Granite Grit Substitute?

johnweh(10 Boca Raton FL)November 4, 2010

Can other types of stone be substituted for the granite in gritty mix as long as the particle size is correct? What about pea gravel, limestone, any small aggregate?


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Are you near one of these: Tampa, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach?

If so, Florida Silica Sand company has Turface MVP and a suitable gravel product (#10 filter gravel). I think I'd tend to shy away from limestone, but other inert types of rock would be suitable if the size is right. I actually prefer Cherrystone (quartzite).


    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 5:45PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

John, yes I've used Silica Sand just like Al mentioned and recommends.

The website is below, an #800 number you can call to see where the closest place that carries it.
Here's what you're looking for...I get mine in Haines City which is quite a ways from you.

Size 6/14

Here is a link that might be useful: Standard Sand and Silica website

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 7:15PM
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Okay, now I am once again officially confused.
I thought the Gritty Mix was supposed to have Turface AND a grit (silica sand in my case since I have been able to find it).
How, then can silica sand be used instead of Turface? I thought the Turface was being incorporated because it does hold onto some water....

Can someone 'splain this to me...

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 12:13PM
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While Al can best describe what attributes each ingredient has, and why certain ones are better than others... I think it's also important to note that we are all victims of availability. We each adjust our mix and the care it requires to the ingredients we can obtain locally.

For myself, turface wasn't something I could locate... so I opted for granite chips, fir bark, and perlite as the main ingredients... which leaves me with the option of watering more frequently, or adding something else that retains a little moisture.

I'm not certain how much moisture turface actually retains, but it's not enough to make a HUGE difference in my watering habits, given my environment and other variables.

I don't know that I've answered your questions... perhaps Al or someone can elaborate...

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 12:47PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Sorry, you are a little confused,lol...The OP is asking what can be used for a subsitute for Crushed granite...not Turface?

Turface is NOT a substitute for (Silica sand). Silica sand is a substiture for GRIT(Crushed granite). So what you want for a gritty mix is something like this. Equal parts...
1. Turface Or Diotomaceous Earth
2. Orchid/Pine Bark Fines
3. Crushed Granite Or Silica Sand

Hope that helped your confusion a little bit :o)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 12:49PM
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In my case..

If I used sand instead of "turface", my mixes would turn bone dry at the end of everyday, or even hours, especially in small containers..

Therefore, that is why I and many many use substitutes such as Napa floor dry, dry stall, pumice, and even extra bark to retain water a bit more if not a lot more than course sand, but not as much as "turface"..Floor dry, dry stall, pumice and the like hold moisture much more than silics sand in my mixes..There are other ways of making a gritty mix without "turface", but it will not be as "perfect" as the turface, bark, and granit chips and yet get you by....

I usually use sand in place of grante chips or perlite to sudstitute for the ingredients that do not hold much if any mositure at all compared to turface f I should run out..

Al would definately be the man on this subject..:-)

Hi Joidk!!;-))))


    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 1:04PM
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about to go to Florida Silica Sand comp. to get the turface. I then am going to Home Depot to get the premium pine bark mulch.

heres my question. should i get the #10 gravel from silica sand or should i get perlite from HD?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 1:06PM
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Sheesh..Could you make it any more easier Pug..

Good job!!


    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 1:07PM
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My apologies. I must have read something wrong here. And/or I got some piece of information from another thread mixed up with this one, or I've just got bats in the belfry (as my Dad always suggested).

Anyway, I guess I was right that silica sand is NOT a sub for Turface. I do have both sourced. I just thought....nevermind it'll just get worse if I try to figure out where I went wrong.

Thanks EVERYONE for chipping in

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 1:30PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

So you're all set now? ;o)


    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 4:24PM
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You'd hope so, wouldn't you for all of the hand-holding I've been getting. Now I just have to put it all together and PLANT.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 5:41PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Almost everyone frequenting this forum enjoys holding hands ..... or they wouldn't be here offering (a hand). ;o) ..... nothing wrong with taking advantage of the offer - everyone gains.

Best luck, Susan.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 6:10PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Hi everyone!!'re so right! None of us mind holding hands here or lending a hand to each other ...same thing right? We certainly appreciate all the help, I certainly did when I first started this wonderful venture.

Susan, I hope you have all the stuff you need for the gritty mix...Good luck! You won't be disappointed and your plants will love it and in turn so will you!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 9:07PM
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A section of my yard has soil that contains clay and is not "well drained" for plants that require that.

Someone has given me a coarse grainy sand that is gray -- not tan -- and I'm not sure if I should add this to my soil to cure the water retention problem.

Other than not looking like that tan brown sand, is there anything chemically wrong with this?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 8:42AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Are you talking about adding it to the soil in your yard or to a container soil? How large are the particles and what are they made from (limestone, silica sand, quartzite, granite, pumice, DE ....)? More info required, sorry.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 9:46AM
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I'm contemplating adding it to the soil in your yard, not to container soil.

The particles are somewhat uniform and are slightly smaller than a match head.

I don't have any idea what (which stone or mineral) are they made from.

All I need it for is to make the soil more porous and "well drained."

Can I do harm in using this stuff?

I am planting asclepias tuberosa, or "butterfly weed" which grows wild in "poor soil."

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 12:50PM
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Adding sand to clay, even coarse sand, won't cure your water retention problem - it'll just make concrete. Generally, amending clay soil by digging out a bed and amending the soil in it has the serious problem of creating a "bathtub effect". Water just pools at the interface between the clay and amended soil, and causes serious problems. This might be no issue for shallow rooted annual flowers, but it is problematic for deeper rooted perennials (like butterfly weed).

Common varieties of butterfly weed are unlikely to thrive in clay soil, though I think there are a couple of prairie varieties that do fine in it. In the wild, it's usually seen near water, but in higher areas that don't get saturated.

If you want to amend clay soil, you can mix in something porous and inorganic, like expanded clay or expanded shale (haydite) into just the first couple of inches. More commonly, people just lightly mix in compost and mulch heavily with virtually any kind of organic matter, then let the earthworms do the rest. When organic matter is incorporated by natural processes, it's distributed more evenly and gradually, reducing the bathtub problem. Organic material at the surface also increases the surface area available for the clay to absorb water, which improves drainage. It's also less work for you, with better long term results.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:54AM
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