Potting soil with cedar cat litter.

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Lythande, Jun 9, 2013.

  1. Lythande

    Lythande Member

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    Hey board,

    I've been looking around for a pre-made soil for Japanese Maples, but no luck. In the ones I've purchased it looks like soil mixed in with small wood chips.

    For our cat we use cedar chip cat litter that's in pretty small pieces. Could I mix this with soil and have a decent water drainage/retention ratio? I've seen suggestions online of using pine chips--would cedar be a bad idea?

    I live in Vancouver. What do ya'all suggest as a resource?

    Note that there is a bit of moss in the cat litter mix.
    http://rainforestproducts.ca/
     
  2. David Payne Terra Nova

    David Payne Terra Nova Active Member

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    Don't use the cedar.
     
  3. Lythande

    Lythande Member

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    I sense that cedar may be a bad idea. Does pine have different properties that lend themselves to the mix for a potted JM?

    The advice I got at Prickly Pear in Steveston was to use Sunshine potting soil.
    http://sungro.com/products_displayProduct.php?product_id=20&brand_id=8

    It doesn't sound like it would be good for a JM, but the gal I spoke to said that her potted JMs have be in it for years with no issue.
     
  4. emery

    emery Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years of Activity

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  5. Lythande

    Lythande Member

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    I was trying to be funny about Nova's reply about "Don't use the cedar." I'd like to know why too.

    Where do you get your pine bark chips? I could not find any in any gardening shop in Richmond (including Art Knapp's).
     
  6. JT1

    JT1 Active Member

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    I am only guessing and some points I make maybe considered "myths" by some:
    -Cedar may pull nitrogen away from the roots when it's mixed directly in your potting soil.
    -Cedar oils (that give it a great smell and keep bugs away) may not be a good thing when in direct contact with the roots.
    -I am not familiar with the cedar you want to use, but it tends to be very fibrous and may impact drainage and compact easily when combined with soil.
    -It tends to expand and contract when it goes from wet to dry.

    If you are having a hard time finding pine bark, maybe consider going somewhere that specializes in orchids. They tend to have lots of great stuff to add to your potting mix to promote good drainage and reduce compaction. Some even sell orchid mixes that you can mix in with the soil component that you have available in your area.
     
  7. DirOCRC

    DirOCRC Member

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    I have seen Cedar slabs with mounted orchids on them. But used as a medium that’s another thing. I would guess at what percentage of cedar to the mix would be tolerable for the orchid.
     
  8. AlainK

    AlainK Active Member Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    Hi Lythande from "Richmond",

    I suppose you're American (I mean USonian, as Frank Lloyd Wright would have put it): first, the link you gave is ".ca", and second, you just put "Richmond" as your location. Of course, we all know where your "Richmond" is, it's such a rare and peculiar toponym...

    (Just pulling your leg ;°D)

    Yet, when you write "cedar chip cat litter", I wonder what kind of conifer you're talking about: as far as I've seen, "cedar" in vernacular American English can be several very different species: I have "cedar" blocks in my wardrobe. Cedrus libani is well-known to be a natural pesticide.

    But so ong as no one knows for sure what your "cedar" is, all the replies you will get could be totally off-topic.
     
  9. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    I am guessing we are talking about Cupressus or Thuja or similar, not Cedar. If the chips are wood it is not a particularly good idea to use them as potting medium whatever the species. If they are bark then they might or might not be suitable. Generally, pine and fir barks are recommended for potting mixes, not sure about suitability of "cedar" bark.
     
  10. DirOCRC

    DirOCRC Member

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    On the contrary I am talking about Cedar slabs and Cedar Baskets which are perfectly acceptable for most Epiphyte orchids.

    I pulled these two off the internet;

    Oak Hill Gardens has been offering mounted orchid varieties for many years. We mount them on cork bark, tree fern slabs, cedar shingles, and grapevine pieces. We usually place a bed of Chilean sphagnum moss between the roots of the plant and the substrate (mount) in order to hold moisture and to facilitate root growth.

    Vanda baskets
    Are used mostly for Vandas and vandaceous orchids, but can be used for most orchid genera. Most Vanda baskets are made of cedar or teak wood. Unfortunately the cedar baskets available today tend to decay in a couple of years. Teak baskets are expensive and because teak trees are being depleted it is not ecologically friendly to buy teak baskets. Fortunately plastic Vanda baskets have made their appearance. The ones I saw (4 and 8) are made of sturdy plastic that should last forever if we recycle them.

    Now Cedar wood chips as a medium, there are several species of Cedar trees. Research would have to be done to evaluate any usefulness.

    My best guess would be like raw peanut shells used as a medium, I found them to be low in nitrogen causing lower leaf yellowing in orchids.
     
  11. cagreene

    cagreene Active Member

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    i use sunshine mix no 6 for most of my trees and bonsai's. it does NOT have any fertilizer or additives as it is made for control freaks like me. it has no available nutrients as it is a SOIL-LESS MIX. (no dirt) considered hydroponics medium.
    if you plan on using the cat litter cedar chips might i first recommend you compost them. otherwise you may loose any available nitrogen in your soil as microbes begin to break it down.
    there is a wonderful 10 day method for usable compost,which i have posted in a thread with pictures ( ten days after the pile reaches 140-160 degrees or higher.) good luck.
     
  12. DirOCRC

    DirOCRC Member

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    We recycle all our old potting media by composting and use it for terrestrial orchids.
     

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