Page 22 - Griffin Gazette Q3 2017
P. 22

Benefits and UsesPeat-Coir Growing Media -

By Troy Buechel, Premier Tech                     ability of the media to fulfill the air and   is less need to add limestone to peat-coir
Horticulture                                      water needs.                                  growing medium.

Some growers in North America are                 Coir has a granular structure that, when      Salts: Coir traditionally has been deemed
showing an increasing interest in using a         added to Sphagnum peat moss, can              as having excessive salts coming from
Sphagnum peat-coir growing medium for             contribute more total pore space and water    potassium, chloride and sodium. This is
various crops and pots sizes. This interest       holding capacity when the root zone is fully  true, but most of these salts are leached
is in part due to the beneficial properties of    saturated, generally resulting in increased   out prior to incorporation into the growing
combining Sphagnum peat moss with coir.           rooting and germination. Grower trials        medium by washing the coir with water.
Peat-coir growing media can be formulated         have shown improved rooting in peat-coir      Coir salt levels are typically less than 1.0
with different grades of peat (course,            growing media as compared to basic peat-      mmhos/cm (S.M.E. analysis) and when
grower-grade or fine-grade) and coir (chunk       based growing media. Coir has no waxy         mixed with Sphagnum peat moss it only
coir to coir fiber and pith) to create the ideal  cutin to repel water as Sphagnum peat         contributes salt levels of 0.2-0.5 mmhos/cm.
physical properties for specific growing          moss does, thus when combined with peat
applications. Thus, peat-coir growing             it acts as a natural wetting agent to assist  As previously stated, peat-coir growing
media are being used for plugs, bedding           in the rewetting process of peat moss.        media are being used for the production
plant, vegetable/herb, nursery, basket and        Therefore, when the growing medium dries      of plugs, bedding plant, vegetable/herb,
large container production. Understanding         out, there will be minimal shrinkage from     nursery, basket and large container
the benefits of a peat-coir growing medium        the container walls so that water does not    production. Growers especially like them
and the effects on plant growth can help          channel down the sides during irrigation.     as they enhance the ability of their baskets
growers get better results both at their                                                        and large containers to flourish in hot, dry
greenhouses and for the end consumer.             Coir’s high lignin to cellulose ratio helps   climates and under stressful conditions
                                                  the peat-coir media to decompose              placed upon them by retailers and
Benefits and Uses: Functionally, a growing        more slowly so there is significantly less    consumers. The uses of peat-coir growing
medium has to provide plants with basic           shrinkage in containers over the life of the  media are becoming more important for
aeration and water needs. The combination         crop and maintains a favorable air to water   growers and consumers as formulations
of peat and coir as the main components           balance in the root zone. Coir also has a     are developed to address specific crop
in a growing medium can enhance the               higher starting pH from 4.9-6.5, so there     cultural needs.

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