Does unused bark go bad?

chrysbizMarch 25, 2010

I'm repotting an orchid for the first time... from bark to bark. I have some unused orchid bark that is several years old... and has been stored properly. Is it still good? Can unused bark also decay in such a way that it loses nutrients/minerals?

My other question I can probably find in a FAQs. I removed as much bark as I could, but the root are still clinging to a lot of pieces. I guess I should ignore that and continue with the transfer?

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richardol(Santa Royale CA)

Bark that is dry will keep pretty much forever. As for nutrients, the medium is not the source so it doesn't matter.

If a piece of root has a firm hold on a piece of bark and the choice is a clean but damaged root, I say let the root keep it. That being said, if there are still a lot of pieces, you may need to try again. Almost all of these pieces will come off without root damage.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 7:04AM
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orchid126(z6, NJ)

You might try soaking the roots for a couple of hours in tepid water to see whether or not the bark can break loose. It should make the roots more flexible and less brittle. Easier to repot.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 4:14PM
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ifraser25(z11 Brazil)

Try and disturb the plant as little as possible. Orchids do not need repotting often. If you are worried about the status of your bark - and it can harbor many bacterial/ fungal conditions - put the quantity you need in a plastic/glass container and microwave it for 3 minutes. That will get rid of most nasties.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 12:41AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Are you in Florida?? I almost never use bark due to the constant breakdown of the material . MY favs. for most epiphytes are either mounted, Tree fern or crushed lava rock
Contained in a pot of course Growing outdoors or indoors??

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 6:37AM
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I agree re: YOUR favorite potting media. Great for south Florida.

(in Maryland)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 9:13AM
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Nope, I'm in California. I'll try soaking the roots. That may work somewhat, though it may also make the roots more vulnerable to breaking... but it's worth a try. Thanks for the responses everyone. I figured the bark would be okay, and it's been stored nicely.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 2:57PM
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