Al's opinion on new 'WholeTree' substrate

g000n(9)March 7, 2012

Al can you provide some comments and insights about "WholeTree" substrate from Young�s Plant Farm in Auburn, Alabama. I found out about it while reading the attached article on ARS.

How would this stuff compare to your 5:1:1 mix?

Here is a link that might be useful: WholeTree

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It looks a lot like the 5:1:1 mix. I think the largest issues that will need to deal with are related to a high sapwood/heartwood content, more specifically to a high pH spike during the composting process and N immobilization. Heat generated as the sapwood breaks down (faster than bark would) will also be a consideration. My guess is that they will wind row the chips until they are partially composted to reduce the impact of the issues.

My guess is that someone got some grant money to study this. The science is already pretty well defined, but hopefully they come up with something marketable that guarantees better aeration/drainage/durability than peat based substrates. There's no doubt in my mind that they're on the right track. I want a job like that! ;-)


    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 7:49AM
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I don't know... in reading, it still seems, on an overall basis, to be leaning toward the usual corporate "well, the original peat/perlite products work fine, too" angle... even though I can see that the industry is trying to move toward what "in the know" consumers and growers are wanting.

Just my opinion, however.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 1:30PM
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Al thanks for your insight. It also struck me as being very similar to 5:1:1 in design which is why I asked. I think you may have hit the nail on the head, the tree industry out there was probably looking for another way to use its products and probably wanted to explore untapped markets.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 11:15AM
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That is scary. I am sure that such a trend will eventually lead to disappearance of all my pine bark source. I will be forced to buy a little bag of premixed stuff at an exorbitant price.

OK, Just kidding a bit here.

A local nursery here has been selling its own mix which looked like Al's 511 mix. Obviously, he did not want to part with the recipe. But he is selling a one cubic feet bag for 10 dollars if I remember correctly.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 11:29AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Actually PBFs are getting harder to find these days because there are many industrial entities, as well as power providers, using them to generate electricity.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 3:14PM
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