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Thread: Peat Substitute for Utrics

  1. #1

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    Greetings,

    Recently I have been plauged with an infestation of moss, and I have it from very good authority that my peat is to blame. I took a suggestion from Tamlin to purchase a TDS meter, and discovered that my peat is extremely high in dissolved solids [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif[/img]

    I'm now faced with the problem of re-potting my entire utric collection. Unfortunately, I don't have the space or time to age peat outdoors nor do I have enough R.O. water (I buy mine) to suffeceintly leach the peat. I've come up with a few cost and time effective options but I am unsure as which is best...so I'll posit them to you good folks:

    1. Use milled New Zealand or Chilean sphagnum as a peat substitute. I don't know how to mill sphagnum, nor do I know how well sphagnum holds up in a waterlogged environment.

    2. Use a mixture of ground osmunda fiber/spagnum and shredded orchid bark. Not quite sure of the pH or reactivity of osmunda or orchid bark.

    3. Take utrics off tray system completely and water overhead using a bucket to collect excess runoff. The problem with this is that I really don't like moving my plants too much. I have butterfingers.

    4. Chemically treating the peat with somekind of solvent. Something cheaper than R.O. water.

    So, at this point I'm pretty much open to anything.

    Peace,

    Damon
    Nothing needs so reforming as other people's habits.
    -Mark Twain

  2. #2

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    how many utrics do you have? if you dont have THAT many, you could just buy a ton of good peat and replant them over about a week. you can buy pre-milled sphagnum moss, too.

  3. #3

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    I would go with LFS too. It's a great medium, plus it has antifungal properties. I can't see anything wrong with LFS, though some would say it has too little trace nutrients.

    I vote (if you have the time, resources and patience) for a repotting.

    SF

  4. #4

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    I would go with lfs. also...The only problem with it is that it is rather expensive.lol
    [img]http://home.**********.com/users/pondboy/Neps/Neps%20sig..JPG[/img]

  5. #5

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    Well Damon if you are having problems with the peat, you might try a different batch. I am having good results with milled sphagnum as well. There is a product in Europe called Supersphagnum that comes in super compressed chunks that feel like balsa wood. This is made from only the heads of LFS (New Zealand I believe). It was sent by a friend in England, but I don't have a source. When I get a min. I'll see what I can find out. My friend swears by this stuff and likes it better than beer.

    To mill your own, just moisten it and whirr it up in a blender or food processor. Put a little in and buzz it, remove, and repeat.

    There is some contrary opinion on what constitutes the TDS in peat over on the UK Forum. I still go my my gut feelings that the stuff should be well rinsed though: rather safe than sorry is my opinion.
    "Grow More, Share More"

  6. #6
    Nepenthes Specialist nepenthes gracilis's Avatar
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    Supersphag is also a great shipping medium. I had an N. lowii "Mt. Trus Madi" arrive completely dried....it's thriving in thr greenhouse despite the sphag was dry....I called the supplier and he said it's a great failsafe. It must be true, I woulda thought surely the plant was done for. I personally don't like it as a medium alone, seems to get very wet too quickly.

  7. #7

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    This "wetness factor" is what makes it so ideal for Utricularia, along with the fact that it is easily penetrated by the thinnest of stolons. I haven't experimented with it until now, but I trust my "nose" on this.
    "Grow More, Share More"

  8. #8

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    Greetings,

    The sphagnum sounds like a good alternative. I am concerned about how it will hold up using the tray system. I'd hate to do all that work only to end up with a stinky stagnant mess.

    As to the TDS in peat...I read that post pertaining to organic acids in peat and whether that would influence the readings. I don't think so. I spent about two hours last night washing, boiling, and baking peat till I got a low TDS reading. The peat still turns the water brown...like tea, so the tannins have persisted while most of the salts have washed away.

    At this point, I just don't trust peat. Some of the pots have absolutely no problems with moss, while others are thick with the stuff. THere is no telling from appearance alone if the bag is peat or just dirt called peat.
    Nothing needs so reforming as other people's habits.
    -Mark Twain

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