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Orchard bark/cypress mulch

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosure Substrate' started by krh11b23, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. krh11b23

    krh11b23 Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I'm wondering if anyone uses these as substrate? If I remember right tom does. Since I'm building a large indoor enclosure I think coco coir (I use it now) could get expensive. I was thinking of using one of these mixed with organic topsoil. I'm wondering tho about my tort ingesting the bark or mulch.
  2. Teodora'sDAD

    Teodora'sDAD Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I only use cypress mulch. I have never noticed mine eating it. From a landscapers point of view the mulch would probley mix better than the bark. I beleive its cheaper too.
  3. krh11b23

    krh11b23 Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Oh ok thank u
  4. Will

    Will Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I use Coco husk chunks, cypress, and a few different sizes of orchid bark. I like the cypress for durability and the coco husk chunks for humidity control. They all work pretty well.
  5. Yellow Turtle01

    Yellow Turtle01 Well-Known Member

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    I use coco coir.. it is digestible, so no worries! It also holds moisture well...
  6. Carol S

    Carol S Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I used Cypress mulch for my desert tortoises when they were juveniles and one of them ate it and got impacted and had to go to the vet. I use it for my Winter indoor enclosure for my juvenile Russian tortoise with no problem.
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    What species and size?

    If you like the coco coir it can be found at a tremendous discount at gardening centers. I bought a block big enough to do 3 100 gallon tanks with some left over for $12. Same with orchid bark. $4.82 for a 2.0 cubic foot bag of the fine grade stuff.

    I'm not a fan of "topsoil" as a substrate. Topsoil can be made from any manner of stuff all mixed together. When they make it, it is intended for outdoor garden use. It is basically just compost. Because the ingredients can be anything they want it makes me leery. Sometimes it has a strong smell to it. They might have mixed in oleander or some other toxic plant. Who knows what they were able to find and use to make it. I'd rather know exactly what is in my substrate.

    I've never had any tortoise get impacted on coir, coco chips, or orchid bark. I've only rarely used cypress mulch because its not available here, but it had a rotten swampy smell to it when it got wet. I had to rinse it, soak it and rinse it again before I felt okay using it. Once I did all that work, it was fine.

    Orchid bark is my favorite for most applications and its the easiest too. Just open the bag and pour it into your enclosure. Boom! Done. No rehydrating it, compacting it, or cleaning it first.
  8. RussianTortsNF

    RussianTortsNF Member 5 Year Member

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    Do you know where I can order orchard bark online? I’ve found 8qt bags but I have a large area. I’m in Buffalo, NY so can’t find much gardening items now. Thank you
  9. leigti

    leigti Well-Known Member

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    LLLL reptile has it I think
  10. RussianTortsNF

    RussianTortsNF Member 5 Year Member

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    Thank you I’ll look at their site now
  11. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Try looking it up with this label:
    Orchid Bark.JPG

    I don't know how it works in Buffalo, but I'd think a garden center could special order it for you. Do they have OSH in that part of the country? OSH usually stocks 1.0 cu.ft. bags. Its not the cheapest way to get it, but it is very good quality, and MUCH cheaper than pet store prices.
  12. RussianTortsNF

    RussianTortsNF Member 5 Year Member

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    Thank you. I found that label but no store near me and shipping is 251.00 yikes!!! I’m going to visit my local nursery and ask them to order. Thank you!!!
  13. RussianTortsNF

    RussianTortsNF Member 5 Year Member

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    Ok. Ive called everyone. No one is able to order GreenAll because of the super high shipping. They do have other organic brands that come in large bags, but they are chunkier and not fines. Can I use an orchid bark that is not fine?
  14. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Other brands should be fine, but you do need fine grade. Just make sure it is plain "fir bark", and doesn't have any additives in it.
  15. RussianTortsNF

    RussianTortsNF Member 5 Year Member

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    Okay. I think I have to stick to coco coir until spring. I can only find fine orchid bark in 8qt bags which will cost me a small fortune. I will keep looking tho
  16. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member TFO Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    I use orchid bark in my baby Redfoot enclosures and bags of "regular" mulch in my outdoors pens. I've never seen or had issues with any of it getting ingested. And if it has, there hasn't been an issue.
  17. Meganolvt

    Meganolvt Active Member

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    Does anyone ever have an insect problem when using orchid bark? One of the reasons i use eco earth is i freeze and then bake the bricks, and i haven't had any bugs. I've read about people getting things from gardening centers that had cockroaches and other icky things, so now I'm paranoid. Anyone have problems with orchid bark?
  18. RussianTortsNF

    RussianTortsNF Member 5 Year Member

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    I was wondering that also. But i can’t even find orchid bark here to use. I hate coco coir too. It’s so messy
  19. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    The only flies I see are the tiny harmless detrivores that are an inevitable occurrence with any substrate if you have the humidity and temperature correct for your tortoise.

    I can’t say I have ever had a problem with sacks from garden centres. I can’t answer for the hygiene of your vendor.

    Baking the substrate before use kills off most things, but cockroaches are pretty much indestructible.
    RussianTortsNF likes this.
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