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  RE: Three questions
From: Ron McHatton rmchatton at photocircuits.com> on 2001.01.09 at 01:08:36(5827)
Hello, this is Ron McHatton.

As to the question of pressure treated lumber......I have been growing
orchids, aroids, and other stuff for about 35 years in various pressure
treated wood-frame greenhouses without any apparent problem (ones which I
can attribute to the wood). At first, the conventional wisdom was that
roots which came in contact with the wood would die back from chemical
burn. This may be true with wood treated with treatment chemicals like the
ones used for telephone polls. Using wood treated with chrome copper
arsenate (all the pressure-treated wood products available through home
improvement centers and the like) doesn't seem to be a problem. The
treatment chemicals are not volatile and they also don't seem to be
leachable. At least with epiphytic orchids, they will easily root to this
sort of wood and, since I try to grow under cloud forest conditions, I grow
substantial stands of moss on the wood without any apparent problems. I
wouldn't worry about the framing.

Cork oak bark is used for artificial trees because nothing else lasts like
that material. The initial investment is staggering (depending on the size
of the tree obviously) but amortized over time, its fairly reasonable. The
problem with other materials is longevity and the destruction of the root
systems when you have to get the plants off to rebuild. Tree fern has a
life time of about 5 years (and when it goes, it turns rapidly septic),
long-fiber moss in a wire mess frame is a nightmare to refresh the moss as
it breaks down. I have had plants on cork bark for over twenty years and
the bark is still holding up. If you can supply sufficient humidity and
water, you might try cement/

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