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Help with snow mold.

Posted by orchidnick z9Ca (orchidnick@yahoo.com) on
Sat, Oct 9, 10 at 15:35

I have this large Grammatophyllum speciosum which is sitting in a 40 gallon tub. I was digging around the new bark yesterday to see how the new root production was going. Lots of new roots extending into the new bark but also some snow mold was evident.

Normally when I find snow mold I repot and throw all affected material away. This is impracticable here so I'm finding myself in virgin territory. I could dig out as much as possible and add fresh bark but the chance of getting all of it is almost zero.

I was considering flushing with a Physan solution. A friend suggested soaking it with 1/4 stength, 20 minutes later flushing it thoroughly with clean watwer and then again flushing it with about 1/10 strenght and leaving that. For the next few weeks I would keep monitoring the affected areas and gauge the results.

Any suggestions?

Nick


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help with snow mold.

I'll give it a shot...is your bark staying too damp? I have gotten snow mold on wood chips in flower beds without any problems. I had it happen after repotting with fresh bark on a few plants. I believe it is part of the decomposition process and is harmless unless it blocks air and keeps the plant too wet..

I would try to increase air circulation (I know the plant is a monster). I also think you should increase N in your fertilizer regimen.

Dealt with this many years ago and I'm fuzzy about the advice I received. I don't recall it was anything serious.

Jane


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Since I got no help with this from his forum nor from any of the people I know I finally phoned Reid Kawamoto. All of us treat snow mold the same way, get rid of the affected bark, sterilize and then start all over, not an option in this case.

The advice I got is this: Soak everything in a 10% Chlorox solution, flush with clean water 1/2 hour later and repeat every couple of month. He said that they have used this method in the past and he knows of oriental growers who use this on large number of plants who are growing in a moist environment. Apparently it does not hurt the plants and treats both types of snow mold. The 2 types are: The snow mold you know about and the snow mold you don't know about. Prophylactic treatment makes sense.

I'm in the habit of taking all new plants out of their pot on arrival and have noted snow mold on occasion even from very reputable vendors. In a dry hot environment this is not a problem but a huge pot, like mine, which gets watered every day for this water loving plant, snow mold will reappear with regularity as the center of this pot never dries out. A small amount is harmles but, if left unchecked, it will form a huge matt and choke off the roots.

Nick.


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RE: Help with snow mold.

The advice I got is this: Soak everything in a 10% Chlorox solution, flush with clean water 1/2 hour later and repeat

Nick, as a physician you are aware that a 10% clorox solution is considered to be "battlefield sterilization".

I wish that this simple fact was better known. It would "save" many questions.

--Stitz--


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RE: Help with snow mold.

I knew that, I just did not know if it was harmless to a plant.

Nick


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Many many moons ago, when I first started growing orchids outdoors here in Florida, I used bark as a media. Snow mold convinced me to change to inorganic media. At the time, original listerine was the treatment recommended to me. Hydrogen peroxide also worked, getting oxygen to the smothering roots. Repotting followed, of course. Using as large a pot as you are dealing with, I would try to mix in as much inorganic media as I could.


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RE: Help with snow mold.

I grow things that like Sphagnum moss in that, everything else is in rock. This sucker would weigh a ton and could not be moved if I had followed that pattern. As is, it takes 3 men to move it, I hope to take it to a show, a meeting or even a judging at least once when and if it ever blooms.

After that I plan to put it in a permanent position, close to the ground and it will never be moved again. Roots apparently freely enter the soil. In the meantime I'm stuck with the situation as is and will deal with it the best I can.

Unless someone warns me off, I'll go with the 10% Clorox approach.

Nick


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Nick, I've been using clorox for root mealy for years and it doesn't seem to hurt my epiphyllums I just make sure I flush with lots of fresh water after.

Bear


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RE: Help with snow mold.

From everything I've heard and read, it seems like a safe bet. I'm going to use it.

Nick


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RE: Help with snow mold.

I wouldn't mind following this as monthly cleansing if it is safe.


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RE: Help with snow mold.

The professionals told me they do a follow up every 3 month.

Nick


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Thanks, would have over sterilized just a tad :)


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Well, a month has gone by and I masterfully did nothing. When I was ready to treat with 10% Chlorox, I double checked and found that the mold had lessened to a large degree. Yesterday I did some major digging in the bark and found virtually none. Cold night temps are here, don't know if that encourages the mold or otherwise but right now there is no reason to treat. Will keep a close eye on this situation.

I have a large Sulcata tortoise that wanders around the area. At 150 lbs it's best described as a cow with a shell. The droppings are also in line with that description. I have been collecting the droppings and placing them on the surface of the bark where the watering dissolves it and a brown liquid is delivered to the roots. The run-off from the bottom of the pot is light brown. The 20 odd new leaves it's making are growing like crazy, it seems to like the diet of orchid fertilizer with the turtle soup providing additional nutrient. Have no idea if that inhibited the snow mold or if the lower temps had something to do with that.

Nick


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Nick,

Now I really want to have a tour of your yard. I would really enjoy looking at your orchid collection and the turtle at the same time :)

Still can't find the Spanish moss but thought of an idea to drill and string a bunch of clay pellets then hang them around the vanda roots. Just didn't have a chance to do it yet.

Apple


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Can't believe how difficult it is to find Spanish Moss. Send me a private email with your addy and I'll send you some.

Nick


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RE: Help with snow mold.

" Still can't find the Spanish moss but thought of an idea to drill and string a bunch of clay pellets then hang them around the vanda roots. Just didn't have a chance to do it yet.

Apple "

an easy solution to obtaining Tillandisia usnoides (Spanish moss) might be to volunteer to help at an established, institutional greenhouse which has beaucoup epiphytes...

helping doesn't hurt, does it?

--Stitz--


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Thanks, Nick. I give up, maybe it's just a wrong season or I just didn't look at the right places. Will email you my address.

Stitz, that's a good idea but now it's still hard to find time. Most of our weekends are filled with soccer, piano & swim lessons. Maybe after my kids (2 & 4 yrs) are older then I can do it :)


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Places like AC Moore and Michaels which sell artificial floral decorations also sell Spanish Moss.


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Thanks, orchid126. I found several places that sell the dried moss but I'm looking for the live moss. Nick sent me some last week so I'm good now.


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Are you sure you're looking for Spanish Moss and not sphagnum moss? Two entirely different things.


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Yes, it's the live Spanish Moss to wrap around the Vanda roots so it will help keeping the moisture. Nick tried this since last year and he said it works for him.


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Not my idea, we had a Vanda expert give us a talk on Vanda care and that's what he does. I don't really wrap the moss around the roots, just place a handful in the basket and as it grows it makes a beard hanging down which envelops the roots gently leaving lots of air space. Without makeing them soggy wet, which is what Sphagnum moss would do, it adds a little moisture and slows the evaporative drying of the roots after watering.

Nick


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Nick,
I would call the Downtown L.A. flower Mart. When I was there a few years ago, I think I saw some at your local orchid vendors there. I think the Orchid Man (a.k.a. Sonny from Bangkok Botanical) was one of the local vendors that had some. If not call Reid Kawamoto (Kawamoto Orchid Nursery) and ask him to send you some. I saw a 40 foot long wall covered with Spanish moss when I was at his place.


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RE: Help with snow mold.

bidding,

I'm the one who was looking for the moss. Don't know how he got it but Nick has the moss. I'm in Northern CA and couldn't find a place that sells the live moss but Nick was so nice to send me a bunch last week.

Thanks again Nick, and for the tip on how to put it on. I think I did it right.

Apple


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RE: Help with snow mold.

I got the moss from other members of my society, most of us have it. It grows so readily here that we end up throwing excess away. Keep something else in mind, Apple, when and if you end up with a big beard of it, only the outside looks fresh and healthy. If you dig into it you find brown, old and probably dead plant material in the middle. Nothing wrong with that, spiders, mice and all kinds of kritters need homes too.

We also use it extensively to decorate plants at shows, either the growing surface or the bottom of the pot is decorated with it. When I display my mounted plants at a show, I will shove the mount into a pot, weigh it down with a few larger rocks and then cover everything with the Spanish moss to make it look good.

Just like Spam, it has many uses.

Nick


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Thanks, Nick. But I soak my Vandas in the buckets full of water everyday so I don't think any critters would have a chance or they will drown :)


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RE: Help with snow mold.

What about anyone's experience with snow mold on Masdevallias? Would anyone chance using the bleach solution as described here? Never had snow mold before, but there is a white substance on the surface of one Masdevallia pot. It is an Aircone pot, and none is observed below the surface at this point. It looks granular, not fuzzy or spikey. Would this be snow mold?


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RE: Help with snow mold.

Snow mold is fuzzy and stringy, it's not what you have. By the way I have never treated that plant and cannot find any evidence of it now.

Nick


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RE: Help with snow mold.

My experience is that a concoction of boiled chamomile and diced garlic in a teaball then cooled, strained, and put in a squirt bottle will kill the snow mold. You still have to take action to increase air flow and allow things to dry out to keep it from coming back, but this tonic will solve the problem temporarily.


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RE: Help with snow mold.

For roses and anything else that has a mold issue you can use soapy water with a tiny bit of baking soda. It apparently destroys the spores, luckily the fungus itself is fairly short lived so killing spores is pretty effective.

I get mold (or something similar) growing on the outside of one of my clay pots. The orchid inside seems just peachy. I used to be worried about it but it only does this in the winter time. Sometimes fungi are benign.


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