Treating Radiata Pine bark for potting mixes

splinter1804April 22, 2010

Hi everyone,

I usually post on the bromeliad forums, but not being able to get an answer to my question I'm now asking for help from orchid growers.

Does anyone know what the professionals use to treat new Radiata Pine bark with before using it in orchid mixes.

I know it's best to use old bark in preference to new as I've been told the new bark is too high in acid and resins.

I also know you can buy bark which is pre-treated to overcome this problem but I can't find out what its treated with.

Can anyone help with an answer.

Thanks in advance

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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Here is a recipe. Not recommended. Too much trouble and probably cheaper to buy a commercial product.
"PeterÂs" formula for soaking bark to treat one 50 litre bag

Urea - 130 Grams

Dolomite - 35 Grams

Potassium Sulphate - 25 Grams

Ferris Sulphate - 35 Grams

Copper Sulphate - 10 Grams

Soak bark in this mixture for 10 days. Treatment provides some nutrients and reduces acidity so that orchid roots are not damaged.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 1:18AM
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orchid126(z6, NJ)

Pine bark is not generally used for orchids as it breaks down quickly. Fir bark is much better.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 4:54PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Agree, Fir Bark is better! But it is scarcer than Hen's Teeth around these parts, so the major ingredient in potting mixes is treated pine bark.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 6:48PM
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splinter1804

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the feedback to my question. I forgot to mention in my first post that the bark was to be used for growing bromeliads and not orchids, however that didn't alter the question.

I think arthurm gave me the info I needed although I will leave out the copper sulphate as copper is fatal to bromeliads.

I agree with both orchid126 and arthurm. I learnt years ago when I grew orchids, that fir bark was far superior to radiata pine bark, but the cost is very expensive and as arthurm says, it's as scarce as hen's teeth around here, so we just have to adapt and make the best of what we have.

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 5:08PM
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