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TOPIC: Is Sphagnum moss a Devil for Bonsai?

Is Sphagnum moss a Devil for Bonsai? 1 year 5 months ago #33139

Hello, all.
I keep finding the most confusing opinions about Sphagnum, dried or live, among the bonsai experts out there.
Other than using it for air layering (almost all agree it's good for air layering), what other uses does Sphagnum moss have for bonsai?
.
Here's one example:
bonsaitonight.com/2010/02/16/moss-technique/
.
There's another opinion:
"...pure Sphagnum (without the addition of any other organic material) is an ideal medium for re-invigorating weak trees, recently collected trees and trees with root-rot..."
.
And the dangers:
"...Sphagnum moss can be a source of a chronic fungal disease called sporotrichosis..."
www.bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATSphagnum%20Moss.htm
.
And finally, live or dried?
"...When dried, especially when kiln dried, sphagnum loses its antiseptic properties and the collapsed barrel cells are not so efficient at storing moisture or maintaining an open structure...."

What do you guys do? Use it for what exactly?
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Is Sphagnum moss a Devil for Bonsai? 1 year 5 months ago #33140

In addition, it can be very acidic, PH of 4 sometimes.
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Is Sphagnum moss a Devil for Bonsai? 1 year 5 months ago #33143

Clicio wrote: Hello, all.
I keep finding the most confusing opinions about Sphagnum, dried or live, among the bonsai experts out there.


I am not sure what you find confusing?

Sphagnum moss can be used as a layer on top of your soil, on which you place other, fine moss. The sphagnum is used as it holds moisture, so your top layer of moss does not dry out.

It can be used when transplanting trees; it has anti-septic qualities so it will protect the roots - this can be done for weak trees (as you quoted).

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There's another opinion


I do not think it is another opinion, it is another way to use it.

"...Sphagnum moss can be a source of a chronic fungal disease called sporotrichosis..."


Yep. Probably not a high risk (for people, not trees) - unless when you handle enormous amounts of it with bare hands. Do not take my word for it - I have no statistics so I should advise you to wear gloves. I am guessing you thought it was lethal for trees - and that's why you thought it is the devil for bonsai?

You may have heard of the "Bonsai new easy method". This method (which I cannot recommend at all) is developed by Brian Batchelder, who "actually died from an unusual lung infection caused by sphagnum moss spores, called sporotrichosis" ( www.bonsaidilettante.com/2014/11/the-so-...ethod-of-bonsai.html )

Whether to use it live or dead is also in the articles you quoted:
Dead / dried sphagnum as top layer
Live sphagnum as component of your substrate

I do not use it in my substrates.
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Is Sphagnum moss a Devil for Bonsai? 1 year 5 months ago #33144

Auk wrote: I do not use it in my substrates.


Thanks Auk, the confusion is because there is people using it all the time, others never touch this moss.
I have a small quantity of dried Sphagnum moss on top of the soil of one of my boxwood, as a test; it seems to keep the lower trunk/exposed roots wet all the time, and I am afraid this could rot both.
Just curious.
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Is Sphagnum moss a Devil for Bonsai? 1 year 5 months ago #33145

Clicio wrote:

Auk wrote: I have a small quantity of dried Sphagnum moss on top of the soil of one of my boxwood, as a test; it seems to keep the lower trunk/exposed roots wet all the time, and I am afraid this could rot both.
Just curious.


There are different opinions about moss. I want it on top of my soil. It looks good and it has benefits, imho. However, I do keep it away from my roots and the trunk - Yesterday I've been removing moss and "painting" roots and base of the trunk with vinegar.

Also, I filled gaps between the roots with Keto and put some moss on it - to hide these gaps and make the trunk look more massive. All in preparation for the exhibition - though that is already within 3 weeks. Not sure if the tree will be ready in time (I will need lots of growth - so I am going to need great weather :) ). But that is another story.

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