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Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Posted by carlos_martin none (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 13, 14 at 17:25

Hi I had a two beginner question regarding Al�s 5.1.1. and 1.1.1. gritty mix. I bough all the supplies for both mixes and I�m excited and ready to mix all the ingredients.

Question 1 . When I buy a plant from a local nursery and I�m ready to re -pot it on Al�s mix how much soil do I leave from the original container? Do I have to add more garden soil since most of these mixes contain none?

Question 2. I live in south Florida zone 10b Which mix is better for outdoor container usually large to middle size pots for flowering plants, tree's , shrubs, and vines 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. mix? Thanks in advance for the help

This post was edited by carlos_martin on Mon, Jan 13, 14 at 21:54


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Hello!

For the woody plants, I'd recommend the Gritty Mix - *if* the plants will be kept in containers for the long-term.

For short-term planting, I'd recommend the 5-1-1. Both mixes will handle the Florida rain well, and both mixes will retain enough moisture for hot days *as long as* the containers are large enough. If the containers are too small, you'll have to water more often as they dry out.

When re-potting, remove the soil from the original container. This is most important with the Gritty Mix.

Josh


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

i seem to remember from browsing fl forum that people haveproblems with both, gritty and 511. it either dries up too quickly in hi heat or stays too wet with torrential rains/heat/hi humidity.
you'd be better off asking growers who tried it there.


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Sorry, guess my advice is no good. Perhaps ask Puglvr (Nancy), who is quite familiar with these mixes.

Josh


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Josh...

Your advise is always spot on!!!

I have plenty of friends In Southern Florida that use both of these mixes and just love them. Yes, they have the heat, so do I here in Virginia during the summer ( triple digits). Friends down In Texas do as well. You adjust with watering and the plants will adjust as well.

Nancy gives great advise, but I like yours just as much!!!

Just because you live in Cali... ;-). Lol.. I think you know your mixes!!!

Have a wonderful night!!!

Laura

This post was edited by loveplants2 on Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 22:42


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Thanks, Laura, you're so kind!

Josh


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Thanks so which mix is better 1.1.1? or 5.1.1. for large medium container tree, vines, shrubs?


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

For large trees and woody shrubs, I'd go with the durable 1-1-1 - will last longer, has better drainage. For woody vines like wisteria, clematis, or honeysuckle, I would do the same. For tender vines, I'd use 5-1-1.

Josh


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Carlos, I've used both mixes. Check out this thread on the same topic: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/contain/msg0607080913730.html.

I wrote up a comparison of the two mixes, first for myself and then adapted it for everybody's benefit. I've just edited it once more with my latest impressions. Here it is: http://tinyurl.com/kk2435a.


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

"Thanks so which mix is better 1.1.1? or 5.1.1. for large medium container tree, vines, shrubs?"

5-1-1 unless you have a forklift.


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

...unless you are not going to move it.
...unless it's under rain a lot and needs exceptional drainage.
...unless you want the mix to last.
...unless root aeration is more important than weight.
...unless...

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler". :-)


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Carlos, I also live in South Florida. Where did you get your pine fines?


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Thank you guys! Mr. Math I only found repti bark not happy to expensive still searching how about you? I did find MPV locally for $8 and 50lbs of cherrystone # 2 for about $15 including shipping


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

I have not been able to find pine fines within a 30 mile radius. I am going to ask H.D. if they can order some.


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Mr Math,

I'm heading to my HD and will take a pic of the fines that I buy. That way you might be able to have them order this... Especially since I can get them here in Virginia.

I'll be back later with a pic for you!!!

Take care,

Laura


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Thank you Laura that would be awesome!


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

I believe that 5-1-1 ( bark based soil mix) can be modified to accommodate most outdoor annual container gardening.

As in places like Texas, you can use less bark OR use barks with much smaller pieces (1/4" or smaller). Or use more peat moss and less perlite, to improve moisture retentions.

The whole idea of potting mix revolves around the concept of BALANCING MOISTURE RETENTION AND DRAINAGE. THERE SHOULD BE A TRADE OF point TO ACHIEVE THE OPTIMUM REQUIRED FOR A GIVEN CLIMATE. You can find out that point by experiment and experience.

I still think that the gritty gran mix is mostly suitable for smaller indoor plants , as it has its application root in Bonsai. But then, I could be wrong. I am not into any of those areas.


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

HI ..

I went to Home Depot yesterday to take a picture for you and they were out of stock. Hopefully, they will start to supply the shelves for spring. Should have known they would be out. Sorry.. I believe the brand name is called Natures Helper and it was called soil conditioner.

This is another brand that I can find at my local garden center. Thought

I would show you the bag.

Good luck!

Laura


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Laura,

Thanks for sharing that photo of the pine fines bag. Any chance you could show some of the contents of the bag in your hand so we can see the size of these fines?

No luck around here trying to find pine bark this time of year. None of our retailers will have pine bark or other mulch until spring. Until then, I'm counting the days until I can start making some 5-1-1 and grit mix!

Thanks

TYG


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

No Problem..

Here is a pic of the Pine Fines...

They are a little moist, but look good to me!! ( bag was outside).

Have a great day!!!

Take care,

Laura

This post was edited by loveplants2 on Sat, Jan 18, 14 at 17:07


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Laura,

Thanks very much for the photo. Those fines look really good, perfect to use right out of the bag. I've never heard of the Lumber Jack brand, but as I found out a while back there is a tremendous variation in brands at these stores. I would bet you that later this spring, when Lowes and HD get their mulch in, I won't see anything with that brand name on it.

BTW, nice to see a bag of mulch without it being covered in snow and ice!

Thanks again Laura,

TYG


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

That Lumber Jack pine fine looks almost perfect for potting, to me.
Depending on the price, I would sock up on it.


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Seysonn and Laura,

Yes I agree, and that's why I was asking for a photo of the pine bark material. That Lumber Jack brand looks good right out of the bag. I will keep my eyes open for that brand at my local HD in the spring, but brands of mulch and wood products vary greatly by region, so what Laura has down there in Virginia probably will not be available up here.

Also, I did read somewhere in a different thread on this forum that sometimes the actual size of the store itself makes a difference on what types of mulch a store has in stock. For instance, if you live near a very large Home Depot, they will probably have more brands and types of bagged soils and mulch than a smaller, older Home Depot.

BTW Laura, what brand you normally use? From your note above I'm guessing the LJ brand of fines in the photo are not your typical brand?

Thanks

TYG


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

After seeing the photo Laura provided of her pine bark I went out and looked at the small remaining amount I have in a bag in my garage. My bark was frozen solid since it's been so cold here!

Guess I won't be doing anything with my garden supplies for quite a while lol...

TYG


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Hello Everyone!!

We have had our share of cold weather here in Virginia Beach!! Last week it was down to 5 degrees here. Unbelievable!!!

TYG.. Lumber Jack is my favorite ... It is the best that I have found in my area and I do use it right from The bag. When I started searching for Pine Fines , I went everywhere looking for mulch. One day I noticed that they labeled some as soil conditioner. The other brands are from Big box stores and that was what I was trying to find for you. ( So you could see the bag and possibly have them order it for you ) Once they start to stock up for spring, you will find the right Pine Fines. Keep your eye on the small garden centers. They seem to carry different products that just might be what you are looking for!!

This brand ( Lumber Jack) seems like it is the best Fines for me. It cost about 6 dollars or less per bag and I did buy a few bags when I found this! This was sold from a small garden center and I haven't seen it at any other stores around. I really like to stop at the smaller garden centers that are locally owned and operated. They tend to have a better selection and can sometimes order what you are looking for. The big stores just order in mass quantity to sell quick. ( which is fine..) but I think looking at the " mom and pop" stores is the key.. That is where I found mine...

Stay warm!!!

I am out of town working, but when I get home I will post the information on where this " Lumber Jack" was processed and it might give some other information on the bag that might help!
It did have an address, so I can post that too!

Good luck!!

Laura


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Thanks very much Laura. I appreciate the info on these "Lumber Jack" brand pine fines. I'm sure that this particular Lumber Jack brand won't be available in my area, but hope I can find something similar in April.

As you said, the small garden centers might be the best place to find this type of pine bark. I've also found that often times the workers at smaller garden centers are more knowledgeable about soils and mulches than workers at the big box stores. I mean no offense to workers at the big box stores but I don't believe their companies really train their seasonal employees to answer detailed questions about different types of soils and mulches.

Thanks again Laura.

TYG


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

The bark Laura posted a picture of seems good for the 5:1:1 mix, but not for gritty mix - it's too far composted for that and has too many small particles. A picture of the bark once it dries would be better, and then I may take my words back, although does not look to me like that would change things - it does look composted, not just wet.

Whoever is looking for bark for gritty mix, my understanding is that something like on this picture is more suitable - uncomposted and with as many particles as possible between 1/8ths and 3/8ths of an inch.

This is pine bark, but fir bark would work as well - those bark particles will look less flat (unlike the flaky baked croissant dough if that makes sense), thicker, more 3-dimensional. Orchid bark often looks like that.


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Hi Greentoe,

I only use this for the 5-1-1

For my Gritty Mix, I use Fir bark and I also buy bags of Orchid Bark. That Lumber Jack is to fine for Gritty. I was posting for the 5-1-1 .


Thanks!!

Laura


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

here is some of my Fir Bark for the Gritty Mix.

Love this stuff...

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Have a great night!!!

Laura


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Here is the final Gritty Mix

;-)

Laura


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

> I only use this for the 5-1-1.

Ah! Great then. I am glad we clarified it for those who read this. I'd hate for people to mix it up and then for the mix not to perform as expected. :-/

Great-looking gritty mix you got there!


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Thanks Greentoe!

I like your bark too! What is the brand and could you post a pic of the bag ? I would like to see...

It is good to clarify , thank you for that...

Just trying to help!

Have a great day everyone!!!

Laura


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Here is the info as promised ;-)

The snowstorm is brewing.. Time to put the armor on and head to the grocery store!! " let the fun begin!"

Take care,

Laura


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

> Thanks Greentoe! I like your bark too! What is the brand and could you post a pic of the bag ? I would like to see...

Sure. See the bottom of this thread:
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/hoya/msg010620146164.html.


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Thanks for the great photos greentoe and Laura. Yes the bark that Laura showed us, that Lumber Jack brand, looks really good for 5-1-1, but as you say it's too fine for gritty mix.

Greentoe, what is the brand of pine bark you are using?

Good luck with the storm Laura. Somehow we missed this particular storm but not the cold. Hope it doesn't get too bad down there!

TYG


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

> Greentoe, what is the brand of pine bark you are using?

See the post right above yours. You probably missed it when you posted. :-)


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Greentoe,

Yes I totally missed that lol. Thanks for pointing it out. That manufacturer is not too far from me so perhaps I can locate some of that bark this coming spring at a local garden center in my area.

TYG


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Laura,

Your mix looks great, very nice grit mix! Your screens look good too. Did you custom build those? If so, great work!

It was -8F here this morning! If it keeps being this cold the USDA might have to revise their USDA zones lol...

TYG


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Thank you TYG...

The Gritty Mix is so easy and convent to make and mix once you find the suppliers . Please keep looking, they are around and you I'll be so pleased to have them on hand to make a batch whenever you wish. I love this mix! ( both of them!!!)

The screens were made by my DH. He looked at some of Al's screens he had posted and I showed them to my hubby. He made three different screens for me to use. I use the 1/4 inch screen the most. He also used 2x4 's and they are a little to big and heavy, but I m very thankful . I would never say that to him... Lol. He did a great job. Al's are made a little smaller and are awesome. I wish I could take credit for making them... ;-)

Thanks for the nice compliments!!

We did have some snow here. Temps are down to 14 degrees. To cold or me!! Here is a picture of my backyard with the 4-5 inches we received the other night... Brrr

Have a great night!

Laura


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Laura,

Wow that IS a lot of snow for your area (zone 8B)! I bet many people in your area are talking about that snow and the low temps lol. Up here in the frozen north we had another 4" of snow, with another 2" expected today, plus the usual blowing and drifting. I guess we have a couple feet of snow on the ground here, with more coming. At this point thinking about container gardening and pine bark seems surreal lol.

Well your hubby did a great job making those custom screens. They probably make your job of screening ingredients very easy! I may have to try and make something similar for gritty mix, or go with unscreened pine bark for the 5-1-1. We'll see how motivated I am in Spring to build some screens lol.

Thanks

TYG


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

This is what my yard looks like in January . Sorry guys I love 10b :)

This post was edited by carlos_martin on Sat, Jan 25, 14 at 21:07


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

That's what I'm talking about... I'm with you, Carlos!

Beautiful!!!

Laura


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Ha nice place Carlos! I could get hooked on that.

Right now it's 7 degrees here, headed for a low of minus 8 tonight. Plus more snow on the way.

Come on Spring!

TYG


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Carlos......Math......

In So. Florida you can usually find Pine Bark Fines at "The Bushel Stop" ...6 locations

We also have a great regional "Florida forum" here at GW ....here's a link

doug

Here is a link that might be useful: GW Florida Forum


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Thanks guys weather is nice hear this time of year but summers are brutal. You guys have 4 season which is beautiful. Abnorm thanks for the tip I have a Bushel stop not to far from my house going to check them out. thanks again!


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Laura and Carlos,

Since you both shared photos, thought I would as well. This is my driveway at the moment. Ha, not exactly zone 10b for sure. :-)

TYG


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

TYG.. Are you sure that isn't leftovers from the X Games? Lol.. Looks deep!! We are expecting another storm tomorrow 8-12 inches for VB. that will shut down the city!!

Carlos.. I remembered this place in Florida. I spoke to them on The phone last summer and they carry Fir Bark in 1/4 - 1/8 inch! perfect for Gritty Mix!!

Just a thought since you are in Florida....

Take care,

Laura


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Thanks guys look what I found for $6.75 for 2cu this is right out of bag not screen.

http://www.thebushelstops.com/Mulches.html


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Carlos, it's not the best in the universe but definitely looks acceptable. Screen it, of course, and unless you need huge quantities, remove as much sapwood as you can (it's a chore, but clears the brain really nicely, I find.)

I personally use bark dust for 511 mix and particles larger than 3/8ths for an orchid mix, so nothing goes to waste. Even sapwood does not go to waste - I have a jar of it in a visible place as decoration to remind myself how much I love my plants. :-)


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

Carlos,

I agree with greentoe, I think this bark should work well for gritty mix if you screen it. There's many different particle sizes in there but basically that pine bark should be OK. I'm glad you found some in your area.

Laura,

Yes this past weekend my driveway DID look like something from the XGames. It has finally stopped snowing here but it's still VERY cold. Was -18F as I was driving to work this morning. How about sending some of that warm Zone 8b air of yours up this way? We're supposed to be Zone 5b/6a but this winter feels more like Zone 4 to me!

TYG


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

pls guys kindly stick to the question I am getting impatient

I say what I understand in 3 months of Al's research-
1-1-1 is the only mix that should be used in container gardening provided -
1- you can bear the cost
2- you can adjust the ratio according to your habitat ( more rain in 10b means 1-1-1 is perfect because more rain means water stagnation -> rot if you alter the perfect ratio)
3- keep the pots shaded in triple digit temperature and water according to the plants need
4- inorganic feeding at every watering
5- wash off every bit of that old soil root prune to 1/3 of existing roots

if this is followed there is no better mix for any container gardening

laura, al please critic my answer

and laura your mix looks excellent hope I would be able to make such yummy mix for my plants one day

thank you
anurag


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 16:49

Anurag - the thread about container soils and water retention was written with the hope that those reading it would come away with an understanding of how water behaves in soils, & particularly how particle size and other physical characteristics impact perched water retention and o/a water retention.

It's up to the grower to decide what he/she wants to do - how diligently they want to work at reducing the amount of excess water their soils hold. 1:1:1, screened bark:screened Turface:grit is the most productive soil I've used, but I don't use it for everything. Veggies & plants I know are only going to live a year of go 1 year between repots, usually go in the 5:1:1 mix. All of my woody plants, housep0lants including succulents, and other plants I know will be in the same soil for 2 growth cycles or longer, go in the gritty 1:1:1 mix.

The 1:1:1 and 5:1:1 ratios are guidelines, but they're good ones. They minimize the amount of perched water a soil holds, and the gritty mix makes a good run at maximizing the volume of water held inside soil particles while still offering additional adjustability. If you live in a rainy climate and you're using the gritty mix, you might want to increase the amount of grit and decrease the amount of Turface commensurately. If it's dry where you live, increase the Turface and decrease the grit - but make sure that the soil holds enough water to carry you through the dry days, but not so much your plant suffers during periods of prolonged rain.

Shading the pots when it's hot is very helpful. High soil/root temps is one of the primary limiting factors for container growers.

I like soluble synthetic fertilizers. There is no more efficient way to ensure your plants get what they need, when they need it, at the right ratio, and in a favorable o/a concentration. How you fertilize is up to you, but soluble synthetics make fertilizing almost foolproof, as long as the grower holds up his/her end of the deal.

When you root prune, the object is to eliminate large roots that aren't attached to the trunk and are in unfavorable positions to make room for and increase the number of fine roots, which do all the work except anchoring and transport. You'll need to develop a feel for root pruning because all plants don't get the same treatment.

Reread the thread about water movement in soil, and the one about trees in containers. Make sure you understand what's in those threads. If you do gain that understanding, it should make a significant difference in what you get back for your efforts.

Best luck.

Al


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RE: Al's Gritty 5.1.1 or 1.1.1. Which is best for 10b zone

4- inorganic feeding at every watering
5- wash off every bit of that old soil root prune to 1/3 of existing roots

I don't agree with either of those points. First, I follow the recommendation to flush the soil with plain water after three or four times of fertilizing. Second, some plants don't benefit from extensive root pruning. For example, I don't root prune orchids or clivias at all; I only removed damaged or rotten roots from plants like that that do not develop woody, branching roots.


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