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Thread: Orchid bark

  1. #1

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    How may of you soak your orchid bark(or cocohusk) to remove as much tannins as possible. I get the impression some people use it right out of the bag.
    I just got done soaking some cocohusk chips for about three weeks to a month, changing the water every few days. I did not intend to do it for that long(I was lazy and kept forgetting to take it out and then thought "I better change the water and soak it overnight again).
    The thing is, once you soak either for a couple of days, the bark has a pinesol smell to it. It took weeks of soaking for that to go away and now the cochusk smells really clean. I am going to try this with bark too. I have no idea what this means, but no smell seems better than a pine smell, for some reason.
    I know one Australian grower who uses pine bark and piles it up, sprinkles urea on it in and hoses it a little, repeating this for six weeks or so, to leach the tannins out. He says the bark ends up nice and black and rich.

    Regards,

    Joe

  2. #2
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    The tannin should not be a concern for your cps (or orchids for that matter). I don't use fir bark anymore because it decomposes too fast and I didn't have an easy inexpensive source anymore. But I used to soak it for the purposes of: Getting it wet.
    Removing the bad bark.. ie the stuff that sank to the bottom if soaked overnight. This is the stuff that decomposes quickly.

    I now use coconut husk chips because they last longer, hold more water and roots can grow right into them. I do soak these as well for a day or two for the purpose of letting them expand and absorb water and to rinse any salt out.

    Tony
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

  3. #3
    N=R* fs fp ne fl fi fc L Pyro's Avatar
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    I have always used mine straight out of the bag. I thought tannins were a good thing. Wasn't there a big discussion about tannin tea on the listserv? About how it was good for CPs and stuff?
    'My love was science- specifically biology and, more specifically, when placed in a common jar, which of two organisms would devour the other.'

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  4. #4

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    Joe,
    once i get a bag of orchid bark i place it into a bucket of water and let it sit in there until i mix some potting mix up. yes, it does have a smell to it with sitting it in water all the time.
    i also keep a bucket of coconut fiber that i have chopped up from time to time. yes, you are right about that it has a clean smell to it no matter how long it sits in the container of water. i haven't used any in a mix yet, but just keep it around just in case. that is one thing i will never run.
    George McKay

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    Ahhh...now I am getting the discussion I want.
    Tannins are good for most cp, yes. Nepenthes do not respond to acidic conditions as well as other CP. I am told they do not like Miracid, for example, which works well for Sarracenia and other acidic condition cp. I have never fertilized.
    Slack in his book likes a compost of 2:2:1 bark, perlite peat and says not to use more peat because the growth is not as good with more than that. He also recommends live sphagnum that is compact and sqeezes well, so that is kind of contradictory.
    I know some very good growers use 25% or higher on the peat ratio, so I am just trying to figure this stuff out. The urea leaching seems like a lot of work. BTW, he uses 75% bark, 20 % perlite and only 5% peat. He has automatic watering daily and I imagine a course mix with that much watering is probably quite vigorous(he fertilizes once/month, too).
    Tony, that was informative about the cocohusk over orchid bark. Joachim Danz told me the same thing about orchid bark breaking down, which is why he uses cork. Unfortuantely I found a large bag of bark in Houston and took it home on the plane, lol. I am thinking about using equal bark and cocohusk for a while. I am starting to find supplies cheaper online(even with shipping included @ $1/pound for charcoal, coco products, ect).

    Regards,

    Joe

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