Pumice....A great inexpensive find for many I hope!

meyermike_1micha(5)October 23, 2009

Are you having a hard time looking for a replacement for turface...I just found out that "pumice" which works just as well for me can be found in the form of a product called "Dry Stall" sold by many feed stores to horse people to absorb moisture in stalls. I have a local Agway that sells it. Also grain stores usually carry it too.

I use to buy it for 25 dollars a pop for a 5 pound bag from e-bay, and I just found out that these stores sell bags as large as 40 pounds or 15 dollars. I am picking mine up this weekend.

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penfold2(4b, MN)

I can't find this stuff anywhere around here. Their website is less than helpful. For years now it's said "A national list of dealers will be posted soon." I tried emailing them a few months back and got no response. Perhaps a phone call would do the trick.

Please let us know how you like it. I'm curious what the particle size is like. Also, isn't pumice similar to lava rock which seems to hold very little water? I would have thought it would be a replacement for granite rather than Turface.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 5:49PM
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Are you kiddng me?

The pumice I use holds moisture just as much as turface..In fact that is what my friends in Cailifornia use in place of turface for growing most their tropicals in their gritty mix..
Pumice is what I was using until I was able to find "turface" here, "turface" being much cheaper for me to buy, and so readily available..
So I can use either or now. I like the pumice for it's natural coloring most of all, but too for it's ability to make my soiless mix porous and retain moisture just as well...

If you use pumice in place of granite, you are guarantied a soiless mix that will stay wet for far too long.
I have a small bag that was shipped to me a couple of months ago that is still moist when I open it..

If it were me having a hard time finding turface, I personally would use that, before I bought oil dry if it were easily available. The particle size is perfect according to another member who also uses the gritty mix. I will see this weekend, but I trust his judegment..


    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 6:27PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

California grower here!

Indeed, I use Pumice exclusively in lieu of Turface.
I've *heard* that there's Turface in Roseville and Sacramento....but I have access to different colors of Pumice right in town (Auburn). So, really, there's no reason for me to go fraternize with flatlanders. ;-)

Pumice holds *a lot more* moisture than I had first thought. Once the Pumice is incorporated into the lower levels of the mix, it will stay moist. This is great for things like ferns.

To adjust the moisture retention, you can simply reduce the amount of Pumice. If you want to keep the Pumice, try adding more Perlite and more Gravel (I use sharp Quartz), both of which hold very little moisture at all.

All of these ideas are built around the information presented by Al (Tapla) on these Forums. The longer I work with the mix, the more intuitive it becomes.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 11:12AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 11:38AM
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Pumice, called volcanic rock, is widely used in nursery mixes available from landscape suppliers all over the west. It is on average considerably larger particle size than Turface which is now available all over the west from the Horizon stores. Al

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 10:00AM
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I'm asking this question all over the place so I apologize if it becomes boring. I am looking for pumice for Worsleya procera, and can't find any in Canada. Substitutes have been recommended (dry stall, haydite) and I can't find them either.

Would 'lava rock' for a gas barbecue, crushed down to the right size, be a good substitute?


    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 10:58PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Mike, I've contacted the company of dry stall...and unfortunately NO stores are in FL carries their product
:o( Its a shame because it sounds like it would work great for me also. Se la vie...

Josh, what you posted above is GREAT stuff...again I don't know what it is about my small town that I live in? The closest place to get turface is two hours one way. None of the feed stores carry grani-grit bigger than 5# bags...I'm moving back to CA,lol...

Sorry Mike Michigan's out of the question...I can't handle SNOW!!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 12:00PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

I just found this product on the web...what do you guys think? Do you think this can be something that I can use as an alternative...one of the pet stores carry it locally. I called them and they said its made from Diotamaceous earth. But what has me concerned is the word "Deodorizer".

Thanks for the help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stall Dry

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 12:30PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

I would not use Stall Dry. It may be in a granular form to begin with, but it most likely turns to powder in water. Take a look at the link below. Have you tried looking for Floor Dry from Napa auto? It's a calcined diatomaceous earth product that doesn't break down. I use it in my mixes and it looks the same as it did nearly a year ago. It's very similar to Turface except it's a white/gray color instead of tan.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dry Stall and Stall Dry

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 2:09PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Thanks Penfold!! That's what I was afraid of... Appreciate it. Yes, I've used Napa part #8822. I was just trying to find other alternatives a little closer to home. There isn't a Napa store in my town either, but its in the next town over(so not too bad)! I do have to sift it, a lot of waste(too fine) but better than driving 4 hours,lol... Thanks again!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 2:17PM
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What's up with your town anyway Pug?
I have a whole bag of that Napa stuff on my porch, and I have yet to try it...It definately has a nice color..I think I remember jsutaguy saying at one time he likes it alot. If he did,then it is definately good stuff and a great substitute for turface as penfold2 says.
That is why I some a while back, I was too lazy to drive 15 miles to get turface, when the Napa store up the street had Floor Dry. Was it justaguy who said he liked it? Someone did, and was having great success with it. They also said it looks nicer in a soiless mix.. .

It's funny how some areas make it so difficult to find this stuff, and yet places like my area, I can buy all 3 products within a 20 mile radius..Sorry you can't get the stuff so easy..:-(

By the way, I have never seen the barbecue lava mentioned. Maybe someone will hep you on that one...Sorry...
Are you sure that NO one in your area sells anything like turface, pumice, or Floor Dry? I hope you find something.

Penfold2, thanks for the link. There is definately a vast difference between both product for such close wording..:-)

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 11:21PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Hey Mike...sometimes living in a small town can have its moments,lol...

I have been able to find the NAPA floor dry...the store isn't very close but not that bad, I like the product. Just have to sift...lot of waste. At least I can find something good to use, so I guess I shoudn't complain too much, its just like you said some people find it very easily and others its more of a challenge. Take care!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 2:29PM
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I drive 40 miles at least to get pumice. It runs $8.00 per bag. about 50 lbs. It does come in different sizes. The problem is that it is mined here in Calif. and I understand that it is located on an Indian reservation that it is running out. I think volcanic rock may be used also.
Dry stall is a great substitute. Perlite is a good substitute, and weighs less, but it floats to the top of mix, it also comes in different sizes and I know one grower who uses it successfully. So then you need to use top dressing to keep these white products where they belong and in their place. Mike Meyer I am so glad that I ran into you again, I wondered where you went. May all be well with you, Norma Lewis

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 12:44AM
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I just googled: Where are the pumice mines located in California.

Well, I came up with quite a few, some in Oregon, Idaho, etc..........so California is not the only place where pumice is mined.

Just thought I would mention that so Norma could research it more if she would like.

Neysa in California

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 11:32PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Funny as I came to the conclusion that pumice is better, and I see others at least want to try it. Turface has pores that are less tan a micron wide, so roots cannot extract water from turface. Pumice has wider pores and water can be extracted by roots. What's also nice is it works forever. So recycling it is effective. I often throw old potting soil in raised beds. Perlite breaks down in about 5 years. Vermiculite also breaks down. I have no idea how long turface lasts, but I feel it is of little benefit anyway.
People in this thread ask about other lava rock and is it as good? The answer is yes it is if you can make it the proper size. It weighs more, but works just like pumice. As far as
calcined diatomaceous earth, it sounds like a good product too. I'm sure turface works well for many applications, I'm just not a fan of it. If it's not broke, don't fix it! My situation is unique, in 20 years will it still work? In my situation where I recycle product, I need it to work 20 years from now. I know pumice will.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 3:44AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I've moved away from using Pumice in the last 4 years since this Thread was started. Pumice works fine, for sure, but it tends to hold more moisture than I like. I used Pumice before I had a good source for Turface, which has been roughly three years or more now. What I really prefer is the red or grey Scoria (coarse lava rock) that holds less moisture, and is much sharper, more durable, and more attractive than standard white pumice.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 10:53AM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

And here we go again with Drew and his turface hate. Didn't I provide you with enouh scientific evidence showing you that calcined clay increases available water when added to container media, Drew?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 11:26AM
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