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  coconut fiber, three pennies more
From: Denis denis at skg.com> on 2000.06.02 at 18:51:05(4676)
Additional comment on coconut fiber:

Coconut fiber is nothing new. I tried the coarse fibered product twenty
years ago for orchid seedlings. Like Dewey said, it did very well and
then the material on the bottom of the pot turned to mush and sometimes
took the roots and plants with it. I think its best use in the
Horticultural industry was found as liners mats for wire hanging baskets
(instead of stuffing the wire mesh with Sphagnum Moss) and as an
artificial, soft, organic totem pole for vining crops like Pothos and
Syngoniums and Phillodendrons (they wrap the long fibres around a platic
tube). It maintained it fibrous integrity as long as it was allowed to
dry out and not stay constantly moist.

The second coconut fiber product was Coir or Coconut Peat. Because there
are vast mountains of this free or very cheap by-product of the Coconut
oil industry in the tropics within the last two to three years the
Horticultural industry has touted this material as a Shagnum peat
substitute. It is totally decomposed to the point of being unable to be
decomposed any further. It has some very good qualities, easy to wet and
good cation exchange capacity and some undefined benficial qualities,
however it is more expensive than sphagnum peat from Canada and there
are inconsistencies due to the varying sources and age of the material.
The Scotts Company(Fertilizer & Hort Products Giant) is marketing this
material in soil mixes and as compressed blocks. The consensus of
professional growers I have talked to is that the material it not the
best when used alone, but rather as an amendment in addition to peat,
perlite, vermiculite and bark or sand in a soil mix.

Denis at Silver Krome Gardens
Homestead, Florida

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