5-1-1 Hosta Mix Pine Bark

jamiedolan(4/5)July 23, 2011

HI;

Sorry I have not been back in the past couple weeks as I said I would, time has just gotten away from me this month. I took a bunch of my larger hosta and made a large bed and planted them in the ground. I mixed a large amount of wood mulch in with the soil along with peat. It was over 300 sqft so it was pretty large to use much else.

I just got in 480 Hosta liners I need to plant up. I had a few dozen that I planted up earlier this month and I just mixed maybe 1:1 bark with some miracle grow I had, I know likely not idea, but I knew the Hosta would have been okay in just the miracle grow, so I figured with the bark they would do better.

The best bark mulch I've been able to get my hands on is called small western bark mulch. It measures about 1/4" thick and the pieces then range from about 3/4" by 3/4" up to about 3/4" by 1-1/2". It is clean and has few fines. This is what I mixed in with the miracle grow. What I used in the gritty mix I made was a little smaller, but very inconsistent, so it not only had to be screened, but had to have many large pieces removed.

I know the size is not what you said was ideal "The best sizes for the 5:1:1 mix are dust to 3/8". The gritty mix works best with bark sized 1/8 - 1/4"." So I'm not even close to the 3/8". I understand why you can't use smaller particles, but am wondering about the slightly larger ones.

As long as the mixture is workable for the size containers I am using, is there a problem using the large bark? I'm not sure where else to look for smaller bark, unless I've missed it somewhere, I've looked at all the normal places, Home Depot, Menards, Stein, Lowes, Walmart, Hardware Stores, and I also checked with SunGro who makes some commercial bark mulch mixes and the only place that sells their mixes within about 100 miles absolutely refuses to sell retail. Due the the volume I need small bags of reptile bark or orchid bark are out of the question cost wise; at least at the prices I've seen. The hydroponics store gets little bags of orchid bark and similar, but again, the cost is very high.

Hope your doing well.

Thanks

Jamie

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

When you use particles that large, mixed with small particles, the medium pretty much retains the properties of the fine particulates. Drainage (flow-through rates) and the height of the PWT will remain almost the same as they were if you were using only the finer ingredients, though o/a water retention will be reduced. All the bark does, in addition to reducing o/a water retention, is reduce the amount of space in the medium that is available for root colonization, which would have to be logged as a negative in the list of cause/effect relationships.

Al

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 8:30PM
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jamiedolan(4/5)

Thanks for your response. I have around 100 Hosta planted in the mix with the larger bark, so now I know they are in a far less than optimal mix. Do you think I am worse off now than if I am just used an out of the bag miracle grow type of mix?

Until I can find the proper pine bark, should I still try this mix with the larger pieces or am I better off going back to a miracle gro product?

Thanks;

Jamie

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 11:41PM
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