RE: Henry Kuska's response

plantdoc_2006June 7, 2006

Having myself compared the benefits of peat versus coconut coir, would like to offer the following in light of the references Henry made:

1) Be very careful here! Peat is a non-sterile medium harvested from the ground that can contain soil-borne pathogens. (by the way, Pythium and Phytophthora spp. also grow well in a hydroponic or wet environment) Coconut coir, by contrast, is made primarily of shell shavings and are generally free of soil-borne pathogens.

2) If you decide to go with coconut coir, take the data offered by Candole & Evans (2003) and the others with a grain of salt. For instance, read the entire article. Did they also autoclave the peat and use it in their tests? Did they actually inoculate the plants, or were they counting on there being naturally-occurring populations of the pathogen(s)?

In general, my own experience is that coconut coir/perlite is a good medium for anything. I point out the above because there seems to be some claims about the suppressiveness of coconut coir towards pathogens that don't quite jibe, and in my eyes appear sensationalist. Just remember to take that grain of salt with everything you hear!

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rosyone(z8 north Louisiana)

I'll stick with pine bark fines myself.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 6:40PM
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weldontx(z 8a TX)

Rosey, so glad to hear you say that. Do you ever mix ANYTHING with the pine bark fines? sand, for example?
I have to watch that the pbf doesn't dry too quickly.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2006 at 12:12AM
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rosyone(z8 north Louisiana)

I sometimes add a small amount of peat moss or a peat moss based potting soil to pine bark fines, but only for dormant cuttings that won't be misted and only if the pbf looks too fresh to hold sufficient moisture on its own. I use it straight in the misting bed, usually, unless the last place I shopped for the stuff was the local nursery that stocks it only in the form of a landscaping mix containing additives. The mix I've used most often is predominantly pbf with small amounts of perlite and sand (which ends up at the bottom of the bag) and an almost undetectable amount of peat moss. It works about as well in the misting bed as the pure pbf sold as soil conditioner, it's just more expensive and unnecessary.

Are you potting up rooted cuttings in pbf? I haven't been doing that, though I've used tons of the stuff as a soil conditioner in my beds.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2006 at 12:26AM
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