Help! 5-1-1 soil mix question

Orangeburg, SC

Does anyone on this forum use Lowe's Evergreen Soil Conditioner for your mix. If so, do you screen out the fine particles? Do you add peat to the pine bark fines?

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> Evergreen Soil Conditioner

That sounds different from the Lowes "Fine Bark Nuggets" I like best. My "Fine Bark Nuggets" have SO LITTLE bark dust and powder that I do add some "peaty mix". I use a local blend that's a lot like Pro-Mix High Porosity (HP). That is much more "open" than peat moss that I've seen. The fibers seem coarser and less fragile.

A few years ago I bought some relatively clean bark-mulch-product from Lowes, and it was very powdery. Even after screening, it still had so much powder mixed with the grit-sized grains that I had no desire to add any peat!

I tried to "loosen it up" by adding chunks that were coarser than ideal - like 1/4" and larger. Really there is no shortcut that works as well as removing the excessive dusty stuff.

The nice thing about starting with screened bark plus A LITTLE fine fibers and dust is that I don't need much "peaty mix" added, so I can afford to add high quality stuff like ProMix.

P.S. One thing I learned is to avoid "soil conditioners" with much wood. That makes a nasty, fungusy mess for a year, until the wood breaks down. Something called "Soil Pep" taught me that.

P.P.S. Where I live, Home Depot "mulch" is often soggy, fermenting logyard trash while Lowes bags have been cleaner and drier for me.

But I recently bought some "premium grind" bark product at HD that was only a little soggy. At least it had no stones or twigs, and if there was dirt mixed with the bark fines, it was hard to see.


Orangeburg, SC

Thanks, Rick. A couple of years ago, when I made my first batch of gritty mix, Lowes carried Sunshine Soil Conditioner. It had grit sized bark and required very little screening. It was nearly perfect for the mix. That was before they started carrying the Evergreen brand.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> It had grit sized bark and required very little screening.

I didn't know I could drool about bark. That would be nice!


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