Espoma Soil Perfector not good for Al's gritty mix?

odyssey3(7 noVA)October 9, 2011

I have finally decided to gather my materials to try my first batch of Al's gritty mix. I saw Espoma Soil Perfector at a nursery and bought a bag but am now thinking I need to bring it back. After reading more on the forums it seems like Soil Perfector is bigger than Turface, which will mean I have to water it more? Does anyone have experience with it?

I tend to be very much of an under-waterer and don't want something that will need even more watering than Turface. That will never work for me.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Can you post a picture?
How much larger than Turface?


    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 10:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
odyssey3(7 noVA)

This is the thread where Al says the Soil Perfector is too big. It is kind of an old thread, so I'm not sure if anything has changed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil Perfector Discussion

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 11:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
odyssey3(7 noVA)

This thread has a picture of the Espoma Soil Conditioner. I haven't opened my bag yet in case I need to return it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil Condtioner picture

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 11:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
odyssey3(7 noVA)

*oops* sorry, I keep trying to call the Soil Perfector conditioner, and it isn't.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 11:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Without seeing the particle size in your bag, there's no way to tell for certain.
Judging by others' experiences with the product, you're probably better off hunting
down the Turface or similar (such as Napa floor-dry #8822).


    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 9:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

We should be able to find Turface for you in VA (I've helped others from VA find it). Where do you live (city)?

The Soil Perfector is actually a product called Haydite that is (was?) packaged especially for Espoma. Even if it was half the size, it would still be a little large for soils. Something that doesn't vary too much from that 1/8" size range (say 3/32-3/16) is ideal. As far as comparing the Soil Perfector to Turface insofar as water retention is concerned, I'd say that the SP holds about 1/3 the amount of water as Turface, and a little less than the average water retention of Turface & crushed granite combined, on a size for size basis, and since the particles are larger, it would be even less than that. You should be able to find the Gran-I-Grit in grower size with little trouble beyond a few phone calls, too. It's mined in NC & commonly used in VA.

I know you'd like to extend watering intervals, but don't be tempted to do it by adding anything with really small particles. DO screen the ingredients (otherwise there is no sense in using the gritty mix) and adjust water retention by keeping the bark fraction at no more than 1/3 of the o/a volume while increasing the Turface componant & decreasing the grit. Something like:

4 screened Turface
3 screened bark
2 grower size crushed granite

You may even find that the basic 1:1:1 mix will offer you 4-6 days between waterings, depending on soil volume & whether or not the container is gas permeable. Remember, you can grow in much larger volumes of soil w/o concern for 'over-potting' when using soils that don't support significant volumes of perched water.

Maximizing air porosity in the root zone plays a very important part in providing at least the opportunity for plants to grow to their genetic potential. While soils that hold lots of water offer a greater measure of convenience, they absolutely do limit growth and vitality to varying degrees depending on how water-retentive they are, the grower's watering habits, and how quickly salts accumulate.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 12:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
odyssey3(7 noVA)

Thanks very much for your response Al. I will definitely bring the Espoma back to the store.

I am in Alexandria, VA, a suburb of Washington DC. There is a John Deere store not too far, so I am pretty sure I will be able to find the Turface, but let me ask you if someone like me might be better off with NAPA floor-dry because of its greater water holding capacity? I know I will not be able to water my plants much more than once a week that are in my office at work. I have a lot of plants there and between days off and needing to do work, I have to be realistic and admit once a week watering is going to be all I can handle there. Oh and I grow in non-permeable containers, either glazed ceramic or plastic.

I haven't found the gran-i-grow yet. Not many feed stores up here.

I have my Foliage Pro bought and just started using it. I also have my insect screen ready to go for screening. I know I will need it because the pine bark I found is called Soil Wizard pine mini fines. They are quite small, but at $5 a bag I can afford some waste.

Thanks again for your help Al.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 4:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

You can use the floor dry if you want, but I think all the water retention you'll want or need is easily attainable by varying the ratio of grit:Turface. I think many have the mistaken impression that a properly made gritty mix holds very little water and only for a very short time because of a lot of misinformation that was purposely and repeatedly disseminated by a couple of people a while back. While the gritty mix does not hold as much water as a soil based on finer particulates, it does hold more water than you would at first imagine.

Bluntly put, the gritty mix is designed to primarily maximize air porosity, with the ingredients selected to enhance the soil's ability to hold water inside the soil particles and to lend adjustability to the soil's water retention. If you can't work around what's required to use the soil insofar as watering intervals w/o altering it too much, you might do just as well to stick with something more convenient that you're used to.

There's no meanness or snottiness in what I just said, so please don't take it that way. It's just an observation. There's no sense in going through the effort of making a more expensive soil if you're going to alter it to the degree it won't do the job it was designed to do.

That said, I'm still quite sure the recipe I left you upthread a post or two will mesh with the time you can allow for watering, even if only weekly.

Take good care & good luck! Let me know if you need help finding the Turface (sounds like you have that covered).


    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 10:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello Everyone,

Hi Odyssey!!

I just wanted to say that i understand your concern for the need to worry about watering more than once a week.

My job takes me away for several days at a time sometimes for 4 days. I used to worry about watering my plants and trees too! But after i made my "Al's Gritty Mix" i found that all of my plants did very well and seemed to adjust to the time i was away without any problem.

Especially during this past summer i was most concerned, but i was pleasantly surprised to see that all of my C & S as well my tropicals (Plumeria) did great with the mix that Al has provided. I didnt even use the recipe that he provided you with 4-3-2, but i used the 1-1-1 and i think you will be very happy with either choice you decide to use.

I live in Va, Beach and just brought up to some of my friends up in ALexandria some Turface and Granigrit.
Actually 5 bags of 50 lbs each!!! LOL!!!

If you are still interested in making this mix, which i hope that you will try because it is a wonderful mix, i will be more than happy to help you find it here in VA!

Al was very helpful to me when i first started to become interested in making my trees happier and healthier!

I really love this mix and im happy to say that i think you will too!

If you want me to send you some of my mix already made, i will be more than happy to do so. Then you can decide if you want to commit to making the change for your plants.

You will be happy that you did!!!

I also love the Foliage Pro. That really is a great fertilizer for your plants.

Let me know and i will help you in any way that i can!

Always glad to see a fellow Virginian on the forums!!!

Hi AL!!! Just wanted to say thanks for all of your help when i needed to find the ingredients!!

Everything that i have in the "mix" is doing great and im thankful for you taking the time to help us all!

I hope all is well with you!!!

Take care,

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 12:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia


If you want to email me you are more than welcome to do so.

You will find my email located in the "my page" section.

Forgot to let you know that you are most welcome to do so!

: )

Have a great night!

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 12:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
odyssey3(7 noVA)

Thanks for the follow-up Al. I agree, I don't want to negate the benefits of the gritty mix, while still allowing for my watering constraints. I think I was probably influenced by chatter on the forums about the need to water. You have convinced me to give the Turface a chance at the 4/3/2 recipe you suggested. I appreciate the hand-holding and will report back on how I do.

Laura, what a very, very sweet post. Thank you! I appreciate hearing your watering experience--it helped convince me to give the gritty mix a try. I think John Deere will sell me the Turface, and I bought pine mini-fines already, but the granite continues to be elusive. Any pointers you have on the where to get the granite would be appreciated! There was a feed store up here that was listed as a grit supplier, but they went out of business in March. Thanks for offering to send me a bit of your mix too, but in for a penny, in for a pound. I'm going to get my own mix going. Your support while I begin the switch will be most welcome! I have to say I have enjoyed your postings on the plumeria forum, especially your fabulous pictures! I lurk over there a bit. I have successfully rooted 3 plumeria this year, with more to go, so I don't have much to contribute there yet, but enjoy reading.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 2:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello Everyone,

Hi Odsyssey,

You are more than welcome!!!

Let me know if you need some help locating the Granigrit. I can help you and even send you some to get you started, I really dont mind. Thats how i got started with the help of other kind people here on this forum! : )
Send me your address on my email and we can get you started. We will find it somewhere close to you or I can bring some to you when i do another trip to DC.

We need to help each other and pay it forward..

Thank you for the compliments on the Plumies!!! I do love them..LOL Can you tell? : )

Congratulations on rooting three trees. Let me know what kind you have and maybe i can help your collection grow!!!

I have quite a few!!! LOL..

You can always contribute to the Plumie forum....great bunch of people there as well...

Take care,

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 7:26PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Peperomia "Rosso"
I bought this plant recently....does anyone else have...
Spider plant looking pale
I have a spider that plant that has started to look...
I believe this is a corn plant... it's blooming and very frangrant!
I recently acquired this house plant from someone that...
Can anyone ID this tree?
It's about 8' tall, a normal 'tree shape'. We got it...
Money tree problems
Hi, I'm having some trouble with my Money Tree. It...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™