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pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

Posted by greentoe357 z7b Brooklyn NY (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 26, 13 at 1:06

I know bark is supposed to be soaked in water overnight before using it in gritty mix. I was so impatient though that I repotted a few plants right after I finally mixed my first batch of gritty mix.

Now can I soak the pots in water a few times in order to saturate the bark? How long is optimal to let the bark be infused with water, but not to let the roots drown? Al once said roots start dying "within hours" in perched water - so I am thinking an hour at a time is OK then? Thinking of soaking the pots every other day 3-4 times maybe. Let me know if you have better ideas. The bark is pine, between 1/8 and 3/8 in size.

For later repottings, I am soaking my bark. I add 1 tbsp/gal vinegar into my watering/fertilizing water, so I thought if I should add the same amount of vinegar to the water soaking the bark? Good idea or not?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

Vinegar is commonly used by some to adjust water pH on a schedules basis
However not everyone needs to use vinegar to adjust water pH to a lower level

Example: one gallon of water with a measured 8.0 pH gets X amount of vinegar used to get the water pH adjusted to 6.0

With an unknown soil mix pH it might not be a good idea to use vinegar in the bark soaking step. Most every plant mentioned on GW are able to grow effectively in a soil pH range of 6.0-6.5( with a reasonable plus or minus to both sides of the pH range as well ) Your mix even after soaking ingredients with your tap or hose water may already be at this range.

Why water pH is manipulated by vinegar: Effective nutrients are free in a certain pH range that a certain plant accepts


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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

Vinegar is commonly used by some to adjust water pH on a schedules basis
However not everyone needs to use vinegar to adjust water pH to a lower level

Example: one gallon of water with a measured 8.0 pH gets X amount of vinegar used to get the water pH adjusted to 6.0

With an unknown soil mix pH it might not be a good idea to use vinegar in the bark soaking step. Most every plant mentioned on GW are able to grow effectively in a soil pH range of 6.0-6.5( with a reasonable plus or minus to both sides of the pH range as well ) Your mix even after soaking ingredients with your tap or hose water may already be at this range.
Why water pH is manipulated by vinegar: Effective nutrients are free in a certain pH range that plants can take up easily because the nutrients are free and available in water and fert of 6.5 but same nutrients become locked in a pH of 7.5

Yes on a public you may read some counter or conflicting vinegar use to use and or not to use info. Regardless of whats said about vinegar pro or con you should check initial soil pH and water pH separately before making a pH adjustment to either.


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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

I would not vinegar soak the bark. Serves no purpose in this application.

A single soaking for maybe 5 - 15 minutes ought to be long enough to saturate the mix.

Josh


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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

Pots Alot (love the name!), I should have mentioned my water is too alkaline (pH 6.7 to 9.2 with 7.2 average). This is from our municipal water report - I did not test myself, and household pH meters are too imprecise to be usable anyway, I understand.

The mix is bark and calcined DE, both high pH by their nature, and granite I think is neutral, so vinegar use seems a good idea without testing, no?

Josh, a friend also told me soaking the bark for a short time (well under an hour once) is enough, so I may go with that.


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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

I wonder...

Because the gritty mix is so porous,would't it be possible to just immerse the pot in a bucket or something up to the level of the mix and let the bark soak like that?

Would save having to re-pot all over again,right?

Just a curiosity. :)


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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

Well yeah, this is what I am talking about here. I did not soak the bark before repotting, so now to saturate it with water, I am soaking the whole pot.


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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

What kinds of plants are potted?


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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

Tropical foliage mostly. Here is a full list of what I have:

Aglaonema Siam Red
alocasia polly
amaryllis
false aralia / Dizygotheca elegantissima
caladium
calathea “tropical satisfaction”
clivia
croton
dieffenbachia (a tall big-leaf cane and a smaller bushy kind)
Dracaena Marginata
bird's nest fern
Himalayan maidenhair FERN
maranta (the red-veined kind)
philodendron "prince of orange"
Velvet Leaf PHILODENDRON / P. Hederaceum / P. Micans
ficus burgundy / rubber plant
FICUS Benjamina
Hoyas: carnosa, regalis, brevialata, wayetii
Jade
satin pothos
pothos "marble queen"
cycad / sago palm
sansevieria
Rhoeo “Tricolor” / “Moses-In-The-Cradle”
Wandering Jew / Zebrina pendula


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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

WOW that's some list! LOL

In my opinion,everybody on that list looks relatively safe for immersion for the length of time it would take without succumbing to root rot.

Someone else may pop in and disagree with me but for now ,that's what I think.

Oh and sorry for the misinterpretation...I get confused sometimes. :)


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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

Yeah, just soak the pot for 5 - 15 minutes and the mix will be saturated.

As for soaking bark ahead of time...I'd start with hot water, and then let it soak overnight.


Josh


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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

Why is it necessary to soak the bark overnight but 5-15 minutes is enough once the same bark is in the pot?


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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

It isn't necessary...it's just easier. If you know you're potting tomorrow, why not soak the bark tonight?

The reason 5 - 15 minutes is plenty for a *MIX* in a pot is because the Turface absorbs moisture immediately and then releases it slowly to hydrate any bark that might not have gotten wet.


Josh


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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

Initial reading from me understood that you where re-potting and wanted to soak a fresh prepared soil mix

Pot soaking already growing potted plants for a few minutes sounds feasible as well.

I would think you would want to develop and maintain a schedule of adding vinegar to your water to avoid the now and then few minutes of vinegar and water soaking.
Self testing water pH strips and test kits tend to be more reliable and affordable from a pool supply store They may also have an expiration date no need to overstock


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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

Soaking the pots with plants is just to saturate the bark initially. For regular watering and fertilizing, I do not bottom water, I water from the top (Al's advice and also do not want the bark to gradually all float to the top because the rest of the mix, esp granite is so heavy). I add vinegar to all water and fertilizer solutions.


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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 30, 13 at 19:31

I never soak the bark for the gritty mix, but I make sure the bark is moist when I make the 5:1:1 mix. The 5:1:1 mix can become hydrophobic (water repellant) and hard to rewet when it dries down to less than 30% water content. (Soils feel dry to the touch as the ingredients start to fall below about 40% water content). To combat this, I moisten the bark and the perlite before I mix all the ingredients. The peat will lose its water repellency overnight as the moisture from the bark and perlite diffuses in the mix and 'breaks' the peat's tendency to repel water.

Even if the gritty mix is completely dry and the bark very hydrophobic, you can still wet the soil because the Turface sucks up water quickly, and it also clings to the surface of the grit. The water in the Turface and on the grit then diffuses into the bark, breaking its water repellency. The next time you water, whether it be in an hour or after a couple of days, the bark will readily absorb water.

Like Josh mentioned, the only advantage in pre-wetting the bark is if you intend to soak the planting in a tub in order to wet it. When you do this while the bark is dry, the dry bark will want to float like a cork and often floats to the top of the soil, but not nearly as much when the mix is partially moistened.

Al


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RE: pre-soaking bark: what if I didn't? can use vinegar water?

Thanks, Al. Not soaking the bark makes it easier.


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