Gritty Mix questions about turface, watering, and bark

May888April 24, 2014


It has been such a long journey in making this gritty mix for the first time. I hope it's worth it in the end.

I believe I did everything as instructed from researching/reading as many thread on gritty mix in this forum. However, I'm still in doubt what to do next. I hope someone can provide guidance for me to reach the end of my tiring journey :)

1. As pictured, do I need to water/wash the granite, turface, and bark before I mix it together? Or do I mix it together and then water the mix to flush away the dirt?

2. I have a 5 gal of turface that are less than 1/8 size after sifting a 50 lb bag. Is there any use of the remaining turface for something else or do I throw them away?

From my experience, the bark is the most expensive piece in finding bark within the 1/8 - 1/4 size. I have already spent $15 that resulted about 1/2 of the 5 gal bucket.

3. Is it possible or recommended to crush the remaining bigger size bark into small size within the 1/8 - 1/4 size?

Thanks in advance,

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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Some of the granite dust has trace minerals. I would not want to wash that away. Yes why not size the bark. I myself would throw all the turface away. Pore size is so small plants cannot utilize stored water. Diatomaceous earth has larger pores plants can actually retrieve stored water.
It holds more water too. Turface holds about 95% of it's weight in water DE holds 142%.So the PAW (plant available water is a lot more). Average Turface pore size is 0.045 microns, DE is 0.36 microns. Less energy needed to pull water out. Roots can penetrate DE, but not turface, pores are too small for roots, DE is large enough for roots to enter.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 8:08AM
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thank you for the response. I thought maybe I can use the left over turface to mix it with commercial soil bag.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 10:43AM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

Drew is full of it and aparently never reads any studies that get posted showing that Turface increases the available water in various container media. Turface DOES NOT hold onto water so tightly that the plants can't utilize stored water. There is a point as the mix dries where water that is held in the turface becomes unavailable, but that can be said of plain old garden soil too. Much of the water held in turface is available.

That said, the moisture retention curve for axis (DE) is better at holding water that is available to plants than turface (calcined clay)

You can use the sifted turface in your garden. Studies have shown it toimprove both sandy and clay soils.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 11:02AM
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thanks nil23.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 11:22AM
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Agreed, I use the turface fines in the garden as they help moderate moisture cycles by absorbing moisture from the soil when it's very wet and releasing it when the soil dries out.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 12:21PM
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