Lighter Gritty Mix questions?

mandarin1March 31, 2012

Love using gritty mix but need to work with lighter ingredients these days. I remember Josh (greenman) was using pumice, perlite and bark, mentioned quartz but not sure if that was always in the mix? Was that in equal amounts? I've also read Al (tapla) suggesting some could try 3 parts bark, 4 parts perlite, and 2 parts turface. Mike (meyermike) at one point spoke about trying 1 part fir bark, 1 part perlite, 1 part turface. Can anyone share their experiences with any of these mixes, or others, before I dive in? Should I still add gypsum at 1TBSP per gallon if I'm already using Foliage Pro?

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Hello Mandarin:-)

Yes, I have used them all and they all work fantastic.

You would not need gypsum if using a fertilizer that provides both Mg and Ca, like Foliage Pro.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 11:12PM
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Hi Mike, Thank you for your help with my new adventure! Since this has worked for you, I've decided to go a step further and try putting some non-citrus in the gritty mix as well!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 1:00PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a


You are right! I've used bark, perlite, and pumice, as well as combinations of bark, perlite,
pumice, and quartzite. I've also made true Gritty Mixes with bark, turface, and quartzite.

Perlite holds more moisture than granite, so it's not an exact substitution. When using Perlite,
less Turface is used to help reduce some of the extra water retention. I don't know the exact
ratios because Perlite sizes vary greatly. Coarse Perlite is best for this application, and it will
truly help cut down on the weight of your mixes/containers.

My variegated Lemon is currently in a mix of Perlite, Bark, Turface, and Quartzite,
and it is still remarkably lightweight.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 1:34PM
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Hi Josh, thank you!

I was considering the pine, perlite and pumice? I thought since pumice holds less water than turface, and perlite holds more water than granite, whether I should stay at 1 part of each?

I happen to have some pumice, although now I see that it weighs slightly more than the turface....40 lbs / cubic foot vs. 35 lbs/ cubic foot. Lol, figures!


    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 4:16PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello again, Mike and Mary :-)

Mary, you might find that the Pumice/Perlite will hold a lot of moisture in the mix.
But I think you should make a test-batch and see what you think of the texture and aeration,
then tinker with your ratios before committing your plants to the mix.

Are those figures for dry weight Pumice and Turface?
If so, I would expect the Turface to be much heavier when fully saturated with water.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 4:57PM
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I think I'll use the Turface for my citrus, and since I'm not using the pumice, will try Al's recommendation. Al's reduces the Turface, just as you suggested. However, sounds like a test-batch of pumice/perlite might be just perfect for a Peace Lilly I'm thinking of moving into gritty mix, my first non-citrus plant to take the plunge! Win-win!

Yes, those were dry weights, good point about the difference when they're wet, I'd agree about the Turface. Thanks much!


    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 8:19PM
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I have Turface, chicken grit (granite) and Fafard soil mix which I believe has the bark in it. Also have perlite if needed. What ratio should I use? What should I NOT use?

Thanks - citrus ready for planting after an answer!


PS Have close to 50 little dime to quarter size lemons on this tree.....:) Will I lose any? It's always either in flower or fruit so I never know when to pot!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 4:13PM
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I'd avoid the soil and use bark if you're trying to make Al's gritty mix? You could also make a modified 5:1:1 mix using the soil and perlite, but again, that would require bark as well. But I'm not sure if that's your goal? Sounds like you need an answer pretty soon, so, if I can suggest? Start a new posting with the same question you are asking here, people may have some ideas for you...

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 6:37PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hi, Gardenscents, which of the Fafard soil mixes do you have?

If it's one of the Heavyweight mixes - 51L, 52, or the Nursery Mix, in particular -
then you can probably just use that by itself this season. Keep an eye out for good
bark if you want to make the Gritty Mix in the future.

Try to time the re-potting between growth flushes of new leaves. This month or next is fine.
After re-potting, place your tree in a location protected from direct sun or wind for two weeks.
This will help limit the leaf-drop and will speed recovery of your tree. After two weeks, you
should also resume fertilization.

Yes, you may lose fruits during the stress of re-potting, but the tree will grow more.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 3:18AM
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Just a follow up, had decided to try my new Meyer in "Gritty Lite", in 3 parts bark, 2 turface, 4 perlite. Dowel was bone dry and the tree was wilting the next day (yesterday). I thought maybe the terra cotta was absorbing some of the water even though both the mix and the planter were soaked. Watered it, tree perked up.

Today it started wilting again and the dowel was drier than I expected, barely damp. So I removed the tree and added turface and bark, back to 1:1:1, where perlite is substituted for granite. The tree perked up again and we'll see, fingers crossed. If asked my opinion, I'd say the 3:2:4 was wonderfully lightweight, probably too lightweight though, as the major component was perlite and it dried very quickly.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 12:51AM
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