Sphagnum/peat as a substrate

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Sphagnum/peat as a substrate

Post  Precarious on Mon May 18, 2015 3:44 pm

A thank you to Kevin for this reference:
http://walter-pall-bonsai.blogspot.com/2010/06/feeding-substrate-and-watering-english.html

I don't know enough about how to use sphagnum moss/rough peat(except by itself in air layering). Does it need to be chopped up before using as a substrate so it blends well with granite/pumice/turface/etc? And in what range of proportions?

Currently, I use small chicken grit and pine bark fines in equal proportions, but want to consider sphagnum as a component to help lighten the 'soil'. I've searched this website and a handful of other noteworthies, but no luck on the specific how-to's.

Precarious
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Sphagnum/peat as a substrate

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon May 18, 2015 5:23 pm

hey david... if your main goal is to just lighten the load, maybe consider sticking with the pine bark (assuming it is aged/composted), but swapping out the chicken grit for small lava...

I am in the process of phasing out the grit as lava has all the sharp edges of grit (or maybe a few hundred more per particle) with the added bonus of retaining some moisture/nutrients and being light weight

i know there is debate about whether or not the sharp edges actually do anything, but with the lava, it is a moot point.

this stuff is pretty perfect in size:

http://www.menards.com/main/heating-cooling/fire-pits-outdoor-heating/black-lava-rock-10-lbs/p-2010788.htm

but a little spendy (though shipping was free)...
some searching of local retailers might yield a more economical source
after buying the above i found a somewhat local source (bc bonsai illinois) ...about 50 lbs for $20

_________________

AAC Original Milwaukee Wi. Chapter - North America

aka beer city snake
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Sphagnum/peat as a substrate

Post  Precarious on Mon May 18, 2015 6:34 pm

Thanks for the link. Wow 1/4"! I thought 1/8-3/16" would be the range. How often do you have to water in the heat of summer? You do have summer even in the frozen tundra, don't you? lol!

I'd still like to hear from anyone using sphagnum...

Precarious
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Sphagnum/peat as a substrate

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon May 18, 2015 7:06 pm

i think 1/4" is the biggest you will find in that bag...
i believe the stuff we get from bc bonsai is 3/16"...

even in the heat of summer i only watered 1x per day, but i will say that there were days that some of the pots were a bit drier than i would have liked, but nothing serious... and i probably do use a bit more of the pine bark than others might.

but again, i am just now beginning to phase out the grit, so last summer would not be a good indicator of what i can expect once lava is more fully incorporated... i do still expect to water daily but am hoping some of the pots will not get to that "almost too dry stage" on the hottest days...

_________________

AAC Original Milwaukee Wi. Chapter - North America

aka beer city snake
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Sphagnum/peat as a substrate

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Tue May 19, 2015 12:19 am

David,

I grew a serissa in our only version of sphagnum moss, grows on our cocoa trees. Called cocoa moss.
The serissa did well and the experiment was for about 3 years.
I was warned by Sifu [ Jerry Meislik ] that I could also get sudden death with the moss.
Pot was a simple porous earthenware thingee.

Serissa is now in a stoney mix with some aged compost doing nicely.

This guy has an interesting series -

A warning -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7xIlOXuY0o

Other episodes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv2fUcgs-KQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly8MSPtp41Y

Carl Rosner [ old IBCer ] uses red lava by the way.

Canadian peat moss [ sterilised ] is also usable as an ingredient with non-porous inorganic ingredients. Only a little is needed.
Good Luck.
Khaimraj

Khaimraj Seepersad
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Sphagnum/peat as a substrate

Post  Precarious on Tue May 19, 2015 2:42 pm

Thanks for your response, Khai. What was the average size of the cocoa moss? I am wondering if the sphagnum mixes with the gritty portion, or if they will tend to separate.

Precarious
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Sphagnum/peat as a substrate

Post  Guest on Tue May 19, 2015 6:56 pm

Very interesting inquiry Precarious. Thanks for starting it. Thanks too to Kevin for the WP link. I've been out of the loop for 10+ years so you can imagine my amazement at the exponential growth of e-bonsai 'information'  out there now. As to be expected, much of it is contradictory but I guess that's on us to sort out. I guess it's hard to argue with Mister Pall when we consider his results but feeding with cheap, all purpose, urea based (for the N), water soluble fertilizer 60 x a year!??. I can see why his "modern substrates" are designed to not hold onto anything with a CEC in the basement. Good god. Wouldn't the moss (or even the good pine bark) serve as a sponge for all that salt? Little wonder he has to flush dem puppies 2-3 x a day. It works for him but as he states: "Do everything I do exactly". Leave anything out and prepare for a bonfire.

Sorry. I know the question was about moss. I assume as the organic component? I subscribe to the 'don't add anything to your mix that isn't absolutely necessary' school. So the question becomes: Why? Moisture retention? The problem with moisture retained in the substrate: you can't easilyget rid of it when it's the very last thing you need for healthy trees. Like anything else, it comes down to the grower, their trees, and where they live. My only experience with moss in bonsai is exactly as one responder describes in the same WP post:
"Al Polito said...
   In the Pacific Northwest area of the United States, we have found that a mixture of akadama and pumice, or akadama, pumice, and lava cinder, screened uniformly, yields great results. I think we repot our trees frequently enough so that the akadama doesn't break down to the point of harmfulness. I'd love to try the WP method myself, but as a working professional, I need the akadama in the soil to retain the moisture that it does. One trick we employ here to retain moisture is to get commercial orchid moss, grate it, mix it with grated moss, and sprinkle it on the surface of the pot before initial watering. The mixture bonds to the soil surface and provides the "seedbed" for the moss to grow in."
...and only then in a grow box for a collected tree or large material from a nursery when bare-rooting to remove all the organics is too risky all in one go. I do however look forward to some other growers with moss experience chiming in. This is interesting.Thanks!

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Sphagnum/peat as a substrate

Post  kevin stoeveken on Tue May 19, 2015 9:16 pm

hey mike...

precarious = david = one of us (fellow AAC member) Cool

kevin stoeveken
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Sphagnum/peat as a substrate

Post  Guest on Wed May 20, 2015 1:41 am

Oh cool! Hi David ;) AAC4life!

I should amend that second paragraph of mine up there:
Instead of "when it's the very last thing you need ...." I meant "when it becomes the very last ..bla,bla,blah". Did not mean to imply water retention is not ever a good thing. Just that if the mix is retaining too much at the wrong time of year there's nothing for it but to re-pot w/o the soggy bits. That could be very inconvenient (dangerous even).

I think this topic and the (hopefully) revived "BP not budding" topic tie in neatly. There is a lot of room for discussion but just now it's 5:38pm and I smell bacon. Baaaa...con. (plus I should try to pm Mssrs. Marcus and Edzard with a heads up as to why their ears are en fuego).
lol

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Sphagnum/peat as a substrate

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu May 21, 2015 10:36 am

David,

cocoa moss is just long fibres / strands at about 6 to 8" in length [ 15 to 20 cm ] and I just did the same as was shown in the youtube stuff. Put a serissa with roots clean of soil into a mass of moss, pressed down with more moss.
The stuff grows the short yard moss, I use to simulate lawn grass, exceptionally well.

For what it is worth, the crushed red brick is more or less the equivalent to your red lava. I took the time to order soil components years ago [ akadama as well.] However at 5mm by itself it can kill a serissa.
{Akadama is just loam, as the components break down from pumice to sand and clay. With the addition of the composted oil cakes, you are just following time honoured farming practices world wide. Nothing special there.}
The other component is just simple builder's gravel and the organic is aged compost, have used peat moss and coco-peat.

Read this book back in 1980 or so -

Basic Bonsai Student Work Book - Lynn Liggett - about 1977 - still available cheaply on Amazon.

Had a good section on soil components and with my school education [ I was 18 back then ] never looked back.
The biggest change was going from cured cow manure to aged compost [ curtesy Rodale ] and up grading to 5 mm. used to be closer to 3 mm.

Most of this information has been available in Bonsai since 1950 and by 1930 [ or earlier in plant botany.] Just keeps getting lost and refound.
The Ball bearing principle can be found in BCI publications back in 1990 or earlier.

If your climate is humid, and you are using stoneware, you back off on the organic and moisture retaining inorganic. If your climate is dry, then you can increase both the organic and inorganic that can retain moisture.
You just have to balance that with how you water.
I still water by hand, and we have a dry climate for six months or so. So I can repot in an organic/ inorganic mix with one ingredient in the inorganic holding moisture.
By June when the rains fall 15 cm and more, a month, the trees have mastered the soil mix and the rainfall can do no damage.

The older books speak of Bonsai pots being porous orginally, and I am testing the idea with glazed on the sides, but not underneath pots, and non-glazed plain pots. Adding more organic to the mix, since I read at the Texas extension for the University, that plants in pots only need 1 to 2 N and 1 P and 1 K to thrive since -

----------------We grow our Bonsai for beauty, not produce or lumber. [ 1970 Japanese quote ] --------------

However, once you are on the Soil quest, you are on the Soil quest, so I wish you well.

Talk to Yvonne G. as her idea with the 5 to 3 mm Leca works well. I hand rolled enough porous fired clay to do a bonsai pot and got some 12 to 15 mm Leca. Added the aged compost to the balls and everything is growing well.
I tested it on dry weather preferring local ficus.
Additionally, marbles at 10 mm and glass sphere at 3 mm.
As Paul of Australia said, the soil component can be inert [ styro balls ] and if it can support a tree, whilst being freely draining, it will grow well.

I stay with aged compost [ which clumps to rounded type particles = Humus ] because that is how trees adapted to life on the planet.
Best to you.
Khaimraj

Khaimraj Seepersad
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Sphagnum/peat as a substrate

Post  Auballagh on Sun May 24, 2015 12:51 am

I use sphagnum moss as a basic part of the soil component for growing Azaleas, plus a single Pieris Bonsai I'm working with, (This tree has roots that are also very Azalea-like).
The moss I use actually starts out it's life cycle as enclosure bedding material for adult, Boa Constrictor snakes.  I get 9 to 10 months of use out of that moss substrate before it has to be replaced with fresh sphagnum moss.  Over time in the snake enclosure, the moss breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces.  It's generally very fine in size when due for replacement.
When mixed in with sifted Kanuma, that old moss has worked extremely well for me.
I usually have an excess supply of this 'pre-used' sphagnum moss, and have been giving it away to friends locally.  
It's now known here as, "Snake Poopy Moss".  Laughing

Auballagh
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Sphagnum/peat as a substrate

Post  Sponsored content Today at 2:17 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum