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Thread: Sulphuric volcanic ash on orchids

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  1. #1
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    angela parris
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    Question Sulphuric volcanic ash on orchids

    Dear friends at OT, I have not contributed in quite a while but now I am in urgent need of some feedback.
    As some of you might remember, I live on the island of Barbados in the Caribbean. Over the last 3 days a volcano on another island (St.Vincent) has been erupting and sending lots of ash and fine grit high into the air. The wind is then blowing it on to our island. All the vegetation is covered with this stuff.
    My question to whoever might know, or experienced something like this, is, how will this sulphur laden stuff affect my orchids ?. I have taken the pots and washed off all the leaves etc but I am sure that a lot of that stuff has gone into the pots.
    I am dealing with potted Catts. Dens. and a few Phals.
    Please let me have your thoughts.

    Cheers
    Angela

  2. #2
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    Ray Barkalow
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    I - thankfully- have no first-hand knowledge, but I would flood the daylights out of the plants to wash as much off of the plants and out of the medium as possible, then take them indoors to avoid further exposure.

  3. #3
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    Kirk
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    No personal experience but based on academic knowledge, the only major concern from the ash is probably the acidity. The minerals it carries are otherwise mostly nutrients or inert. And Ray is correct - lots of water to rinse the ash off the leaves and out of the medium, and protect them as much as possible. I believe more ash fall is predicted if the wind is in your direction. The ash is probably far more dangerous for your lungs than for the plants. Be careful, and good luck.

  4. #4
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    Zachary
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    If you have any native orchids, I'd say leave them outdoors, if a volcanic eruption is spewing ash, any native plants should be well adapted to deal with this, I would think. But any non-native species you have growing should probably be washed off and brought inside until the fallout is no longer coming down. Like a previous poster said, the acidity can be a real potential problem!

  5. #5
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    Bruce Brown
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    Hi Angela, I'm so sorry to hear about this worry, but so glad to hear from you again. I too would be cautious and flush out the pots and clean the surfaces of the orchids. Then, if possible bring them inside to avoid further contamination. Good luck to you!! And, please keep us posted.

    Cheers,
    BD

  6. #6
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    I was at Subic Bay when Mt. Pinatubo erupted back in '91. The eruption dumped about 10 inches of ash on us at the location I was at. The plants just sprouted up through it, and it eventually was washed away by the rain water or became incorporated into the soil. It did not seem to harm them, but as far as sulpheric gas is concerned, I wouldn't know about that.

  7. #7
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    Zainal Abidin Bin Othman
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    I do believe the trace of sulfuric acids is not good for the plant so acidic and agree with the above need to wash up accordingly.

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