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Old 06-06-2016, 01:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Joy lava rock to improve drainage?

Hoping to kill two birds with one stone. We have some soil that has red lava rock mixed in. 1" size. Can I add lava rock to my potted banana medium instead of say perlite, or in addition to, to improve drainage? I hate spending so much on perlite because it feels like you're buying a bag of air for $4.50, even at Walmart (cheapest I can find so far).
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Old 06-06-2016, 01:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

Lava rock can improve drainage when mixed with non-clay soils. However, use it in moderation. It is impervious to roots, so any volume you add is less volume for roots.
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Old 06-06-2016, 05:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

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Hoping to kill two birds with one stone. We have some soil that has red lava rock mixed in. 1" size. Can I add lava rock to my potted banana medium instead of say perlite, or in addition to, to improve drainage? I hate spending so much on perlite because it feels like you're buying a bag of air for $4.50, even at Walmart (cheapest I can find so far).
Try a local feed/farm/ranch store. One here orders me the 4 ct big bags for 14$. Sunshine I think is the brand. Just call around. Has to be way cheaper than the little retail bags at the big box stores.
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Old 06-06-2016, 11:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by barbc View Post
Hoping to kill two birds with one stone. We have some soil that has red lava rock mixed in. 1" size. Can I add lava rock to my potted banana medium instead of say perlite, or in addition to, to improve drainage? I hate spending so much on perlite because it feels like you're buying a bag of air for $4.50, even at Walmart (cheapest I can find so far).
I my opinion yes the lava would enhance the drainage. It would be better to crush into smaller pieces. The more rock or sand you use the more frequently you need to water. Every two to three day. Not a lot just to keep moist. Mulch helps retain the moisture
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Old 06-07-2016, 12:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

Thanks for the tips. Will try my local feed store and also crushing the lava rock. Our mini backhoe ought to do the trick nicely.
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Old 06-07-2016, 05:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

Our property is part clay and part sand. The clay parts are hard and compact. I use biochar and heaviest where drainage is worse. No more swimming pools around my home and far better medium for plants. I don't think lava rock would engance the overall soil texture like biochar. I just make it at no cost in a cone pit. Can also be made in planting hole if the hole is big enough.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

Specifically, how do you make it? Burn till all hot glowing coals then water?
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

I burn then after the fire is going good I throw an inch or so of dirt over most of it. It will smolder under the dirt and burn slowly. I'm sure there is better ways but I don't make a lot.
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

Just any wood for the biochar? We have a lot of punky wood we need to burn and it's easy to make a huge bed of coals.
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Old 06-07-2016, 12:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

I dig the cone pit and put paper and cardboard in the bottom of the cone. I pile sticks tee pee style. Even small logs. Once every thing collapses down I pile small sticks leaves and mulch to smither it. I give it some smother time then start watering it. Cone pit and cone trench is my favorite way. Ash and charcoal play important roles in nature and in the garden. Even if ( soil tests prove otherwise) the biochar provided no nutrient value the conditioning and bio support is worth it. I never use punk wood because I hunt for that stuff and use it as potting soil and backfill. I use any and all sorts of wood.
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Old 06-07-2016, 01:23 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

Excellent. Thanks for the tips!
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Old 06-08-2016, 04:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Botanical_Bryce View Post
I dig the cone pit and put paper and cardboard in the bottom of the cone. I pile sticks tee pee style. Even small logs. Once every thing collapses down I pile small sticks leaves and mulch to smither it. I give it some smother time then start watering it. Cone pit and cone trench is my favorite way. Ash and charcoal play important roles in nature and in the garden. Even if ( soil tests prove otherwise) the biochar provided no nutrient value the conditioning and bio support is worth it. I never use punk wood because I hunt for that stuff and use it as potting soil and backfill. I use any and all sorts of wood.
Sounds like a simple and efficient way to make biochar. Unfortunately for me, my townhouse HOA would probably not go for it.

Maybe I could buy a cheap BBQ, use that and pretend I'm firing up for a big hamburger grill.

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Old 06-08-2016, 04:55 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

If done right it makes almost no smoke. You can also buy bagged natural lump charcoal instead of briquet.
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Old 06-25-2016, 08:18 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Smile Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by barbc View Post
Hoping to kill two birds with one stone. We have some soil that has red lava rock mixed in. 1" size. Can I add lava rock to my potted banana medium instead of say perlite, or in addition to, to improve drainage? I hate spending so much on perlite because it feels like you're buying a bag of air for $4.50, even at Walmart (cheapest I can find so far).
I use perlite in all of my soilless mix's over anything else.....for the weight reduction.
However the sand mixs and ratios work just as well and I do recommend them.
.
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Old 06-27-2016, 07:53 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

One inch is kind of large. If you could pulverize it, it might work a lot better.

FTR, the red stuff is cinder cone. Lava is black and pumice is gray.
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Old 08-21-2016, 05:52 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tytaylor77 View Post
Try a local feed/farm/ranch store. One here orders me the 4 ct big bags for 14$. Sunshine I think is the brand. Just call around. Has to be way cheaper than the little retail bags at the big box stores.
Taylor, what is the product CALLED
THANKS
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:14 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: lava rock to improve drainage?

Quote:
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Taylor, what is the product CALLED
THANKS
Perlite. Any banana that goes in a pot I mix 50/50 perlite and potting soil. It lightens the mix and makes the soil fluffy and prevents it from compacting. Bananas love it.
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