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Springtails, friend... foe?

This is a discussion on Springtails, friend... foe? within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hey there, I've been growing for a good number of years without much thought to ...

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  1. #1
    jenn's Avatar
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    Default Springtails, friend... foe?

    Hey there, I've been growing for a good number of years without much thought to my booming springtail population. Most of my orchids are in "S/H" medium, so I figured as long as I kept up with repotting the guys that were not in the S/H, the little buggers were helping; with eating decaying material, and the dead bugs would nourish the plants.

    I am just curious what others here feel about springtails.

    Thanks :-)

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    What is a springtail?

    Katie

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    Sorry I put this in the wrong place.
    Anyhow, springtails are little silver/grey bugs that eat dead or decaying plant material (turning plant matter into soil). In large numbers (which I have ) they can be a problem for orchids by making the potting medium soil and not have good air-flow. Since I use a "S/H" medium I haven't worried about them too much. BUT, I have talked to a friend about them (when I water it can be freaky how many jump and crawl around), and they seem to think they may spread disease. I don't know about that, so I thought I would ask folks here what they thought.

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    Thanks Jenn. That is a great description, I can almost see them.

    Katie

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenn View Post
    Sorry I put this in the wrong place.
    Anyhow, springtails are little silver/grey bugs that eat dead or decaying plant material (turning plant matter into soil).
    Although (maybe especially since) you are in s/h the quantities of them you are describing might indicate a cultural issue. Maybe the roots of your plant are dead, dying or decaying and that is what attracts them to your medium?

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    One of the reasons I love the "S/H" medium is that you don't need to re-pot nearly as often, but when I do there are always a mix of healthy and unhealthy roots; for me the same as before I went to this medium. I am sure the decaying roots are what are keeping them around. I do notice an improvement when I am religious about watering them correctly weekly, but I still wonder if they are really a problem or not at all. I didn't worry about them at all until my friend said, "springtails spread disease". Some of my orchids have been growing, blooming for many years now with this "problem". Ahh well...

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