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Author Topic: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?  (Read 830 times)

franklazar26

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Hey guys, Iím just wondering if anyone ever used this stuff in their 5-1-1 mix? Iím sick of buying reptibark online for $18+ a bag.. I know, expensive. This is what is locally available to me. Would those cocoanut hulls be a great substitute? Theyíre around 1/8Ē in size from the looks.. or should I go with the double shredded cedar mulch rather than the hulls? Any opinions would be appreciated!

brian

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2020, 07:51:53 PM »
I assume you are talking about coconut, not cocao (chocolate), right?  I have used cocoa (chocolate) shell mulch.  It was fine, but not significantly better than regular cheap mulch.  Millet used to recommend cocoNUT husk chips.  I have never seen it for sale in person, and I am too cheap to pay to have it delivered.  Where are you seeing coconut hulls/chips online?  It was always expensive when I looked. 

I read a forum post somewhere (woodworking forum?) where somebody suggested that insect-repellant properties of aromatic cedar are only true of old mature cedar, and that most cedar sold does not have any meaningful benefit because it is too young.  Since reading that I have switched to pine bark mulch which is dirt cheap, because it all seems to rot quickly anyway.

I highly recommend a significant portion of Turface, or gravel or perlite to aid drainage.  If you use a large portion of mulch you will likely have to repot every 6mo as it rots quickly, even cedar.

My current mix is around 30% turface, 50% mulch, 10% perlite, 10% peat.   I'll probably drop the perlite when I run out of it, I still have a big bag to use though.   I'm not sure if turface is actually better than perlite, but I like that it is heavier as containers are always blowing over in heavy winds.

I understand that the agricultural term for repti-bark is "pine bark MINI nuggets", but all I can find locally are "pine bark nuggets" which are far too large
« Last Edit: July 23, 2020, 07:58:28 PM by brian »

franklazar26

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2020, 08:31:09 PM »
Checking my order, it is actually cocoa shell mulch. Iím purchasing from Menards and picking up tomorrow. But okay, my current mix is around 30% perlite, 50% reptibark, and 20% high quality potting mix. My only fear is that the cocoa shells will rot fast.. Iíll have to look to see what exactly they consist of. Where do you find turface online?

Reptibark is amazing for the trees, but you pay the true premium price for them. They consist of 1/8Ē fir bark pieces, they work really well but again just too dang expensive when you have 15+ trees to pot up.

Millet

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2020, 09:10:15 PM »
A couple of items.  I have used coconut husks as a bark replacement.  Coconut husk come in various sizes.  They will last approximately 1 year before they disintegrate.  I have been buying ReptiBark over the internet from Pet Mountain in what Pet Mountain calls bulk (3 X 24 quart bags) for $62.27 freight prepaid.  I have never used Turface but I am interested in trying it.  I have found that a ReptiBark blend last about 3 years before it is needed to re-pot.

brian

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2020, 09:15:45 PM »
Frank, the cocoa mulch seemed to last a bit longer than cedar mulch for me.  It worked just fine.  I only ever saw it for sale once so I never tried it again

I get turface from a local supply store for around $15/bag.  It is infinitely recyclable like perlite, which is nice.  If you check the turface website they have a dealer locator.  For me it is a nearby SiteOne landscape supply store
« Last Edit: July 23, 2020, 09:21:42 PM by brian »

franklazar26

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2020, 09:25:46 PM »
Oh awesome! Thank you Brian, and millet! Excited to try the mulch and happy it is readily available to me. Iíll have to check out the turface dealers! Thanks a bunch! Just what I was looking to figure out.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2020, 10:57:04 PM by franklazar26 »

Vlad

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2020, 10:36:33 PM »
Chewey.com has 3 24 quart bags of Reptibark for about $54 including shipping.

Millet

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2020, 10:49:31 PM »
Thanks Vlad for the Chewey recommendation.  I have purchased ReptiBark from Chewey in the past, but found Pet mountain to be cheaper.  I guess Chewey lowered their price.


















































































































































































































































































 










franklazar26

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2020, 10:56:31 PM »
Thatís where Iíve been getting mine. I did the first autoship-30% off first order and then just cancel it afterwards. Comes to about 40$ free shipping but still would love to find a cheaper option!


brian

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2020, 11:48:20 AM »
For comparison, a bag of pine bark mulch from home depot/lowes/walmart is around $2.50 for about the same amount (~10lbs?)  I have at least 50 container trees so it would end up being expensive to replace mulch with coir for me.  I don't mind spending on perlite & turface because it doesn't rot so I re-use it when I re-pot

Eric101

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2020, 08:38:02 AM »
I have a Meyer Lemon and Kumquat that are some 8 years old and I have only repotted once in that time period.  I pretty much use pine mulch, perlite, potting soil 1:1:1 mix.  They have always produced well but the kumquat seems to be slowing down. Lemon leaves are more yellow this year but crop is pretty good. I suspect I need to repot (ya think?!) but am not clear on when to do it.  Donít want to shock tree with fruit.   I mid-winter ok?   I know this is slightly off topic so sorry if that is inappropriate.   

franklazar26

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2020, 09:55:53 AM »
I have a Meyer Lemon and Kumquat that are some 8 years old and I have only repotted once in that time period.  I pretty much use pine mulch, perlite, potting soil 1:1:1 mix.  They have always produced well but the kumquat seems to be slowing down. Lemon leaves are more yellow this year but crop is pretty good. I suspect I need to repot (ya think?!) but am not clear on when to do it.  Donít want to shock tree with fruit.   I mid-winter ok?   I know this is slightly off topic so sorry if that is inappropriate.

Iím always told to repot my trees when theyíre dormant, just before the springtime, however, mine never really get a dormant period as I bring them indoors under massive grow lights for the winter so I repot whenever theyíre needed all the time. Just make sure when you repot, you set them in a place to recover. eliminate extra stressors like super hot temps, strong sun, strong winds, etc. and they should be just fine. I mean mine always are! Some of mine even have fruit and buds when I plant them, I rarely get drop.

brian

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2020, 10:12:17 AM »
Yeah I repot any time of year also.  Would be wise to protect them a bit right after repotting like Frank suggests.  It really depends how much you have to disturb the roots.  If you are barerooting trees when repotting they will be more sensitive than if you simply let the extra dirt fall off the rootball and add more around it

Millet

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2020, 11:26:51 AM »
How easy it is to bear root depends on what type of medium the tree has been growing in.  With 5-1-1 it is quite easy to bear root. Last week, I thought it was time to  re-potted a Meiwa kumquat because it was showing signs of the need.  The tree is planted  in a 15 gallon air root pruning container.  Pulling it from the container I found that a good part of the medium was dry.  The water had been channeling.  As the medium still looked good I just soaked the entire root ball over night and put it back it its regular spot.  The tree perked right up.

Seanny

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2020, 12:17:49 AM »
I was reading about Turface.
This https://crataegus.com/2013/11/24/life-without-turface/ stopped me.

brian

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2020, 09:47:22 AM »
Seanny, even if you take these claims at face value (I'm skeptical of some), bonsai culture is pretty extreme compared to growing fruit trees.  It is certainly possible that better soil mediums exist, but it sounds like they are expensive and hard to find.  My experience so far using turface has been great.

daytripper

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2020, 11:06:05 AM »
For comparison, a bag of pine bark mulch from home depot/lowes/walmart is around $2.50 for about the same amount (~10lbs?)  I have at least 50 container trees so it would end up being expensive to replace mulch with coir for me.  I don't mind spending on perlite & turface because it doesn't rot so I re-use it when I re-pot

In my experience coco chips last much longer than pine bark.  Pine bark starts breaking down in a year while coco chips last 2-3 years.

franklazar26

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2020, 11:13:28 AM »
I will chose not to use cocoa chips ever again. Not coco, but cocoa. They have lasted roughly a week and are starting to mold everywhere inside the pot. Not recommended!

Millet

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2020, 12:27:49 PM »
The four most used ingredients world wide in mediums for potted plants are: pine bark, peat moss, perlite or sand.  I have most of my trees in a 5-1-1 blend, but recently I am moving toward a 5-2-1 blend which holds a little more root zone moisture,while still allowing plenty of root zone oxygen.  5-2-1 increases the time between waterings, which  is a big deal when one has a lot of containers to care for. I am interest in planting a couple trees into a turface blend for growth comparison against 5-2-1.  No matter the medium used, the most important ingredient for the growth, health and quality of the plant is the care given by a human.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 12:31:18 PM by Millet »

containerman

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2020, 01:48:51 PM »
Millet so in that case your formula is the following :

5- pine bark
2- peet moss
1- perlite
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 02:05:30 PM by containerman »

Millet

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #21 on: July 29, 2020, 03:28:44 PM »
Containerman, yes the 5-2-1 is 5 parts bark, 2 parts peat and 1 part perlite.  Be sure to soak the bark portion over night before blending the ingredients.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 08:23:54 PM by Millet »

franklazar26

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2020, 10:59:57 PM »
Yes, I agree. I should stop trying to find cheapo Alternatives to my soil mix. Quality with that repti bark is very good, although that is fir bark rather than pine. It works great though.

I figure the cheap soil mixes will cost me more in replacing trees.

Vlad

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #23 on: July 29, 2020, 11:00:37 PM »
Millet, do you sieve the pine bark mulch? I ask because the characteristics of the pine bark differ according to brand with some brands having a smaller or greater proportion of large pieces and fines. Also, the proportion of fines increases with age of the pine bark.
I have been using Agway pine bark mulch. I no longer sieve it and so no longer include peat moss because the pine bark fines replace the peat moss.

Millet

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Re: Container mix questions: cocoa shell mulch, cedar shredded?
« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2020, 11:38:22 PM »
Vlad, with the ReptiBark, I don't bother with sieving.  I use it straight out of the bag.  Even with some finer particles mixed in, the trees roots receiver plenty of oxygen.  I now have trees planted in three blends (5-1-1,  5-1.5-1 and 5-2-1) all 15 gallon Air Root Pruning Containers.  I am going to watch them over the next couple years and determine which medium serves the best..  Actually I don't expect much trouble from any of them. 
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 11:41:05 PM by Millet »

 

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