I picked a 24 quart bag yesterday for $10.99 with my Petperks card. Regular price is $17.99. I'm in Lexington, KY.
Not only did I pick, I -picked up-.
A short footnote regarding ZooMed's ReptiBark... although not listed on the bags, it seems that the larger bags contain larger bark particles... the small bags contain particulate closer to the desired size.
Since I've only purchased the small and medium sized bags, I've gotten bark sized as I need, but it's been brought to my attention that the larger bags offer a larger product... though it's unknown why this is.
Oh :( I'll have to check that out. I've bought 10 bags of the largest size at different Petsmarts in my area because of this sale (it ends on May 25th, I believe). I figured it was probably a local thing, so I didn't think to post about it.
It's always good to find a sale... it's an expensive product. I buy it because I don't need a gigantic bulk amount for my uses. A few small bags does it quite nicely for me. I only use the gritty mediums for my personal plant collection, which I grow mainly indoors.
Due to the volume of plant material I grow outdoors, and the time and effort I have to put in maintaining it, it's better all around for me to slightly amend a quality commercial soil. The majority of plants will be sold, and most will be planted in the ground by the clients.
But I mention the product size difference just in case anyone is thinking of buying large quantities. It would be to everyone's advantage to check out the bark size before purchasing. Others have noticed that the large bags contain larger chunks, and the small bags have pieces of what I find to be a perfect size.
$110 seems like an awful lot to pay for less than 9 cubic feet (10 Bags)
"$110 seems like an awful lot to pay for less than 9 cubic feet (10 Bags) "
Yea pine bark is 4 for 2.0 cu ft. I thought it was not in my area but I found it at K-Mart.
ReptiBark IS expensive when compared to locating and obtaining the item bulk. But when a grower can't locate pine/fir bark elsewhere, it's a viable alternative. I think it's reasonably priced for the convenience involved, reasonably priced for the amount of handling necessary prior to using, and reasonably priced when you consider some growers only need a small amount.
If you need a large amount of pine bark, ReptiBark is probably not what you want to look for.
For me a large bag of ReptiBark is plenty for me when you consider it's only a third of the mix. Seeing as I can't find Pine bark in even close to the right size around here the RB is by far the easiest and if the sale is on cheapest solution.
Here're a couple photos of the Reptibark I bought in the 24 quart bag. Is this gonna be too large? Should I screen it first?
Here're a couple photos of the contents of the 24 quart bag dumped into a big tray.
I'd like to know if this looks right too. FWIW, I went into Petsmart yesterday and the pieces of bark looked identical in size between the large and small bags. I've looked all over Little Rock, AR for pine bark fines and had no luck. Last shot is KMart, then I'm going for the Reptibark (probably doing gritty mix for some lavenders and thyme).
The bark in the pics above is quite large and will require screening for the Gritty Mix.
You'd want particles half the diameter of the dime.
The particle size in the above pics is a bit larger than ideal, but it should still be fine for the gritty mix. With 2/3 of the mix being Turface and granite grit, there will be plenty of smaller particles to fill in the spaces created by the larger bark. As long as the majority of the mix is of an ideal particle size, a portion of larger particles shouldn't have any significant impact on soil characteristics. Like Al says, you'd have to add a whole lot of perlite to pudding before you changed its drainage characteristics.
If it were me, I'd use it as is.
When the gritty mix has large bark in it, the bark tends to separate and migrate to the top.
I agree with Josh, it looks to be a little large. Ideal size is 1/4" to 1/8".
I found a really nice perfect sized fir bark at a local nursery, It was labeled "fine grade". The big box type stores around here only carry real chunky fir bark.
Here's what I found .
Definitely screen the bark to remove the largest and smallest particles.
The issue with the large bark particles, as Al describes, is that the smaller grit -
turface and granite - will settle toward the bottom of the mix and hold moisture,
whereas the upper inches of the mix might dry too quickly.
For the full potential the Gritty Mix has to offer, it should be prepared properly.
Maybe I missed it, but I've never heard Al say anything about large bark migrating upwards in the gritty mix. I do remember this thread where he talked briefly about using larger bark in the gritty mix.
Question for tapla - 100% turface mixtures
The important parts: "If either of you guys are interested, I'll explain why the size of the bark is less important in this (gritty) soil than it is in the other mixes (like the 5:1:1 mix, if you're familiar with that one) that I often discuss.
If you have 1 part of Turface and one part of grit, you have 2 parts of soil that are comprised of roughly the same size particles. Adding large bark chunks would be like adding perlite to pudding - it's not going to alter the PWT or drainage properties much at all.''
Maybe he'll chime in here, but I've used larger bark in some mixes and never saw any separation. The very upper layer may separate slightly if you water forcefully, but that happens with any size bark. IMO the Reptibark bark pictured above would be just fine for the gritty mix and I wouldn't waste it by sifting away the larger particles, but to each their own.
Hey, Pen, I've read it a few times over the years, if I recall correctly.
Al often mentions that Fir bark, due to its shape, is best in the 1/8 to 1/4 inch range.
Pine bark, due to its more flat shape, can be slightly larger, 1/8 to 3/8 of an inch or so.
The bark is the largest particle in the Gritty Mix, which allows for a bit of breakdown
during the life of the planting.
"If you have 1 ingredient that varies significantly in size from the others, that ingredient tends to separate from the mix and you're left with a mix that retains the physical properties of the 2 more similar-size components. We want to keep the size range of the particles from just slightly under 1/8" (because that's where the PWT disappears) to about 3/16". The bark can be a little larger to allow for break-down over time. As particle size increases, the soils ability to hold sufficient water decreases. Also, if the bark and grit fractions are large, the Turface tends to settle to the bottom and hold too much water there, so you can see why size is important."
I think your recalling correctly. I recall the same. I've read it here and there in posts. Some with pics of a new mix and bark questions. Often concerning large bark at the surface.
And as far as the bark size is concerned, I believe your correct on that too. That's why I just bought the 3/8" screen, so I could save/use more of the pine bark. Less waste. And I sifted the fir using 1/4 and 1/8".
The new fir bark I have pictured above only had a few pieces above the 1/4" . It was labeled "fine grade" and perfect size.
Maybe your right, Josh. The only large bark I've used is pine bark, which is flatter than fir bark. Now I use a fine grade orchid (fir) bark, so it's not a concern. I thought I'd try to prevent unnecessary waste for those using the larger Reptibark, but it's not worth it if the soil's going to separate. It's probably best just to avoid the large bags of Reptibark. I've used the smaller bags in the past with good results.
I'll probably go ahead and screen it. I was planning on using 1/4" hardware cloth to separate the big stuff. Do I need to "screen down" with 1/16" insect screen?