Can anyone share info on and a pic of Fafard 52 Mix? Please?

bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)October 26, 2013

Hi everyone!

I finally found a source here in NJ for Fafard, and I bought what should be 5 each 2.8 cubic ft bags of Fafard 52 Mix. I just wanted to see if anyone had a pic of this mix so I can compare. While I am sure all is fine, the bags are unmarked because the nursery buys bags for itself @ 1000 bags at a time! So I just want to double check to make sure this is the same Fafard 52 that people refer to on this forum.
In the meantime, I am going to go open a bag and try to take a pic of what I have and will post here later.
so, anyone else out there, do your bags come unmarked and just say "Fafard Custom Mix" on the bag, or does it say 52?
If you have a pic of your mix, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks! Christy

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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Ok, I just took a pic of one of the bags and what's inside. I see no bark at all. I am now wondering if they loaded the wrong mix into the truck.
I know the owner I talked to knew what I was talking about because he says he orders a lot of the Fafard 52 mix that he uses to plant all his roses and mums, etc and usually uses it only commecially and has not really sold the 52 to a customer (actually he was surprised I even knew about their heavy weight mixes)
What I am wondering is if the helper who loaded it on my truck for me put the wrong thing on my truck.
The bag does not say 52 on it or any other numbered soil mix on it for that matter. There are some code numbers.
I just do not want to say anything until I absolutely know for sure that this is NOT the 52 mix, and is mostly peat with some perlite. To me, it looks just like my Pro-Mix.
What do you think I should do? I bought 5 bags! UGG! Christy

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 4:34PM
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Yes..That is the wrong mix..They loaded the wrong stuff Bonechickens!

Here is what it looks like....Loom on page 160 all the way at the bottom..

Here is a link that might be useful: 52 Fafard Mix

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 5:09PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Thanks so much for answering me so quickly Mike! I was so excited to find this, and now I am sad! He said they buy the "loose mixes" so that is why I was not concerned about the bag being unmarked.
So, if I show him those pics, he should for sure be able to tell he gave me the wrong stuff? The pic seems like it is just peat and perlite, write? No bark or vermiculite which are suppose to be in 52? I could of sworn I saw a pic of 52 on here once, but could not locate it. It should be chunky looking, right?
Thanks again for answering me! I think I am going to try and email him. Hopefully it was just a loading error and this is not what he intended to sell me. An hour and half more driving!
I will post back soon! Christy

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 5:18PM
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Christy..No problem...Here you go..Some pics of what the mix itself looks like:-)


Here is a link that might be useful: Fafard pics

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 6:12PM
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Christy..No problem...Here you go..Some pics of what the mix itself looks like:-)


Here is a link that might be useful: Fafard pics

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 6:13PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Thanks again so much Mike!

I did do a pic search before, but was not sure what was actually a pic of 52 or just related pics since I have never actually seen 52 for myself. Is there an exact pic you can tell me is the real 52? I only ask you because I know you have used it in the past and probably know what 52 actually looks like.
Are any of your citrus still in 52?

I have used 5-1-1 for a while now. However, this last batch of up-planting did not do well for my citrus. I did purchase a new load of Agway pine bark, and do not know if this was a bad batch or what, but everything is/was staying very wet. I have had plants I had for years now suffering from root rot. I am so sad over this! But I am really trying not to give up.
When I was sick and was almost ignoring the plants, they did just fine. As soon as I gave the ones with new transplanting, they are all staying really wet with this new batch of bark. They would go for over 2 weeks without water, and still be moist! I did everything, add more perlite, and even holes all over the pots, and they still stay wet in the middle. I bought a nice bunch of Four Winds trees as my "getting back into things" present to myself, and I have had nothing but problems.

I also found a rare Red Finger lime, and am so afraid to take it out of the soil it is currently in because I seem to be having such bad luck!

So that is why I was excited to get the Fafard 52. But now i just feel set back again. As you know, it is getting cold already, and I was trying to get them into new soil before winter, but it is not doing to well. So I am just hoping this was a mistake of loading and not what they actually ordered.

Anyway, thank you Mike for everything! You help me out so much! Christy

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 6:57PM
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Hey Christy..

Once you click on that link, the picture of the mix will pop up at you..It is the bigger picture staring at you and a few others towards the top...Any soil you see is the 52 mix...

What about the mix you have now? Since you opened the bag, can you try it out..It actually looks kind of porous...
It may break down faster but it should last you a good amount of time before it does since Fafard is a great product...

I would try it out until you can get the 52...It looks much better than any other bagged mix I have ever seen and in fact that mix is commonly used in all the local nurseries doing well for them..

If you do use it, just make sure you plant your trees in a pot just a size or two up from your root ball..Leave about a half inch or two between the roots and the pot filled with mix...It should dry out rather quickly for you since the mix is quite uniform in size..

The problem with the bark you bought from Agway is that some bags come with bigger sized bark and tiny particles that can take forever to dry out..Then these fine particles settle lower in the pot while the bark stay towards the top leaving you a pot with very wet soil half way down and lower..

What I do to amend this problem with bags like that is strain out all the fine particles leaving you just the bark..
You would be surprised at how much comes out!
Then use 5 parts of the bark left behind adding only one part of the fines .
Also don't forget to use perlite.

If you for some reason if find yourself having to keep your plants in a mix that does not dry out fast enough, use wicks from under the pot or keep your plants in clay too..

Good luck and let me know what you decide to do..


This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Sat, Oct 26, 13 at 19:23

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 7:19PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Hi Mike!

So, you do not think it has too much peat or is too fined? If I use this mix, should I add anything else to it such as perlite?
To me, it seems very similar to Pro-mix.
Thanks again! Let me know what you think, Christy

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 9:04AM
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It looks fine for the time being...

Just be careful about watering too much...In fact, I think it will dry out much better than the mix you have been dealing with..

The purpose for pots just a bit bigger than the root ball is so it will dry out faster and the roots can fill in quick preventing root rot...Clay also alleviates potential rot issues..

You may have a problem with gnat and or dissolved salts by the spring, but I wouldn't worry about it for now..

I'll bet you can't wait to make the 5.1.1 properly and get them out of that mix now:-)


    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 10:21AM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

With the last batch of 5:1:1, I sifted the bark and even the perlite, and it still stayed too wet. I even moved the 3 year old Four wind trees from the recommended 12 inch pots, down to 2 gallon black nursery pots, and the mix still gave me issues.
So you think if I use this straight Fafard with no additives, it would ok for spring?
Since they will be in a warm greenhouse, should I still use Foliage Pro in a couple weeks or too late? Should I 10% bleach the roots?
Thanks again, Christy

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 12:51PM
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Christy.....I am thinking too that maybe you did not wet the mix before you used it so that the very small parts could adhere to the larger ones...Too, some bark pieces can also be thin....It is strange but it should of been ok...Once I sifted out the bag, when it's DRY, you wouldn't believe the pwdery stuff and fine stuff that fell out.....Try sifting dry next time...Dump the whole bag in a hot sunny spot, and then when dry, sift..That should do the trick..

That mix will be fine..Trust me..In fact many people can grow citrus in mixes like that..You just have to keep a close watch on the structure and your watering habits..

If you want to add perlite, it never hurts, but I can't see a need too...

You don't have to bleach teh roots..And you can use Foilaige Pro in doses according to practice..
!/4 strength at every watering, or 1/2 strength once a week.
Make sure you use big enough saucers to allow free water to escape from the bottom...
Those nice plastic ones they sell at Lowe's or Home Depot with indents on the inside are awesome!

Question anytime...That is how I learned:-)


    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 1:12PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Ok. I will at least re plant some trees with the open bag until I hear back from the nursery (the owner was off, so waiting for his responce).
The bags were $20 a piece, so should I still see if I can bring back the other bags for the 52?

As for the open bag, should I not fully wet the mix, and maybe just mist the soil a little bit? I will take pics of some of the roots and post back.
So, I will start with the Oro Blanco. I have a couple of heat mats. Should I use one? Also, no bleach for the roots? Just trim the rotten ones?
Thanks again for the help! Christy

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 2:26PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Just wanted to update....

After sending pics, the nursery owner was so sorry that the worker loaded my truck with the wrong mix.. He says the mix I got is a custom mix that has some lime added that they use for geraniums. I am keeping the one bag I opened, and did try it on a couple citrus along with some extra perlite. Hopefully the mix will be ok with the extra lime as I do not know how much is added.

But he is sending a truck to my house to pick up the other 4 bags and bring my the Fafard 52. I also asked him to order me coarse perlite. It comes in a 6 cube package (this must be huge!) and it is $40. I think that is fair in price?

I am sick of Home Depot perlite, I got a 2 cube bag and it is half dust! Even the Miracle Grow perlite was better than that junk. I screened over half the bag out. A waste.

Anyway, I will probably add just a little perlite to the 52 just because I want to be extra careful of draining since some of my citrus got some root rot from my last 5:1:1 mix (not to say 5:1:1 is bad, I still cannot figure out why the last batch I made put some of my citrus into root rot. For some reason it seemed the bark really stayed wet).

So just looking to see if someone could suggest a ratio of perlite to 52 mix?

Also, wondering if I should not pre-moisen the mix with straight water, and maybe just use the mix straight out of the bag if it feels moist, or maybe even just use a misting water bottle? I know, I sound very paranoid! LOL! But I have had half my citrus damaged from the last up-potting and hope they are not goners. Some I had for years.

Thanks for the help! Christy

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 9:21AM
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Hey Christy..That is great news! Happy Fafard

You would not have to wet it before use and the perlite ration is probably something that our good friend Mike could help you with...

I think it's pretty much a perfect mix as is...

I use to use it but I found the bark pieces a bit to big for my needs but still ten times better than any mix out there.

I hear you about the perlite..What a joke, right?

I think you will be very happy with the one you are getting and besides, there is always room for use of perlite! You can never have too much of that stuff around the house.

I think you will be very happy once you get it...Let us know when you do ok...?

Mike..Hello. I will send an e-mail to you soon buddy!


    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 10:21AM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Thanks Mike!!!!!

Curious, why the large bark does not appeal to you? Are there issues I should be aware of or just on be on the look out for? As you can see, I have been very nervous now with me trying anything new.
It wouldn't hold more water being larger pieces, would it?
Thanks for the help (again)! Christy

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 10:42AM
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meyermike_1micha(5) will be just fine...))

Mike here use to use it and his trees are amazing...In fact, Rhizo here reccommends it along with other heavy Fafard mixes for a good reason..It's great stuff....

I just like the feel of the 'Nursery' mix better and the looks...But both are top quality mixes! You can rest assure it will not let you down:-)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 12:42PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello, Mike and Bonechick!

Yes, Bonechick, there are problems with the large bark, which Mike explained earlier. When the bark is so much larger than the other particulate, the small particles migrate to the lower layers of the mix where they lodge between the larger particles and slow drainage considerably. With the 5-1-1, the particles don't need to be as uniform, but the particles do need to be in a range of sizes - from 1/2 inch to 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch and down to fine bark dust. And remember, the 5-1-1, as originally conceived, is recommended as a single season *Summer* mix - it holds more moisture by design - and those of us who use these mixes beyond the intended season or life-span, must take thought for how the mix behaves in our various Winter environments.

Eliminating peat entirely and replacing with a porous grit like Turface, Pumice, Scoria, or DE is one way to increase the durability and extend the life of the mix. Using coarse, rinsed Perlite will greatly reduce moisture retention. Screening the fine dust from the bark radically reduces moisture retention and makes for fast drainage - probably too fast!

I do screen out the fines when I prepare bark for a Citrus mix, but then I add a portion of the fines back in to the final mix in place of peat or potting mix. As I pot my plants, I stir the fresh mix constantly so that the fine Turface and grit doesn't end up on the bottom of the pot with all the bark at the top.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 4:34PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Thanks guys! Actually, I just opened a bag of the 52 and was quite surprised. I was expecting lage chunks of bark, after looking at pics online, but realized those pics made the mix particles look bigger than they actually are. To be honest, I thought it would have more bark (defintely smaller bark than my last bag of Agway bark). I am going to add some screened perlite to it just to make sure.
I will take a pic later and post the Fafard 52 in case this thread can help anyone in the future.
I asked. And the owner does not get the nursery mix. So pretty sure I have to stay with the 52. I really hope I can get my trees to bounce back.

Although it gets cold at night (I try to keep the heater at a minimum temp of 40F at night), I know they say roots will stop growing @ 50F. But all morning and day it gets to the 80's in the greenhouse. So although its cold at night, can roots still grow during the morning and day times when it is quite warm?

Hopefully. I can get an electrician out to put in a new box, so I can use a heater and heat mats at the same time, but right now, I can only use one of the other without blowing a fuse.
Maybe I should start this root thing in a new thread.
Thanks! Christy

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 10:54AM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

PS to my last post,

Here are the pics of Fafard 52 (and one partial beagle head) as promised.

Do you think the mix looks good? I find the bark to not be as big as I thought it was. I thought the mix would be very chunky after looking at internet pics. I put the quarter there to help with size distortion.

Do you see any possible troubles or issues I could have with this mix? I still plan to add a small amount of coarse perlite.

BTWAgain, I thought this stuff would be way huge, but is not much bigger than what Miracle Grow sells. I have had 4 different brands of perlite lately, so it must be me and not the makers. Hopefully there is not much to sift out of this bag. When I think of coarse perlite, I think of the huge chunks you would see in an orchid mix.
Also, any thoughts on root growth in my previous post, I am still interested in. Thanks! Christy

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 8:35PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I haven't worked with Fafard mixes, although I do recommend a few specific blends based on the advertised ingredient proportions (such as the Nursery Mix, which you mentioned isn't available). Much of that material in the image could be bark...but in a fine, composted form. Hard to say. Good idea to add in a bit of coarse Perlite. And if you have any bark, sized 1/2 inch or less, you could add some of that. As is, the mix in the pic would seem to hold a lot of moisture.


    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 11:51PM
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