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Re: [Aroid-l] Off topic protective coating over Driftwood

  • Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Off topic protective coating over Driftwood
  • From: Adam Black <epiphyte1@earthlink.net>
  • Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2007 23:58:54 -0500

Hi Brian,

I am by far no expert on wood sealers/preservatives, but would imagine that sealants that harden into a protective coating (polyurethane, etc) would probably not continue to leach potentially toxic chemicals that could be absorbed by the plants, but doubt they would really hold up to a constantly moist environment. I would also think the sealant would fill in the otherwise pourous surface of the wood, creating a much more slick surface which would affect the epiphyte's ability to anchor itself securely. I would think some "sealants" are actually oil-based to repel water and should therefore be avoided. Wood preservatives that are saturated into the wood most likely would not be good as well.

I agree that it would be best to stick with untreated wood that is resistant to decay. Aside from the PVC covered with cork bark method already mentioned, certain types of wood are very long-lasting in wet conditions. Collected pieces of dead and weathered cypress and cedar are readily available to me here in north Florida. I have cypress and cedar branches and trunk sections covered in epiphytes under daily mist that have not deteriorated in any noticable amount in at least eight years. Pieces of waterlogged cypress found in the many rivers here are very dense and naturally worn into beautiful contorted shapes. Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) from coastal South Florida is also a good choice and can be found in neat weathered shapes but it is difficult to find places to legally collect it, as most large stands are in the few remaining undeveloped and protected coastal areas, such as Everglades Nat'l Park and other protected areas. Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) is also very resistant to deterioration if you can deal with the vicious spines.


Steve Lucas Exotic Rainforest wrote:
Brian,  you might want to consider using the Fairchild Tropical Gardens idea of making "fake logs" out of large diameter PVC pipe with rolled cork bark attached to them.  You can use a variety of joints to create all sorts of shapes.  I've made several large logs and have all sorts of bromeliads, orchids, philodendrons and other plants happily attached.  I'm sure you've seen the Fairchild display in their orchid and bromeliad room.  Mine get watered almost daily and they are now 7 years old with no sign of falling apart.  The roots love the material and I have all sorts of epiphytes firmly attached.  I used just a very small amount of Liquid Nails to "encourage" the plants to begin to attach their roots.  The stuff is not cheap, but if you buy it by the bail it is reasonable.  One bail made 16 feet of "logs" for me.
Steve Lucas
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 5:38 PM
Subject: RE: [Aroid-l] Off topic protective coating over Driftwood

>From : Brian Williams <pugturd@alltel.net>
Reply-To : Discussion of aroids <aroid-l@gizmoworks.com>
Sent : Thursday, February 1, 2007 11:14 PM
To : Discussion of aroids <aroid-l@gizmoworks.com>
Subject : [Aroid-l] Off topic protective coating over Driftwood

Dear Brian,

I would dig around a LOT before treating driftwood on which you will be
planting epihites, as the water repellent MIGHT be toxic to plant roots, and
the 'protective coating chemicals' are probably just that, poisons intended
to kill mold, bactaria, algae and therefor PLANTS!    Read about what active
ingredients they contain or what makes them claim to be effective.   I`d go
with the natural driftwood.


>>I was wondering if spraying or painting water repellant or protective
>>coating chemicals on my drifwood would effect the plants that grow as
>>epiphytes on them? I was interested in doing this to most of the pieces
>>being used so I can get more years out of them. Does anyone know if this
>>is safe for the plants??<<

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