Perlite’s Tremendous Soil Experiment – Bonsaiwithromano


Welcome again, fellow bonsai lovers! As we speak, I’m thrilled to share with you the fascinating outcomes of an experiment I carried out to delve into the water holding capacities of various soil sorts generally used for bonsai cultivation. This experiment was born out of a necessity to know why one in every of my Liquid Amber bonsai bushes was struggling regardless of receiving ample care. By way of this experiment, I aimed to make clear how varied soil compositions have an effect on water retention, finally serving to bonsai lovers such as you optimize your soil mixtures for more healthy, thriving bushes.

To kickstart this experiment, I gathered six completely different soil sorts that I continuously use in my bonsai observe.

Perlite:

  • Perlite is a light-weight granular materials that’s white in coloration. It seems and seems like little bits of polystyrene however is definitely constructed from expanded volcanic glass, heated to 1000°C till it ‘pops’ (like popcorn) to many occasions its authentic measurement. It’s light-weight, sterile, and straightforward to deal with, and is long-lasting.

LECA:

  • Light-weight expanded clay combination (LECA) or expanded clay is a light-weight combination made by heating clay to round 1,200 °C (2,190 °F) in a rotary kiln. The heating course of causes gasses trapped within the clay to develop, forming 1000’s of small bubbles and giving the fabric a porous construction.

Worm Castings:

  • Worm castings are an natural type of fertilizer produced from earthworms. Often known as vermicast, worm castings manure is basically earthworm waste, in any other case often known as worm poo. As these creatures eat by compost, their waste creates an optimum soil enricher.

Perlite, LECA, and Worm Castings Combine:

  • That is the present soil combination that I’m utilizing on all of my bonsai bushes. I combine 4 elements Perlite, 4 elements LECA, and 1 half worm castings to get this combination.

Compost and Stone Combine:

  • A mix of well-decomposed compost and washed stone. I combine 6 elements of compost with 8 elements of stone.

Compost and Backyard Soil Combine:

  • A mix of well-decomposed compost and soil I dug up within the backyard from my vegetable backyard. I combine this 1 half compost with 1 half backyard soil.

Every soil kind was positioned in particular person clear plastic cups, making certain consistency in quantity. Moreover, I drilled eight holes within the backside of every cup to imitate drainage circumstances. Earlier than including the soil, I weighed the cups to determine a baseline weight, essential for correct measurements all through the experiment.

Week 1: Preliminary Watering and Commentary

The primary week of the experiment concerned every day watering of the soil mixtures with 100ml of water. After every watering session, I measured the load of the soil to observe water absorption. 

I began off with a Perlite, Leca and worm castings with a begin weight of 57g, Leca with a begin weight of 122g, Perlite with a begin weight of 19g, Worm castings with astart weight of 165g, Compost and stone with a begin weight of 153g and at last with compost and backyard soil with a begin weight of 175g. 

After the primary 100ml of water was added the load of the soil combination went up dramatically. The outcomes have been as follows: Perlite, Leca and worm castings elevated by 53%, Leca elevated by 29%, Perlite elevated by 279%, Worm Castings elevated by 8%, Compost and stone elevated by 13%, Compost and backyard soil elevated by 33%.

I continued including 100ml of water every day for the following 6 days. On the day 4 mark many of the soil kind weight improve tapered down into single % positive aspects per day. On the finish of day 7 concluding the primary week of the experiment the weights of the soil was as follows: Perlite, Leca and worm castings maxed out at 205% of the beginning weight, Leca maxed out at 148% of the beginning weight, Perlite maxed out at 479% of the beginning weight, worm castings maxed out at 106% of the beginning weight, Compost and stone maxed out at 144% of the beginning weight and compost and backyard soil maxed out at 163% of the beginning weight.

Listed here are the important thing findings from week one:

– Perlite exhibited the very best water retention capability, with a big improve in weight.

– LECA and Perlite confirmed reasonable water retention talents.

– Compost-based mixtures demonstrated comparatively decrease water uptake capacities.

Week 2: Assessing Moisture Loss

Following saturation, I monitored the speed of moisture loss from every soil kind. 

Day eight until day ten the moisture loss was gradual single digit %. At day twelve the moisture loss began to hurry up on the finish of week two the measurements have been as follows:  Perlite, Leca and worm castings  at 163% of the beginning weight, Leca at 127% of the beginning weight, Perlite at 321% of the beginning weight, worm castings at 88%, Compost and stone at 121% of the beginning weight and compost and backyard soil at 143% of the beginning weight.

Notable observations:

– Perlite maintained its excessive moisture content material, whereas different mixtures skilled gradual moisture loss.

– LECA and Perlite mix confirmed sustained water retention talents.

– Worm Castings displayed decrease moisture retention in comparison with different soil sorts.

Week 3 & 4: Continued Monitoring

Because the experiment progressed, I transitioned to weekly soil weighing to trace long-term moisture retention. 

Week 3:

Perlite, Leca and worm castings  at 128% of the beginning weight, Leca at 113% of the beginning weight, Perlite at 195% of the beginning weight, worm castings at 67% of the beginning weight., Compost and stone at 110% of the beginning weight and compost and backyard soil at 117% of the beginning weight.

Week 4:

Perlite, Leca and worm castings  at 112% of the beginning weight, Leca at 106% of the beginning weight, Perlite at 142% of the beginning weight, worm castings at 53%, Compost and stone at 104% of the beginning weight and compost and backyard soil at 109% of the beginning weight.

Right here’s what I noticed:

– Perlite continued to outperform different soil sorts in retaining moisture.

– LECA exhibited constant water retention capabilities.

– Compost-based mixtures displayed gradual moisture loss over time.

Week 5: Remaining Evaluation

Perlite, Leca and worm castings  at 105% of the beginning weight, Leca at 99% of the beginning weight, Perlite at 121% of the beginning weight, worm castings at 47% of the beginning weight. Compost and stone at 101% of the beginning weight and compost and backyard soil at 106% of the beginning weight.

Within the fifth week, I concluded the experiment and mirrored on the findings:

– Perlite emerged as a standout performer, retaining water exceptionally effectively even after 5 weeks.

– LECA showcased secure moisture retention, appropriate for bonsai cultivation.

– Worm Castings, whereas nutrient-rich, demonstrated poor water retention over time. Within the experiment you will note I consult with beginning weight. The primary cause for that’s once I collected the worm castings from my worm farm they have been moist and did comprise some water. All the opposite soil parts have been dry in the beginning of the experiment. So this may need skewed the outcomes for worm castings considerably.

Conclusion:

By way of this experiment, I gained invaluable insights into the water holding capacities of various soil mixtures for bonsai cultivation. Perlite, with its spectacular water retention talents, stands out as a best choice for creating well-draining but moisture-rich soil blends. Nonetheless, it’s important to think about the precise wants of your bonsai species when deciding on a soil combination. I hope this experiment conjures up you to discover and experiment with soil compositions to nurture more healthy, happier bonsai bushes.

Don’t neglect to take a look at the total Excel sheet with all the information on our neighborhood tab for a deeper dive into the outcomes. Thanks for becoming a member of me on this journey of exploration, and keep in mind to love and subscribe for extra thrilling content material on bonsai care and cultivation. Till subsequent time, comfortable gardening!

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