DO I NEED TO WASH MY NEW ZEALAND ORCHID BARK?
No! it does not need to be washed before use; it should be used straight from the bag. Unlike some other bark products, New Zealand orchid bark: Has not been contaminated by soil or other organic matter.
DOES NEW ZEALAND ORCHID BARK HAVE A HIGH DUST CONTENT?
New Zealand orchid bark does not contain high amounts of bark dust as processing removes this
If you do wash your New Zealand orchid bark, you will wash out the dolomite, which is beneficial for plant growth and purposely added during the production process. Washing your product will also unnecessarily increase labor costs while likely destroying this key benefit of the product.
SHOULD I STEAM THE NEW ZEALAND ORCHID BARK TO STERILIZE IT?
Your New Zealand orchid bark should not be sterilized by any means. Often steam sterilization of bark substrate is used to kill any potentially pathogenic organisms. However, sterilization of New Zealand orchid bark will destroy the beneficial micro-organisms.
When a substrate is sterilized it can quickly become colonized by new organisms from the environment. Since the substrate has no other organisms growing on it, new colonizers can grow very quickly and without obstruction. If a pathogenic organism is first to colonize a sterile substrate it could infect the plant.
By using New Zealand orchid bark straight from the bag, there will be many beneficial micro-organisms already present in the bark to prevent pathogenic organisms from growing. It is therefore strongly recommended that your New Zealand orchid bark is not sterilized.
WHAT FERTILIZER WORKS BEST IN CONJUNCTION WITH NEW ZEALAND ORCHID BARK?
You can use any fertilizer that is suited for your plants in combination with New Zealand orchid bark.
IF THE ORCHID BARK DRIES, IS IT DIFFICULT TO REWET?
No; during the processing of New Zealand orchid bark, the outside waxy water repellent layer has been removed allowing the substrate to take up water easily.
CAN YOU OVER-WATER NEW ZEALAND ORCHID BARK?
With New Zealand orchid bark, the inner core of the bark is still hard so it will not absorb too much water. It is very difficult to over-water.
HOW CAN YOU TELL WHEN NEW ZEALAND ORCHID BARK IS DRY ENOUGH TO RE-WATER?
It is important that you allow the bark to dry sufficiently before re-watering. These wet and dry cycles lead to stronger root growth. You can tell when the orchid bark has dried sufficiently by either picking up the pot and feeling the weight (a dry pot will be very light compared to a wet one), or by carefully digging down into the media (the media should be dry for the first two inches in a larger container).
DOES NEW ZEALAND ORCHID BARK ACCUMULATE SALTS AND DO I NEED TO FLUSH IT?
No. our orchid bark is not like other bark-based substrates. Pinus Radiata bark is not soft and spongy, therefore it does not absorb additional salts. It only holds enough nutrients on the outside layer of the chip for the plant. To check this you can test the EC of the Orchid bark over time. There is no need for flushing; just good water and fertilizer management.
CAN YOU RE-USE YOUR NEW ZEALAND ORCHID BARK?
New Zealand orchid bark lasts a very long time so it can easily be used for another project.
CAN YOU PLANT MOSS PLUGS INTO YOUR NEW ZEALAND ORCHID BARK?
New Zealand orchid bark is a very stable substrate. Many growers begin their plants in Sphagnum moss and then transplant them to the New Zealand orchid bark. If you start growth in Sphagnum moss you can plant the plugs into New Zealand orchid bark saving time and labor but you must only use high quality Sphagnum such as New Zealand Sphagnum moss. This is because lower quality Sphagnum such as Chinese moss breaks down very quickly and can contain materials that cause pathogen and water problems. NZ Sphagnum moss is more robust, does not break down and can last a long time.