Tips For Best Use Of Coir

Tips For Best Use Of Coir


Impatiens comparison between Densu coir, Metro mix and Pro mix

A lot of research has been done in the last 20 years on the use of coir or the fibers that are harvested from coconut husks. There are several companies that supply and manufacture growing substrates with coir. As with any substrate or substrate component, growers should conduct their own trials to evaluate the effectiveness in their operation.

Several trials have been conducted at the University of Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center on the use of Densu coir to grow both foliage plants and bedding plants. In each trial, plants were grown in 100 percent Densu coir and compared to growth in a standard blended sphagnum peat-based substrate with approximately 60 to 80 percent sphagnum peat with perlite and vermiculite. All comparisons were unbiased experiments and the results presented do not constitute an endorsement of Densu coir or the sphagnum peat blends.

Coir was one of two substrates used to grow dieffenbachia plants. Average shoot dry weight of plants grown in coir was 27.4 grams while the average shoot dry weight in peat substrate was 27.3 grams. Similarly, average calathea shoot dry weight in coir was 29.3 grams while in the peat substrate the average shoot dry weight was 26.3 grams.

Impatiens were grown in coir, Metro mix and Pro mix. Plants grown in coir were equal to or larger than plants grown in both Metro mix and Pro mix. The coir used in this study had similar initial pH, soluble salt, CEC, total porosity, air-filled porosity and water holding capacity to Pro mix (Table 1). It is important to note that growers should check initial pH, soluble salt, water-holding capacity and air-filled porosity before using coir, because products from different manufactures may vary. Furthermore, trials should be conducted prior to converting production areas over to coir-based substrates.

Advantages of coir (based on results from experiments conducted with Densu coir) include:

• It’s easy to work with
• Plant growth in 100 percent coir was comparable to other substrates evaluated as long as fertilization was included; it works well with controlled-release fertilizer products applied as top-dress or incorporated into the substrate
• Wets easily and quickly; also re-wets easily if plants dry out between watering
• High moisture content
• Less dust when dry (ease of mixing and handling when dry)

Disadvantages include:

• Crop growth might vary; crops that grow well in peat-based substrates appear to grow equally as well in coir.
• We do not recommend growing plants in 100 percent coir but using it as part of blend that replaces sphagnum peat; suggested blend to try might have 60 percent coir with vermiculite and perlite.
• You have to add nutrients to the media to get good crop growth; coir without fertilization produces poor plant growth.

Table 1. Substrate chemical and physical properties.

Substrate  
pH Soluble salts (mmhos/cm) CEC (MEQ/100g)
Densu coir 5.5 to 6.2 0.37 2.2
Pro mix 5.0 to 6.6 0.26 3.9
Metro mix 5.9 to 6.5 0.86 6.1
       
Substrate Total   porosity % Air-Filled Porosity % Water-Holding Capacity %
Densu coir 93.26 26.00 67.26
Pro mix 92.00 23.00 69.00
Metro mix 66.00 19.00 47.00

The work summarized above does not imply an endorsement of any product mentioned. All studies were unbiased trials. The data is a fair representation of how the plants tested grew in various substrates. Results may vary with other plants as well as under different growing environments. From the data we have collected, coir appears to be a good substrate for growing a variety of plants.

About the author: Kimberly Moore is an associate professor of Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center. She can be reached at klock@ufl.edu.

Leave a Reply

More From Media...
Plant-Select_for-web

May 28, 2015

PlantSelect.org And FindPlants.net Assist Consumers With Growing And Finding Plants

The recently launched PlantSelect.org and FindPlants.net websites offer growing and maintenance tips, where-to-buy information and design ideas to help consumers have success with growing and finding plants.

Read More
Cal-Poly fields

May 27, 2015

Cal-Poly Students And Faculty Ask Industry To Help Save Horticulture Facilities

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, has released an update to its Master Plan that indicates that almost all of its orchards, horticulture facilities and field sites could be repurposed for buildings, including residential, and/or recreational space. According to a letter from Scott Steinmaus, the horticulture and crop science department head, the proposed changes directly affect the current orchard plantings and other long term plans for the department. The department is committed to making sure that its facilities remain invaluable teaching environments that enable its students to learn about crop, fruit and horticulture production, food safety and pest protection, in addition to providing sites for externally funded research projects that benefit the industry. Industry members are invited to submit comments to the university. According to Steinmaus, a recent eMail to the Cal-Poly community from the university president indicates that all of the input gathered through the end of May will be studied by the planning […]

Read More
Laura Drotleff

May 27, 2015

Growers Working Hard To Protect Pollinators — And Their Businesses (Opinion)

Editor’s Note: This editorial was written and published just prior to the news coming out about Lowe’s phasing out neonicotinoids by 2019. However, that news doesn’t change the fact that growers have a long history as good stewards of their land and of the environment. As evidenced by the 2015 Top 100 Growers Report, the nation’s largest growers continue to adapt their production practices to be cognizant of environmental factors, worker safety, retailer preferences and consumer concerns. In light of Lowe’s announcement, growers who produce for the retailer are certainly working toward that mandate; but they’re also hopeful that the research currently underway will provide scientific reason for decisions made on production going forward. When the news broke last year that growers would be required to label plants treated with neonicotinoids at The Home Depot, and that other retailers were mandating growers to produce crops without neonics, I sucked in air and […]

Read More
Latest Stories

December 2, 2014

Grow-Tech Announces BioStrate, Its Newest Hydroponic Gr…

Grow-Tech LLC recently announced the release of BioStrate Felt, a biobased textile specifically engineered for the growing of hydroponic microgreens and baby salad greens.

Read More

November 18, 2014

7 New Media And Light Products For Greenhouse Productio…

New media and light products cover a broad sweep of growing conditions.

Read More
Oakland Nursery plantings in Columbus_featured

November 17, 2014

Oakland Nursery Simplifies Streetscape Plantings And Ma…

The outdoor decorative containers that Oakland Nursery plants and maintains in downtown Columbus, Ohio, enhance the look of the city’s buildings and streets and hinder vandalism.

Read More

October 27, 2014

Peat Moss May Be In Short Supply This Year

Adverse weather conditions in Canada have played havoc with the peat moss harvest.

Read More

September 24, 2014

Canadian Harvest Of Peat Moss Is Below Average For 2014

The harvest season has been challenging, according to the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association (CSPMA), with lower-than-expected harvest of peat moss across most production regions in Canada, due primarily to adverse weather conditions across the country.

Read More

July 23, 2014

Liming Requirements And pH Modification For Pine Wood C…

In the last of a four-article series highlighting the production and use of pine wood chips as aggregates in greenhouse substrates, the researchers found growers do not need to adjust their production practices when 20 percent pine wood chips are used as a perlite replacement.

Read More

May 14, 2014

How Pine Wood Chips In Substrates Affect Plant Growth R…

This is the second article of the four article series highlighting the production and use of pine wood chips as aggregates in greenhouse substrates.

Read More

April 3, 2014

The Processing And Properties Of Pine Wood Chips

In the first of a four article series highlighting the use of pine wood chips as alternative aggregates to perlite in greenhouse substrates, researchers from North Carolina State University discuss the processing and physical properties of pine wood chips.

Read More

April 3, 2014

Water And Media Are The Foundations Of Your Business: T…

Electrical conductivity (EC) and pH, as well as water alkalinity, have the biggest effects on nutrient availability. Learn how to keep track of them through three common methods for better monitoring in the greenhouse.

Read More
PlugEase from Acme Group

March 3, 2014

Acme Group Introduces PlugEase, A Line Of Recyclable Ag…

The Acme Group recently announced its new line of recyclable Agrifabrics and plant plug substrate, PlugEase. The products make recycling affordable for greenhouse growers, farmers and horticulturalists.

Read More
Emerald Coast Growers

February 26, 2014

Emerald Coast Growers Constructs New Soil Facility

Emerald Coast Growers has constructed a new, consolidated soil mixing facility to increase efficiency and allow for easier custom blending by crop.

Read More
Combination pH and EC meter. Photo courtesy of Hanna Instruments

February 5, 2014

Test Media pH And EC With The 2:1 Technique, Pour-Throu…

Avoid a buildup of soluble salts and create an environment most conducive to nutrient uptake with these three common media testing methods.

Read More
Fertiss Growing Medium from Oasis Grower Solutions

November 18, 2013

Three New Options For Growing Media

From special blends to mycorrhizae, here are some new options for growth media.

Read More

November 14, 2013

Growing Media: To Mix Or Not To Mix

Thinking about making your own growing mixes to lower costs? There are many things to consider before taking the plunge.

Read More
Berger Logo

November 1, 2013

Berger Acquires Beaver & Lafaille Peat Moss

Berger, a producer of growing mixes, has acquired Beaver Peat Moss & Lafaille Peat Moss, consolidating a long-standing relationship between the companies. The transaction is effective on November 1, 2013. Under the agreement, Serge Lafaille, Beaver & Lafaille Peat Moss’ president, will join Berger’s sales team in order to ensure an easy transition for his current customers. “I am proud to join Berger’s team; we have the same business and growing philosophy, as well as a relentless commitment to being close to our customers in order to offer them what they truly need,” Lafaille says. Berger and Beaver & Lafaille Peat Moss have been partners since 1986. “For Berger, this transaction is a natural evolution of the strong relationship we’ve created with Beaver & Lafaille Peat Moss throughout the past 27 years,” says Berger CEO Claudin Berger. Located in St-Modeste, Quebec, Berger provides growing media and peat moss to professional […]

Read More

August 19, 2013

Students Evaluate Bio Char In Soil

Horticulture students from Olds College in Alberta, Canada, are investigating the viability of using bio char as a soil additive for greenhouse-grown crops. The group includes Emily Stanley, Michael Templeton and Heather Hood. Olds has a very good horticulture program, and I graduated from the greenhouse program there in 1996. Because of my involvement in the program, the group approached me to be a mentor for the study. In this role, I had conference calls with the group every two weeks to discuss the status of the project and offer any insight from a professional grower’s perspective. Bio char is a product derived from a special burning process of organic matter with limited amounts of oxygen. This holds the carbon in the organic matter. When the process is finished, you have a bio char product that can be used as a soil amendment. The students conducted trials on tomatoes and […]

Read More

June 6, 2013

Pro-Mix Is Now On Social Media

Premier Tech Horticulture, which is among the North American leaders of peat moss-based growing media production and distribution, has recently announced the launch of its social media strategy, including the unveiling of its Pro-Mix Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages for professional and amateur gardeners. Known as a customer-focused and market-driven company, Premier Tech Horticulture strongly believes that today, people are expecting constant interactive communication with brands. As a result, interacting and communicating with external audiences through both new and traditional media remain important elements. Now, with Pro-Mix, this dialogue will also take place online, via new social media platforms that are easy to access for everybody. “These Pro-Mix social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, blogs, wikis, YouTube, etc.) present us with unique opportunities to listen to our customers and stakeholders, but also to share with people our 20 years of experience, knowledge and expertise,” says Chantal Duchesneau, marketing and […]

Read More

June 5, 2013

Webinar: Coir Chunk Media – A Good Choice For Lon…

Growing media manufacturers are looking for new components that can be added to their growing media to improve physical properties and address common problems that the grower and/or end user face. One such problem the homeowner experiences with peat-based growing medium in hanging baskets and long term-planters is that they are hard to re-wet with water after they have dried out. Join Horticulture Specialist Troy Buechel on Tuesday, June 11 at 2 p.m. Eastern, 11 a.m. Pacific for this informative webinar to learn how Premier Tech Horticulture is addressing this issue with a new growing medium called PRO-MIX HP-CC. This product contains a unique coir chunk that does not require a wetting agent to wet and helps to hold water while maintaining good air porosity. Find out how this unique product and ingredients can help reduce long-term wetting challenges for you and your customers. Also did you know that a chunk […]

Read More