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  • Potting Soil

    There has been many posts on other forums about different soil make ups. I want go in to them
    or necessarily what I use now. I would like to ask does anyone use one type of soil for say their
    cups, one gallon pots or small trees in any other type containers and a different soil make up for
    say five gallon pots and up. Like most of you, I use a simi-gritty soil for my small trees for good
    drainage and less gritty for larger trees. I am looking for the "perfect" container soil for my larger
    trees that will hold more moisture for a longer period of time.

    Who is using that "perfect" soil now? What is its make up?
    newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA

  • #2
    Hey Mike. Great question. I use potting 50%, peat moss 25% and humus 25% on everything. I just add more perlite on the mix I use on the cups/ mini sips. I do not think that any mix can sustain enough moisture to last more than a day or two at the most in our state especially with the streak of weather we are experiencing these days. The sun is strong enough to make multi year old in ground trees wilt and go on defense mode let alone the small containers we use. I aim for good drainage and water my babies every night to cool them down and sometimes in the morning before work and they are all handling the heat with grace!


    • #3
      Chrisk, I have been using UPM right out of the bag for the older re potted trees and it does well also.
      I am just curious about others and their set ups. You are so right about the current streak of
      95 plus temps. Looks like it will last for another ten days at least. An afternoon thundershower
      every 5-7 days would make it tolerable.
      newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA


      • Chrisk
        Chrisk commented
        Editing a comment
        Amen on the t storm mike. I hope we get one tomorrow. Only 20% chance or something.

    • #4
      Mike I use Fertilome upm for 1-gal starts, everything else gets a mix of 50% Promix HP, 30% Fafard 52, 10% compost and 10% agway pine fines plus amendments and micronutrients.
      Zone 10b, Miami, FL


      • #5
        Rafael, how does that mixture drain for you?
        newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA


        • Rafaelissimmo
          Rafaelissimmo commented
          Editing a comment
          Mike I think it must drain pretty well because my plants cannot go too long without a drink, 2 of my plants dropped leaves from stress because I could not water them saturday while I was at Bass' (temps were close to 90F).

      • #6
        Here's my current mix ratios...

        Coco Coir - perlite @ 2-1 ratio (perlite sifted thru 1/8" mesh)

        1 Gallons:
        Pine Bark fines - Peat(or Coir) - Perlite - Calcined clay @ 1-1-1-1/2 (sifted thru 1/8" mesh)
        well aerated and fast draining.

        Standard Containers 1 Gallon and Larger:
        Pine Bark fines - Peat - Perlite - Calcined clay @ 5-1-1-1
        Well aerated and fast draining.

        SIPs 5 and 10 gallon:
        Pine Bark fines - Peat - Perlite - Calcined clay @ 2-4-1-1
        Holds and wicks moisture quite well, but is still well aerated.

        I also add Dolemite Limestone - Ironite - Espoma Garden Tone @ 1 cup - 1/2 cup - 1 cup per 5 gallons of potting mix. The Garden-tone is used to inoculate the mix with beneficial microbes and Mycorrhizae.

        The SIP mix seems to have a good balance of aeration and increased moisture retention. The "Peat - Perlite" portion could also be replaced with equivalent parts of any peat based potting mix. I'm also testing several containers without the Perlite portion and have not noticed any negative effects.

        Pine Bark Mulch (Fines)... Agway's and Kambark's
        Click image for larger version

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        Last edited by AscPete; 06-17-2015, 09:11 PM. Reason: added pine bark fines photo
        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b


        • #7
          I guess that's why people go to SIPs, to hold a lot of water (and air), under whatever growing medium they have going in pots.

          Of course sheer peat holds a lot of water but then the trouble is getting air too to the roots.

          Yesterday I had the opportunity to see beside-below the in-ground pots I use with holes drilled to let the roots run a long way into the soil, and what I saw was that I need an underground pond to provide enough drink for all. I'm not being facetious when I say that I would like to see a solution to that too. I think that underground ponds and even lakes have been built in the desert to prevent evaporation. I wonder if they might be built under home fig orchards. Sub-irrigation planters put on a timer or on a sensor driven drip-line might be as close to a perfect moisture-laden potting solution as is possible to get.
          Tony WV 6b


          • #8
            I decided to grow a fig in a pot. It is 18 gallon with 10 one quarter inch holes drilled in the bottom. I put a Smith from JF&E into it. For the potting mix, I went against the norm here and used MG Moisture Control potting mix. It is holding on very well in this heat we are having. This year, I have only watered it occasionally. Seems to hold a lot of water, but not become waterlogged. The roots have grown very well in this. I am really liking this as compared to the one gallon pots of pine bark fine mixes that I have on some small plants, as they are now requiring watering twice daily.
            Eatonton, GA zone 7b/8a


            • #9
              My 1st year here with rooting fig cuttings. What i know about rooting fig cuttings is from reading this forum and from gardening all my life (72).

              I started with the cup routine. It worked fine. Now when i have gal nursery pot i use it to root cuttings with some kind of clear dome over cutting not entire pot, plastic cup or bag for dome. This time of year i root outside in shade. The dome comes off after two or three leaves emerge.

              For rootings cuttings i use what is cheap peat or coir based potting soil, seed starting soil or maybe catus soil. I add enough perlite to premoist soil for about 70/30 or 80/20 soil/perlite mix. If soil is moist and if water cutting & container from bottom there is no need to worry about perlite dust and soil stratifying to create problems.

              Once cutting has good roots (feeder roots) it can handle a mulch based garden (vegetable/flower) or tree and shrub soil with 20% perlite. Some i have put in 2 and 3 gal nursery pots without the perlite. All are growing like weeds. I avoid sand based soils because with my style of gardening they are too heavy and will rot plants. Heavy soil = slow growth.

              I use miracle grow garden soil, miracle grow tree and shrub soil. The last bag of soil i bought was Lowe's tree and shrub mix. I am currently mixing 20% perlite for starting a batch of 37 cuttings. I also found a brick of coir in the barn. I soaked it last night and will use it unammended with this batch of cuttings.

              What i have found this time of year with growing plants in nursery pots is the pot must be protected from the sun, at least here in south central Texas. The sun will heat the pot like an oven and literally cook the roots. Figs like full sun so i use mulch to cover pot. With 30 acres of cedar there is plenty of mulch. My old Texas White Everbearing is in a #6900 nursery pot with mulch to the rim and out 12 feet. It love it. Figs love mulch.
              Jerry, Canyon Lake TX 8b


              • #10
                I'm not an expert, using pretty close to what ascPete uses and has recommended on the forums, slightly modified:

                After rooting in perlite, cuttings transferred to 32 or 44 oz cups with:
                Pro-Mix Ultimate - perlite @ 1-1 ratio

                From cup cuttings up-potted to #1 pots, and same for larger standard pots:
                Pine Bark fines - Pro-Mix Ultimate(instead of straight peat) - Perlite - Oil Absorb from Tractor Supply @ 5-1-1-1
                Well aerated and fast draining.

                SIPs 5 gallon:
                Pine Bark fines - Pro-Mix Ultimate(instead of straight peat) - Perlite - Oil Absorb from Tractor Supply @ 5-2-1-1
                Holds and wicks moisture quite well

                I also add Dolemite Limestone and Espoma Garden Tone @ 1 cup each per 5 gallons of potting mix.

                I also use the Agway pine bark mulch, other brands I had been able to find and use last year when Agway was out of theirs were not nearly as good quality or size.

                SW PA zone 6a


                • #11
                  Why is it recommended to sift the mulch?
                  Zone 6a Orange County NY


                  • AscPete
                    AscPete commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I sift the perlite and pine bark fines to remove dust and fines smaller than 1/8" only for growing out and rooting cuttings. It helps to keep the medium well aerated, fast draining and free from water logging.