Sign in to follow this  
Klugi

Plant deaths, which peat you used.

Recommended Posts

Hi, my name is Ben Millbank, alias Klugi, and I had a bad bag of Shamrock peat and lost around 20 new Dionaea plants within the last month or two, either died straight away, or never really grew, then rotted from the base. I have always used Shamrock, and think this must have been a dud bag, though have sent a sample to their labs to analyse, awaiting results. I do also have to say that some did still grow in the mix from the same bag, though going from no mortality's to this, is obvious something is wrong. I thought it would be interesting to get some feedback from others with the same experience. I know Erin put split bags of compost back into the mix (previous article CPUK), and am aware that Mike King had some trouble once. Would anyone else like to comment, and their experiences, many thanks, Ben

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never used Shamrock peat, but that's a horrible thing to happen. I hope you get to the root of the problem quickly (no pun intended)....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ben, i've had the same happen,twice! once with westland? peat and i can't remember the other.

My sarras didn't die but either grew all twisted,or had the roots "burn"or rot off after a while when they got down as far as the water table on the bench.

I presume this was because all the fertilizer had leached out of the soil into the water.

ada

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Strange, there are growers and CP suppliers on here who always use Shamrock, in fact some are going back to Shamrock stating growth results seem better over Moorland Gold. The lab results should be of interest - keep us updated. Some questions, where did you buy the Shamrock & what type, fine,medium,coarse,are you sure it was plain peat and not with anything added? Did you add anything, i.e perlite 50/50 etc ,and has already been mentioned, is your water ok? Obviously it may have been some other culprit as opposed to the shamrock. Oh, finally, when did you do the re-pot?

It'd be useful to know if there is anyway of testing peat before using it....................anyone?

Edited by petesredtraps

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just some speculation but you could perhaps test the Ph, peat should be 5 or 6? (from memory), if its getting down to 3 it might indicate a problem with sulphates (which may form sulphuric acid and is a known problem with certain types of peat), conductivity might be another test. If its low in conductivity and the Ph is in a reasonable range then it would be hard to imagine what else could be a problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think its possibly something else or more than one other thing causing. If VFTs grew ok in the mix from the same bag then this suggests that its not the peat thats the problem. You also say some died straight away, im presuming thats days? If so that too suggests that its not the peat as from the comments of others using bad peat generally says it takes siome time to start to affect the plants.

Some things to consider

Is it possible you have used a container for watering that may have been used for weed killer in the past.

Check your water, is it rain water? could it be contaminated with something?

Over watering, compacted unaerated medium?

Disease?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The quality of Shamrock peat moss isn't what it used to be. I've had a lot of problems with mould growth on the surface which suggests there's nutrients in it, plus it's full of large lumps. Might be your water source if not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect the tanins and other harmless soluble components will affect the results giving an inaccurate reading

edit

just read that dissolved organic compounds dont significantly increase the reading presumably because they are not ionic so you may be ok

Edited by mantrid

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Strange, there are growers and CP suppliers on here who always use Shamrock, in fact some are going back to Shamrock stating growth results seem better over Moorland Gold.

I have re potted everything in Shamrock this year after using Clover for a couple of years, and I have to say the plants have clearly benefited from it and seem to be growing very happy in it. Maybe it is just a bad bag or there is something else going on contributing to the downfall of your plants.

Just remembered one small problem I have had with the shamrock is that is absolutely full of fungus gnat larvae.

Edited by mattynatureboy44

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just remembered one small problem I have had with the shamrock is that is absolutely full of fungus gnat larvae.

Did you find a way of erradicating the fungus gnat larvae Matt ? I would imagine if a bag were left unused long enough, they would simply die.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for all the comments, sorry about the slow response but my car started leaking oil by the litre, so over took my distress with my Dionaea. I will test the Ph with a tester kit which although I have not looked, must be available.

The bag of peat in question was one of two that came from Fakenham garden center, Norfolk.

Trev mentioned a very interesting point about the peat which I did not mention. I have noticed like he has that some peat when potted within days will show a rapid growth of mould on its surface, in this case it was green fine dryish for a better term, others rapid slimey green, others I have noticed that white fine drish type similar to the first one but as I say, whitish. Some new plants that had been potted in a mix from another bag had shown no mould growth at all, and had grown superbly. Another point Trev mentioned was the lumps, and yes, also noticeable, plus the odd snippet of fine clear plastic, which gave a sense of mild concern, espedially as I have noticed it in the latest opened bag again. Results pending.

The water issues are a good point which need addressing. The water this summer has all come from my local river, the river Wensum, which does run through a CHALK water table. Now I know this is not the wisest choice but the Norwich area of East Anglia only had three liitle rain storms all summer up to about a week or two ago, and my plants were soaking up around 100-150 litres a day, especially when the temperature spiked. All my water butts were empty within three weeks. Long term could prove dangerous but again, the plants died in days or in one or two cases, a day. Some did grow, then suddenly rotted from the bulb, and quickly, literally in a day.

What I have noticed is that since the ones which seemed affected were transplanted into new peat, even though mutilated for want of a better word, have immediately appeared happier, in that the odd bit of tiny green leaf has not disappered over night, but is still green, and there is some growth again. I guess like anything, you start with the odd dead one but suddenly mass mortality leads to initial puzzle ment, lots of stress, then action.I will see what happens over the next few days with them.

Thinking of the above it does seem that some of the peat must have had something in it, or it may have been a combination of factors, a bit of poor peat, too much water ?, too smaller a pot, square pots together leading to a rapid build up of heat on the summer hotties, yet as before, some plants in another batch of peat remained unaffected, but did not show that mould growth either !

I shall post some pictures of the moulds.

I did notice that the pots which had had the dead plants in also attracted a mass of fruit flys, which was also interesting as have never noticed this before with good peat. Some Drosera did the trick there, soon reduced them to zero, but there were upwards of 100-150 before I stepped in...another point to consider.

Will keep updated. I should imagine there must be several articles on the moulds already, I know it is said they are harmless, but its why they grew in the first place on certain peat bag contents. Thanks again for all the comments, and help. Ben

It will be a few days before I expect to hear anything back from Shamrock, but will add any other bits that may appear worth mentioning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if you have been watering with river water all summer that flows through chalk (i.e calcium carbonate which makes an alkali in solution) then that is likely the cause of most of the deaths. Try testing the water for alkalinity and disolved minerals. It could also contain large amounts of fertiliser run off from farms

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi thanks, I know what you mean but, well, they were amongst 40 or so that were fine, yet some died so quick, within a day, and some have flourished. Some grew then suddenly rotted. I have used the river for some years and never had the problem, and venus are not hard to grow, just literally drop them in and off they go. I had never lost one. However, all avenues will be checked, so I am most grateful. Hopefully something will be sorted over the days where I am able to test Ph's and other checks. I had a ship of vitro plants and all did well on the same water, it just seems that one batch of new plants, some were Mike King's, and some CPUK members, got the unlucky draw.(peat)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot to mention the mix was 2:1 peat perlite.

The containers were always used just for water.

Sorry Ada about your plants. A couple of years ago, I started using rain water off a farm roof but did not consider the roof was a hard oil base type roof, when the bucket gets a bit foamy as it comes out of the butt, now that twisted some of my Sarras at the time, they wre very everywhere for better terms,as if they had used that pregnancy drug..you know the one, caused all the D.S. My venus's were not around at that time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a new 200 litre bag of shamrock, I also have a vigorous VFT that I dislike (the plant is an imposter, it's supposed to be "Ruby Royale" it's just typical) I'll set up some re-pots and see what happens. A precaution worth taking I think, as next spring I plan on a total re-pot of all plants .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello petesredtraps, sorry about the plant, I have to say that it is just the one bag, I have used around 10 bags this year, but as they were new plants, well the cost, and again, I hate just losing one plant,but that many drove me bonkers, got very upset, it was a mini disaster, though now transplanted, it did take a while to try to see what was happening. Trev must get through loads of bags. Hope you have success, thanks Ben

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing to remember about river water is that the things dissolved in it are going to fluctuate considerably. It might have been ok previously but you dont know when the farmer is putting fertilisers on his fields, how long it takes to get into the river, how long its takes to flow through, and also who else is dumping what into it and when? Heavy metal contamination from various industries along the river, fly tippers etc.

you might have been unluck and caught the river at a bad time so to speak

Edited by mantrid

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you find a way of erradicating the fungus gnat larvae Matt ? I would imagine if a bag were left unused long enough, they would simply die.

No I don't bother trying now, the various Drosera and cephs seem to catch a lot of the flies and they should die out eventually.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing to remember about river water is that the things dissolved in it are going to fluctuate considerably. It might have been ok previously but you dont know when the farmer is putting fertilisers on his fields, how long it takes to get into the river, how long its takes to flow through, and also who else is dumping what into it and when? Heavy metal contamination from various industries along the river, fly tippers etc.

you might have been unluck and caught the river at a bad time so to speak

I'm strongly suspecting this as the culprit. There are many inconsiderate people about who'd dump anything into a river. If I were forced to use river water I would be filtering it via a decent sized RO unit first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do agree with you, the possibility does exist, perhaps the plants were the weakest. I will see if the local university can assist in soil analysis, or maybe speak to the Agricultural board. I remember that i also had several plants from Pawel die within a day back at the end of last year, with a couple from other sellers also. This is the latest batch to suffer. Again, it was no mass deaths, but around 20%. I will speak to various bodies and see where we can go with it. Thanks again everyone, will let all know progress with the issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had been reading this and other posts regarding the use of Westland Peat.

In years past I have always used Westland irish Moss peat never had any issues with it.

 

I have recently returned to the UK and once again bought myself a few CP's and wanted to pot them up and stumbled across threads on this site regarding the peat and it's use and saw obviously that there were a few naysayers and some who have had personal disasters with the product.

 

I bought a 100lts bale as it is the only moss peat available in my area and wrote to the company stating that there had been discussions online that stated other organic matter was added to the product and that it could not be trusted as 100% IMP and could they confirm or deny this. I gave them the batch number etc of the package.

 

I received a email back from them :~

 

 

 

Yes this product is 100% peat with nothing else added.

 

Kind regards,

 

Westland Customer Services Centre

 

I didn't, in fairness expect them to say anything different  and so I have used the product to make my own CP mix and will post the results given a suitable amount of time.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I hope it works out well for you. I personally wouldn't never go down the Westland route as some experienced growers have been bitten on the ass with the stuff. I have too much money sitting in water trays in the greenhouse to risk killing things off.  Let us know how you get on though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this