Haydite

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Bob Wellenstein

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Haydite is a brand name for expanded shale. It is often used generically for expanded shale, like "Kleenex" is for tissue. It is manufactured for adding to concrete where weight reduction is a factor. You are not interested in it, it is poorly graded as to size, very dirty, and depending on source quarry you don't know what contaminating minerals may be present.
 

Candace

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Thanks, Bob. I'm not interested in using it as I'm happy with my current medium. But, I'm curious about it. I see it's still being sold. I'm assuming it's a grayish rock that looks similar to gravel? I just unpotted a paph I recently got and it had some grey, shale looking rock in it that I'd never seen before. But it also had bark and vermiculite in the mix.

Hey, Eric....
 

Leo Schordje

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Bob is right - Haydite - if you are close to a source for it, where you don't have to pay for shipping, it is CHEAP. The bonsai people tend to use it as a substitue for Turface (a clay aggregate, ?fired ? or calcined? to harden it, I'm vague on it) when shipping makes Turface more expensive. To use Haydite you really have to spend time with seives to get the particle size grading right. You also need to spend time washing it. Really not worth the time, unless you can't get anything better. I mainly use crushed red 'cherrystone' granite for my bonsai. Heavy but really good quality, and a nice color. Comes out of quarries in Minnesota.
 

Scott Ware

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I wonder - how does Haydite compare with Carolina Stalite? I had never heard of Haydite, but the description sounds very similar to Stalite.

I have seen Stalite in use as both a single component potting medium and as a component in more complex potting mixes at several nurseries in the southeast, where the product is easily obtainable.
 

littlefrog

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Now now, don't go badmouthing haydite too much. I use it fairly frequently. I have 50 yards of it outside the greenhouse, so if you want to try it... It makes a pretty good semi-hydroponic medium. For SH, I use it straight, or mix it with diatomite. Sure is cheaper than diatomite.

I do wish it came graded, however. It is a mix of pea sized pieces and fines all the way down to dust. I use a diamond bottom plant flat to screen the larger pieces from the fines. Yes, it is a bit of hassle, but not too bad. I've contemplated a few automated systems for grading the material, just haven't gotten around to assembling the parts together. I don't usually wash it, unless you count the pile sitting outside in the snow and rain for a couple years.

The larger pieces I use in SH. The fines I usually add to peat mixes for weight and aeration. 50% peat and 50% haydite fines (or even just unscreened haydite) is an excellent bromeliad potting mix, btw. I make my own version of Aussie Gold with a bit of diatomite, haydite fines, and peat, as well. I use haydite freely as a substitute for sponge-rock. It is a bit heavier, but that is ok, otherwise it seems to behave about the same. Again, when using it as spongerock, I usually don't bother screening it all out. I like a bit of fines in my small mixes anyway (and I used to add a bit of sand to some of them, now I don't have to).
 
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Bob Wellenstein

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Scott, the Stalite sample I got was cleaner than the Haydite, but still insufficiently clean or uniform for me. I also still worry about what contaminants, particulary metals, may lurk in it.

Candace, turface is used to give athletic fields drainage opening up the soil, and similar applications. The only grades I could find locally were to small to be usfull in orchid culture. Sheesh, you people need google for such everyday stuff?? ;)
 
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