April is a good time to check you bogs and get them into some order as the plants start into growth. As well as the obvious trimming of plants, removal of dead growth and general hygiene of rhizomes, you should check the state of the substrate. To do this I start with the PH, test it and check it against last years value, to give an idea of the rate of deterioration. A rising PH means that the soil will start to decompose and release nutrients into the system, which of course is not good for the plants, and there is a school of thought that suggests a low PH gives more intense red colours in Sarracenia, not sure about that though myself.
As you can see one bog was OK at 5.5 one of the others at closer to. 6.5 needed attention. The meter doesn't read PH and moisture simultaneously and is set to PH.
As changing the substrate is expensive and also a back breaking exercise if the bogs are of any size, it's far easier to 'dress' the bog with material to redress the balance as best as possible. My weapons of choice in this respect, are sulphur chips to raise the PH in the short order term as the weather warms up and bark chips or latterly pine shavings for slower release. If the soil still has a reasonably open texture they can be used as a top dressing, if it has deteriorated or settled excluding ready oxygenation, dig it it around the plants.
Looks a bit messsy for a couple of weeks but the plans soon bulk up and over it then the Sphagnum starts to cover it.
Started spring maintenance this weekend, drain bungs repaced in the bogs, large pot bogs left with the bungs out for the moment and the ph tested. Non of the bogs have a low PH after the winter with 6 being the lowest and 6.8 the highest. A judicious application of a couple of pounds of sulphur chips should do the trick as the weather warms. Some parts of the bogs have settled a little and are compacted, so I shall get some pine bark chippings tomorrow, lift some plants and dig them in to aerate the soil. Cheers Steve
Last Edit: Mar 10, 2018 14:48:30 GMT by stevebooth: clarification
As it was sunny, I went to check the PH of the in ground bogs that had stood all winter with their plugs out and therefore with the water draining away. I refitted the plugs, early this year, but I can always pull them if needed and inserted the meter. Every one was between 6 and 7, so not particularly acidic for carnivorous plants at all. I have now spread a couple of pounds of sulphur so the balance should get better come the warmer weather. It’s as well to check every year as increased PH does change the plants growth and colour.
Just noticed from the dates of these posts i seem to do it earlier every year.
Last Edit: Feb 27, 2021 12:05:13 GMT by stevebooth
I noticed a few plants dying back and showing signs of mineral burn, so I tested the soil adjacent the plants with the PH meter. The meter goes down to 3 and it has gone off the scale! So it is assumed that I have overdosed with other sulphur in some areas and that has resulted in death of some plants. I need to be more methodical in my applications. Cheers Steve
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