bonsai tree care

Life without Turface …

bonsai general - 27 views

… is full of sweet birdsong and the rainbow.

I feel the need to comment Turface, which is still, unfortunately, a component of the common bonsai soil. I say unfortunate because this is one of the worst soil components that could never use. Turface used and Oil-Dri for years before you start using pumice and akadama. That was a game changer. He could do things with trees that he could not do before, because I had a better root system. Sure, you can keep a live tree in Turface or Oil-Dri. But we want to do much more than that in bonsai.


Turface, which ranks as one of the components worst soil

I will not enter soil science ion exchange or things style. Given the evidence of the trenches, it matters little. My experience of witnessing the development of roots in many types of soils has confirmed that Turface ranks last. Oil-Dri and profile are equally bad.

There are two obvious flaws Turface. The first is that it produces some of the most anemic root systems, threadlike can be had for any money, and secondly having a hydrophobic property mortal when dry. How many of you have watered just a tree planted in Turface, scratched the surface of the soil and found that it is kiln-dried below? For those who answer “No”, I hope you never have the pleasure. This property will lead to dangerous dead zones in the soil, creating a situation where most of the roots will grow in the worst places in the boat, which are along the sides and the bottom. The main problems of Turface can be summarized thus:

  • hydrophobic properties form unpredictability in water penetration
  • Turface either is too dry or too moist, so is not able to create a level of average humidity increases root growth

These problems are serious, with this conclusion:

  • root growth in Turface is spotty at best, without the benefits of predictability seen in volcanic soils

Given that the base of the tree is the root, and that training bonsai nature is stressful for the tree, which has a system of marginalized estate is to be avoided at all costs. You do not have to use akadama. But at least do not use Turface, and not experience root structures random, poorly branched can not support the formation of bonsai. There are many things that can work, but I have to say that apart from akadama, pumice is almost perfect for the growth of fine roots particle.

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I know that many of us use Turface habit or availability, and can understand the skepticism of this post. Perhaps you have not seen what I’ve seen. I get around and see a lot of soil. But at the end of the day, the roots are not something to be taken lightly, having an excellent root system is more important than owning, bonsai tools expensive luxury, expensive fertilizers, expensive pots, or even expensive trees. Buying cheap or readily available land, simply because they are cheap and readily available will make all this magnificence quite debatable. In bonsai, a system of finely branched roots, healthy is everything.


pumice, one of our best soil components

If you have any Turface, not ‘use it up’ by adding a small proportion of mix. I give it away. Paying someone to find a use for it. Or put it in a box, labeled with an unknown address, and offer it to the post office. It’s safer there, wherever it ends, that in their pots of bonsai.


pine roots after five years of Oil-Dri. This is the type of root system that I see in Turface, Oil-Dri and Profile. Of course you can grow a tree in it, it is likely to stay alive, but the formation of bonsai takes effort in creating branching buds, and a root system like this that is Hamstrung from the beginning.


pine roots after 3 years in the pumice. This is typical of the solid mass of fine roots we found when grown in pumice (or some of the lighter in weight lava / slag). With this type of root system that can do a lot of work at first, and expect a response in the making.

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PS: Not long ago I resisted teaching or writing emphatically to avoid disturbing people or to avoid arguments. But as concerns offered in my post never Pinch junipers!, I see that many of the bonsai weakened as a result of using Turface, Oil-Dri, and the profile you have to talk. My first loyalty is to the trees. This is an area where cutting corners is not really the best way to go. Spending money on the ground. If things like pumice, slag, and akadama are not readily available, it sent and split the cost with friends. It is not the lightest thing on the planet, but fortunately is not drive, either.

For a follow-up post, try it in January 2016:

Further Thoughts on Turface

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