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Thread: Sharp sand or Gravel

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Blog Entries

    Sharp sand or Gravel

    Can anyone tell me where one gets sharp sand or gravel ? Hopefully, the destination is no more involved than Home Depot or Lowes--I'm not up for adventure involving sand pits or rock quarries.
    Assuming this can be found at Lowes or Home Depot--what exactly should I be looking for ?
    Thanks !
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"

  2. #2
    The only place to find sharp sand in my area is the concrete mixing plant.
    People who supply stucco applicators also have sharp sand. All of our gravel comes from out of state. We only have limerock for crushed rock.
    Garden centers commonly carry gravel in bags.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
    Many years ago, I took a trip up north and visited a nursery. They had a misting bed, and what they called sand was not at all what we call sand here. In fact, I would not even consider it to be coarse sand.

    What they had was a grey sand, about the size and shape of commercial acquarium gravel. It had sharp edges and not the somewhat smoother edges that we consider to be gravel here. It appeared to be a lot heavier and dense than acquarium gravel.

    I think a lot of the terminology is confused between many areas of the country and often misuderstood. I try to be careful to explain, but sometimes I forget. I use a lot of what I call long haired spaghnum moss. That's not the real name, I am sure, but it simply means that it has not been broken down or processed in any way. I call it long belong it is different than what grows in our woods that we call moss.

    Then, there is Spanish Moss that hangs from our oak trees, and is luscious and fluffy, light gray and very pretty. It is usually used for plant decoration, floral reefs, etc. but has no real functionality, in my opinion, other than appearance.

    Peat moss is usually what is in most bags of soil mix. I use a lot of that, but in raw state, it is sometimes resistant to water absortion unless the water is somewhat warm.

    Fine Pine Bark is something that is not readily available here in bulk. Most of our Pine Bark is from Southern Pine which is softwood, and the Southern Pine bark will disintegrate in a year or two. Fir or hardwood pine bark, from my understanding is much longer lasting.

    Anyone wish to share or comment? Obviously, these are regional definitions.
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Central Indiana Zone 5a
    Blog Entries

    What are you going to do with it? Use it to top pots of seedlings or to mix in with potting soil as an aerator/drainage amendment? If the former, a bag of "Play Sand" should do the trick. If you plan on mixing it in with your potting soil then go with builder's sand or old aquarium grave - which can be quite large, but it works. Builder's Sand is generally a coarse grade of sand while play sand is a lot finer. Lowe's, Builder's Supply should carry both.

    Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.
    - R. Buckminster Fuller

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    There are some other choices, even at the Box stores. Lowes sells filter grit, in the swimming pool area, and as has been mentioned, play sand. They also sell a product called "Soil Conditioner" which is fine (1/4 inch) pine bark. I use the Soil Conditioner with peat moss for potting woody stemed cuttings after they are rooted. For fast draining rooting media, in the mist system I use a combination of mostly perlite, with a small amount of peat mixed in. So, depending on what your application is, you may very well find what you need at the large stores, or at a pool and patio supply store. Some Landscape supply stores sell a fine pea gravel for mulch. If you are doing Bonsi, you will want to use the course filter grit, or larger crushed stone with a potting soil mix.

    So, tell us what you are trying to accomplish and I'll bet someone here will be able to guide you.
    Tom W
    Aching Back Farm

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    SE Michigan (zone 5-6)
    Pea gravels are available from Home Depot and Lowes too. They look nice and they are cheap. I don't know if that will fit your application though.

    On builder sand, I have heard it mentioned before, but I have never found it at HD or Lowes. They have "general purpose sand." Is that the builder sand?

  7. #7
    Builders sand is used to make concrete and to stucco buildings. It is much more coarse than beach sand,and has sharp edges. In Florida, it is specified as Dept of "Transportation 3" for use by the state, for it's concrete, to use on a road bed. Perhaps you could find it at the closest block or concrete plant. The sand used to made yard ornaments is usually finer. The general purpose sand is usually between beach and concrete sand.

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