Pea t Moss will hold 15 times it weight in water and fertiliser in that water as well.

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Pea t Moss will hold 15 times it weight in water and fertiliser in that water as well.

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Dec 26, 2015 10:50 am

24th and 25 December low from 10 p.m - 69 deg.F [ say 20 deg.C ] High low 80's for about half and hour in the day [ say 28 deg,C ]
Trees are sleeping.


Reading through Rodales book on Composting [ from 1957 and re-published many times ]

I see Peat Moss has the properties -

[1] holding 15 times it's weight in water

[2] Naturally that also holds fertiliser in solution

[3] Encourages very fine root hair growth

[4] Improves sandy soil and will even help clay types.

How can we use the above.

[a] First determine in a organic, inorganic mix how much do you really need ?

[b] Do you need an inorganic that absorbs water ?

[c] Since like akadama it encourages the growth of fine root hairs, but it will turn to Humus [ chelating ability ?]

[3] Slowly, in colder climates, releases Nitrogen [ old trees might like that ]

_______________________________________________________

I have always used compost, but began with aged manure and in a pinch will blend some peat moss with the compost.

My trees are reaching 30 years +, so my interest is in Health and fine twigging / branchlets.
Pumice soils decaying into clay [ akadama ] is not for me, because clay will clog/kill my tree cores.
Hence the use of 5 mm silica based gravel and 5 mm crushed earthenware brick [ it is porous ]
this material is durable, in soil and with roots.

I suspect the problem for using peat moss is, [1] Not knowing and or respecting the 15 times water holding capacity
[2] Trying grow trunks in small pots.

Do you realise by volume how little of peat moss is needed to keep a tree from becoming thirsty in full sun ?
In a mostly inorganic mix ?

Once again pots are for refinement of branches, not trunk expansion, unless the tree is known to expand in very little soil e.g Ficus p.

In our climate peat moss composts in a few months, faster with a compost blend. Same for coco peat.
Laters.
Khaimraj

Hmm - if I shift to simple manure tea as a fertiliser will that be enough to allow my old trees to stay healthy?
[ thinking aloud]








Khaimraj Seepersad
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Re: Pea t Moss will hold 15 times it weight in water and fertiliser in that water as well.

Post  Leo Schordje on Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:40 pm

How peat moss works for someone will depend on where they are growing, the mineral content of their water, how often they get rain, vs having to use well or municipal water. Humidity, and temperature will also play into how peat will work for you.

Quick definitition
Sphagnum moss, this is the moss that is harvested fresh, alive, usually it is dried and compressed into bales. Or baled and then dried before shipping. The moss fibers have not decomposed at all.

Peat is moss that died, sank to the bottom of the bog, and was compressed by the weight of growing moss above it. When harvested it usually has been dead for many years, sometimes hundreds of years, depending on the depth of the bog being mined. Peat has undergone some metamorphosis during its time in the ground. These changes will vary depending on the depth and age of the peat. Deep peat deposits can be thousands of years old. The layers under pressure can begin to metamorphose into a product that looks more like coal than moss.

In the USA peat mined in Canada is usually pretty young, from shallow deposits. This product is usually milled before being bailed and put in plastic bags. The milling grinds it into fairly fine pieces. The peat available in Europe, particularly Germany is mined from very deep, very old deposits. It also does not get milled as finely as USA or Canada sourced peat. Some metamorphosis of the deep German deposits mean that the peat that Walter Pall uses in his potting mix is a very different product than the peat we can get here in the USA.

I do sift dry peat and use it in my mixes for azalea, blending it with perlite or sponge rock or pumice. This is only used for acid loving species, azalea, hornbeam, blueberries, and a few others. It works ok for me. If I use too high a percentage I tend to have trouble. I usually keep peat as less than 20% of any mix I create. If a tree will tolerate my alkaline municipal water, then I skip the acid-peat moss mix. Only trees like azalea seem to really benefit. At least in my set up.

Peat moss certainly is a substrate component that I keep on hand. I don't always use it. But it has a place.


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Re: Pea t Moss will hold 15 times it weight in water and fertiliser in that water as well.

Post  M. Frary on Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:37 pm

I don't go near it. Or any other organic component. With inorganic substrates I can water once per day every day and never worry about overwatering. I had a tree given to me that was in that stuff. It had some root rot issues. Cleaned the organic crap out,put it in straight D.E. and it is doing fine. That's when I knew. No more organic substrate materials for me.
I never use organic fertilizers either. They gum up the inorganic substrates. Attract pests. And smell. No playing with poo here.

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Re: Pea t Moss will hold 15 times it weight in water and fertiliser in that water as well.

Post  Leo Schordje on Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:22 pm

M. Frary wrote:  I don't go near it. Or any other organic component. With inorganic substrates I can water once per day every day and never worry about overwatering. I had a tree given to me that was in that stuff. It had some root rot issues. Cleaned the organic crap out,put it in straight D.E. and it is doing fine. That's when I knew. No more organic substrate materials for me.
 I never use organic fertilizers either. They gum up the inorganic substrates. Attract pests. And smell. No playing with poo here.

Hi Mike,
You mentioned once, you never sift your bonsai media. That being the case, you should not use peat. I sift my peat moss, when I use it. Only about 10% of the peat will be coarse enough to be used for bonsai media. What goes through the sieve gets put in the garden to help break up our heavy clay. If you don't sift your peat, it WILL CLOG up your mix. I am on municipal water supply, which means the tap water is buffered to an alkaline pH of 8.2 or somewhere near that. Satsuki azalea hate my tap water. The peat moss helps me get away with using tap water. Peat is a good acidic soil buffer. If you are on well water, your water is not buffered to such an alkaline reaction. Now your well water likely has some dissolved limestone, but you might be far enough north or on a shallow enough well that this is not a problem. Unless you were raising a lot of azalea or blueberry or cranberry as bonsai, likely your water would not be a problem. I use peat to solve a water problem.

Peat has a high cation exchange capacity. This means it will capture and hold salts, such as calcium and magnesium salts. When it is saturated, it will begin to decompose and turn to muck. I try to repot all my azaleas at least once every 2 years. You can't leave them in a peat mix for 5 or 10 years. At least in my area.

Peat mixes will hold water. I try to set my trees up so I can water once every third day for most of the year, Every other day for the heat of summer. I am travelling too often for a tree to survive if it requires water every day. I agree, unless sifting the soil carefully, you will have a hard time creating a mix you can water every day if it contains peat.

So basically, from the species you raise, and the way you mix your media, and the way you water. Peat moss would be a bad idea to add to your mix. I don't use it for everything, just for the 6 Satsuki azaleas I have and the one tropical blueberry species I have. All my pines, maples, elms, etc are in a more mineral, mostly inorganic mix, with orchid bark being the only organic component.

Peat moss has specific purpose, it is not a first choice as a potting media. Pumice is one universal, works for just about everything media, peat moss is for specialty applications.

Leo Schordje
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Re: Pea t Moss will hold 15 times it weight in water and fertiliser in that water as well.

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed Dec 30, 2015 11:45 am

Guys,

I want to thank you, very much for the honesty.

I must confess, much of these soil mix issues are confusing.

Yes, I know the Canadian peat moss decomposes in about 2 months on our side. However, my soil components, trees and full sun/breeze,
never gave any problems.

I wonder if the problem is more a case of too much organic and ability to hold water, and no use of the ball-bearing principle. Also the
use of a hose, instead of a watering can, where you can - see - what you are doing ?

I have been growing my J.B.pines in a simple 5 mm builder's gravel [silica based ] and compost, the oldest tree is about 26 / 27 years old.
Not pretending that they are masterpieces, but they are healthy.
Never gave any problems.

We are fortunate down here, an almost 6 month no rain period, that starts after Christmas, and allows you to re-pot, and then control, the
watering, until, the roots master the pot. By then the rains return and the trees are safe from the bucket a drop.
So we have controlled watering.

As peat and azaleas go, I just lift the coarse azaleas we have and cut off what is old and fill back with the Canadian peatmoss mix.
Had the main azalea since 1980/1 and it has never given any problems.
The old soils are thrown back onto the compost heap and allowed to blend in with the fresh stuff.

a] Ground growing for trunks and the first 6 branches - using commercial fertiliser.

b] Over sized pot [ plastic or mica bonsai pots for refining - I am only going to 18" max height or width of tree ]
still with the use of 1/3 strength commercial fertiliser into moist soil.

This year I am separating the oldest trees onto the stands, for testing with the simple compost tea, no bubbling.
Need to see if the tea, can maintain, maybe improve the refinement of branchlets, etc.
Health but slowed growth / expansion, as in the old/er trees in a meadow.
Thanks again.
Laters.
Khaimraj










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