Various Clarifications on Gritty Mix and 5-1-1
I am quite new to this forum, and I have benefitted from the collective wisdom available here tremendously. I have searched the boards to make sure I don't ask any redundant questions (hopefully), but I have a few questions regarding the gritty mix and 5-1-1 and container growing more generally.
I hope these questions aren't overly tedious, but I am attempting to grow japanese maples in containers, and I am rather paranoid about messing something up.
1. Is there any container size limit for using either the gritty mix or the 5-1-1, or will either of them work regardless of container size (I am growing japanese maples in medium to large containers)? I know Al uses the mix for bonsai, but I wondered if anyone uses it for larger containers.
2. Is there any reason to use 5-1-1 over the gritty mix other than for short-term plantings and cost? I know Al mentioned using the 5-1-1 for plants grown seasonally, and said that he used the gritty mix for his "woody" plants (I took this to mean trees). But I recall reading somewhere that one member uses 5-1-1 for younger trees, and gritty mix for more mature ones. Is there any basis for the latter distinction, or is the only difference seasonally-grown v. long-term?
3. The "official" rendering of gritty mix only calls for screening the bark and turface, but other postings have mentioned screening other parts as well, such as the gran-i-grit (or silica sand substitute). Is there a consensus on what parts to screen, or an official "Al" opinion. If other parts are to be screened, I am assuming different screen sizes are required for the different components?
4. Must the gran-i-grit be crushed after purchasing, or does the recipe simply used "crushed" to describe the gran-i-grit in its purchased state?
5. Other forums have mentioned "Schultz Aquatic Plant Soil" as an alternative to Turface. Is this still a readily available alternative? Also, is the DE (I forget the long-form name) a suitable substitute? Some say DE is not hard clay like the Turface, so it may break down, but some say it is ok to use.
I think that is all for now. Again, I apologize for the length and for being overly technical. I am perhaps overly paranoid about doing something wrong and damaging the trees.
Thanks a lot,