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I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Posted by jujustad Z8 western WA (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 3, 11 at 15:37

Hi all,
I re-potted my 5 indoor plants into GM 2 weeks ago and 3 are in death throes! They aren't particularly precious...pothos etc...but I really want to understand what I did wrong. I am waiting to repot my very old Christmas Cactus until I figure this out. I also want to put a Japanese Maple into the mix but have lost all my confidence.
I used turface screened through insect screen and small orchid bark. I was unable to find growers sized grit at any of the feed stores so I used what they call #2 granite grit. I did not screen or rinse that and I'm wondering if that is one place I went wrong. I also put a lot of water through the pots because it seemed like it was all coming out. I rinsed the old dirt off the roots with water before putting them in the GM.
They seem to be drowning...limp, some yellowing yuk.. so 4 days ago I took the plants out of the mix for awhile (roots were soggy), tried to dry the mix on the woodstove and repotted. It doesn't seem to have helped. I have used the skewer test and it still feels cool/moist. The two that are doing OK are pothos in small pots...6" or so.
Please give me any opinions about what I may have done wrong. I am going to leave the plants alone for awhile and hope that they might come back. Should they be in an area with little light in hopes they might revive?
I have real concerns about putting my $$$maple in the mix because we get A LOT of precip...sometimes 100"/year..and I don't want her drowning! Please advise. I'd send pics but I'm on dial-up :(
Thanks for your help!
Julie


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 3, 11 at 16:25

Any chance you can supply a picture, Julie? Something's amiss. I can't remember the last time I lost a plant I'd repotted into the gritty mix.

If the gritty mix is even close to what most of us are using, you'd have to work very hard at 'over-watering it. Do you think perhaps the roots dried out during the repotting process?

Al


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Hi Al,
I don't think that the roots had a chance to dry out. I used water to flush the dirt off of them and then put them right in the mix. When I took the plants out after a few days the root area was very wet. I cut back by half the pothos vines and put any cuttings that looked even marginally viable into water to root..interesting that being in a glass of water wouldn't cause problems but wet soil would...oxygen difference? I wonder if there are too many fines in the grit? Do you know if #2 grit and Growers grit are similar in size? I haven't been able to find out on-line. I took some pics of the grit and the poor plants. How do I post them? Sorry I don't already know how to do that. i will see if I can find out info on posting pics while I wait for your reply. I can try and see how many hours it would take on dial-up.


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Hi Julie,
To post pictures here, the easiest way is to upload them to a free hosting site, many of us use photobucket.

after you have them in photobucket, just copy and paste the html code right into the text (here) of your post.

It will be a very long confusing code. :-) but when you look at the preview it should show your picture.

I hope that helps. If not, just ask i'll keep an eye on this thread and see if we can get you posting pics. ;-)

JoJo


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure! here are pics maybe:)

Hi Al and all,
I will try this again :)

pathetic pothos
floppy
#2 grit


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Hi Julie,
That will help Al. ;-)

I'm sure he'll be along soon to help you.

JoJo


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 3, 11 at 20:51

When you screened the Turface MVP/Allsport, you used the coarser fraction in the soil, right? The grit does look quite fine, but if you used a 1:1:1 ratio of bark:Turface:grit, even the fine grit, you still should have been ok, as long as you weren't watering every day. Did you fertilize after you repotted? Did you prune the plants' roots? How did you treat the plants after you noticed they were wilting - when you removed them after repotting the first time - where were they while you were trying to dry the soil? When you pulled the plants out of the soil after initially repotting them, DID the soil seem excessively wet to you?

Al


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Hi Al,
1.yes, I used the coarser fraction
2.I did use the 1:1:1 ratio
3.I did water(heavily, but not often, because I hadn't wetted the mix and then I fertilized
4.I did prune off a little bit of the roots
5.The top layer of soil was much drier than the bottom part so I left the roots in the drier mix and tried to dry out the wettest stuff. I also had a wick in one of the pots and I removed this to hopefully aid in the drying process
6.When I pulled the plants out the soil did seem very wet
7.Two of the pothos that are in small pots look fine


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

The grit looks very fine... too fine, I think... smaller than the granite chips I use.

Would it be possible to view a photo of the actual mix you're using, with the bark and everything mixed together? That may paint a clearer picture of what may be happening.

From the look of the plants, it appears as though they're either extremely dry, which can't be according to the information you provided... or, they aren't able to intake moisture for some reason.

You mention a wood stove... and I'm wondering about the medium temperature after you tried to dry it out... is there any possibility you may have accidentally cooked the roots a bit?

Al's the expert, so I'm just guessing... but I would lean toward the particles being too small and holding too much moisture for too long. Plants uptake moisture in vapor form, so even when it seems that all the water you're pouring into the mix is coming out the bottom, it's really not... a lot gets absorbed by the turface and the bark. You'd be surprised at how much, really.

The wooden skewer method is fairly accurate, so if it's inserted at a nice angle toward the lower center of the root ball, and it comes out feeling cool and moist to the touch, it's still moist and not in need of watering. The top inch or so will dry out first, but that's ok... the roots are still in moist medium.

When I first began using the gritty mix, my problem was not watering soon enough! I've since learned when my plants need watering, and I'm on track. It takes a bit of adjustment to learn the ins and outs of care with the gritty mix, but in the long run, you can't beat it for plant and root health!

You're not a failure... don't say that! You'll get the hang of it... don't worry. There's a great support group here, all willing and able to help and share what we've learned. Don't give up... you can do it! We'll figure it out together, and get you growing with great results! :-)


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Such beautiful plants, I am so sorry for you. Hopefully a remedy can be found to save them.

Good luck,

Jane


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Hi jodik, I will try to get a pic of the mix. After I tried to dry the medium I let it cool before I put the plants back in...I was amazed at how wet the GM was! I have a history of being very remiss in my watering and I'm trying to turn over a new leaf...maybe I went crazy with water? I didn't really think that mix could hold much water and I panicked a little...thought that the initial droops were from not enough water...live and learn. The feed stores I have available said the next size larger grit is a red pigeon grit but it appears to have lots of other ingredients in it. It isn't just rock.
Thank you for your kind words jane! I hope that I can rescue something out of this. I would love to feel secure about re-potting my Christmas Cactus and Japanese Maple into GM but, obviously, I still have a few kinks to work out :)


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

It does take a bit to adjust your thinking, as far as what is dry or wet. I am experimenting using it in my propagation program, and yesterday repotted from a sixpac into four inch pots, Aquilegia seedlings. The seedlings looked perfectly healthy and happy. When I took them out of their cells, the mix looked completely dry, which it obviously was not. I had been watering them regularly, strictly by guessing, by immersing for a few seconds in a water bath. The gritty mix accepts the water through it amazingly fast. Al


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Even when we think a medium is dry, by our touch, it can actually still hold a decent amount of moisture in vapor form. I'm sure Al can explain it all better than I, but our sense of touch isn't always as accurate as we think it is.

Over watering is the number one killer of potted plants, with accumulated salts impeding nutrient and/or moisture uptake being number two, I would think. We tend to want to hover and baby our plants. Learning proper watering technique is really important to growing success, and using a medium that allows for proper watering, and for a greater margin of error, makes it a lot easier.

The gritty mediums do, indeed, hold a lot more moisture than we think they would. And the smaller the particles, the more surface available for moisture molecules to cling to. I believe that's correct.

The most important thing, aside from learning proper watering, is to understand the concept of the gritty mixes, and what each ingredient brings to the table, as it were. Once you understand the "how and why" of it all, learning how to care for plants in a larger particulate becomes easier.

For me, understanding how it works and why it works, and having an understanding of basic plant science, helps immensely. It does take a little adjustment, but as long as I water my plants as needed, as opposed to on a schedule, my plants respond with good growth. If I'm not sure the medium is dry and ready for a drink, I hold off for a day or two.

Particle size is important, too. You want all the particles to be comparable in size... not perfectly the same, of course, because that would be impossible... but as close to approximately the same as you can get. Commercially sold orchid barks are usually too large in size, I've found. Screening to remove very fine particles and overly large bits is another important task. Rinsing dust from certain items can help, too.

We are all held to using what's available within our locale, for the most part, but if you like treasure hunting, then searching for the best ingredients can be rather fun! Most retail garden centers won't know what "pine bark fines" even means, and you'll get some mighty confused looks when asking for the ingredients you need! It took me a while to locate the items I use for my gritty mix rendition, but I kept at it, and I eventually found a nice array of fir bark, coarse perlite, granite chips, and turface.

A fine grade of orchid bark can work wonderfully, but I couldn't find anything like that here, so I opted for reptile bedding, instead. I buy the medium sized bags of ZooMed ReptiBark at PetsMart. It's 100% fir bark, already screened and dust free, usable right out of the bag! For my granite portion, I use Manna Pro poultry grit, available at Rural King or Farm & Fleet, both farm oriented stores. The perlite is available at almost any garden center, and the turface can be ordered through your local John Deere dealership.

I found that the turface and perlite both require screening to remove small particles and dust, and the granite chips sometimes require rinsing to remove dust. But the reptile bedding is great as is.

For my uses, I tweak the mix to suit the plant type, the location of the pot, and the environment it's in. You'll learn what works best for your own applications after a while.

For me, the important thing is ensuring root health, because healthy roots produce healthy plants with healthy leaves.

Don't worry, Julie... it'll all come together for you. I had to read over Al's article on "Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention" several times before it all sunk in and I understood exactly how and why it all works. In fact, I copied it and pasted it to my desktop as reference material! :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention 12


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 4, 11 at 13:20

Sorry I couldn't get back until now, Julie. ..... several things to consider: Sometimes when we do a full repot for plants that have a good amount of foliage, we need to reduce the amount of foliage on the plant if we think the roots may not be able to keep the entire top hydrated. That's going to be a judgment call you'll be able to make as time goes on, and it doesn't apply to trees repotted when dormant. Also, if the gritty mix has a lot of fine particles in it and holds perched water, it wouldn't be any different than a water-retentive bagged soil, in that the high water/low air volume in the soil can impede root function and make it more difficult for the plant to take up and move water to distal plant parts. I noted that you fertilized when you repotted or soon after. What did you use and how strong was the solution you applied? Did you add gypsum to the soil? Was the grit bagged, and did it say anything on the bag about it containing Ca?

Al


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RE: I was, too

Julie, I was a gritty mix failure my first time, too. I found that the only way I could use it (and still is true for me for indoor plants) was to use a wooden skewer every time I watered. The weight of it makes it hard to tell if it's wet and you can't use the finger test.

I realized that I was watering when there was still plenty of water in the root zone. It holds more water than you think and the top can be completely dry while the root zone is still holding only a lot of water.

If you combine that with smaller component size, it's easy to have problems with it.

I leave bamboo skewers (a packet of 100 is like a dollar at the grocery store) by all my plants. Before I water, I skewer. All my plants are happy campers now.

I also have added a wick to every pot I have. That makes sure I don't have any perched water and it also is easy to touch to see if it's still wet/damp. Once it's dry, then I do the skewer to verify it's really dry.


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Why did you change your potting mix? It appears your plants were doing well before the repot. I'm a great believer in 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.'

I think I would try putting the plants in a large plastic bag (like a dry cleaning bag), without the plastic touching the leaves. You can use sticks to prop up the plastic and keep a small opening in the plastic.

You would be creating a mini greenhouse to give the roots a chance to recover and lessen transpiration loss by the leaves. Move the plants to a lower light area, not dark but no direct sunlight.

The roots must have been damaged somehow. I fear you could lose your plants if you can't stop the moisture loss.

Good luck and please keep us updated,

Jane


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Hi Jane...my husband asked the same thing and I don't have an answer other than I thought I could make the plants happier. I also have a tendency to like to 'mess with stuff' per my DH :)
I'm confused by the idea of trying to slow transpiration...wouldn't that be the ticket if they're drowning? Thanks for the best wishes.
Hi Al...I did go ahead and cut back the pothos and am trying to root what I can in water. I did fertilize with very weak foliage pro (1/8 tsp/gal) and added no gypsum. The grit I used didn't say it was anything other than granite. I did find out that the bagged #2 grit I used will pass 3/16 and be retained on #8 mesh per the mfg.
Hi to everyone else that has taken time out to encourage and inform. If I continue trying with the gritty mix I will definitely use the skewer technique and possibly a wick. I was happy to hear that I'm not the only one that had some adjusting to do with such a 'fast' mix


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

There are some adjustments to make, and some things to consider... but overall, it's a much healthier environment for roots. And without healthy roots, plants can't grow... certainly not to their full potential. In most finer, siltier, peatier soils, roots go through drowning and regeneration every time we apply water, which is unnecessarily stressful to our plants.

The adjustments aren't as severe as some would have us think, though. As long as we keep in mind the concept of what we're doing, and we have an understanding of the ingredients included in the mix, the slight adjustments really boil down to being able to water properly.

I think the skewer method and wicks will help immensely. And I'm still thinking that perhaps the granite chips are a bit too small... but I'll reserve final thoughts until I can see the mix, itself.

We're here to help, Julie... so don't hesitate to ask questions. We'll do everything within our power to help you in your quest for success. We all had questions when we began building and using our own mediums, and we all had to adjust slightly. I found that it helped me to go over the information several times, just to be sure I understood it all. :-)


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 5, 11 at 10:30

Julie - slowing transpiration by keeping humidity surrounding the plant allows the plant to hold on to it's moisture, instead of giving it up to the air. This allows the plant to remain turgid (not wilted) and importantly, keeps stoma (little holes in the leaves) open to allow CO2 in for photosynthesis, which will help fuel root regeneration.

Unless the wilting has gotten worse, you're probably going to be ok in the long run. What I mean by that is, it looks like your plants were struggling before they went into the gritty mix. There is quite a bit of blemished foliage that is probably a byproduct of the old soil. Even if you end up having to remove ALL the foliage that was present when you repotted, when the plants come back they will be MUCH more vital than they were before, so hold on to that thought.

DO use the wick, at least until your plantings are well-established. Please do screen the grit next time you make a batch of soil. You might wish to consider cutting the pathos back considerably, as that will have a rejuvenating effect on the plant. Just be patient & don't over-water.

I know it's very hard to keep in the back of your mind that one day you'll look at a plant's seeming collapse as 'no big deal', but you will. It's entirely possible that if it had been me repotting, I would have cut the pathos back severely at repotting time anyway. The other plant I probably would have mowed off tight to the crown. I would have just repotted both plants & kept them moist until they returned to stride. This is one of the reasons the plants I post pictures of never have any spoiled foliage - I'm not bashful about starting over. To me, it doesn't matter if a plant looks like heck for a month while it's putting on a fresh new flush of leaves. I usually wait until the summer to repot and cut back hard to rejuvenate, but it works like a champ.

Don't be tempted to lift the plants from the soil again. That is very hard on them and breaks the teeny tiny hair roots responsible for water/nutrient uptake. The 1/4 strength dose of fertilizer is ok - didn't hurt anything. You're sad & a little confused now, but if your plants recover over the next couple of weeks, you'll have your happy face back. ;o)

Al


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure! soil pics

Hi,
Thanks jojosplants for the heads up about photobucket! Here are the pics of the mix. The cuttings that I took from my large pothos are recovering nicely and I am hoping that when they root I will end up with a fuller , happier plant.
Here is a pic of the soil mix.
Julie

Here is a link that might be useful: soil mix


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 5, 11 at 12:12

Arghhh! I had a lengthy reply all typed out & ready to go when we lost power for a few seconds; and there it was ....... GONE! ;o)

Tips: The bark in your mix is extremely large. When you mix large particles with a higher % of finer particles, the mix retains virtually the same drainage and aeration properties, as well as the ht of the PWT, as the largest fraction of the particles, which is the Turface + the unscreened granite. The fines in the granite, and the already fine Turface, form a more water retentive mix as the fine granite particles settle between the larger granite and Turface particles to increase water retention, decrease aeration, and retain perched water. Is it better than a peat-based soil - yes, much better; but a peat-based soil that was watered that much would also have failed you. The difference lies in the fact that you're more familiar with how much water a peat-based soil holds and unfamiliar with how much water your NEW soil holds. Alarmed at the sight of water pouring freely through the soil, you probably thought your plants weren't getting any, and in an attempt to compensate, over-watered,

I'll diverge from the topic just a bit as I explain that when you mix a smaller fraction of large particles with a much larger fraction of small particles, (1/3:2/3) the mix retains almost entirely the drainage/aeration/PWT ht characteristics of the larger fraction. So your soil, with the larger chunks of bark has the characteristics of only the Turface + grit. What happened is, with the Turface being already on the small side and the granite unscreened, the small particles of granite settled in between the larger particles that make up the soil, increasing water retention and increasing the ht of the PWT.

What I just explained is why those that try to amend potting soil with some PB and perlite aren't really getting the job done in the aeration/water-retention/PWT departments. They may be happy because they don't need to go to the effort of watering as frequently, but the convenience means there is still a considerable amount of perched water that absolutely impacts root health and function, and after a few waterings, flow through rates are unaffected.

Sometimes it's necessary to approach growing with this convenience built into the soil, but looking at it from a plants perspective, it's not what the plant would choose. Plants would choose a medium that stays damp, never wet/soggy, and one w/o a PWT. You're almost at that point, Julie - you only need to make a couple of adjustments, so please don't toss the baby with the bathwater. ;o)

BTW - are your leaves looking any more turgid today?

Al


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Hi Al,
My leaves are still very floppy today and I'm considering you're advice of a serious haircut. Should I try what Jane suggested first?
I will screen all the granite I have left...would the insect screen that I used for the turface be a good idea? I have run out of places to find growers grit. No one in this area, which is pretty rural, knows about grit with that designation.
I will go back to my search for smaller bark. Now that I have the pic thing down I will post a picture of what I come up with in hopes that the folks on this forum will weigh in. Once I get a good looking soil should I put the strugglers in that if some time has passed? I still am wondering if I should consider GM...once I get a good mix... for my Japanese Maple since I live in such a wet climate. Wouldn't that be asking for trouble even in a correct mix?
thanks for your help :)
Julie


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Hi Julie. Al explained my reasoning for enclosing the plant in plastic. It is a way to help a plant which suffered root damage. If it continues to wilt, I would enclose it for a few days and hope it turns the plant around.

I would recommend considering a peaty mix with some small bark or perlite mixed in for drainage. I found this plant like a more moisture retentive mix.

I grew these plants for many years in bagged mixes and they did beautifully under some skylights in my kitchen. They were about 20 ft. long. I grew them on top of my kitchen cabinets with skylights as the only light source.

I wouldn't mess with the roots now and give the plant a chance to recover. I found the following information about your plant:

Epipremnum aureum (Pothos, Devil’s Ivy, Silver Vine)
General Culture:

Best grown in bright indirect light or in part sun locations with protection from afternoon sun. *Use a peaty potting mix. Keep soil consistently moist during the growing season, but reduce watering somewhat from fall to late winter. Pinch stems to shape as needed. Easily propagated from stem cuttings.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Pothos Culture


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

I strongly suggest following Al's advice, Julie... Al travels and gets paid to speak to large groups of gardeners and gardening clubs about plants and soils and related topics. He's very knowledgeable and highly respected within his field, and among most of the growers here at GW... and he's earned that respect.

When Al makes a statement or offers advice, you can take it to the bank. He speaks from many years of experience combined with honest, logical, validated scientific fact.

Here's a photo of Julie's mix...

Photobucket

This is a photo of the mix I use...

Photobucket

These are the ingredients I use to build my medium, from top left, clockwise... turface, perlite, fir bark, and granite chips...

Photobucket

I'm thinking that your fir bark might be a bit large in comparison to the other ingredients, and it might be just the photo, but it appears as though the bark is in short supply compared to the other items. Particle size is important, and the closer you can come to having all the particles of comparable size, the better the medium will work. Just something to keep in mind for the next time you mix a batch.

We're all very anxious for you to experience success with the gritty mix, and I think you will. As mentioned, it takes a bit of getting used to.


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Julie, I absolutely agree that at haircut and a large bag are both in order.

I spent the past year trying to figure out why I almost killed 50 young African Violets. While figuring that out (and I eventually did), I had to save them.

On African Violet forums, they often call the bags ICUs. They truly are miracles when your plants are distressed.

The haircut is just, if not more, important. The poor plants roots have experienced shock. They are not working as they should. They cannot support a plant that large. It will really struggle to make it.

The smaller it is, the more energy is can put into making new roots, which will then support it as it grows.

It's funny, I almost posted my other problems the first time I made gritty mix....my bark was too large. Not quite as large as yours, but larger than the other particles. Because of that, they all migrated to the top and the smaller clay and granite were small enough to perch water. Without the bark there, there was nothing to draw the water away and into.

I absolutely "get" why you changed it. I did the same and had the same initial results. I honestly can say, though, that my plants (and I) am ultimately happier for what I learned and how the mix performs.


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 5, 11 at 15:52

Hi, Julie - thanks for asking. You can try tenting. To be honest though, if I transplant a leafy plant with a branching root structure (like pathos) I generally reduce the volume of foliage to compensate. One of the things you have working against you too, is it looks like your plants were stressed already when they were repotted. That means their stored energy levels were low & that recovery would be expected to be somewhat slower than if the repot had occurred midway through summer when the plants were bursting with energy.

"Once I get a good looking soil should I put the strugglers in that if some time has passed?"

I'm assuming you're talking about the plants you showed in the pictures upthread? I think that if you leave the wick in place & watch your watering until the roots have colonized the entire container, you'll be fine. If your plants pull through (I'm pretty sure they will), there is no reason you CAN'T repot into a soil that is screened and has more uniform particles after the plants have built up some energy reserves. If you'd like, I'll send you a bag of the gritty mix I grow in so you can see what you're looking for.

Because a properly made gritty mix holds virtually no perched water, you'd be hard pressed to find a soil more forgiving of the climate. Optimizing root health centers around eliminating perched water as quickly as possible while still providing enough water retention to make the required intervals between waterings a good fit for you. Obviously, with that much rain, the intervals will generally be quite long. With the wick in place, and if you tip the containers during periods of extensive rainfall, you'll be fine. Increasing the grit fraction and decreasing the Turface will also REDUCE water retention, if that is your desire.

Many websites and authors rubber stamp their soil preferences and offer the same instructions for virtually every plant. Believe me, if peaty soils worked better for some plants, I'd be using them instead of the gritty mix - but they don't. As I explained, with a peaty soil comes a PWT and the accompanying death/regeneration of roots in unison with your watering cycle. Soils based on larger particulates hold less water, drain faster, have better aeration and a lower perched water table. Jane admits to amending her peaty soils with perlite & pine bark, so the ingredients are exactly the same as the 5:1:1 mix; the only REAL difference to discuss is the % of the ingredients in the mix, and the science is pretty clear on what works best, though it still leaves plenty of room for people to adjust to their own growing style.

The gritty mix is a little different. It is designed to hold good amounts of water w/o holding perched water. It doesn't matter WHAT your soils are made of, as long as the soil holds a favorable volume of air and water, and anchors the plant. The gritty mix, properly made, does this better than ANY soil I've come across or have been able to make from any other ingredients, so hold on to your faith. ;o) As long as you supply the nutrition your plants need, growing can hardly get easier. You only have a little bump to get over here - it's not a mountain. ;o)

Al


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You can do it!

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 5, 11 at 16:03

FWIW - LO and I were typing at the same time - she's just a better keyboarder than I and finished first.

Taking all commentary above into consideration, the general consensus seems to be that the gritty mix works very well, though there might be a few adjustments to be made in how you formulate it (particle size) and a few minor adjustments to your growing habits.

I hope your feeling at least a little less stressed out. You can see there are many here for you, wanting to help you reach your goal.

Best growing to you. Take good care. It took spunk to take the first steps, so don't give up too soon. None of us did, and the science is solidly behind you.

Al


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Hi All,
My floppy plants just got a hair cut and I have the feed store trying to order some larger grit. Now if I can come up with a smaller bark...I live in the land of giant firs for crying out loud...I will be good to go. When I make another batch I will post it's components and get the OK before I plunge my christmas cactus into it.
Thanks again for the help and encouragement everyone...I'll be back!
julie


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Hi Julie,
When looking for the fir bark, most of us get 'fine' or 'mini' fir/orchid bark, I hope that helps.

and glad I was able to help some with the potos. ;-)

Al's the best when it comes to help and encouragement! You can't go wrong with his help!

Were all looking forward to seeing you and your plant happy!

JoJo


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Don't worry, Julie... we all crawled before we walked, and you'll get there, too! I applaud you for searching the information down, and making the changes to your growing! You won't be sorry! We're all here to help! :-)


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 6, 11 at 12:27

Hi, Julie! If you didn't already spot it, please follow the link & read Nancy's (Puglvr's) comments. They will encourage you further.

Take care.

Al

Here is a link that might be useful: Gritty/repotting


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

WOW!!! isn't Puglvr's tree gorgeous! I am encouraged and definitely not ready to give up. I called my local feed store after discovering that their grit provider also sells a #3 size and I hope to be able to order some. Now if I can just find the bark. I may give up and use reptibark.
Thanks again everyone :)
Julie


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 6, 11 at 13:19

Photobucket

Al


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

not sure how much Reptibark is...

The link below has a decent price (the same as I'd spend locally), but of course there is shipping. This still may cost less than Reptibark.

I ordered a small bag of it to try it - the fine was perfect. Since the local place I buy it is about a 1 hour drive, I've been considering buying this just because it's easier and I don't have to spend 2 gallons gas to get there and back.

Here is a link that might be useful: Orchid mix - website


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

ZooMed ReptiBark is more expensive than some other fir bark products, but I don't mind the price because it's usable right out of the bag, no sifting or rinsing required, it's the perfect size, and I don't have many other options in my area.

I can't remember an exact price, but I believe the large bag was around $12, the medium sized bag around $8, and the small was somewhere around $5.

If a person needed a large bulk amount, ReptiBark wouldn't be cost effective, but for smaller batches, I think it's perfect.

Now, in another thread here in the forum, we were discussing the idea that the large bag size contains larger bark pieces. Even though the bags aren't marked for particle size, and I haven't witnessed the size difference, it's something to keep in mind when looking at ReptiBark. In other words, take a look at the product before you purchase to be certain it's what you need.


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

My experience with ReptBark today was not what I was expecting.

I was going to do some sifting today on a bag of Turface MVP that I bought, but before I did I went out and bought a bag of planting media for pond plants, basically Turface and zeolite, and then I bought a small bag of ReptiBark. I had already started sifting the MVP, I used a 1/8 screen because I like the bigger pieces and I'm going to use the smaller particles on another project. The pond plant media was very small, not what I was hoping for at all. The ReptiBark I used a 1/4 screen and only half of it sifted through, that means half of the bag was over 1/4 pieces. I really like the idea of not having to wash it or sift it, but they were the same size pieces as a 1.5 cu bag of E.B. Stones Orchid Bark (fine) which is a better price. I'm still waiting for my nursery to get in #3 perlite before I'm going to be able to plant anything, so in the mean time I'm sifting and figuring out a plan of attack for repotting everything.

Jerry


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

I find this very odd... every small and medium bag of ZooMed ReptiBark I've purchased has been the exact size particle I'm looking for. It makes me wonder about the factory packaging, quality control, and the various batches packaged. I am in the Midwest, and I have yet to open a bag that wasn't perfectly acceptable. Very odd, indeed.


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RE: I'm a Gritty Mix failure!

Julie,

Good luck on your next repot. I've done many dozens a gritty mix repot of houseplants and fruit trees. And I've only lost two plants due to the repot process, from typical bagged soil into gritty mix (without any root loss or foliage pruning)-- both times they were pothos. Go figure.

Chris


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