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Birch wood for mounts

This is a discussion on Birch wood for mounts within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; In some other repository of orchid info., someone who seems to be a very experienced ...

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  1. #1
    mrBreeze is offline Junior Member
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    Default Birch wood for mounts

    In some other repository of orchid info., someone who seems to be a very experienced and succesful grower, especially of African orchids, highly recommended mounts made from birch logs/branches. He implied (said) that something in the bark was very beneficial to the roots and the orchids grew better on them.

    He never said why. Never really provided any details. Does anyone know why it would be? Or, if it is really true in your experience? Any further info at all about the possible benefits of Birch mounts, is appreciated. thanks, MB

  2. #2
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    LJA
    LJA is offline OrchidTalk Tech Admin
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    I've never performed any rigorous tests using different types of mounts, so can't give you any first-hand experience here. However, birch sap contains methyl salicylate (which is what gives things their "wintergreen" flavor), and it's been used in poultices for wounds and to help reduce swelling. Birch wood might, therefore, have some anti-bacterial / anti-fungal properties, but that's a big "might."

    Does the grower who made this claim actually buy and pay to ship birch wood mounts to his location, or is there rather an extensive forest of birch nearby through which he can hike and cut mounts for his plants, there being no other type of hardwood as cheaply and easily available?

    There's certainly nothing *wrong* with using birch, and it may actually provide some benefits that other hardwoods don't, but I'd be more willing to bet that there just happens to be a lot of it around, a situation not unlike a cereal company touting the benefits of breakfast, in general, and their product for breakfast, in particular.

    "Grain of salt" is needed here....

  3. #3
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    Gin is offline Senior Member
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    I agree with Louis . My favorite mounts are Cactus Skeletons that is because people I know make bird toys and have scraps of it left over .I have heard that Cypress has anti fungal properties ( your mileage may vary ) Gin

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    mrBreeze is offline Junior Member
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    This guy is in Austria, so he probably does have a ready supply of birch. But he also gets cork and has access to many other things. He also (seems) to have pretty extensive knowledge of chemistry and botany and plant physiology. Maybe he was specifically recommending it for Aerangis and other Angs...I'm not sure. The methyl salicilate idea is interesting. As I recall, his implication was that the bark may contain substances that the roots require/prefer. I found some, ironically, the very next day beside the house. The neighbors were getting rid of it. It makes nice looking mounts regardless of any other benefits.

  5. #5
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    It's too bad he couldn't supply more info (I'm always suspicious of claims that x-and-such is "better" without being given the how's and why's so I can compare for myself.)

    If you use one of your found pieces, I'm definitely curious if there's anything to the claim--maybe you can do an informal kind of experiment.

  6. #6
    catfan is offline Senior Member
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    As I've mentioned on other forums, I use wild grape vine (muscadine) for all my mounts now. I have access to all the free wood I could ever want, and the orchids really latch onto it. Drape with a little Spanish moss, and they're in paradise...

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