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Thread: Long-Fibered Sphagnum & Conserving Water

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    raccoon city's Avatar
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    Long-Fibered Sphagnum & Conserving Water

    Hello to everyone on Terra Forums,

    Here's some background info relevant to my problem: I purchase reverse-osmosis water by the gallon because my tap water is full of dissolved solids. I have no plans to buy a reverse-osmosis filter because I am a renter, that someday, may have to move. Also, I live in central California, which is famous for its long, hot, dry summers.

    Anyways, I like Long-Fibered Sphagnum because it holds onto water a lot better than other soils. Which is all fine and dandy, until the LFS comes back to life. As I have learned, if I keep my LFS moist for a few months, it comes back to life, and it seems to drink up all of the water that is supposed to go to my carnivorous plants. So here's the $64,000 question: Should I remove all of the living LFS so I don't have to purchase water, by the gallon, so frequently?

    Thanks,
    raccoon city
    (John)

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    sea bear returns! theyellowdart's Avatar
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    IME, live sphagnum holds onto water better than the dried stuff. Your lucky to have it grow so easily for you.

    But if you really don't want it, try microwaving the dried lfs for a minute before using it. That should keep it dead.
    growlist

    Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

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    You can buy a R/O unit that screws on your tap. I just push a button and it pops off, it doesn't have to be hard wired to the faucet, mine isn't.

    I don't know that I ever had a problem with my moss stealing my water. I always watered in such a manner that water flooded from the bottom of the pot, this way I knew there was nothing lingering in the soil from one watering to the next.

    I don't think there's any way to grow CPs "Water smart" which is essentially what I think you're asking. Try succulents if you want to conserve water, I only water my succulents when I feel like it and they thrive on that. I was always watering my house full of Neps 2-3 times a week all year long.

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    BigBella's Avatar
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    Long-fiber sphagnum -- especially live -- conserves water and goes a long way in preventing plants from drying out completely; also, it manages to crowd out less desirable elements such as Botrytis.

    Keep the moss . . .
    “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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    raccoon city's Avatar
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    theyellowdart: Have you ever microwaved lfs for an entire minute? If so, why? If not, why recommend something so strange when you have never tried it? I don't want to damage my microwave, or the lfs. I don't think microwaving lfs would actually help conserve water, though it would probably kill the lfs, and the microwave, for good...

    swords: A portable R/O unit might actually save some money in the long run, just as long as the replacement filters cost less than buying R/O water by the gallon. I am trying to grow CPs with a minimum of water. I've been doing it fairly successfully for about 15 months. One last thing--succulents are really cool. I've been growing succulents for years.

    It seems like I am alone in thinking that dead LFS conserves R/O water better than live LFS. All I know is that my plant containers with live LFS always dry up significantly faster than my plant containers with dead LFS, all other variables equal. So I'll probably just rip out all the live LFS.

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    scottychaos's Avatar
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    I dont see how live LFS can "steal" water from the CPs..
    yes, the green stuff is on top, which in theory is above the roots of the CPs, so maybe thats why people think it takes water away from the CPs..

    but in reality, its only a thin top layer of moss that is alive..there is still a ton of water below the live moss..
    and the water "rises" from evaporation only..I doubt the live moss "pulls" much water from below..it doesnt have roots!

    I bet in reality there is no measurable difference between live moss and dead moss, as far as how much water gets to the CP roots...I wouldnt waste any time worrying about it!
    its really a non-issue..

    Scot

    ---------- Post added at 05:36 AM ---------- Previous post was at 05:31 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by raccoon city View Post
    It seems like I am alone in thinking that dead LFS conserves R/O water better than live LFS. All I know is that my plant containers with live LFS always dry up significantly faster than my plant containers with dead LFS, all other variables equal. So I'll probably just rip out all the live LFS.
    are you really sure its the moss?
    the plants in the pots probably have a much more variable rate of water use than the dry vs. live moss..

    the only way you can sure its the moss is if you have empty pots, equal size, equal amounts of water..then you could test it..

    otherwise it could easily be the plants..plants that *look* similar might be using water at very different rates..

    Scot

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    sea bear returns! theyellowdart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raccoon city View Post
    theyellowdart: Have you ever microwaved lfs for an entire minute? If so, why? If not, why recommend something so strange when you have never tried it? I don't want to damage my microwave, or the lfs. I don't think microwaving lfs would actually help conserve water, though it would probably kill the lfs, and the microwave, for good...
    I would never recommend something I haven't tried before, unless I directly state that the method in question is only something I've heard of.
    So yes, I have microwaved dried lfs for a minute in my microwave. It is intended to "sterilize" the media and/or prevent it from coming back to life; which it has never done for me when microwaved. It is not intended to make the media hold onto more water, which it will not.
    I don't understand the idea that it will destroy your microwave. How is microwaving sphagnum any different from microwaving something like broccoli?

    I guess I should have written to microwave it until is somewhat hot to the touch, not boiling, which will vary between microwaves. I've found mine to take a minute, but I'm sure others will take a longer or shorter amount of time. Just do some experimenting.

    Edit: Wet the media before you microwave it. Doing it dry wouldn't cause any harm, I just think that water distributes heat more evenly throughout the media.
    growlist

    Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be surprised if more water is lost through live LFS than through dead LFS. It seems to have much more surface area when alive, allowing more water to evaporate, or evapotranspire if you prefer.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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