Nutrient-Mining by Noncarnivores

agentrdy(8)November 13, 2007

Hey everyone--

I'm slightly excited because today I was able to rescue about 20 1-gallon pots FULL of overgrown mature sarracenias from a nursery here in georgia. 50 cents a pot, too!! Bad management practices as well as a horrible ongoing drought basically brought most of them to near-death, or so the nursery thought--really, they're just entering dormancy and are way overfertilized and underwatered.

Anyway, I found after I'd put them in my bog that they were potted in regular potting soil, which I had thought was regular peat moss... it's now spread throughout. My question is, any ideas on how to handle this?

Also, I have been wondering lately: what if noncarnivores, which need and use nutrient-rich soil, were planted in a slightly fertilized bog? Would they be able to remove all those nutrients?

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mutant_hybrid(8)

It would be very unlikely that anything short of an entire crop of alfalfa could remove all the dangerous nutrients from potting soil in a years time. Best bet is to remove as much of the potting soil as you can and replace the lost moss mass with fresh peat. If you feel it is too mixed up, then you might have to replant the entire bog. If you feel it was not enough potting soil in a large enough area that it would not substantially damage the bog (likely to be substantial peat deterioration with 20 one gallon pots of potting soil), then you might be able to leave it as is after just scooping out what you can. I have always been rather cautious of trusting any non-specialists with anything carnivorous plant related, including fungicides, insecticides, fertilizer, feeding, watering, dormancy, climate, and well, you get the drift.. Most places simply buy into the myths without checking the facts before they get a stock of carnivorous plants.

I would just dig the entire bog up and start over before the potting soil does its evil work. Then I would tell the place you got them from to check their information before they go and try to kill more plants.

Good luck with that bog.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 6:09AM
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m_taggart(7b)

Alfalfa wouldn't remove much nitrogen, its a legume. If the bog is saturated and healthy, denitrification will happen naturally and a lot of the nitrogen will be removed as N2 gas.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 3:00PM
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agentrdy(8)

Well, I didn't end up putting all 20 in, and luckily I noticed the potting soil when I did. For the most part, I dug into the bog and dropped in the plant/soil without disturbing much of anything and it was fairly easy to dig out, though my venus flytrap had begun to blacken and I'm hoping it didn't receive too much stress. I've dug out what I could, and planted some terrestrial native orchids with nice, deep-reaching roots.

Hopefully that and repeated flushing with water will take care of it in time. I'll be very interested to see if my little experiment works out. Under that premise, I imagine in the case of carnivores that competition from noncarnivores could actually benefit them by using up all the soil's nutrients.

Does anyone know of any particularly heavy-feeding bog plants? I did have some elephant ears growing, but frost got too severe and I had to dig up the bulbs.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 7:21PM
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hunterkiller03(9)

It takes little fertilizer to kill CP. Hope it didnÂt seriously contaminate your bog.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 10:16PM
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mutant_hybrid(8)

M_Taggert,

Your right, I was just throwing something out there off the top of my head, but had not read up on many plants other than the carnivorous varieties. I suppose a better example would be a grain crop. Alfalfa would just provide nitrogen fixation as you indicated. Good catch.

Agentrdy,

The flushing with water will help too as nitrogen will not fix in the soil, but will fix to water molecules more readily. Hopefully you can leach it from the bog in time.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 4:12AM
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