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Practical or Efficient Ways to Sterilize Peat Moss

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:58 am
by Apollyon
Hi guys, I'm looking for some advice on ways to sterilize peat moss to discourage moss growth.

Typically, I don't really care about moss growth in my pots, sometimes it even enhances the look, imo.
However, I've recently started to pot things on a more "grand" scale with entire 1020 trays packed with soil media, bog style. I use these trays for propagations and would rather not have moss growing
in them if it can be helped. It sits in very humid conditions so I'm sure it's unavoidable but I'm looking
to keep it from covering the entire tray as it is wont to do already.

So, other than continuously rinsing or keeping them outside to get rained on for a while, what are some ways you guys sterilize your peat and how do you go about it? Points for efficiency and length
of time. I'm an impatient person with this kinda thing, which is why I settled for the moss in the first place :lol:

Re: Practical or Efficient Ways to Sterilize Peat Moss

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:09 am
by jose

Re: Practical or Efficient Ways to Sterilize Peat Moss

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:15 pm
by BullwinkleII
I think sterilized peat will grow moss just as quickly as peat that isn't, unless you are growing in very sterile conditions from start to finish, but you might be able to slow it down a bit with a microwave as suggested (or boiling).
Moss spores are in the air, and just looking for something wet to land on.
Moss likes acidic media, so I suspect it comes with the territory.

This for some light reading, and perhaps some useful links to heavy reading in the sources section at the end... (I have nothing to do with this mob other than listening to their podcasts)
Fifth paragraph on this page... but all of it's probably worth a quick read just in case something stands out as a solution.

Re: Practical or Efficient Ways to Sterilize Peat Moss

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:45 pm
by BullwinkleII
I just had a thought.
Do you want to be moss free so it doesn't out-compete tiny seedlings or something?

It might be possible to encourage a friendly low growing moss that is less irritating to you.
I bought an arrangement of CPs that came from a few thousand km north of where I live, and it had a very low growing moss... perhaps 0.25mm tall blanketing the peat. So if the reason you want to be moss free is so that moss doesn't grow taller than your seedlings or something, perhaps finding a low growing moss to dominate the pots early might discourage anything taller from growing.
Maybe find a short moss, put it in a blender, then mix it into your peat, or spray it on.
Just a thought. (see my tagline for legal disclaimer :) )

Re: Practical or Efficient Ways to Sterilize Peat Moss

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:51 pm
by Apollyon
Thenks for the replies. I would say the competition is a slight factor, usually I'm having not that trouble with pings since they strike on the surface and find their way to burrow down. It's more because of the density and clumping. When it comes time to remove the plant, the moss binds the soil, some "species" are much denser and compact. So it ends up pulling some roots even if you're careful. Isn't such a big deal with pinguicula but with Drosera that could become a problem. I had a particular pot that had a species of moss that grew tight and further into the soil. That mixed with some hitchhiker utrics made it an interesting time.

I do like your idea however about introducing a compatible species to take over before it has a chance. It's used for pest control, why not moss control :lol: I was hoping I could uproot and backfill while keeping it clean. It would make adding to the prop tray easier as well. If I could keep the moss away I wouldn't need to disturb much, just put the leaves on top and let them do their thing. Your points did inspire some new ideas however and I have a different approach I'm going to take moving forward. Thank you!

The microwave is a great idea as well and easy to do. How many minutes or does it really matter?

Re: Practical or Efficient Ways to Sterilize Peat Moss

Posted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:23 pm
by hungry carnivores
Put a paper towel over the pot or media, to avoid flash boiling of the water in the substrate once you pick it out heated.
Nuke the thing for 1 second per 10 grams of the stuff. Should work fine. Finish the spray with some orthene if you feel like it.

Let it air out, then use. I say spray with orthene, if its LFS, since thrips live in substrate that is recycled. And I like to recycle substrate, I hate wasting perfectly good stuff with bugs in it.

Re: Practical or Efficient Ways to Sterilize Peat Moss

Posted: Wed Nov 25, 2020 5:16 am
by twitcher
I hate moss. It can kill smaller pings(and other small cp's0 by gradually forcing them out of the media or crowding them from the light. And it can give some utrics a really bad time, especially the terrestrials. So I've been waging a constant war on the moss and slowly winning.

No media gets used anymore without being sterilized by boiling in heat safe glass jars in the microwave, then a couple of rinses in ro water, followed by another boiling. Why? Because I've found that moss spores seem to be able to survive boiling for short periods of time, at least for that form which I believe is star moss which appears to be present in the peat I use. (and every peat so far).

I like to start pings, sundews and utics from seed. A "clean" media is essential to keep smaller seedlings from being overgrown from the moss. And, yes, its really hard to remove without damaging small seedlings. A covering of the germination pot with clear plastic can keep aerial born spores at bay or even a piece of coffee filter or paper towel. When moss gets going in pots with plants large enough, I transplant into new media (including boiled, rinsed, recycled) and recycle the old. I've been doing this for about a year now, and the incidence of moss in the pots is declining.

My collection is indoors and I am careful to make sure the moss in the collection never generates spores.