Where to find Turface or inexpensive equiv. in Phoenix, AZ?

JeffPhxAZ(9)November 9, 2011

Does anyone know where I could get Turface or an equivalent in Phoenix, Arizona? I am currently using a product called Hydrolite by Botanicare (http://botanicare.net/grow-substrates/hydrolite) because I got a free sample and it's been working amazingly but when I went to buy some, it was $30 per cu. ft. Also, how do you think Turface and Hydrolite compare? I know just about nothing concerning Turface and from pictures they seem to look similar... Thank you all for helping me out :)

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Simplot Partners
Phoenix
(623) 879-0839
www.simplot.com

Horizon - Store & Corporate Offices
Phoenix
(602) 276-7700
www.HorizonOnline.com

Any of the 3 Ewing irrigation outlets
or
the John Deere Landscapes dealer 22010 N. 21st Avenue, Phoenix (623)587-5636

Al

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 5:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
JeffPhxAZ(9)

Thanks! i'll try the Ewing outlet on Curry tomorrow and see how much it is. Is it similar to the Hydrolite? I have a sneaking suspicion it's the same thing, just repacked and marked up for the hydroponic industry.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 6:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

Were I you I would seek out Axis in Phoenix. Axis is produced in AZ by EP Minerals (you can read about it here: http://epminerals.com/axis.html ). It is calcined diatomaceous earth (DE). It has a higher Plant Available Water (PAW) and a slightly lower CEC than Turface. You can use it as a direct 1:1 substitution for Turface in most mixes - including the gritty mix. It has a much higher internal porosity than Turface and other calcined clay products and while I have both available here in St. Louis I almost always use Axis over Turface. The bag price here is ~$5.50 if you buy in pallet quantities (more like $10-$14 retail - on par with Turface). You should be able to get a great price on the product there since it's local. It comes in 3 varieties: Fine, Normal, and Coarse. Don't use "fine" for the gritty mix. I use Normal since it's all that's available to me here but I know there is a coarser version. The "normal" works great for me but if "coarse" is just slightly larger particles it might be better. I can only get that in like 1000lb quantities by special order - I'm told it's used mostly in the filtration industry. If you do try to track down Axis take a picture of the coarse version for me with a quarter next to it :)

It's hard to find good information on the Hydrolite product but it's only 70% silicate rock based and I don't see any notes about it being calcined or fired as both Axis and Turface are (this makes them lighter, stronger, longer-lasting and increases their internal porosities somewhat). Most people I know that use Hydrolite use it as a substitution for perlite but maybe you know something about it that I don't. I can't find anything on its CEC, PAW, or any other stats. That it includes things other than a plain substrate make me leery - I don't want rock phosphate or bat guano (both of which it contains) in my gritty mixes.

I think Axis will be your best bet. If you're using the mix in larger pots you might want to consider substituting lighter ingredients for the granite component...

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 5:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

I forgot to mention that if you're going to use either Turface or Axis you will be screening them to get rid of the tiny unwanted particles. If you do this make sure you wear a mask and gloves. I learned that the hard way. The axis dust in particular is hard on my hands if I screen it without gloves. Breathing the dust from either product is pretty bad for you.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 5:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
JeffPhxAZ(9)

From what I can guess, hydrolite is also DE based, however I'm still waiting for a call back from the company. It's about twice as big as the turface MVP and heavier per cu. ft. so it might not be fired as high to allow for the slow release of silicate? It is hard like the turface but doesn't seem to absorb water as fast. It's (.05-.05-1)+ a little calcium so just enough to balance the CEC, which is also done with perlite but i don't think it's structure is similar to perlite at all. I'm thinking that axis might just be exactly what i'm looking for :) of course I jumped the gun and got a 1.4 cu.ft. bag of turface MVP and it all looks alot smaller than the bark i've been using. Will this be an issue? What size screen should I be using for the turface and the bark? In the past I've used 1/8th in. screen to get out the small stuff but the bark is mostly 1/4-3/8 in. and the turface seems to be just about 1/8in. Thanks again for all the help! I'll have to try and find a place that sells that axis for next time, especially if it comes in different sizes :)

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 12:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Fir bark is best between 1/8 and 1/4 inch.
Pine bark can be a little larger due to its shape, 1/8 - 3/8 of an inch.

Turface should be screened over a 1/16 inch screen.

Josh

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 12:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
JeffPhxAZ(9)

In case anyone's interested, I just got off the phone with EnviroTech Soil Solutions inc. that works with Axis to distribute their product and he said that Axis and Hydrolite are very similar but Axis holds more water and is lighter which makes it better(My guess is it's fired at a higher temp). The downside, no one sells it in Arizona :( the "coarse" size would be a perfect match with the bark i have too :(

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 1:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
JeffPhxAZ(9)

Thank you Al, "redshirtcat", and Josh for all of your suggestions!!! Really helped me get a handle on these products and how to use 'em!!! Hopefully all goes well and I can get some pictures up! WOO!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 1:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

Oh! Sorry. I was confusing AZ and NV :( You're sure you can't get any there? Did you contact epminerals.com and ask about distributors? They found me a distributor in Texas for my brother and we couldn't find one before...

I did some more looking into the Hydrolite - no one at Botanicare has got back to me but based on how they are describing it I believe it is basically pumice with some additions/adulterants. As I understand it pumice is a description of a generic volcanic rock that has certain physical properties (micropores) - it isn't a specific substance. I found this MSDS on Hydrolite: http://www.hydroblaster.com/files/MSDS/hydrolitemsds.pdf

That they don't simply call it pumice makes me believe that it doesn't even meet that physical standard for porosity and thus probably holds *significantly* less water than Turface or Axis. It is certainly not DE-based as they call it a volcanic rock and DE is a biomineral.

I would make sure you try Hydrolite on a plant you don't value at all if you're going to go that route. Botanicare suggests mixing it with peat or coco coir (both very water retentive) and says nothing about using it as a pure medium. Be careful.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 2:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
JeffPhxAZ(9)

I'm still waiting on them getting back to me too... But I've been using it as a sub for turface for awhile now in a similar mix to Al's Gritty Mix with fir bark and perlite and it has worked pretty well. The problem is they charge 30 bucks for a cu.ft. which is ridiculous compared to turface. I talked to EPMinerals and they gave me the number for Enviro Tech Soil Solutions saying that he handled SW distribution. Enviro Tech said they didn't have a distributer out here and that I could buy a pallet if I wanted. I gave him my email tho, so if a distributer pops up he'll let me know. I think the Turface will be fine tho as long as I have the right particle size for the other components. I'll keep an eye out for that Axis tho, thanks :)

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 8:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

If you have a NAPA Auto Parts in your area, they have a floor dry (part #8822) that is made from Diatamacous Earth. It's what I use.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 6:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
SqEye

Hi,
I have a bag of Turface mpg. I got too much for my project - so if you pick it up, you can have it for free. I live in Sun City, AZ

woody

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 10:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
SqEye

Hi,
I have a bag of Turface mpg. I got too much for my project - so if you pick it up, you can have it for free. I live in Sun City, AZ

woody

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 10:53PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Potting into Air Pots, root length question
Hello all, My question is, air pots are supposed to...
stickstring (Northern California 8b)
Pine Bark Fines Substitute?
I'm having trouble finding pine bark fines for the...
johnweh
CONTAINER SOILS - WATER MOVEMENT and RETENTION XXII
Hello! Houzz's new format has presented some challenges,...
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)
Cor-ten planters safe for growing edibles?
I'd like to grow some edibles but the best sun is in...
midwestgal67
Apartment composting and container gardening.
Any tips or tricks using apartment compost with your...
newgardenelf
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™