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  #11  
Old 01-31-2020, 09:26 PM
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Sphagnum - Loose or Packed Tight? Female
Thumbs down Sphagnum allergy

When I first started repotting new phals, I did not connect
orchids or any of the media with causing me to have asthma. I have not had asthma for a few years and first blamed it on my cat, the outdoor weeds my dogs track in, but finally narrowed it down to the moss. I search on the web for same and found a few things that cited moss allergy but none in connection with orchid repotting or growing in moss.
Any one else have this allergy?
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  #12  
Old 01-31-2020, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by early View Post
When I first started repotting new phals, I did not connect
orchids or any of the media with causing me to have asthma. I have not had asthma for a few years and first blamed it on my cat, the outdoor weeds my dogs track in, but finally narrowed it down to the moss. I search on the web for same and found a few things that cited moss allergy but none in connection with orchid repotting or growing in moss.
Any one else have this allergy?
I know sphagnum can have mold issues and you have to be somewhat careful about handling it if have you breaks in the skin and should avoid inhaling the dust when itís dry. Mold allergies are pretty common. Maybe itís the fungal spores present rather than the moss itself you are reacting to?

Last edited by aliceinwl; 01-31-2020 at 11:17 PM..
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  #13  
Old 01-31-2020, 10:38 PM
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If the sphagnum is nice and wet when working with it, I think potential problems are minimized. If dry, the dust could be hazardous, I have heard of people having respiratory symptoms from it. (I never have, and I use lots of it, always damp) For that matter, the same deal with perlite, only potentially worse - when mixing it in with bark, a good idea to spray it down first with water so that you don't get a snootful of fine silica dust.
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  #14  
Old 02-01-2020, 03:50 PM
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I seem to have the allergy and asthma when I am working with the sphagnum wet. I am getting rid of all my moss except for the two that I have in ICU.
ps love your link with info and photos
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Old 02-01-2020, 04:41 PM
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I seem to have the allergy and asthma when I am working with the sphagnum wet. I am getting rid of all my moss except for the two that I have in ICU.
ps love your link with info and photos
I agree with getting rid of sphagnum if itís causing you respiratory issues. For those cases where you find yourself having to work with allergens or dusty media you want to avoid inhaling, those little n95 face masks are pretty handy and work well.
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  #16  
Old 02-01-2020, 04:45 PM
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Thumbs up Sphagnum allergy

I have mask and gloves. Retired RN, just have to remember to use them
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  #17  
Old 02-02-2020, 03:12 PM
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My dad used a spaghnum/bark mix (about 3:1) for all orchids in his retail nursery. He also used a potting stick (piece of thick broom handle) to hammer it in tight.

At Silva Orchids & Waldor Orchids, they use mostly a bark mix, but they also use potting sticks to pack it tight into the pots.

I use a lot of spaghnum/bark mixes, primarily for:
  • Plants in 3" or smaller pots.
  • Vanda baskets.
However, I only press it in with my fingertips.
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  #18  
Old 02-02-2020, 07:33 PM
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I have mask and gloves. Retired RN, just have to remember to use them
I think it's a very good practice (ie. what you do). I heard and read of real cases where people just touch dirt from the garden or potting media, and contracts something very nasty that gets in through a cut or something.

In general, there's no issue without doing all of this - as we know. But eliminating the chance or risk altogether with protection will get a thumbs up from me.
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Old 02-07-2020, 01:06 PM
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I can't speak to the hydro-physics of tight moss (sorry Ray!) but loose moss stays wet and soggy, while tightly packed spag doesn't. The effects are that simple.

Additionally, high quality spag tightly packed in (I don't even wet it when potting my Catasetums) lasts for years, and I water every single day during the growing season. I unpotted several Catasetums that had outgrown their pots a few weeks ago and the moss was as fresh as when I packed it in about a year ago. Many will get repotted next next year and will still have good looking moss.

Bottom line, use high quality moss and pack it in. I'll let Ray (and other smart folks) figure out why it works.
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Old 02-07-2020, 01:32 PM
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Steve, your moss source?
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