We will find out what useful properties sphagnum moss has and how it can be used on your site.
As a rule, the attitude of the classic gardener to the moss on the site is sharply negative. What is the most common opinion about this plant? – It is an annoying pest weed that can drive out crops and destroy the lawn. Therefore, a normal summer resident struggles with moss.
Moss – an assistant in the garden
- Properties, differences from other mosses
- Application in horticulture
- How to prepare
But there is a type of this amazing plant that gardeners specially collect, buy or even bred. It is called Sphagnum. Its beneficial properties were noticed a long time ago, and therefore the attitude towards it is special.
Properties, differences from other mosses
Sphagnum has an interesting structure, different from other fellow mosses. This green organism has no roots or even rhizoids (filamentous formations of one or more cells to attach to the substrate). It grows in very humid areas, water for growth and development enters directly into the stem and twigs.
In addition to the cells in which photosynthesis takes place, the stem outside and inside has an abundance of large dead cells, of which only shells remain. They accumulate water, and in a very large amount. These reservoir cells have pore holes. With their help, they suck in and condense water vapor, thus replenishing the moisture supply for nourishing living cells. Its volume can be 20 times the volume of the plant itself. It turns out a real natural sponge – this is how the name of this plant is translated from Greek.
The color of sphagnum is much paler than that of other mosses, sometimes it is even called white. As mentioned above, it has no roots, unlike, for example, cuckoo flax, with which it is often confused. The stem is branched with branches located in its upper part, which are placed in a spiral. At the top, the branches gather in a shaggy head. The lower part of the stem is white-brown.
Where such mosses appear, high bogs form rapidly. The lower parts of the plants die off annually, forming peat. In total, there are 320 species of sphagnum mosses, 42 are found in Eurasia.
The most important features of this moss, which people have been using for their own purposes for many centuries, are as follows:
- exceptional ability to absorb large volumes of water (and gradually release it);
- pronounced bactericidal properties;
- the ability to increase the acidity of the environment.
Sphagnum moss has long been used for medical purposes. He was a real lifesaver for cuts and other injuries with violations of the skin, as well as burns, frostbite, fungal infections, psoriasis. Although this moss has been used as an antiseptic and antifungal agent for about 1000 years, its “secret ingredient” was recently revealed. It turned out that sphagnum tissues are inhabited by special endophytic bacteria that suppress the development of microorganisms pathogenic for humans and other plants.
Sphagnum was of great importance during the First and Second World Wars. From this unique plant material, dressings were made on an industrial scale. Moss was collected from America to Iceland and Scotland and, of course, in Russia.
Here is one of the facts: in 1918 Great Britain spent about a million sphagnum dressings a month to help the wounded. They were pressed at the same factories where the shells were made. And given that in those years sphagnum was often much more affordable than cotton, at the same time, unlike cotton wool, possessing bactericidal properties and 3-4 times higher hygroscopicity, it was truly irreplaceable.
Sphagnum bedding was used for bedridden patients to avoid pressure ulcers. Women used this vegetable raw material for hygienic purposes, and representatives of the peoples of the north often use it even now. Swamp moss decoctions are useful for various diseases of the internal organs.
Previously, during the construction of houses, sphagnum was used to insulate walls. And even now, anyone who wants to build the most environmentally friendly housing chooses it as a heater for a log house. Heat-insulating mats for hives are made from dry sphagnum by pressing. They are placed in bee houses before hibernation. In areas where moss was easy to stock up, peasants used its semi-decomposed layer as bedding for livestock. Then the mixture of manure and sphagnum was taken out to the garden, as it turned into an excellent fertilizer.
Application in horticulture
Now this moss is most often used in gardening and floriculture. It is known that he himself is not susceptible to any diseases, and at the same time protects other plants from various misfortunes. For example, if you wrap the bulbs of lilies or other bulbous bulbs with it before storing it, then you will almost certainly save your planting material from rot and other bacterial infections. It is good to lay with sphagnum vegetables laid in the cellar: beets, carrots, onions.
Dry moss can be used to mulch garden beds and trunks of ornamental and fruit plants. Scattering sphagnum over the winter garlic planting in the fall is very good. But you need to take into account that sphagnum mulching is suitable for plants that prefer acidic soil.
These are such as: blueberry, hydrangea, rhododendron, peony, heather, lupine, viburnum. If you have access to a large amount of this moss, you can use it to improve the quality of heavy clay soil. Sphagnum is also used to preserve moisture and decorate the soil in pots of home plants, and to make inserts for hanging pots.
Cuttings of various crops are successfully rooted in swamp moss. You can propagate almost anything in this way – from figs and grapes to hydrangeas and roses. The roots of gloxinia, Kalanchoe, Saintpaulia, Pelargonium, Dracaena, etc. develop well in wet moss. See, for example, what the “babies” of a violet rooted in sphagnum look like in the next video.
It is good to mix sphagnum (no more than a quarter of the volume) into the ground for growing seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants. This disinfects the substrate, improves its structure and breathability. If we also mulch the ground under the seedlings with this moss, we will get excellent protection from the black leg. It is useful to water the plants with sphagnum-infused water.
Lovers of bonsai, orchids, and some succulents, which are grown without the use of land, can say a special thank you to swamp moss. Sphagnum acts as an ideal filling for pots or is used in a mixture with bark, perlite and other materials, according to the needs of the plants.
Sphagnum is also used to send plants by mail. In the nursery, they are dug up, the roots are wrapped in a thick layer of moss and moistened, and then packed in plastic wrap. So the roots remain moist for quite a long time, and the plant intact reaches the recipient.
How to prepare
In its natural environment, sphagnum grows in tundra regions, moist forests, swamps. Forms large pillows or dense soft carpets. In order to prepare a valuable product on your own, it is advisable to go away from busy roads and, in general, places where human life rages. The fact is that mosses absorb moisture along with other substances contained in the environment, including harmful ones. And these plants have no ways to clean themselves.
It is advisable to collect moss in autumn, in swamps, in strips 20-30 cm wide, leaving between them untouched gaps of approximately the same size. It should be borne in mind that snakes may be encountered in areas where moss grows, so you need to be extremely careful. To reduce the weight of the product, sphagnum is squeezed out and only then put into bags.
Having brought it home, it needs to be cleaned of plant impurities, insects and other things. Then spread in a thin layer in the shade and turn regularly to dry evenly. The dried moss should be folded into plastic bags and stored in a cool place (lower compartment of the refrigerator, basement). Fresh moss can be frozen and will come to life after thawing. If sphagnum does not grow in your region, then you can purchase it in gardening stores or order it on the Internet.
Before use, dry moss must be moistened and squeezed. Then, if you plan to use it in a limited volume of a flower pot or seedling container, it is advisable to put it in a colander and spill it with boiling water for pest control. Marsh moss has bactericidal properties, but small insects and their eggs may well be in it.
Sphagnum is a unique plant that has no roots, but absorbs and retains a huge amount of moisture. This, as well as its bactericidal properties, are actively used by gardeners, gardeners and home gardeners. Swamp moss is a natural, environmentally friendly means for improving and improving the soil, preserving planting material, and reproducing plants. At the same time, it is necessary to remember about the property of sphagnum to acidify the soil, which can have a bad effect on the development of green pets that prefer alkaline soils. published by econet.ru
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