not an accusation. ;o) Although, if you have to be accused of something, I suppose a 'peach' can't be an entirely bad thing, no matter how you dice it.

Besides, anyone who consistently makes positive contributions to the forum & is always friendly gets assigned 'peach' status automatically. ;o)


    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 1:05PM
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lindasewandsew(So Cal 9)

Hi Al, I sure did take it as a compliment, but being a life long smart a$$, sometimes I may not line up the words in the correct order, lol. (or maybe I'm just not funny, hehe.) Thanks again, Linda

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 5:46PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello Everyone...
I have been on my "hunt" for the ingredients myself here in Va.Beach, Va. On one of the top post...someone directed me to Stranges Nursery in Richmond Va...after several calls to the three different nurseries there...they did not have anything I was looking for. The buyer directed me to some local nurseries that might sell Bonsai mix...

I have searched several places..I did finf Turface (MVP)
for 19.95 for A 50Lb bag...That sounded a little pricey for I'll keep looking...

Today I fond the local feed and seed that has been there since I was a little one...they had grit..not the oyster shell type, but granite..the "grower" size that I brought home (only a handful) seemed to large for me..he said that they will have "starter" and "developer" grit soon. I can order this...So I am feeling like I have started the good feeling in that I have succeeded in finding some of the ingredients...However, finding fir or fine pine bark is a different story. I read that I could go to petsmart and buy reptile bark. I think that I will need a larger bag..but I will try this if I cant find anything better. other nurseries have given me the "look" when I ask for these ingredients and seem to try to send me in the direction of Cactus mix or Bonsai mix (which isn't even in stock yet)

DO you think that the 50lb bag is way overpriced? (19.95)
I can call other surf and garden to price check later...

Foliage Pro seems turn into a different language when I ask everyone about this..LOL...I guess that I will order this online...

Does anyone have any suggestions for a "Southern Virginian"

I am trying to find...ready to make my seives...ready for repotting... ready to "start" ....wondering where?

Thanks for any advice...

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 11:10PM
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Hey, Laura... I use the ReptiBark fir bark from PetsMart, and the largest bag is plenty for my needs. I consider the price fair for what I'm getting, and I don't have to screen it.

If you're in the market for a larger amount of fir bark, might I suggest looking for a commercial orchid grower in your area... they often use a fine bark mix or may even have a medium to fine bark in bulk that you could talk them into selling.

For me, it came down to looking in the bonsai, orchid, and reptile areas of commerce. But there are other areas where bark is used, just to get you thinking... you never know where you might find your source. I wish I could be more helpful...

Just some thoughts... :-)

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 9:28AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Laura - Try Virginia Beach Feed & Seed (757) 497-2151 for Turface and fir bark. They may have to order from their wholesaler (Wetsel Seed in Harrison?) if not in stock, and I couldn't squeeze the information out of the person I talked to as to how appropriate the size of the bark is, so that's still a question. Don't let them tell you they don't have it available - they do. ;o)

John Jukowsky at (757) 357-7120 does have some appropriate size bark that he said he could part with in 2 cu ft bags.

If the fir bark ends up being a dead end, I would start calling any large nursery or greenhouse operations and ask them if they make their own soil. If they do, they'll have access to the bark and you can screen it. I found it in TX for Gymgirl this way.

I haven't worked on the grit at all, but I would call RURAL feed stores or (grain) elevators that sell fertilizer & chicken feed to locate it. It's really hard to make progress via the net because the net yellow pages suc.. stink. ;o)

Lemme know how you fare. I have bonsai contacts in the area and can go that route if this info doesn't pan out.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 2:27PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello Everyone!!!

Thank you Jodick for the information!! I'll check some other sources and if I cannot come up with want I'm looking for, then I will go for the Reptibark!! Thank you for your quick response...much appreciated!!! (The Bonsai mix at the Mcdonalds Greenhouse is not in yet for spring) They told me to keep I will!!!

Hello Al!! That was the same Feed and Seed store that I visited a few days ago...The gentleman that I spoke with offered me the "grower "size grit. He also said that he has finer grit such as "starter" (smallest) and offers "developer" which he says is the size between the two. He did say that he had the Turface ( 19.95) for a 50lb bag. I will be alright with this if you all think that this is a fair price? If I had to drive for 60 miles or so to sav a few dollars, it's worth paying the price!!! The fir bark info from this person at VB Feed and Seed did not come about... I will check on this again tomorrow...When I asked him the other day about the "bark" ( Fir or Pine) He tried to direct me to the "bagged mix" so I thanked him and I was off to another store. I think that he will be helpful for the Turface and the Grit. I will ask again with the information that you provided (Wetsel Seed).

Thank you so much for all the helpful really are very kind to make these calls for me. It's funny how I was just there and then they have different info for another caller!!! I certainly am grateful for all of the help...I will make a call to (John) if all else fails. To find a source for the "mix" is like a treasure Hunt!!! LOL.. finding a piece of the treasure is very rewarding!!

Thanks Again for all of your help...

Greeting from Va. Beach!!

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 10:27PM
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It's our pleasure, Laura... we're always happy to help a fellow plant lover!

Most commercial outfits and their sales people or clerks have no idea what we're talking about... they're stuck in "bagged mud mode", for the most part. They only sell the items, and few have knowledge of uses. Sometimes, you really have to pry to get the lid off... to get them to grasp what you're looking for, and why.

Bonsai mixes can be a good place to start... but I think most are a little bit too fine for our purposes, and you'll find that they're rather expensive, and bagged in very small amounts.

Here, in northern Illinois, I plan on stopping in at Oak Hill Gardens in Dundee, an orchid grower... they sell a wonderful fir bark by the 3 cubic foot bag. I haven't made my turface calls yet, but we do have John Deere dealerships around the area. I'm confident I can find turface this year. And since we're quite rural, I should have no problem locating cherry stone or granite poultry grit in the size and quantity I want.

For small amounts of gritty mix, you can't beat ReptiBark, Manna Pro poultry grit, and a bag of perlite... it's a good starting point, anyway. It worked for my smaller needs. But as I expand my growing, I'll need larger quantities of each ingredient... and so... the hunt is on! :-)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 10:10AM
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Laura, I don't think I saw the reply in the last few posts, so here is my opinion:

$20 is pricey for the 50lb Turface bag, but you aren't being "ripped off". I can get it for $11.99 and at most $16 or so from Ewing Irrigation here in Fresno, CA.

However, if this is a good supplier who is friendly & willing to explain things and have a long-term relationship with -- what's spending an extra 4 bucks on a one-time purchase? No more searching and driving. After all, he is probably only making at most $8 bucks (which is a huge markup but whatever) on the bag before his time, business overhead, employees, etc. I'd pay the money and show up in person when it's least busy and ask dozens more questions, including pushing to have him special order the Grit -- that's worth the extra cost to me! But YMMV!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 8:38PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

For the supplies near St. Louis Missouri you can find nearly everything in Kirkwood:

At the OK Hatchery - (314-822-0083) - you can find Turface, Axis (similar in function I hear?), and Gran-I-Grit Growers size.

Nearby at Kirkwood Supply (314-822-9644) you can get pine fines.

Has anyone tried using Axis in place of Turface yet? I saw several threads talking about comparing them but haven't seen anyone actually using it yet. Can I use it in the same ratio as Turface despite the fact that it holds significantly more water?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 5:43PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello Everyone....

Thanks Cebury...I did buy from the local Feed and Seed...and yes, they were very helpful!!! Especially after they found out that I was
born and raised here...LOL...These "local" folks like to stay together...LOL

I picked up two 50 lb bags of turface...
2 50lb bags of "growers grit"...
2 large bags of coarse perlite...

SO i am pleased to find this....But finding the larger bags of fir bark is a challenge!!! LOL...but i haven't given up yet...but it seems to be a dead end at every corner.... Reptibark will keep me happy... I did pick up some Gym. and some have on hand as well....

Hope everyone is having a great day!!! Quite windy here yesterday (gusts up to 60!!!)...snow up north and in the mid plains...blizzard warnings ...Uggggg!!!...Stay warm... : )

Take care everyone... thank you for all of your help...I certainly appreciate everything that you all do for me!!!

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 3:58AM
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peapod13(8 South Sound WA)

Here's some places to get the ingredients for the 1,1,1 mix in Olympia, WA.

Fir Bark
Great Western Supply
9418 Old Highway 99 South
(360) 754-3722
Fir Bark Chuncks-Mini Pebble 1/8"-3/8" $16.25 (half yard minimum)

Turface MVP $17/ 50# bag
Ewing Irrigation
5880 Linderson Way
(360) 357-9530

Kiperts Korner Feed
8439 Old Highway 99 South
(360) 352-3309
No.2 Cherry Stone $13/ 50# bag

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 9:11PM
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I have been having an extremely difficult time securing the grit here in Southern NJ. I was able to fairly easily get the Turface and pine fir bark. If anyone living in this area has any ideas, please be so kind to reply.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 4:35PM
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If you live in Southern NJ, here is where I found the grit products/

1. Tractors Supply Company. They have stores throughout the state. I picked up Manna Poultry Grit there in 25 pound bags, for $9.00 per bag.
2. Turface Allpro- John Deere Landscaping Supply in either Cherry Hill or Sewell.
3. Reptibark from Petsmart. I would have preferred picking it up somewhere else, but so far I have not had luck finding it elsewhere. I'll keep looking.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 6:44PM
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roselane(5b/6a Kansas)

Pine bark fines can be found at Suburban lawn and garden in Kansas City. I was at the one off state line, but I assume they all have them at all locations. Great thread!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 10:18AM
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Checking quantities here. I have 4x 30 gallon Smart pots and 4x 20 gallon Smart Pots with fruit trees in commercial potting soil currently. If I were to switch everything to Al's Gritty Mix, I believe I will need 4.3 cu ft for each 30 gal and 2.6 cu ft for each 20 gal, for a total of 27 cu ft or so.

Does it look like Should I buy:
7x 50# turface
10x 80# crushed granite
5x 2 cu ft bags bark fines

How much wastage should I expect? Should I buy 30-40% more Turface and 15-20% more bark fines?

In Los Angeles, I have found these nearby sources:

Turface MVP at Ewing Irrigation in Glendale, $12 / 50# bag. ~1.4 cu ft (says

A1 #5 Crushed Granite at Burbank Roofing in Burbank, $5 / 80# bag. ~1 cu ft (standard granite weight estimate)

Fir Bark Fines at OF Wolfinbarger in Chino, $4.50/2 cu ft bag. Going to try to find some at a local landscaper or HD/Lowes to save me the drive, or else find a nursery out that way when I go!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 8:26PM
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Found Turface MVP and Pine Fines at Ewing Irrigation.
Mon-Fri: 7 to 5
Sat: 7 to 11
300 Hickman Drive
Sanford, FL 32771-6901
Phone: (407) 330-2112
Fax: (407) 330-2119

Now, just need to find the crushed granite or equivalent!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 4:15PM
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johnweh(10 Boca Raton FL)

Can anyone suggest a supplier of 2cu.ft. or bigger bags of perlite in SE FL? Thanks, John

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 8:36PM
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conon(6b, Southern, IN)


Just located Turface MVP at Tenbarge Seed in Haubstadt, IN for only $7.95 per 50 # bag and at John Deere Landscape in Evansville, IN for $18.80 per 50 # bag. JD has a product called "All Sport", which Tapala said is that same as MVP. I can now take my Oil Dry back to Menard's.

Tapala is the Container Gardening Soil GOD!!!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 5:39PM
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    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 8:09PM
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was checking around ebay for ingredients and found that they have a bit of turface. looks like it might be farely expensive, but if you don't need a bulk amount and are having a tough time finding it, I thought I'd throw it out there.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate the other ingredients anyway (although gowanus nursery in brooklyn says they usually have it, but are just not currently stocked).

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 7:19PM
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Turface mvp, found from web:
Plant Products Co. Ltd.
Brampton web:
pick up

grain grit adult
Budson Farm & Feed Company.Erin,
ordered by phone took 1 week

Pine Bark
All Treat Farms Limited. web:
search suppliers in your area
"canada red" pine bark mulch

Great thread

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 2:48PM
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I found All 3 ingredients for Gritty at Bowen's Farm Supply in Annapolis, Md.

Turface MVP 50lb $11.50
Fine Pine soil conditioner 2CuFt $3.40
Grani Grit Grower 50lb $7.60

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 10:42PM
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I haven't gotten the courage to re-pot anything in this mix just yet, I'm just getting started in keeping plants.
I am however familiar with granite grit. I'm a ceramic artist, and it can be used to melt out at high temperatures, moral of the story, in Central IL, bloomington area, granite grit of different grades can be purchased at Farm and Fleet for under $10. Not sure if it's exactly what you're going for but it may be a place to start.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 8:06AM
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Ok, so I'm a newb and trying to find out exactly what I need for the 5-1-1 and 1-1-1 gritty. I have been reading all the posts and I'm still confused. I am going to use the 5-1-1 for my potted tomatoes and peppers. I am going to use the Gritty for my indoor bromeliad and hot peppers I will over winter.

I have seen where the Pink Bark Fines is referred to as 'soil conditioner' as well as the Turface being referred to as 'soil conditioner'. What exactly is Turface, I've also read that it was like kitty litter, isn't that the same as the grit? I plan on buying the Reptibark for my Gritty so I won't have to screen and not for sure what I will need to get for the 5-1-1 bark fines. Locally I have Lowes, Tractor Supply, and Atwoods. I called Tractor Supply and they carry the Manapro grit for $4.99 and Atwoods has a 5lb bag of grit for $2.87 (they didn't know what brand). Then do I need to get the Lime and Gypsum for both (which for which mix?) or can I get just one of the two to use on both mixes? I don't have to make very much so I really don't want to have to buy 50 lb bags of all this! lol Also, what exactly to do for both on the fertilizer that's listed? Thank you so much for the help and sorry for all the q's!


    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 3:04PM
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Hi Nate - saw that you posted asking about supply sources here in Colorado back in 08/2010, and received no answers. I am in the hunt for them now and have found some things.

I have not checked at the John Deere Landscapes (there is one in Englewood and one in Broomfield) to see if they have Turface, but the NAPA Auto Parts in Arvada carries the 25 lb bags of Oil Absorbant #8822:

5310 West 64th Ave
Arvada, CO 80003

The Wardle Feed Store has both the Manna Pro chicken grit and the New Ulm Quartzite Quaries Cherrystone #2 (which is what I purchased):

Wardle Feed and Pet Supply
7610 W 42nd Avenue
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033

I have not been able to find the uncomposted pine or fir bark at any of the big box stores here, but I know that Paulino Gardens (6300 North Broadway, Denver, CO) has orchid bark and I am going to check there next week to see if they carry the "fine" grade.

I was able to find ZooMed Repti-Bark at the PetSmart in Arvada:

5285 Wadsworth Bypass
Arvada, CO 80002

I was planning to use Dyna-Gro Foliage-Pro for the fertilizer so didn't look for gypsum; you don't need gypsum in the mix if you use this fertilizer. I have been unable to find a local source for this particular Dyna-Gro product, however, so will probably end up ordering on line.

Now I am looking for sources for the 5:1:1 mix - the bark is probably going to be the hardest thing to locate.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 12:26AM
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ykerzner(9 TX)

For those of you in Houston, crushed granite can be found at Quality Feed and Garden Inc, at 4428 North Main Street, zip code 77009. 50 lb bags are about $13. Southwest Fertilizer sells bags of Turface MVP for $14.99 apiece. (They also sell STEM micro-nutrient bags if you really need it.) Cornelius Nursery sells 2 cubic foot bags of aged and cured pine bark mulch for $9.99. It does need to be sifted, however. A cheaper alternative is to buy 3 cubic foot bags of pine bark mulch at Southwest Fertilizer for $3.99 each, then sift as needed. Each bag should yield about one cubic foot of PBF of the right size.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 10:11PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Bump. ;-)

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 11:48AM
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TMT Enterprises, Inc.
1996 Oakland Road,
San Jose, CA 95131

I found them using the distributor locator on It's on the homepage, upper right hand

Bark Fines:
Repti-Bark from any local petco or petsmart. Still looking for a cheaper source.

Manna Pro Poultry Grit
I had to have it special ordered from a nearby An-Jan Pet and Feed Supply. It's quite overpriced, but I have searched far and wide by car, phone, and internet. I have called and visited nurseries, feed stores, hardware stores, landscaping suppliers, roofing suppliers, rockeries, and nothing. Feed has added crushed oyster shells, rockeries and landscaping suppliers only go as low as 1/4" crushed granite, with about 10% yield if you screen for 1/8" (granite. is. heavy.). Everyone else was clueless and/or laughed at me for trying to use rocks for plants...

If you are willing to screen (this is what I did for the small amount of grit I now have), you've got another option:

U-Save Rockery
589 E. Gish Road
San Jose, California 95112

I'm still searching for a cheaper supply of bark fines and crushed granite. This is quite frustrating, but I'm not giving up yet.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 4:35AM
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I'm in Dallas and was able to find Manna Pro Poutry Grit (to replace the Gran-i-Grit) at the Tractor Supply Co. in both Denton and Mesquite. Go to their website and do a store locator search to find the one nearest you.

I ended up just buying Reptibark while it was on sale at a local Petsmart. Thankfully, I only have one small tree - so the price is not a big issue for me.

Instead of the Turface, I bought Napa #8822 which I was able to find at the Napa Store in Farmer's Branch.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 6:05PM
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Massachusetts locations for gran i grit - Ventura Grain 148 Longmeadow Road Taunton, MA (508) 824-7292, call ahead to make sure it's in stock

Turface - John Deere in stoughton, Ma (Allsport same as MVP)781-341-4746 387 Page St

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 7:10PM
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If you're in the UK you will probably have had difficulties finding a supplier for pine bark that isn't 'trade only'; most of these products are a secret of the nursery trade and it's almost like they don't want the consumer to be able to buy any ;-)

Since my last post here, Avoncrop went bankrupt, but I've found a new supplier for pine bark, that will sell retail to non-trade customers. BHGS Limited: Vale Park, Evesham, Worcestershire, WR11 1GP. 01386 444 100. They sell Melcourt Propagating Bark, (pound)8 per 70 litres, it's pure pine bark in a 2-7mm size. It is sold as a component for nurseries to use in their own soil mixes and the manufacturer's product sheet says it can be used at 25% to 100% by volume in soil mixes. They also confirm it is nutrient free so can safely be used with plants like proteas that have a requirement for no Phosphorous.

If you need a supplier in the south-west, J F C Monro will deliver Propagating Bark to Cornwall and Devon, they are based in Hayle right down at the far end of Cornwall.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 3:25PM
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Rotareneg(5b KS)

Orscheln stores carry poultry grit. The one in Hays, KS had 50 pound bags of Cherrystone #2 and 5 pound bags of Manna Pro poultry grit. The NAPA auto parts store in Stockton, KS had Floor-Dry #8822. I couldn't find any pine or fir bark so I just ordered a 24 qt bag of Repti-bark online from I gave up on the gypsum and am just going to use Foliage-Pro.

While searching for the bark I went to several different nurseries and they looked at me like I was looking for something illicit when I asked if they had pine or fir bark... apparently they don't like those new-fangled city plants, orchids and what-not, out here.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 9:18AM
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CEFreeman(DC/MD Burbs 7B)

This is incredibly way off topic, but I must.

I've been online since the mid 80s when there were only BBS & we paid by the byte. My how things have grown and changed...

Look what the Internet has created just in this thread. Can you imagine finding these resources, sharing these experiences, and just plain getting such incredibly, freely shared advice before the Internet? People who just recently whined about hating answering machines are now emailing and posting with great flourish and enjoyment. :)

I think I speak for everyone, when I can only thank you all for your help humor.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 9:47AM
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If you have large amounts needed, Wolfinbarger in Chino will mix for you, $25 for a couple cu yards. They don't carry Turface, but trying to find out more about the "Angel Mix" they carry for baseball infields (Corona Clay is the manufacturer).

I am going to get 2 cu yards of 5-1-1 this weekend, by getting 1 scoop of "32. 0-1/4" composted fir bark" and 3 scoops of "7. Nutrient Mix with peat & perlite" which has a larger than 5-1-1 ratio of peat & perlite, hence the added fir bark above. It also has dolomitic lime and some other nutrients already in there.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 6:04PM
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Any suppliers in texas, preferably towards lewisville =)

Im looking to report my new peach tree, the turface is going to be my biggest battle!

Sorry, kinda N00B here =p

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 12:24AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Let me know if you're still interested in the Turface. I won't go through the legwork unless I know you're still watching the thread. I looked at your user page & you don't have an email link set up ..... or I'd have emailed you.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 10:25AM
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esox07 (4b)

Does anyone know of a place I can get pine bark fines or fir bark fines in the central wisconsin area. i am about 50 miles north of Madison and willing to drive about an hour if necessary. The Milwaukee area is tooo far.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 4:50PM
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