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Thread: Sphagnum Comparison

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    Not Growing Up! GrowinOld's Avatar
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    Sphagnum Comparison

    I had heard about the differences between the usual Wisconsin long-fibered Sphagnum moss and that imported from New Zealand or Chile. While I had never had anything but Wisconsin grown available in years past, I had recently seen the stuff from Chile and was curious.It was obviously more expensive than I had ever paid before, but it looked nice, fluffy and besides, I couldn't find anything at any of the local nurseries for some reason, so this was better than nothing. My thanks to whoever suggested finding small bags at Home Depot, however it was too late anyway.

    Being a long time grower of CP's, I was used to the dark, dry moss that over the years seemed to have suffered quality problems along with everything else. The 4 cu. ft. bale of compressed/packed moss now came quite loose and looked shabby compared to what I used to buy years ago.

    Having spent the money on the bale of Chilean Sphagnum moss, I decided to compare the two to see which was the better deal. I too out a sample of each type and looked at the individual pieces. The Wisc. Moss looked anorexic compared to the Chilean, and was quite broken up into small pieces.
    Packages....

    Wisconsin on the left / Chilean on the right

    A Handful of Wisconsin Sphagnum (RIGHT) and of Chilean Sphagnum (LEFT)


    Loose packed Wisconsin

    Compressed packaged Chilean


    Dry Moss (Wisc on left, Chilean on the right)


    I decided to wet both samples to see if that made a difference. As sphagnum swells with water, the Chilean moss grew like live caterpillars! The Wisconsin moss swelled slightly, and laid there like something long dead and long in storage.

    Wet Moss (Wisconsin on the left, Chilean on the right)


    By the time I wetted and used what I needed, I found that the small bale of moss from Chile filled my needs and I even had some left over. It was soaking wet but still light and fluffy, filling the pots nicely. The Wisconsin moss I filled a pot with looked prematurely decayed and deteriorated. I am sure the Chilean moss will last a longer time before needing replacing, and as it turns out, for the end volume equivalent, is well worth the price. At least to me it has proved itself, and is in fact the better deal. As someone who needs the best deal I can find, while the Wisconsin moss will hold me in a pinch, the quality of the Chilean moss has certainly out-shined the competition. Funny, it reminds me of the Wisconsin bales of sphagnum I used to buy long ago!

    Good luck and good growing everyone!
    Hope this info has helped those interested and wondering.

    Paul
    Last edited by GrowinOld; 09-01-2008 at 03:56 PM. Reason: incorrect picture display
    Experience is the best teacher. At least it used to be.
    But then, common sense isn't so common anymore, is it.


    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=113866

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    Capensis Killer upper's Avatar
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    well, it was the opposite for me, the order that is.
    i had the good quality moss first, it was nice and blond that puff up once i added water and looked nice in no time.
    then after like 4 months, i ran out and found the mosser lee and bought it.
    it was dark, small, dead looking, and it was already puff up so there was very little. there was a bunch of leaves and roots. when i washed it, there was a bunch of Sandy things in there. i had to take my time to remove the roots and leaves. once in water, it didnt look as if it puffed up at all, it just stayed like that, but wet..... i would certainly recommend the better quality ones. but it depends i guess...
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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    The Mosser Lee stuff varies from batch to batch. You just have to dig through them to find good stuff:


    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    Capensis Killer upper's Avatar
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    the one i got was all dark and has alot of junk inside, i guess i wasnt looking hard enough
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrowinOld View Post
    I had heard about the differences between the usual Wisconsin long-fibered Sphagnum moss and that imported from New Zealand or Chile. While I had never had anything but Wisconsin grown available in years past, I had recently seen the stuff from Chile and was curious.It was obviously more expensive than I had ever paid before, but it looked nice, fluffy and besides, I couldn't find anything at any of the local nurseries for some reason, so this was better than nothing. My thanks to whoever suggested finding small bags at Home Depot, however it was too late anyway.

    Being a long time grower of CP's, I was used to the dark, dry moss that over the years seemed to have suffered quality problems along with everything else. The 4 cu. ft. bale of compressed/packed moss now came quite loose and looked shabby compared to what I used to buy years ago.

    Having spent the money on the bale of Chilean Sphagnum moss, I decided to compare the two to see which was the better deal. I too out a sample of each type and looked at the individual pieces. The Wisc. Moss looked anorexic compared to the Chilean, and was quite broken up into small pieces.
    Packages....

    I decided to wet both samples to see if that made a difference. As sphagnum swells with water, the Chilean moss grew like live caterpillars! The Wisconsin moss swelled slightly, and laid there like something long dead and long in storage.


    By the time I wetted and used what I needed, I found that the small bale of moss from Chile filled my needs and I even had some left over. It was soaking wet but still light and fluffy, filling the pots nicely. The Wisconsin moss I filled a pot with looked prematurely decayed and deteriorated. I am sure the Chilean moss will last a longer time before needing replacing, and as it turns out, for the end volume equivalent, is well worth the price. At least to me it has proved itself, and is in fact the better deal. As someone who needs the best deal I can find, while the Wisconsin moss will hold me in a pinch, the quality of the Chilean moss has certainly out-shined the competition. Funny, it reminds me of the Wisconsin bales of sphagnum I used to buy long ago!

    Good luck and good growing everyone!
    Hope this info has helped those interested and wondering.

    Paul
    You should also keep in mind that there are well over three hundred (hovering at 350 or so) different species of Sphagnum of different texture, color, and size -- and it is likely that any number of suppliers will offer whatever they have on hand. Here is a brief list of just a few varieties:

    Sphagnum affine
    Sphagnum antarense
    Sphagnum apiculatum
    Sphagnum auriculatum
    Sphagnum balticum
    Sphagnum capillifolium
    Sphagnum compactum
    Sphagnum cuspidatum
    Sphagnum cuspidatulum
    Sphagnum cymbifolium
    Sphagnum efibrillosum
    Sphagnum fallax
    Sphagnum fuscum
    Sphagnum girgensohnii
    Sphagnum junghuhnianum
    Sphagnum leucobryoides
    Sphagnum luzonense
    Sphagnum magellanicum
    Sphagnum majus
    Sphagnum molle
    Sphagnum novo-caledoniae
    Sphagnum novo-guineense
    Sphagnum palustre
    Sphagnum papillosum
    Sphagnum perichaetiale
    Sphagnum platyphyllum
    Sphagnum riparium
    Sphagnum robinsonii
    Sphagnum rubellum
    Sphagnum russowii
    Sphagnum sericeum
    Sphagnum squarrosum
    Sphagnum strictum
    Sphagnum subnitens
    Sphagnum subsecundum
    Sphagnum warnstorfii
    , and so on . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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    A yellow M&M Jefforever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by upper View Post
    the one i got was all dark and has alot of junk inside, i guess i wasnt looking hard enough

    Absolutely! A couple years ago it really didn't matter which package to choose.

    Now the ones I buy have yellow strips of plastic, roots, and sunflower seeds in them!

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    Capensis Killer upper's Avatar
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    lol talking about sphagnum i went outside to look at the sphagnums i got, i have 2 type. some skinny one and a fat one. kinda weired, they grow upward o_o... i never knew... i thought they grew sideway to make a mat or something. i just cut the live sphagnum from the top and place it down right next to it.


    and when you say there's hundreds of type of sphagnum, who took the time to name them all? o_o dont most of them look pretty much the same?

    is there a dark sphagnum and a light sphagnum?
    Happy Holiday

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    Quote Originally Posted by upper View Post
    lol talking about sphagnum i went outside to look at the sphagnums i got, i have 2 type. some skinny one and a fat one. kinda weired, they grow upward o_o... i never knew... i thought they grew sideway to make a mat or something. i just cut the live sphagnum from the top and place it down right next to it.


    and when you say there's hundreds of type of sphagnum, who took the time to name them all? o_o dont most of them look pretty much the same?

    is there a dark sphagnum and a light sphagnum?
    A whole host of anal-retentive botanists came up with the list and they probably differentiate them based upon the fruiting bodies of the mosses, among other things too colossally mind-numbingly-boring to mention.

    In terms of lighter or darker Sphagnum, there are variations in colour -- both live and dried. The bale of NZ Sphagnum I have is particularly light in color and the variations also extend to the live pots with some light and dark green, yellow-green and even patches of some red sphagnum for good measure . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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