Other bark OK for substrate or only orchid bark?

uscpsycho

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I know @Tom recommends orchid bark for star tortoises, which is what I have been using. But when I went to the nursery today the "fine grade" they have, which Tom recommends, was like shredded bark with small pieces of saw dust in it. This didn't look right to me, but the only other size of orchid bark they had seemed like it might be too big (one year old star).

So they pointed me to this decorative ground cover and mulch product that looked like the appropriate size and was also labeled "fine." But the bag doesn't say what's inside so I read the SDS sheet and it consists of one or more of: Fir Bark, Fir Wood Chips, Cedar Bark, Cedar Wood Chips, Redwood Bark, Redwood Wood Chips, Forest Products. It has lots of types of bark but no orchid bark. The bag says it has no synthetics, no artificial dyes and no additives but there are quite a few warnings about wood dust. Is this a problem or would orchid bark have the same wood dust warnings on an SDS? Is this product OK to use?
 

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I'm not sure if any of those barks or chips contain any harmful oils or anything else.
I'm sure someone with more knowledge on the matter will be along.
It's still early out west
 

uscpsycho

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The bag says it has no synthetics, no artificial dyes and no additives but there are quite a few warnings about wood dust.

*The dust warnings aren't on the bag, the warnings are on the SDS which I think sometimes make a big deal about trivial things. But I want to be safe.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Hello!
From what I've read redwood and cedar are toxic. Fir bark is good to go.

Fine grade bark in garden centers sometimes is "too fine" with pieces about 0.5-0.8 cm (1/4 inch). At the same time they might have medium grade with pieces about 1 cm (1/2 inch) - and that size is even better (Reptibark has roughly like this or even larger).

To get rid of the dust you may just rinse the bark before putting in the enclosure.
 

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I know @Tom recommends orchid bark for star tortoises, which is what I have been using. But when I went to the nursery today the "fine grade" they have, which Tom recommends, was like shredded bark with small pieces of saw dust in it. This didn't look right to me, but the only other size of orchid bark they had seemed like it might be too big (one year old star).

So they pointed me to this decorative ground cover and mulch product that looked like the appropriate size and was also labeled "fine." But the bag doesn't say what's inside so I read the SDS sheet and it consists of one or more of: Fir Bark, Fir Wood Chips, Cedar Bark, Cedar Wood Chips, Redwood Bark, Redwood Wood Chips, Forest Products. It has lots of types of bark but no orchid bark. The bag says it has no synthetics, no artificial dyes and no additives but there are quite a few warnings about wood dust. Is this a problem or would orchid bark have the same wood dust warnings on an SDS? Is this product OK to use?
Orchid bark = fir bark = Repti-Bark. It comes from fir trees, which are a type of pine tree (which confuses things even more since pine should not be used...). This fir bark is used as growing media for orchids of various types. It is not the bark of orchids. It is fir bark that is used to grow orchids due to its positive physical and chemical attributes. That is why it is called "orchid bark".

How far from Santa Clarita are you? Come up to Green Landscape (Not Green Thumb) Nursery and get this stuff for $12 for a giant 2.0 cubic foot bag. You'll spend some money on gas, but save a ton on the substrate. You pass Green Thumb on your way to Green Landscape from the freeway, so don't get them confused. Green Thumb is a great place too, but they don't sell this stuff:
Orchid Bark.JPG
 

TechnoCheese

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Orchid bark = fir bark = Repti-Bark. It comes from fir trees, which are a type of pine tree (which confuses things even more since pine should not be used...). This fir bark is used as growing media for orchids of various types. It is not the bark of orchids. It is fir bark that is used to grow orchids due to its positive physical and chemical attributes. That is why it is called "orchid bark".

How far from Santa Clarita are you? Come up to Green Landscape (Not Green Thumb) Nursery and get this stuff for $12 for a giant 2.0 cubic foot bag. You'll spend some money on gas, but save a ton on the substrate. You pass Green Thumb on your way to Green Landscape from the freeway, so don't get them confused. Green Thumb is a great place too, but they don't sell this stuff:
View attachment 366508
Man, I've gotta move to SoCal. Haven't found orchid bark anywhere near me larger than 8 oz bags, or 30$ bags of reptibark. Crazy you can get 2 cubic feet for 12$ over there.
 

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Man, I've gotta move to SoCal. Haven't found orchid bark anywhere near me larger than 8 oz bags, or 30$ bags of reptibark. Crazy you can get 2 cubic feet for 12$ over there.
Home Depot sells it inexpensively. But not in very large bags
 

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Man, I've gotta move to SoCal. Haven't found orchid bark anywhere near me larger than 8 oz bags, or 30$ bags of reptibark. Crazy you can get 2 cubic feet for 12$ over there.
@Yvonne G got a whole truck load a while back for hardly anything. I can't remember the numbers, but it was unbelevieably cheap.

If you ever come to SoCal, you better send me a message. Dinner and the tour is on me!
 

uscpsycho

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Orchid bark = fir bark = Repti-Bark. It comes from fir trees, which are a type of pine tree (which confuses things even more since pine should not be used...). This fir bark is used as growing media for orchids of various types. It is not the bark of orchids. It is fir bark that is used to grow orchids due to its positive physical and chemical attributes. That is why it is called "orchid bark".

How far from Santa Clarita are you? Come up to Green Landscape (Not Green Thumb) Nursery and get this stuff for $12 for a giant 2.0 cubic foot bag. You'll spend some money on gas, but save a ton on the substrate. You pass Green Thumb on your way to Green Landscape from the freeway, so don't get them confused. Green Thumb is a great place too, but they don't sell this stuff:
View attachment 366508

Thanks for clarifying that fir bark is the same as orchid bark. Definitely good to know. But the one I ended up getting (but haven't used yet) says it could have Cedar Bark, Cedar Wood Chips, Redwood Bark, Redwood Wood Chips and Forest Products in it. Wondering if it is OK to use, do you know if cedar and redwood dangerous as suggested above?

That bag with mixed bark is $9.99 for 2 cubic feet so that's a good deal if it's usable. If not I might have to go to Green Landscape for the one they've got there.
 

Tom

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Thanks for clarifying that fir bark is the same as orchid bark. Definitely good to know. But the one I ended up getting (but haven't used yet) says it could have Cedar Bark, Cedar Wood Chips, Redwood Bark, Redwood Wood Chips and Forest Products in it. Wondering if it is OK to use, do you know if cedar and redwood dangerous as suggested above?

That bag with mixed bark is $9.99 for 2 cubic feet so that's a good deal if it's usable. If not I might have to go to Green Landscape for the one they've got there.
That is not okay to use. Cedar emits toxic fumes, and that is why it works to repel insects when used for cedar chests or cedar lined closets.

Since there is no way to know what "forest products" means, there is no way to know if it is safe.
 

Michael Bird

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Thanks for clarifying that fir bark is the same as orchid bark. Definitely good to know. But the one I ended up getting (but haven't used yet) says it could have Cedar Bark, Cedar Wood Chips, Redwood Bark, Redwood Wood Chips and Forest Products in it. Wondering if it is OK to use, do you know if cedar and redwood dangerous as suggested above?

That bag with mixed bark is $9.99 for 2 cubic feet so that's a good deal if it's usable. If not I might have to go to Green Landscape for the one they've got there.
Don't use that one. Cedar is definitely bad, and Redwood might also be bad. And the fact that it "could" have a variety of things means it might also have other bad stuff in it.
 

TechnoCheese

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@Yvonne G got a whole truck load a while back for hardly anything. I can't remember the numbers, but it was unbelevieably cheap.

If you ever come to SoCal, you better send me a message. Dinner and the tour is on me!
I’ll hold you to that 😛
 

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