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  Off topic protective coating over Driftwood
From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo at msn.com> on 2007.02.02 at 15:38:33(15207)
Reply-To : Discussion of aroids
Sent : Thursday, February 1, 2007 11:14 PM
To : Discussion of aroids
Subject : [Aroid-l] Off topic protective coating over Driftwood

Dear Brian,

I would dig around a LOT before treating driftwood on which you will be
planting epihites, as the water repellent MIGHT be toxic to plant roots, and
the 'protective coating chemicals' are probably just that, poisons intended
to kill mold, bactaria, algae and therefor PLANTS! Read about what active
ingredients they contain or what makes them claim to be effective. I`d go
with the natural driftwood.


From: "Steve Lucas Exotic Rainforest" <steve at exoticrainforest.com> on 2007.02.02 at 17:23:23(15211)
Brian, you might want to consider using the Fairchild
Tropical Gardens idea of making "fake logs" out of large diameter PVC pipe
with rolled cork bark attached to them. You can use a variety of
joints to create all sorts of shapes. I've made several large logs and
have all sorts of bromeliads, orchids, philodendrons and other plants happily
attached. I'm sure you've seen the Fairchild display in their orchid and
bromeliad room. Mine get watered almost daily and they are now 7 years old
with no sign of falling apart. The roots love the material and I have all
sorts of epiphytes firmly attached. I used just a very small amount of
Liquid Nails to "encourage" the plants to begin to attach their roots. The
stuff is not cheap, but if you buy it by the bail it is reasonable. One
bail made 16 feet of "logs" for me.

Steve Lucas

From: Adam Black <epiphyte1 at earthlink.net> on 2007.02.02 at 20:58:54(15213)
Hi Brian,

I am by far no expert on wood sealers/preservatives, but would imagine
that sealants that harden into a protective coating (polyurethane, etc)
would probably not continue to leach potentially toxic chemicals that
could be absorbed by the plants, but doubt they would really hold up to
a constantly moist environment. I would also think the sealant would
fill in the otherwise pourous surface of the wood, creating a much more
slick surface which would affect the epiphyte's ability to anchor
itself securely. I would think some "sealants" are actually oil-based
to repel water and should therefore be avoided. Wood preservatives that
are saturated into the wood most likely would not be good as well.

I agree that it would be best to stick with untreated wood that is
resistant to decay. Aside from the PVC covered with cork bark method
already mentioned, certain types of wood are very long-lasting in wet
conditions. Collected pieces of dead and weathered cypress and cedar
are readily available to me here in north Florida. I have cypress and
cedar branches and trunk sections covered in epiphytes under daily mist
that have not deteriorated in any noticable amount in at least eight
years. Pieces of waterlogged cypress found in the many rivers here are
very dense and naturally worn into beautiful contorted shapes.
Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) from coastal South Florida is also a
good choice and can be found in neat weathered shapes but it is
difficult to find places to legally collect it, as most large stands
are in the few remaining undeveloped and protected coastal areas, such
as Everglades Nat'l Park and other protected areas. Osage orange
(Maclura pomifera) is also very resistant to deterioration if you can
deal with the vicious spines.


From: "Sherry Gates" <TheTropix at msn.com> on 2007.02.05 at 11:53:49(15224)
Hi everyone,
I hope you are all well and your plants are thriving. I
have mixed thoughts on this subject. I would advise against sealing
the driftwood once the plants are growing on them. Not because I think the
sealant would be harmful (toxic) to the plants, but I do think it could 'clog'
the pores on the leaves (and other parts) and could harm or kill them
by hindering, or halting altogether, the various gas or nutrient (or
water!) exchange. We've all seen many plants (Ivy, some
philodendrons, epiprimnum...) attach themselves to decks and houses
(with wood siding) that have previously been stained and sealed whether
with polyurethane, or other sealant, and do great. But the plants are
removed when the wood is re-sealed so you get complete coverage. Maybe if
you have a small 'sacrifical' epiphyte you could spray some of the sealant on
it and see if it does ok. If the product of your
choice has a 1-800 number, give them a call and ask if they know.
Now I'll go back to the back and mind my own business while I learn from all of

Best wishes for all,

Sherry TheTropix

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