Las Vegas OilDri report

demolitron(8)October 11, 2009

Hello all,

Just in case anyone else in the Las Vegas area was looking for a cheap turface type substance I wanted to let you know that the OilDri that Walmart carries here is a good product for the time being.

I bought six 25# bags of it yesterday from two different stores and soaked them overnight. They did not break down into mud. The granules can be broken with a fingernail if you try. I even put some in a pot and boiled it for 20 minutes to see if it would break down. Nope.

The size is okay, but I think you'd want to screen it down for the gritty mix. I estimate (guess) that maybe 25% is smaller than insect screen...


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Sorry aaron but I followed the same path that you did...putting it in water, boiling it, freezing it and thawing it and thought it was a good idea to use instead of turface. That was in March and its now october and all my gritty mix is mud( except for the granite sand which is still there). I believe it has to do with the fact that beneficial bacteria/microbes colonized the pores in the oildri and when they grow and expand...POP! They split the granules apart. Kinda like a chick coming out an egg. If i were you id look around for something more durable during growing offseason and get ready for when spring comes. Its what Im gonna do now that I got mud

    Bookmark   October 16, 2009 at 1:24AM
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Yep, just saw your report in the container thread. Only time tells the tale, ey? I wonder if it will be okay in the 5-1-1 mix? Did the OilDri hold up for 8 months or was it less? Considering a short 6 month run for vegetables I would like to use up what I bought, and opened, already. =)


    Bookmark   October 16, 2009 at 12:51PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

Oil Dri is very cheap at Sam's Club. It's like $4 and some change for a 50LB bag! I used some with my house plants mix and so far so good. It's only been 2 months or so though. The mix is peat, vermiculite, permite, compost and Oil Dri. We'll see what happens in 6 months.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2009 at 3:55PM
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I was thinking about what could cause the breakdown of the OilDri and starting to think about the pH of the soil solution. I put some white vinegar into a cup of OilDri and it started to bubble. It been a couple hours now and its still bubbling.

I know that straight vinegar has a much lower pH and overall acidity than our plant soils. But this is leading me to think that perhaps some of the minerals in the substrate are being dissolved slowly by the acidic soil solution.

Also, I've got some OilDri in a pressure cooker and I'll let that go for half an hour or so to see if that makes it break down.


    Bookmark   October 16, 2009 at 6:11PM
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Just to report:

A one hour cook in the pressure cooker did nothing to the OilDri I have on hand.

The OilDri soaking in Vinegar is still bubbling a bit, but so far seems to be holding up without any noticeable degradation.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 1:44AM
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Hmm well I guess it is possible that the acidity of the pine bark fines could react with any alkaline materials in the Oildri but I sure I put enough lime to counteract it. I throw my hands up

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 12:59AM
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OMG that is very scary. I'm hoping to encourage you and telling you there are many of us that appreciate your time and efforts trying to find the cause of the decay!

I used all the products, but have many more in the Napa version, more than the Turface, Playball, and Axis.

Please please keep us posted!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 1:42PM
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I should've stated I realize the behavior you cited is not cause for alarm for everyone. Some of the products are calcined DE vs. clay and that even within OilDri it may be mined & processed at completely different locations (thus inconsistency). Even though the cause of OilDri breakdown in such a time period (6mo's?) it wouldn't necessarily apply to any of the competing products, it would a valuable discovery nonetheless IMO.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 2:49PM
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I think at this point it would be helpful for oildry users to chime in. I have tried it, but removed it from possibility of use after finding it reverts to mud within several hours of exposure to room temperature water.

How about those of you who have tested oildry and found it stable and then went on to use it in a container? What happened to it after several months?

My pet theory is that these products are made in many different places and due to weight are distributed to limited geographical areas so it would be helpful if you were able/willing to disclose your general geographical location. As an example all Oil Dry type products revert to mud within hours of water saturation in my geographical area (SE Wisconsin). This includes the various kitty litter products. The hypothesis is that if one products works out in an area most/all of them will as they were probably manufactured at the same place and simply have different labels.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 4:41PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

FWIW - the NAPA Floor-Dry, part #8822 I have used is extremely stable.

I think you guys are barking up the wrong tree looking for any chemical cause for the breakdown of whatever product you are using. It's almost certainly a physical thing, caused by the product being fired at temperatures too low to make it stable, or the product simply being prilled and not fired at all. If you freeze it and it remains stable when it thaws, it should be fit to use if the size is appropriate and there are no additives like perfumes or gummy clumping agents.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 9:05PM
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Freeze/thaw method is a stronger test rather than boil/thaw method? When you suggest freezing -- just in it's dry state? I assume you mean to give it a good long soak then freeze/thaw?

Al: Would you mind sharing how long you've had Napa #8822 in your container(s) #?. Oh and what is your geographical area :=p

Thanks !

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 10:22PM
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Im in texas and I got the OilDri from Walmart...Now Al says that the napa floor-dry is stable so I'll probably look into that.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 12:10AM
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I've used the NAPA FloorDri for some months now in the TX heat with frequent watering. So Far So Good...

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 5:31PM
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On this same general topic I'm testing a new find, Moltan Oil Absorbent #7133 from the local Autozone auto parts store. A 33# bag costs about $6.00. This is probably very similar to OilDri (fired clay particles).

So far I have soaked it in water for a week and also frozen it for a week then thawed it out. So far the clay particles have not broken down at all. I have not boiled or microwaved it or grown anything in it so far.

The particles are medium gray in color, with largest sizes roughly 1/4" in size, all the way down to fines. You would have to screen the material to remove the fines. The particles can be crushed with your fingers if you press *very* hard.

When added to water you do hear a "hissing" sound similar to the sound Turface makes when added to water. Probably a very similar product.

As a further test I have several small containers filled with 7133 sitting outdoors in the same conditions as my other container plants. I will leave the containers of 7133 outdoors all winter and see what happens in the spring.

So far I like this product but time will tell. If it survives a winter outdoors without breaking down then I believe it should be OK for use with container plant mixes.



    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 11:12PM
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Update: so far the Moltan 7133 oil absorber is still holding its shape and texture despite lots of rain and cold (freezing/frost) temps. The small pots Im using as a test have been outdoors in all conditions for a couple of weeks and no sign of problems yet. One of them has a small weed of some kind growing in it, so maybe that will be my test plant lol.

Ill keep an eye on the containers and report back every so often.

In my earlier tests most cat litter or other oil dry products (except for the NAPA stuff) broke down quickly when exposed to soaking water or freezing temps. So far only the NAPA and regular turface have held up without problems, and so far so has the 7133 oil absorber.

I admit my tests arent very scientific but I try to test under the same conditions that plants would encounter (soaking, freezing, etc.) I probably wont microwave or boil this product during testing since plants would never be subjected to those conditions anyway.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2009 at 3:07PM
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