Pine Bark, Fir Bark, Orchid Bark fines

esox07November 16, 2011

If anyone knows of a place in Central Wisconsin that sells Pine or Fir bark fines, let me know. I plan on using it in containers for Peppers this spring so I dont really need "Orchid" bark with all the amendments. I just need the Pine or Fir bark fines. I have looked all over the internet and called all the local nurseries and all I get is silence when I ask about Pine or Fir bark fines.

Bruce

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bronxfigs

esox07:

It's expensive, but might be worth it if you don't need much....try: "Zoo Med Repti-Bark". It is sold in large pet supply stores.... Pet Smart, Petco, etc. It's put in the bottom of tanks for reptiles, etc.

It's small bark chunks, no dust, clean, and ready to use.

Hope this might help.

Frank

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 5:57PM
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esox07

Yep, that would cost me about $15 per container. It is really irritating that I can't just buy it in 2cf bags like other mulch products. Products like Repti-Bark are just Fir Bark fines put into small bags and sold at about 100x the price. If you can find a wholesale supplier near you, they will sell you more than a cubic yard of the stuff for less than one little bag of "repti-bark". It is the same way with regular top soil, you can have a dump truck load of top soil delivered for about a few cents a cubic foot but you will pay $2 for a 2cf bag in the garden center. I just need about 10 cf or so of Fir Bark fines. I shouldn't have to pay hundreds of dollars for it. I know it is sold in 2cf bags at retail garden/landscape sites around the country for just a few dollars a bag. I just cannot find one anywhere in Central Wisconsin.
Bruce

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 6:33PM
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bronxfigs

esox07

Same crap in the NYC area! What's with the garden centers? I can't get Turface MVP, I can't find/get Fir Bark Fines, No grits to be found, no crushed nut shells, no crushed coconut shell, no expanded clay pellets. It would take me a half a day looking for this stuff, and then I'd need a pick-up to haul it. It's ridiculous...all I get are blank looks when I ask about these products.

I can't help you with any suggestions....I haven't found cheap sources either. Sorry.

Frank

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 6:33PM
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jane__ny(9-10)

You can order small orchid chips on line which works well with potted dirt plants. Or buy large bags of shredded bark in Home Depot or other box stores. I use that in potted plants. You can open the large bag and scoop out the smaller bark pieces. Use the larger ones in the garden.

This is a store I have used for years, it will give you an idea of various materials offered,

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Orchid bark

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 12:00AM
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bronxfigs

jane ny

I'll start checking out orchid growing supply sources for the bark chips. Shipping will be expensive though.

Thanks for the help.

Frank

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 6:41AM
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jane__ny(9-10)

I use bark fines for thin rooted orchids and seedlings. I only buy a small bag and it lasts me a long time. I would not use this for regular dirt plants as it would be too expensive. I use medium bark chips for some dirt plants, mix perlite and regular potting soil (Miracle Gro), works fine. For large container plants, I use shredded bark which I buy in large bags in HD.

Jane

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 1:10AM
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saldut

On the Fla.. Gardening Forum, there was discussion abt. pine-fines and use in pottting mixes.. such as Al's Mix, etc... and it was suggested that the big bags of pine bark chips could be spread out on the driveway and use the lawn-mower to run over them to get a smaller 'fine'...also use a screen to shake out the smaller pieces...sally

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 2:49PM
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bronxfigs

Some of the suggestions for using shredded pine bark "mulch" will not be a substitute for pine bark fines, which are small, chunky, bark particle about 1/2" diameter. Very granular, and impossible to compress into a soggy layer. Spreading out the bark and chopping it up with a lawn mower will, no doubt, leave you with various size particles, some too big, and some way too small, to be of any use.

The purpose of Al's Quick Draining Mix is to encourage water to drain through the mix very quickly, and as the water drains, it pulls in a fresh charge of oxygen/air that roots need for proper growth. This is essential to understand. His mix ingredients will NOT allow water to saturate the mix, and stagnate, thus killing off the roots by drowning them. All the nutrients come from fertilizers.

The other ingredients, i.e. Turface MVP, and Grit guarantee an open, airy, non-compressible medium. The Turface MVP has some moisture retention.

Check-out detailed discussions of why this mix works for containerized plants. There are many posting on the Garden Web forums about this formula.

This formulation/media will probably replace much of the different growing media used for orchid growing.

Read and understand the theory behind this mix formulation, and especially the lengthy explanations about: "Perched Water Table"... or, PWT ... and, how to AVOID it!

Frank

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 8:10AM
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esox07

I just wish Pine bark fines or Fir bark fines were not hard to come by. Or so expensive.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 10:20AM
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bronxfigs

esox07:

Yeah...so do I.

Garden Centers are no place to look for any new, innovative, or cutting-edge products. The plant nurseries and garden centers where I live, have stocked the same poorly-grown, crap plants for season after season, and the same peat-based soil mixes for decades! Same crap, different package.

Try orchid suppliers for the bark chips. Good luck in your quest.

Frank

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 12:20PM
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esox07

Yes, there is an orchid supply store near me but they want way too much for a bunch of ground up fir bark. Basically it would cost me about $20 to fill a 5 gal bucket. I use 5 gallon containers so that makes it pretty expensive for one plant.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 12:51PM
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jane__ny(9-10)

The mix you speak of will not work for most orchids. It will not allow enough air-flow around the roots. Orchid roots are not the same as 'dirt' plants.

I am well versed on 'the mix' and had poor results. I choose to use shredded bark mixed with potting soil and perlite. I am happy with the results. Drains very well and I am not concerned about PWT. As I choose not to water constantly, I make a mix which holds more moisture.

I would recommend you read some basic principals about growing orchids and their requirements.

Jane

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 2:07AM
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highjack(z6 KY)

Esox is growing peppers in five gallon containers not orchids.

Brooke

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 6:33AM
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westoh Z6

Brooke,

Frank stated he thinks this mix formulation will take over the orchid world soon, we'll see. Seems very close to fine grade (3-6mm) Orchiata to me... The Turface MVP seems like it may be good for calcium loving 'kids, like some of my brachys. Wonder if it would be a good substitute for crushed oyster shell and the like?

Even in bulk, the cheapest I could find fine Orchiata was @10/50L bag. But depending on how many 5gal buckets esox07 needs, it could get pricey quickly unless buying a skid or so.

Bob

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 7:04AM
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bronxfigs

Members of this forum:

Do your own research before using any new potting mediums, including the quick-draining mix, for your plants/orchids.

Question:
Fill one bucket with small, 1/2" bark chunks, coarse grit, and Turface MVP, another with a shredded bark, potting soil and Perlite mix. Dump in water. Which bucket do you think will drain quicker and allow air to replace the water around the particles making up the two mixes?

The very purpose of the gritty, quick-draining mix is to prevent water from being trapped and held between individual particles. This is the dreaded "Perched-Water Table"-(PWT)- that must be avoided or roots WILL drown and rot.

I will not argue this point. Good science backs up Al's Quick-Draining mix, and why it works. Read. By the way,this gritty mixture is not that much different than the soiless "bark-mixes" that I use for my orchids growing on my windowsills.

Continue to use what works for you.

BronxFigs.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 9:23AM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

I agree that the gritty mix is great for most terrestrial plants, but epiphytes typically require even more oxygenation and faster drying than the gritty mix can provide. You could, of course, create a coarser mix by using larger ingredients like 1/2" orchid bark, sponge/lava rock, diatomite, etc, but many orchid growers already do this. They're kind of ahead of the curve in this respect.

As for finding cheap, appropriately sized bark for the gritty mix, I've had no luck either. So I simply leave it out now. My mix is 2 parts granite grit, 1 part Turface, and 1 part Floor Dry. Turface and Floor Dry are very similar, I just like using both for the additional color.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 10:36AM
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westoh Z6

Fig,

Obviously we can't run the test that you mention without having both mediums and additives? How about about tell us instead?

FWIW: Your response seemed a little "snarky", IMO.

Bob

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:47AM
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esox07

Yah, this whole thread has become ridiculous. The original question posted by me was a plea for any places that sell Pine or Fir bark fines in the central wisconsin area at reasonable rates. It has turned into a convoluted mess of arguments for one additive over another. You all make your mixes as you wish. Or start a new thread. I just want to know of any suppliers for pine or fir bark fines in my area. The Hot Pepper forum has a lot more friendly, fun and informative members than this one does.
Bye,
Bruce

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 1:19PM
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bronxfigs

The purpose of my postings was to share information. Use what ever mix works for you, as I have stated.

esoxo7...
Sorry, but the only bark fines that come close to what you're looking for is the product that I mentioned. I cannot find a source for the bark fines in larger, cheaper quantities. I checked HD, and other large box stores. Hope you find what you need.

OK Bob.... The results should have been obvious. The quick-draining mix will drain quicker.

I've grown epiphytic orchids in a very similar mix for years.

My apologies for offending some people. That was not my intention.

Frank

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 3:14PM
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westoh Z6

Frank,

Just to mix it up and keep things moving, what are your thoughts on the semi-hydro culture? (An always wet/damp way to grow).

That's one of the stranger things about growing 'kids, what works great for one may very well be a death wish for others. I've moved in lot's of directions over the past 10+ years, but currently think either a bark mix or spagh works best for me generally. I have orchids in Bark, Spagh, spagh/bark mix, charcoal, bare-root and mounted. Heck, I even have a non-blooming sobralia ;-) in a peat/fine bark mix.

I used to grow @75% via semi-hydro, but I'm into phals and they struggled in s/h during winter for me as they would get too cold at night. Very simple method (make sure there is always water in the bottom, flush weekly) if you can make it work.

Bob

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 6:57AM
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bronxfigs

esox07, and others ......

Have no idea if this will help you, but here's some leads that you might want to pursue to track down bark fines. I just found this additional information a few minutes ago.

Home Depot might have a product called "WHITNEY FARMS - ORCHID BARK Medium Grade (12 Qt bags). Distributed by: Scotts-Miracle-Gro. This site has a store locator search feature. Maybe you'll find a store that carries these products near you. Good luck.

Also, BETTER-GRO ORCHID BARK ( 8 Qts.) # 5019 ($5.49)

I have no idea if these products come close to what you, and I, for that matter need. Both are way cheaper than the REPTI-BARK.

I'll keep you posted if I find out any additional information.

Also try: "Specialty Soil Amendments"

Hope this might help.

Frank

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 4:37PM
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esox07

BronxFigs:
Thanks very much for the tip. Just the type of info I have been looking for. Problem is that although a couple places sell the Miracle Grow products, they dont stock the Whitney Farms Orchid Bark specifically. Same thing for the Better-Gro Orchid Bark. HOWEVER!!!!!!!!!! Home depot will ship the Better Gro Orchid Bark (Fir Bark) for free with a $45 order. So, Excleent find. Thanks. A bit more than I would like to spend but way better than any other option I have found in many, many hours of online and in store searching. I will probably fire off an order today. Thank you.
Bruce.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 5:13PM
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bronxfigs

esox07:

Just went on the computer and read your posting. I hope that you found what you need. Please let us know if this bark product can be used to make the quick-draining, gritty-planting medium....the '"bark-fines" part.

I guess the price is not that high considering the Repti-Bark is $20.00 a bag... and you can always use the leftovers in the future if you make too much potting mix.

Just a bit more information....There's a product called: "Micro Bark" made by GreenAll but it's mainly found only on the West-Coast, and a few other states. This might help others who live in these locations. No distributors/retailers in NYC area! Why???? Who knows?

Bruce,...Good luck with the peppers. I hope I helped you and others.

In addition:
Some posters on this thread chose to misquote and misrepresent some of the information which I posted ... especially about the subject regarding the gritty-mix, potting mediums.
The purpose of these forums is to openly exchange opinions, information, and ideas... and to do so without invective, and snide recommendations, if you happen to disagree with that posted information.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 9:12AM
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lrvjim(7 to 8)

Try looking for a soil conditioner product like Natures Helper which they sell here in GA for a couple bucks for a 2 cu ft bag. At one time it was 100% partially composted pine bark. That is no longer the case but as it is partially composted the inclusion of some sap wood shouldn't be a huge issue. Use that ( no screening needed ) with some perlite, lime and a little peat if you like, and you'll be good to go.

Here is a link that might be useful: Natures Helper

    Bookmark   November 25, 2011 at 9:16AM
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