ABG/Tree Fern Fiber Questions (What is the State of the Union?) - Dendroboard
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:17 PM
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Default ABG/Tree Fern Fiber Questions (What is the State of the Union?)

Drthsideous' question on ABG got me to thinking. I don't use ABG much for my vivs anymore, but I seem to have patched together the idea that the tree fern fiber that is currently available is not the same as what we used to use in ABG. I have been told it is a more flexible or soft fiber. Does it break down any quicker than the original version of tree fern fiber? If that's the case, is the ABG sold today going to have the longevity that it used to? Have any of the current modifications to the original ABG recipe been around and been tested long enough to say that they work as well as original-recipe ABG?

When I talk about original ABG, there is what I am thinking of:

https://www.dendroboard.com/forum/pa...t-abg-mix.html

I might be misinformed on the tree fern fiber info above. Please correct if that's the case.

Mark
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Old 10-17-2019, 03:28 PM
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I feel like tree fern you’re talking about is the New Zealand stuff. Much like this:
https://acadiansupply.com/products/tree-fern/

I don’t know if the longevity is really an issue compared to the South American tree fern that is harder. The issue is moisture retention.

The harder stiff tree fern can still be bought. My friend at Flori Culture has it and creates ABG with it.
https://flori-culture.com/products/tree-fern-fiber
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Last edited by DPfarr; 10-17-2019 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 10-17-2019, 04:38 PM
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Default Re: ABG/Tree Fern Fiber Questions (What is the State of the Union?)

Greetings,

When one says "tree fern fiber" they might mean 2 different things:

1) Tree fern roots: All tree ferns (South American or Aus/NZ) produce thick roots along the lower trunk and surrounding the base of the fern. This is the tough, dark material called "tree fern bark" when sold in intact slabs and, when chopped/ground, is the material Encyclia is referring to.

2) Tree fern fur: Some tree ferns produce a thick covering of "fur" as a protective covering for the growth apex. It is often a coppery lighter brown color. This material is made of short, very fine filaments very much like hair.

The price of tree fern roots/bark has certainly gone up. In response, there seems to be increased offering of mixtures of fiber and fur (since both are made of "fibers") or just fur being sold as "tree fern fiber".

The fur seems to be a tough material in terms of decomposition but it's so fine that it doesn't provide the scaffolding like the tougher fibers of the roots so it doesn't help with aerating or prevent compaction when used in the substrate.
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Old 10-17-2019, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: ABG/Tree Fern Fiber Questions (What is the State of the Union?)

I recently bought a few bags of ABG from Glass Box Tropicals, which is the only place I've ever bought from. I think he switched to the softer species since I bought last, and I immediately noticed and am a bit skeptical of it working as well -- the 'scaffolding' that kimcmich mentions is definitely missing.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:01 AM
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Default Re: ABG/Tree Fern Fiber Questions (What is the State of the Union?)

This is the mix that I have been using for the past year and a half:
1 part peat moss
1 part crushed charcoal
2 parts fine orchid bark (Exo-Terra Forest Bark)
2 parts hand-shredded sphagnum moss (not super finely milled)
1 part tree fern fiber (New Zealand Fernwood brand)

I have been using the New Zealand variety of tree fern fiber (via Josh's Frogs). To be honest, I had some doubts in the beginning, but after over a year it is still going strong. Even though it is moist, it stays rigid and keeps its shape. It doesn't just compress and go flat. My substrate still has lots of air pockets and is still fluffy. It definitely isn't compacted and it drains really well. In my opinion, I think it is an acceptable alternative.
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Old 03-19-2020, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: ABG/Tree Fern Fiber Questions (What is the State of the Union?)

I finally managed to get a bag of each kind of tree fern fiber for comparison.

Josh's sell New Zealand fiber (presumably rebranded Fernwood) -- the soft stuff:
https://www.joshsfrogs.com/josh-s-fr...10-quarts.html

This looks and feels almost like coco husk shred (Eco Earth), but more coarse than Eco Earth. It is very soft, and compresses easily (in hand: I haven't tested it in a mix). The 10 qt bag did not (by eyeballing it) contain 250% of the volume of the 1 gallon bag of SA fiber from GBT -- again, it compresses.

Glassbox Tropicals sells South American -- the little stick kind:
https://www.glassboxtropicals.com/Fi...p/finetree.htm

This looks and feels like sticks. They are very hard, and do not compress in hand.

Pics from L to R: both; South American from GBT; New Zealand from JF.
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Last edited by Socratic Monologue; 03-19-2020 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 03-20-2020, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: ABG/Tree Fern Fiber Questions (What is the State of the Union?)

Nice, SM! The little sticks are what I am used to calling tree fern fiber. I think the soft stuff is not the same and I am guessing it won't perform the same in ABG over time. Anybody have experience with the new stuff?

Mark
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Old 03-20-2020, 12:40 AM
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Default Re: ABG/Tree Fern Fiber Questions (What is the State of the Union?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Encyclia View Post
Anybody have experience with the new stuff?

Mark
That's what Tinc Tank is talking about in the post above mine (the NZ Fernwood brand.
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