Growing Kyoto Moss... A Curious Approach

tmjudd1

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In searching for information, online, Kyoto Moss seems to be a bit difficult to cultivate from spores... and I've also found very little 'useful' information about growing it, successfully. Perhaps I'm just using the wrong 'search' terms and not landing in the proper places for good info. Don't know, but anyway. I've decided to give it a go, and 'also' do certain things somewhat 'differently' than those who's methods I've already read about and looked upon. Can't say whether or not I'll succeed, or fail, however. "Pass, or fail... here it goes!"
Please bear in mind. My methods and equipment might seem a bit much, but it is actually only being used as a 'test-bed' to see if my methods will actually work. If my methods prove successful, you, yourself will be able to reproduce the same results without using the same sort of equipment that I am using for this experiment. I'll let you folks know how to do it, provided I actually get it right via this attempt. Only time will tell, so let's get started!

When dealing with things that involve 'spores' you must always make sure that everything being used is thoroughly 'sterilized'... 'EVERYTHING' except for the spores, themselves! After sterilization, you must 'also' KEEP things sterile until being inoculated with your 'desired' spores. The air is loaded with microscopic spores of many different varieties, just looking for a cozy place to settle upon and grow within. You 'cannot' allow those invaders to settle onto your newly sterilized media, prior to inoculation (nor 'after' for 'that' matter) because any contaminants will be competing with your delicate moss spores... and if the contaminants take hold before the moss, well. You can likely kiss the moss goodbye and just grow whatever organisms contaminated your growing bed. "Keep it clean!"

The next thing that needs to be done is to learn the natural environment/conditions that this stuff likes to grow within. I'm wanting to grow some Kyoto moss, so I researched the weather and climate conditions in Kyoto, Japan. I need to mimic those conditions, as best I can.

Next... what does this stuff like to grow upon? I hit dead ends on that one. Sorce was kind enough to suggest Sphagnum moss, so I went with that for a topping. Below the sphagnum topping is a layer of Orchid soil followed by a drainage layer of river rock at the bottom of my growing trays. There are 'no' drainage holes in my trays. I shouldn't need drainage holes, but in the event that too much moisture builds up, I'll simply 'tilt' the trays to allow excess moisture run off into drip pans.

I've taken many photos, showing every step of my experimental process, but. I'll not clutter this thread with those boring photos, explanations, nor in-depth instructions until I know if this process truly succeeds. The following image is of my two trays of 'hopeful' moss culture after being sterilized, inoculated and inserted into my automated 'eco-system' that controls temps, humidity and fresh air exchanges. The 'auto-pilot' has been switched to the 'on' position... and I'm now just a standby system monitoring the progress...

All Systems Go For Moss.jpg
 
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Wires_Guy_wires

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Just a piece of my mind.. So, lets say this works and you have kyoto moss, then what? It might very well be possible that when you transfer it to your bonsai soil, it will be overgrown by other varieties quite fast.
When moving it to your bonsai for showing, you can't put it back in your moss grow area for the same reason; you'll be taking in new spores.
So I'm wondering.. What is this moss for?
Please keep in mind, I'm a big fan of "because I want to", but I'm wondering if there are more reasons ;-)
 

rockm

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Kyoto moss is mostly an "add on" money maker for bonsai salesmen. There's is NOTHING special about it. It is a form of low-tightly growing bryum moss species. Bryum is found EVERYWHERE, including in cracks in the sidewalk in Dallas.

What you're doing is mostly a waste of time if you're actualy going to use it for bonsai.

Moss is not green and fuzzy all the time. It ebbs and flows with temperature and moisture, browning and going dormant in summer. You can get "Kyoto" moss started in a greenhouse after you pay through the nose for a packet of spores, but the minute you put it out in the weather, it will do what it will do-mostly get crispy and grow when it wants to. you can't control it very well outside of a climate controlled environment.

Best moss to use for bonsai is what grows LOCALLY. Collecting moss is a much MUCH better (and free) way to get moss that will actually live in your climate. not hard to do --look in areas that stay moist and a little shaded. Look in spring and summer.

Also FWIW, moss is typically NOT used all the time on bonsai. Professionals use it only for exhibitions. It's an unnecessary hassle for bonsai.
 

tmjudd1

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Please keep in mind, I'm a big fan of "because I want to", but I'm wondering if there are more reasons ;-)
Actually, there 'are' more reasons, but those reasons are actually for a different forum. Let's just say that I like to 'tinker'! ;)
 

tmjudd1

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Also FWIW, moss is typically NOT used all the time on bonsai. Professionals use it only for exhibitions. It's an unnecessary hassle for bonsai.
Not a hassle at all. "Who said anything about Bonsai?" :)
 

rockm

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Not a hassle at all. "Who said anything about Bonsai?" :)
Well, this is kiiiinda of a bonsai forum...What I said about Kyoto not being some special kind of moss stands though. You'd get better results with local species if you're just out for giggles and moss...just sayin
 

tmjudd1

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Well, this is kiiiinda of a bonsai forum...What I said about Kyoto not being some special kind of moss stands though. You'd get better results with local species if you're just out for giggles and moss...just sayin
I understand what you are saying, however. It seems as though many folks try to grow this stuff, for Bonsai, and also fail. Hopefully, I can demystify the growing process for those who continue to buy Kyoto Moss spores. If they wish to decorate their Bonsai with it, well. That's their prerogative... and neither one of us can say that they haven't been warned! They'll be on their own after they grow a healthy crop of green carpet. My only intent is to hopefully show folks how to successfully grow it. If folks are going to keep spending money on this stuff, why not try to show them how to at least get their money's worth?
 

rockm

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I understand what you are saying, however. It seems as though many folks try to grow this stuff, for Bonsai, and also fail. Hopefully, I can demystify the growing process for those who continue to buy Kyoto Moss spores. If they wish to decorate their Bonsai with it, well. That's their prerogative... and neither one of us can say that they haven't been warned! They'll be on their own after they grow a healthy crop of green carpet. My only intent is to hopefully show folks how to successfully grow it. If folks are going to keep spending money on this stuff, why not try to show them how to at least get their money's worth?

Um, this is a well-worn subject. all someone has to do is search. You're not the first:
https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/k...g-pt-1-medium-and-progress.29276/#post-486216
https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/k...g-pt-1-medium-and-progress.29276/#post-486216
https://forum.bonsaimirai.com/t/moss-of-course/1071/6
 

tmjudd1

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tmjudd1

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Yays, or nays matter not. I don't care what 'anyone' thinks. "I'm growing some moss!" If you don't like what I'm doing, don't watch the thread! Tune in to something else!
For those who might be interested... "Stay tuned!" :)
 
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tmjudd1

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It's been a week, now. All is well and the system is running fine. There are no signs of moss yet, however. There shouldn't be any moss this early into the game. The only update that I have is that I had to patch a HUGE hole/flap that was cut into the plastic tent enclosing my bio-chamber. It was about 12" X 12" in dimensions. I have a Bengal/Ocicat mix, and the damage has 'her' name written all over it! LOL
 

tmjudd1

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As you can see, per the instructions, it 'should' take 4-6 weeks before any noticeable signs of moss become evident. That's not the case via my experiment. It's only taken me 17 days for growth to begin. I 'assume' that the supplier of these spores is expecting folks to typically leave this stuff sitting out, in the open air, and occasionally misting it to keep it moist. As you know, I'm not growing it that way. I have my moss in an indoor greenhouse with humidity control. The moss beds never dry out. When the humidity drops to 66% the humidifier kicks on. When the humidity reaches 84% the humidifier shuts down and the system slowly drops to 66%, again, and the cycle repeats. The same sort of humidity control can be easily accomplished via a humidity tent/plastic bag, with air holes punched into it for air exchange, sprayed on the inside with a spray bottle... while also misting the surface of the moss bed. No fancy equipment required. So long as you see water droplets inside of your humidity tent... it's humid inside!;)
So far, so good! Bear in mind. This is 'NOT' an 'info-add' for Joshua Roth Kyoto Moss Spores. This is just the stuff that I purchased and am using for my test subject!
IMG_20190212_180145956.jpg
 

tmjudd1

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Just a piece of my mind.. So, lets say this works and you have kyoto moss, then what? It might very well be possible that when you transfer it to your bonsai soil, it will be overgrown by other varieties quite fast.
When moving it to your bonsai for showing, you can't put it back in your moss grow area for the same reason; you'll be taking in new spores.
So I'm wondering.. What is this moss for?
I never answered this question. Sorry about that! It's quite possible that x-fers back and forth from bonsai pots to growing medium could result in contamination, but that's okay. Nature is full of 'natural' contamination. This will simply add different layers of 'effect' to the moss. My sterilizing everything is simply to prevent competing organisms from invading my moss beds before the moss, itself, has a chance to become the dominant growth in the trays. If mold, yeasts, or other 'things' were to get a 'foot-hold' before the moss, they could easily become the dominant growth and kill the moss before it even gets started. I hope that this further explains my methods and reasons...
 

Forsoothe!

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You're making this sound difficult. Moss grows on cellulose which is the remains of anything that has been alive. Some mosses are substrate-specific and grow only on rotten wood, or rotten oak, or concrete, or a specific kind of sedimentary rock which has enough cellulose content to make it happy, or the tar in shingles, ad infinitum. I use that Kyoto all the time. I have used it by itself just dusting it on my soil, but I don't use any rocks so it has lots of "food" on which to grow. Growing it on "bonsai" soil may be difficult or impossible if the rocks employed don't have a cellulose content, but I don't try that so I don't know one way or the other.

You can get that perfect green surface if that's your pleasure, but I prefer a lumpier look now and put collected moss in-place and then dust the whole surface with Bone Char which is ground bones reduced to charcoal dust of one degree or another. It varies in particle size from purchase-to-purchase from sea salt to granulated sugar sizes. I wash that into the grain of the moss and of course into all the other nooks and crannies. Then I dust it with Kyoto from a salt-shaker.

Bone Char is 100% edible by the Moss and any other microorganisms, and is long-lasting and about 16% P. It might be a useful substitute for people who use peat-moss in their mixes. It has more carbon available, is easily wettable, and doesn't suffer that drying-out cycle that peat does. You might consider adding some fraction of crushed Georgia marble which I believe has a high P value to overcome the lack of cellulose in your rocks.

This is another discussion about Moss
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I end up scrubbing this stuff off my trunks in the spring. Most of my trees do better without moss on the soil surface, so I’ll apply it for shows, then remove it to spots on the ground where it can grow until I need more for the next show.
 

rockm

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I end up scrubbing this stuff off my trunks in the spring. Most of my trees do better without moss on the soil surface, so I’ll apply it for shows, then remove it to spots on the ground where it can grow until I need more for the next show.
Yeah, pretty much what most people who've been doing bonsai for a while think about moss... Trying to grow it on purpose mostly comes at the expense of your actual bonsai...The purpose of this experiment is shrouded in mystery, however. Maybe it will be released into the wild...
 

tmjudd1

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The purpose of this experiment is shrouded in mystery
No real mystery. I just like to tinker with things, learn what makes them 'tick' and sometimes try to make them tick 'better'... while also having some educational/entertaining fun along the way. There's sometimes no 'productive', nor beneficial reason behind a lot of the things that I do. If a whim strikes me, and sounds fun... I go with it, IE. Not so long ago, I set what most folks believe to be the 'unofficial' World Record for altitude and speed of a store bought 'toilet plunger'! Mach speed was impossible to reach due to the enormous drag created by the plunger head, however. I did manage to get 3,400 feet out of it at a maximum velocity of 283 MPH, recorded 2.3 seconds after lift-off, as per the retrieved data from the on board flight computer. "Why did I set out to do this?" Because I thought it would be fun, and it was! "Please don't try this at home!" If your toilet is clogged sooo bad that you think you may need a rocket-powered toilet plunger, "Don't Do It!" "Please, call a plumber, first!" :cool:
 

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