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  1. #17

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    Interesting exchange.

    I used to drench my Neps with a commercial strain of Trichoderma harzianum (RootShield) every three months or so, following *good* results with it on my Cephs. I was never quite convinced that I was getting improved protection with it, given the inevitable conflict that one faces when using systemic fungicides on plants in pots innoculated with Trichoderma. Certainly, I never saw any negative response from the plants so, at worst, I s'pose it's harmless (this is NOT an endorsement!). I agree with Robert Cantley that foliar sprays of contact fungicides probably suppress, but don't eradicate, the in-pot cultures. Lab tests on the media will show what chemical products put it down, and which don't. It is inexpensive enough that, presuming one believes in its efficacy, it pays to re-innoculate the pots every couple of months.

    I'd be very interested in seeing results published on its use in commercial Nepenthes nurseries, including comparisons with sizeable control lots. My own experience aside, I suspect that it may be a valuable addition to our root pathogen control arsenal, with the added benefit that it's a "bio-rational". Having said that, I'm also leery of the wilder claims by the marketers of some of these products given the inconclusive evidence on the putative benefits of using, say, SuperJive.

    Brgds,

    SJ

  2. #18

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    Actually it is very interesting to understand the interactions between microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, and even viruses) with the plant's roots.
    Mycorrhizal microorganisms are usually beneficial for the normal development of a plant. Sometimes the roots of a plant are not so lucky and have microbes that are neither good nor bad taking up space and avoiding the potential good microbes to colonize the roots, so if we follow this logic then, using a regular fungicide in a plant prior using trichoderma would be an excellent idea because the chemical will kill any fungus, then remove the chemical as much as you can and then add the trichoderma so they can take up the surface area left vacant by the useless or potentially harmful microbes and voilaa, your plant is protected.

    I do believe that in the cases where trichoderma does not do much is because the roots have the useless microbes and these won't let trichoderma interact with the roots.

    The expiration date for trichoderma is about a year, but it is not that expensive, at least in our part of the world.

    Gus

  3. #19

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    Expensive is a realative term. I definitely think it's worthwhile to use Trichoderma on a small collection as the cost would be low. In our highland nurseries alone we use between 7 Kg and 10 Kg per month which is a bit of an "ouch" on the bank balance. It's manufactured locally by a Norwegian company and is a mixture of two strains. They won't reveal excatly which strains though.

    Usually, before using a chemical, we carry out extensive trials to test for phytotoxicity and other effects. However, with Trichoderma we just started using it as we were sure there would be no ill effects and it's not a chemical. Since using it we *believe* we've seen improved growth and definitely no occurance of root rot pathogens which used to be an occasional problem before. However, this is a subjective evaluation since we're always tweaking other parameters such as watering schedules and even water source changes at different times of the year. Problem is that now we're using it we don't dare stop! I'll set up some serious trials when I'm up in the highland nurseries week after next and post photos of the results periodically. I'm personally fairly sure that Trichoderma (at least the strain we use) is highly beneficial.

    [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_n_32.gif[/img] I think comparing Trichoderma to Superthrive isn't fair. Trichoderma has at least a scientific foundation to explain how and why it *may* be of benefit to the plants and has been scientifically evaluated with many ornamental and other plant crops. I've never seen any such data for Superthrive. Oops, sorry! Let's not start another Superthrive debate [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_m_32.gif[/img]

    We keep our Trichoderma in the fridge by the way.

    Trichoderma thrives well at a pH of between 5.5 and 6.0. I know this because that's the pH we strive to keep our media at. Outside that range I have no experience other than what the manfufacturer has told me. He says that it doesn't do well in alkaline conditions which I guess shouldn't be relevant information to the CP world! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img] He also says it will be OK at lower pH than we use.
    Rob Cantley
    Nep Nut in Sri Lanka
    http://www.borneoexotics.com

  4. #20
    Somewhat Unstable superimposedhope's Avatar
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    I have been using 4 different Trichoderma, 6 Glomus, 1 Gigaspora, Pisolithus, 4 Rhizopogon and 2 Baccillus. I also have begun experimenting with beneficial nematodes and protozoa. Beneficial nematodes help breakdown junk into useable forms and keep harmful nematodes at bay through competition for food. These I have nothing to say yet.
    The fungus and bacteria innoculations are extremely beneficial. It is my beleif that this is more than an opinion though studies are still limited on microbiology of rainforestfloors and crown humus. Additionally epiphytic and climbing/tree hugging Neps would be in contact with a different set of microbes that would benefit specific arboreal plant life and be neutral to terrestrial forms.

    Anyway, Yes, deffinitely a difference seen when using natural organisms in your soil instead of chemicals. For 1 there are no harmful effects from a beneficial (symbiotic) organism. 2) They will make more nutrient available to the plant in a more readily available form. Neps do use from the soil, the soil is just very defficient so when litter hits the ground it is quickly broken down and used as fast as possible by the nearest plant.

    Joe
    \"There is nothing here of interest to any nation, as a matter of fact there is nothing here but humans!\"

  5. #21

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    Hey Rob! How much do you pay for trichoderma in your part of the world?

    1 kilo of trichoflow is about 130 AUD, but local nurseries sell the generic version for 9 dollars a kilo or so.

    Gus

  6. #22

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    Joe,
    Sounds like you've got some really interesting studies going there. Would be fascinated to hear the results when you have them. Are you a mocrobiologist or similar?

    Gus,
    AUD 9 per Kg! Wow! I thought we had a good deal at USD30 per Kg.
    Rob Cantley
    Nep Nut in Sri Lanka
    http://www.borneoexotics.com

  7. #23
    Somewhat Unstable superimposedhope's Avatar
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    [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img]
    No Rob I am not. To be honest I didn't even graduate highschool or have a GED.
    I am an avid collector of epiphytic cactus and that is what lead me to be interested in Neps since some are epiphytic. I am self-taught in the things that interest me.
    I have collected epi-cactus for a couple years now. In that time I have become interested in natural settings. Some will not flower in cultivation and some will not pup in cultivation. These are the kind of things which started my interest in environmental factors like Mycorrhiza and germination of Orchid seed. I have also found that mountings do 150% better with microbially action in the humus. I had also become aware that Neps as well grow in nutrient poor soils, which I think are the evolutionary reason for symbiotic relationships. I have begun corresponding with The International Canopy Network reguarding studies and literature about Canopy micro-environments. Official studies are still scarce as to the full swing of organisms in the canopy.

    I will be testing a new product I've been researching called SuperBio
    I will let you know how this goes. This a much wider spectrum of beneficial micro-organisms. It is a starting point I think. Having a few of each: Fungi, Bacterium, Protozoa, Nematode. There are many more that are beneficial but it will require addition of specialized biological organisms. For instance I already have many of the Myccorhiza where as SuperBio has 2 or 3 in it. The other problem is it is becoming obvios that each specie of plant carrying on symbiotic relationships has its own specific organisms that are beneficial to it. So what is great for say N. veitchii will probably be of little or no use to N.loweii. Which becomes a case of unneccesary microbes in your soil (non-harmful) or each specie of a plant would need a specialized mix (very time consuming)
    I am long winded [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_m_32.gif[/img]

    Joe
    \"There is nothing here of interest to any nation, as a matter of fact there is nothing here but humans!\"

  8. #24
    Somewhat Unstable superimposedhope's Avatar
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    For anyone that is confused.

    Mycorrhiza = Fungi root. These are divided into endo and ectoMycorrhiza. Endo are fungi that create a network of fine filament around the plants roots and extend up to 10X the rootzone.
    Ecto are fungi that colonize inside the root along the inner walls. The inhibit the growth and infection of other harmful fungus.
    There are quite a number of baccteria with different beneficial purposes. The most common breakdown organic matter and make it more accessible to the root system which may or may not be colonized by Myco. Other baccteria inhibit the growth of harmful baccteria. Many of the beneficial baccteria are known as nitrogen fixing which means they release nitrogen that has been bound up and previously unnavailable to the rootsystem.
    Nematodes I am still reading and learning about but as I understand it they also break down certain nutrient into useable forms as well as inhibiting the colonizing of the nematodes we all know of (harmful or useless)
    Protozoa are as well another breakdown of nutrient into useable forms.

    It is estimated that 40-70% or nutrient added or currently in soil are unnavailable or leached very quickly. The addition of these symbiotics can increase your nutrient uptake to 100%. Every bit of nutrition in the soil can be used. It is like....fertilizer is a can of soup. You can eat with your hands but it would be much more efficient to use a spoon. Then every bit can go in your mouth instead of maybe half.

    Joe
    \"There is nothing here of interest to any nation, as a matter of fact there is nothing here but humans!\"

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