Al's 5:1:1 Mix vs. Al's Gritty Mix for Tropical Fruit

anthantropicalMarch 9, 2013

Dear all,

I have spent the last two days reading this forum. It's addictive. I am very excited. Even when I not reading, my mind keep thinking about soil mix all the time. Last year, I bought a mango tree and emperor lychee. However, they didn't do very well since I put them in the containers. After reading Al's posts, I believed I don't have the right soil mix for them. According to Al's and many people in this forum, Al's Gritty Mix is great for Tropical Fruit. Unfortunately, after spending a day today shopping for the ingredients, I realized that it is hard to find Screened Turface and Gran-I-Grit in my area. Therefore, making Al's Gritty Mix will be a challenge for me. However, I found fine Pine Bark, sphagnum peat, perlite, garden lime, which are the right ingredients to make Al's 5:1:1 mix.
My question is:
Can I use Al's 5:1:1 for my Mango Tree and Lychee?
Please share if you have any experience growing tropical fruit tree with Al's 5:1:1 mix.

Thank you very much.


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Yes you can, and in the short run 5-1-1 in may actually perfom better than the Gritty mix. But it will wear out quicker (break down) than the gritty mix. I tend to think of annuals going in the 5-1-1 mix, and perinnials in gritty mix. If you are going to be up-potting in a couple of years go with what you have.

Either are a better choice than most anything you can find in most garden centers. Gritty mix makes future repots a dream, tip the pot over and you have bare roots..
Grading the pine bark is not fun, I hate it!
A major concept of the gritty mix is based on particle size, larger particles have less surface area (by volume) and thus less water retention. 1/4 to 1/8 inch seems to be the optimal size, although due the screening process of pine bark and the thin strips I will let most 1/2 and under get in the mix (under 1/8 is not good either).
If you are looking for Turface MVP check a local irrigation supply house, the stuff was designed for baseball diamonds so look in that direction. The dust is not good for the mix (particle size)

The gran-i-grit is intended for chickens to help them digest grains. There are many other products other than gran-i-grit that will perform just as well. Look to a local farm supply house for the rock. Rock dust is not good for the mix (particle size)

Gypsum is available at the big box home improvements stores.

Gritty does dry out quicker than potting soil so you do need to water a bit more often. It is extremely difficult to overwater with gritty mix, that includes mother nature overwatering. Root rot is probably the number one killer of potted plants.
After water, air is the most important thing you can give roots (most plants), more important than fertilizer. Gritty mix excels at this without drying out the root system.
Gritty mix is heavy stuff, an advantage of heavy is the pot is less likely to tip from heavy winds.
Al is a smart guy, it is such a simple concept.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 3:20AM
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Thank you very much Doglips for a quick response. I will definitely continue looking for the Turface and Gran-i-grit to make my Al's Gritty Mix. For Gritty Mix, I not only water it more often, but also fertilize more often too right, because the Mix does not hold much nutrient for the plants?


    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 10:06AM
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Yes to more fertilizer. Gritty mix doesn't have the organic matter that breaks down over time and releases nutrients.
Plants die quicker from being over-loved than under, use moderation with any fertilzation schedule until you know for sure how it is doing. Time released fertilzer with gritty is a great combo. Osmocote Plus is timed released and it has micros.

I have my first lychee inbound (along with another mango),it is my understanding that lychees take less fertization than mangos.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 1:14AM
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Thank you so much. I am ready to spend more time to find the ingredients for my Gritty Mix.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 1:47AM
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What is the better of the two for bananas?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 7:29AM
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