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Can algae damage Vanda roots?

This is a discussion on Can algae damage Vanda roots? within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; great answer-dood!!!!!...

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  1. #11
    kfir from israel's Avatar
    kfir from israel is offline allways press Ctrl+W
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    kfir stolero
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    great answer-dood!!!!!

  2. #12
    ChopperJeff is offline Junior Member
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    Default Dealing with algae

    Great answer by John!

    I grow 100's of bare-root vandas & ascocendas in a Florida greenhouse & recently had to deal with an extreme algae issue caused by an extended period of abject neglect (was traveling since last year) & automated (over)watering. A commercial greenhouse might have answered the problem with 2 gallons of unleaded gas and a match, but I was determined to salvage my plants.

    Several different algae, mold, moss & mildew species formed a blanket on the roots. Each layer of algae gave purchase & moisture to the next variety, to the point that even weeds began to take root in the wet layers.

    I do not believe that treating first with an algaecide was appropriate. The only thing worse than a thick blanket of live algae is a goopy coating of DEAD rotting algae, which would have created a petri dish for bacteria & other organisms far worse than I already had, sooo ....

    Most kinds of algae were removed with a brisk spray nozzle from a few inches away while wet and soft. It came off in chunks and sheets. What a relief to discover fresh vanda root tissue underneath. Even the healthiest roots were not really thriving, though. I took care not to spray off onto other plants, working mostly on a wire screen table.

    Cleaned out all dead roots, sterilizing scissors between plants and after dealing with 'mushy' problems.

    Used Zerotol (H2O2 solution) to wash everything before and after, soaking the plant.

    Treated with Phyton 27 and RD20 over the next couple of weeks to keep bacteria and fungus from attacking tissues damaged by handling. I rarely use such products to avoid phytotoxicity issues, but they can help following transition or shock.

    Observation: Areas of intimate root contact + moisture + an assortment of foreign organisms = damaged roots, rot and disease. Some 'combing' and untangling of the roots promoted more air movement between the roots.

    I changed the watering schedule to allow a full dry day between thorough watering days and added an extra fan for more air movement. Now I water daily in the hot Florida summers and every 2 or 3 days in the winter. The algae has not returned.

    A spash of fertilizer and Superthrive set the stage for a surge of growth, new root tips and blooms ... greenhouse is ready for visitors again!

    Just a thought: Your thrice-a-day misting, even in the windy BWI, might actually result in 'farming' algae.

    regards, Jeff

  3. #13
    Cjcorner's Avatar
    Cjcorner is offline Senior Member
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    I'm going to keep reading this Vanda posts...i'm forever finding something else I have been doing wrong. Mine aren't thrivng out in the new room and it's looking like I may lose one or two. Guess a fan will have to go in until they finish... I see at least i'm not the only one struggling with them. That makes it a little bit easier to take.

  4. #14
    IslandLiving is offline Junior Member
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    We grow several varieties of vanda(aranda)(mokara) here in hawaii. Potted, hanging basket and in row for cut flower. We have hot days, humid all the time. Our hanging baskets are in a greenhouse under clear plastic with screen sides. A twenty minute watering twice a week because of potted orchids. Tue,Sat.

    What percent shade are you using? Hopefully under 40%

    On hot days we give them a fresh water rinse in between irrigations. Ive seen algae growth on the roots during cooler winter months but was always able to rinse of with hose or worse case zerotol 1:100 sprayed though our lv sprayer. Other than that, even under droughts or month straight rains, never any problems. Vanda will regularly throw out new roots without any help.

    We are sea level and that would be the only difference i can see thus far. The shrinking part to me would seem to be a underwatering problem or burning? of somesort? If the roots were mushy and brown, probably to much water. Not familiar with rd-20. Vanda seem to be very resistant to virus and fungal problems so we only spray ours for insects on a semi weekly basis.

    They seem to thrive with long free flowing roots. The air flow cant be beat with hanging baskets. The only time we cut their roots is if we are getting inspected. In that case they need to be 18+ inches from floor.

    Hope this has been of some help. Maybe a couple of pics if problem persists.

  5. #15
    geoblue is offline Junior Member
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    I know you have plenty of air flow there...... It should be Vanda paradise! It would help if you could post a photo of the roots and the root tips...... Many orchids have rections to Physan and RD-20 being sprayed on them. THey are meant for the greenhouse floors, shelves and supports..... I have several older vanda's with algae covered roots right now due to winter crowding... my fans don't keep up right now- time to give some plants away! the algea doesn't harm them at all. I also have some that have gone through bouts of hte dreaded white/ tan dry out.... these roots just wouldn't take water anymore... I don't think that's what you are talking about....

  6. #16
    ManilaByNight's Avatar
    ManilaByNight is offline Senior Member
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    A friend of mine who is a horticulture expert in growing orchids mentioned to me that the secret in growing Vandas successfully in tropical conditions is to maintain high humidity to prevent the roots from drying out.

    In his nursery his Vanda slat house is covered with Volcanic rock cinder on the ground and he regularly waters the cinder at least twice daily to increase humidity. In Thailand, some Vanda growers have a small pool of water under the Vanda plants to increase humidity.

    Air-flow is good but the air flow must be warm and humid - not dry air. Dry air will shrivel the roots.
    Last edited by ManilaByNight; March 29th, 2010 at 06:58 AM.

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