Soil test

All things roughly equal, I decided to test the condition of the roots of these two Chinese Quinces; both 3-year-old cuttings, dug in March ’15, and severely headed back; both above and below. They’re both in roughly the same volume of soil, but here’s the difference:
White pot has soil that is bark, lava, turface, 1:1:2
Blue pot has soil that is lava and akadama, 1:2
Here is the one planted in akadama.


And here is the one planted in turface:

Let’s see how they do:

In October ’15, here are how the two grew…side by side all year long, same exposure, same feeding schedule, and no pruning. The akadama tree grew a full foot taller:

The big reveal was last week. To be honest, both root systems looked similar.


Turface mix:





Akadama mix:


I’d say the akadama roots looked a bit healthier but I’m definitely biased.

I’m also biased toward double-trunk trees, and I got used to seeing these two next to each other for the last year, so I thought I’d make it official:


In akadama, lava, and pumice. Yozan pot.

8 thoughts on “Soil test

  1. So basically there wasn’t a huge difference, confirming that there are probably as many mixes worth using as there are opinions about them.

    Interesting post and the trees look like a good match for each other combined as a twin trunk.

  2. Great experiment! I love experiments too, as I have been doing research in chemistry for over 35 yrs. Each year I do several experiments with my bonsai similar to yours. I know that books say this and that, but I just have to see it for myself, right?
    The only ‘uncontrolled’ part of your experiment was the 2 different colored pots. The blue pot may have absorbed more light, thus more heat than the white, and led to one performing slightly better than the other. But I don’t know if it would have made that much difference.
    Good job!

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