Horticultural sand in the Lower Mainland

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by MCuthill, Feb 24, 2024.

  1. MCuthill

    MCuthill New Member

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    I am losing my mind trying to find horticultural/sharp sand around here - not play sand, not random all-purpose sand of unspecified mystery grades and compositions, but the actual proper correct type of sand (coarse, sharp-edged, inert, clean of contaminants) for potting mixes and propagation. Everything I seem to find for sale is either the wrong type, or unavailable in this area.

    Someone must have cracked this conundrum. What kind of sand - specifically, I'm talking brand and product name - do you use? Where do you get it from?
     
  2. vitog

    vitog Contributor 10 Years

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    I don't use sand for soil mixtures, but I do use something that I think is better: pumice. It has the qualities that you are looking for, but is also much lighter, a distinct advantage. It is available from various local sources, but I haven't investigated them because there is a free source not too far away. There is a pumice mine in the upper Lillooet valley, near Mt. Meager; and the logging road that leads to this area has road cuts that expose tons of pumice, which I have picked up in the past. If you are interested in bulk amounts, check out the mine's website: https://garibaldipumice.com/. They offer horticultural pumice, which is also available at local garden centres and hardware stores in small quantities, but is probably too expensive for bulk use.
     
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  3. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    that is fascinating

    the most recent volcano to erupt in what we know as Canada today

    2400 yrs ago
    https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/longform/mount-meager-eruption-risk/
     
  4. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    I'm not sure you really need to be so particular about the sand you use. My garden club does a lot of propagation of cuttings in sand which we buy either in bags from hardware stores or in buckets from local landscape supply places. Not play sand.
    A member with decades of experience explains:
    One reason for using sand is mainly because of the fact that the roots go off looking for nutrients and make a substantial long-rooted ball quite quickly.
    Another reason is because, cuttings like the consistency of sand; it is easy to handle, it drains well but stays damp and is not lightly to rot if kept in the shade.
    It does need to be watched and potted up into richer soil as soon as there is a good sturdy root ball. That occurs at different times. Give the plant a good tug to see if it is firmly rooted.


    For the past 10 years, we have used Paul Sprigg's method of propagation. (See attached.)
     

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    Last edited: Feb 26, 2024
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  5. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    Margot - would you say it’s important to be clear this is not ocean sand - off the beach, with salt in it

    apart from not mining - harvesting from our beaches and lakes/ rivers (environment)

    ——-
    Yes i agree with your point above about keeping it simple
    Hard to type a conversation I am intending
    Your experience is interesting
     
  6. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    Absolutely, it should not be from beaches. Maybe I'm too trusting, but the sand I buy from construction or landscape companies, either in bags or in bulk, is usually described as being 'washed'. That's not to say it couldn't be from beaches but there so much sand in quarries, especially here on VI that I really doubt it.

    I can't think of anywhere along the coast of Vancouver Island where huge trucks and backhoes could drive in and out without being noticed. They usually aren't very accessible in the first place.
     
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  7. MCuthill

    MCuthill New Member

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    Thanks everyone. That's interesting about the pumice, I'll look into that.
     

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