???Moss Blocks Oxygen???

jomawa

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Am bothered by a statement found in my bonsai researching, that moss blocks oxygen. Context of the statement specifically was "covering the soil with moss" vs leaving the soil uncovered for a free transfer of oxygen, not anything to do with moss's water holding capability.
Since I am doing air layering this spring and had planned on using a moss wrap on vine maples, (this area has moss hanging from trees like the rain forest, so I'm able to peel a six inch wide blanket of moss to wrap my air layer). The idea of "oxygen block" brought me up short, and got me thinking whether it would be better/best to use pumice "wrap", which we also have an ample supply of. Sooo, that's my dilema. Trying to balance the idea of wrapping with moss (as recommended specifically for a different issue, that being for the purpose of its moisture holding capability) vs using pumice wrap (but pumice may dry/faster --- pumice is also in great supply here). I realize the answer may be found only on an academic level discussing atoms and molecules, but??? Also, due to the abundance of moss, have started covering trees in training with moss, specifically for blocking evaporation, (not likely while it's raining 24/7, 387 days a year, except in the summer). Now I'm left speculating just how much of an issue "moss blocks oxygen" is? Air layer with moss or pumice wrap? Leave existing plant's soil covered with moss or uncover?
 

lieuz

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I believe the moss you will be using for an air layering is different than what people use for top dressing. The moss in this situation is to keep the area of incision as moist as possible. The type of moss you should be using is sphagnum moss or peat moss.
 

GrimLore

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Air layer with moss or pumice wrap? Leave existing plant's soil covered with moss or uncover?
Honest in your zone I think live moss could perhaps cause other problems in an air-layer situation even faster then here. Chopped sphagnum or pumice would be better. Real moss growing on you bark is really not desirable for a few reasons.

Grimmy
 

johng

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as suggested I think you are confusing the uses of moss...
I suspect your article is talking about moss used to "decorate" a bonsai for a display perhaps...looks like this

And I do believe this is also somewhat of a controversial subject as well...I keep moss on many of my trees all year...there are others that only moss for shows.
Whereas you are talking about using moss for airlayers which is completely different in all aspects.
 

JoeR

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as suggested I think you are confusing the uses of moss...
I suspect your article is talking about moss used to "decorate" a bonsai for a display perhaps...looks like this

And I do believe this is also somewhat of a controversial subject as well...I keep moss on many of my trees all year...there are others that only moss for shows.
Whereas you are talking about using moss for airlayers which is completely different in all aspects.
Whats your opinion on leaving 'show moss' on year round?
 

parhamr

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Show moss is problematic in the Pacific Northwest because it holds a lot of moisture. I’ve found that happy moss in my pre-bonsai means excessive moisture and soil with too much organic material.

Your climate may vary.
 

johng

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Whats your opinion on leaving 'show moss' on year round?
It just depends...

Best Practice - it should never harm the health of the tree (too wet) or aesthetic value of the tree(moss growing on the bark).

Unlike the Pacific Northwest, where I live it is hot and windy with moderate humidity for much of the year. In most cases, I use moss to retain moisture...sometimes "show" moss, if not, then chopped sphagnum. At repotting time, everything gets chopped sphagnum as a top dressing for at least the first growing season as the plant re-establishes its root system...by that point it is usually covered in green moss...sometimes I remove, sometimes not...based on best practice.

I love rock and slab plantings and often use muck...permanent show moss is a must in these situations.

But, all this is based on where I live, the soils I use, my ability to provide water, etc...you are the only one that can make these decisions for you and your trees.
 

GroveKeeper

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I've tried mossing a few of my tree with the method of collected green moss sprinkled over a top dressing of chopped sphagnum. But it seems like the sphagnum has been colonized by a layer of algae long before the green moss could become established. I would just wait and let the moss eventually establish itself but the algae was making it very difficult to water. So I removed the sphagnum and top dressing with a layer of fine wood chip mulch for moisture.

Maybe I'll see if the moss will adhere to that.
 

JoeR

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It just depends...

Best Practice - it should never harm the health of the tree (too wet) or aesthetic value of the tree(moss growing on the bark).

Unlike the Pacific Northwest, where I live it is hot and windy with moderate humidity for much of the year. In most cases, I use moss to retain moisture...sometimes "show" moss, if not, then chopped sphagnum. At repotting time, everything gets chopped sphagnum as a top dressing for at least the first growing season as the plant re-establishes its root system...by that point it is usually covered in green moss...sometimes I remove, sometimes not...based on best practice.

I love rock and slab plantings and often use muck...permanent show moss is a must in these situations.

But, all this is based on where I live, the soils I use, my ability to provide water, etc...you are the only one that can make these decisions for you and your trees.
Good info, thanks John.

All my trees dry out too fast in the summer in my mix of pumice, bark, and lava so I think I will try some on my deciduous trees as a test.


How do you keep moss alive in a trees pot? I cant manage to keep it green and happy.
 

0soyoung

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How do you keep moss alive in a trees pot? I cant manage to keep it green and happy.
Put down a thin layer of something moisture retentive - sphagnum (my fav), fines of your substrate, etc. - then put the moss on top. It must stay moist; if so, it will grow even in full sum.
 

MichaelS

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Air enters pots mainly by diffusion (high gas concentration moves to low). The larger the pore space the faster the diffusion. Fine felt mosses are very dense so they will slow down the rate of air entering the pot. Usually, it does not overly affect the tree but if the mix is old and the pot is full of roots, a thick layer of this kind of moss should be removed. I like to see my trees dry pretty quickly so I don't use it unless showing the tree.
 

0soyoung

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Air enters pots mainly by diffusion (high gas concentration moves to low). The larger the pore space the faster the diffusion. Fine felt mosses are very dense so they will slow down the rate of air entering the pot. Usually, it does not overly affect the tree but if the mix is old and the pot is full of roots
In other words, if the pot has become slow draining, you advise removing the moss. I would just argue that removing the moss actually won't make much difference - that the drainage rate is dominated by the substrate, not the moss. I also would argue that water draining from the pot draws in far more gas than simple diffusion. But, if one is just lightly misting with a sprayer like at a show, I agree that it is just diffusion that gets oxygen to the roots.
Do you happen to have any slab plantings (I ask rhetorically ;))?
 

MichaelS

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"0soyoung, post: 328601, member: 12845"]
I would just argue that removing the moss actually won't make much difference - that the drainage rate is dominated by the substrate, not the moss
.

You would be correct to argue that if that was the contention, however I didn't mention drainage ;)

I also would argue that water draining from the pot draws in far more gas than simple diffusion.
Yes at the time of watering that is true but unfortunately plants can't hold their breath between waterings so most of their breathing ( 99.99%) takes place when your not there.:)
 

Starfox

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Good info, thanks John.

All my trees dry out too fast in the summer in my mix of pumice, bark, and lava so I think I will try some on my deciduous trees as a test.


How do you keep moss alive in a trees pot? I cant manage to keep it green and happy.
The moss on my elm lasted two months even in winter, one week of high winds finally put and end to it so I don't like my chances of getting it to stay alive(moss that is) over summer at all.
I'll have to keep an eye on this as it's my first summer but even if it does dry out quick I'm not sure moss is the answer, it may work if the tree is under a shade cloth area.
 

BrianBay9

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In other words, if the pot has become slow draining, you advise removing the moss. I would just argue that removing the moss actually won't make much difference - that the drainage rate is dominated by the substrate, not the moss. I also would argue that water draining from the pot draws in far more gas than simple diffusion. But, if one is just lightly misting with a sprayer like at a show, I agree that it is just diffusion that gets oxygen to the roots.
Do you happen to have any slab plantings (I ask rhetorically ;))?
I agree, it's the oxygenated water in the pot that is accessible to the roots. Each time you water (IF you water thoroughly until water runs out of the bottom) you replace water depleted of oxygen by the roots, with oxygenated water. As long as moss doesn't significantly reduce water flow it's not a problem from an oxygen standpoint. It way cause other problems or solve certain problems, depending on your specific situation.
 

aml1014

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I personally don't believe moss blocks the airflow in the pot. What happens when we water nursery plants in nursery soil thoroughly? You watch air bubbles rush through the drainage holes with the water, then a minute later you hear this bubbling noise, that happens to be fresh air being pulled down throw the soil replacing the water as it drains. So it's simple, water goes in the top air comes out of the bottom, then the water drains and fresh air enters from the topast of the container. Notice my example was nursery soil? I would think it's more debilitating to air flow then some moss on the surface of our bonsai soil.

Aaron
 

Vin

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as suggested I think you are confusing the uses of moss...
I suspect your article is talking about moss used to "decorate" a bonsai for a display perhaps...looks like this

And I do believe this is also somewhat of a controversial subject as well...I keep moss on many of my trees all year...there are others that only moss for shows.
Whereas you are talking about using moss for airlayers which is completely different in all aspects.
Near view? :)
 

Bonsai Nut

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There are lots of different mosses, that grow in lots of different conditions. I have found that there is some moss that will only grow when the soil is bad, organic, and water-logged. Other moss seems to like inorganic soil, high sun, with water run-off with low organic levels. The former is normally a sign that something is bad with conditions, the later, that everything is great :)

Note that I'm talking about moss GROWING on your soil... not about moss placed there.
 

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