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Charcoal ?

This is a discussion on Charcoal ? within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; The question I have is about Charcoal used in orchid mixes. I know that there ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Charcoal ?

    The question I have is about Charcoal used in orchid mixes. I know that there are charcoal briquettes that are a covenant form of charcoal to use for grilling. Which is compressed saw dust and other binders to make it burn evenly. This will not work in orchid mixes. Same holds true with the types of charcoal that already has lighter fluid soaked into the charcoal. Then there is wood lump charcoal also used for grilling. Is the wood lump charcoal basically the same as horticultural charcoal? What is the difference if any between lump hardwood charcoal and horticultural charcoal? Your input would be appreciated. Thanks, Rich

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    Too be honest I have no clue. Good question though. I know I definitely would spend more money on charcoal used for horticultural purposes than any meant for grilling.

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    i had no clue what horticultural charcoal is but i used mainly charcoal media for my orhcids. those artificial charcoal derived from saw dust is NOT a good material for orchids, tried it before and very disappointed by it.
    (however when i google, there is an link that cited HORTICULTURE CHARCOAL are actually cheap grade charcoal...sounds like what i am using).
    from the store where i get mine, they had those in large log form of charcoal that are more expensive and solid and they have those broken pieces of it that are cheaper...these i believe are derived from mangrove wood. HOWEVER there is another grade of charcoal, slightly cheaper and lighter in weight, derived from burnt unspecified wood. i had tried both, but i still prefer those broken broken piece charcoal from mangrove for larger plants.

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    I buy my charcoal from the wholesaler that stocks it by request for Longwood Gardens. It is produced by Royal Oak, the folks that also make the grilling stuff, but it is hardwood charcoal, while the briquettes are often pine.

    I used to buy from OFE, who supplied mesquite charcoal.

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    I use hardwood charcoal chunks (oak, beach, maple) gathered after a bonfire, just a long as no chemicals were added to start the fire. Rinse it well and it's good to go.

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    The differences are vast. You should avoid ANY wood lump charcoal, since these commercial products are basically aimed at the BBQ market. But everyone knows that; however, impregnated with burn-easy substances, most charcoal products are not to be trusted.
    Aquarium standard charcoal is good and pure ...... that is with no additives, but expensive. Horticultural charcoal, here in the UK, is hard to get hold of, but is to be had somewhere if you keep looking. It's quite simply ( certain ) woods burned so slowly, and to such an exact degree of temperature, while holding the carbon structure intact as the end-product ..... and that's what we need for plants. It is sold here as a "soil - conditioner." It is also used pharmaceutically, since it extracts and holds toxins in the body and then they are discharged or at least, with plants, it helps suspend them in the pot mix and they are flushed out with vigorous watering.

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    Actually, such activated charcoals (for aquaria) are really not ideal for potting media. "Activation" increases the surface area significantly, providing a lot more sites for ions and toxins to adsorb and bond with it, and it is very difficult to get them to release again. That ultimately leads to excessive buildup, leading to "toxic waste dump" pockets within the medium.

    The fact that it sucks them up is great short-term - that's one reason it's sometimes used in flasking media - but it means that you have to be diligent in replacing the medium on a regular basis. Medium components that don't trap stuff so vigorously are much easier to flush, so allow us to get away with being a bit lazier.

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