Vermiculite & perlite

Nigella
Flowering Annual
Flowering Annual
Nigella
Flowering Annual
Flowering Annual
Joined: 11:58 PM - Apr 06, 2003

12:16 PM - Oct 23, 2003 #1

Not sure if this really counts as a gardening question, & really it's a request for homework help, but here goes! My homework this week for the "soil science" bit of my course is to find out some unbiased information about perlite and vermiculite, i.e. not just what the producers claim on the bags!
I got the impression the tutor expected us to find some negative points. I've been trawling the net & have so far found some references to asbestos in vermiculite (!), but nothing bad about perlite. I wondered if the mining is causing any envirnmental problems or anything like that? Anybody heard anything? I'd be grateful for any help, meanwhile it's back to learning my plant names- much more fun!
Caroline
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scotia10
Herbaceous Perennial
Herbaceous Perennial
scotia10
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Joined: 2:12 AM - Jun 24, 2003

1:05 PM - Oct 23, 2003 #2

Hi Caroline,
As one who uses both quite a bit I find their use OK.
If I were to find fault it would be the dust in Perlite.
When it is bone dry and you are moving it from say the original bag to another container you can get enveloped in the dust, so I suppose one should wear a face mask when using it.
Now that I have read up on it (thanks to you) I think extreme inhalation might lead to a form of 'Silacosis', ......only guessing .....not qualified to give expert advice, just an opinion.
http://www.thegardenersalmanac.co.uk
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Guest
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1:13 PM - Oct 23, 2003 #3

The only thing I can tell you about Perlite is that it is PFA - pulverised fuel ash from coal fired power stations, maybe there is an tenuous environmental link there?
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David
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David
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Joined: 2:36 AM - Oct 16, 2003

1:56 PM - Oct 23, 2003 #4

This site may give you some further info -
www.schundler.com/hort.htm
David - Cumbria - UK
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Nehlad
Seedling
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Nehlad
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Joined: 6:00 AM - Jun 30, 2003

2:55 PM - Oct 23, 2003 #5

Hi Nigella, The only thing I can offer is that while I use quite a bit of both products I have found that vermiculite can go mouldy when used in seed compost or as seed cover particularly if there are long term germinations.
Luck nehlad.
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Nigella
Flowering Annual
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Nigella
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Joined: 11:58 PM - Apr 06, 2003

12:28 PM - Oct 25, 2003 #6

Thanks for those comments. I know that when we used perlite in our soil science lesson we had to have it in the "fume cupboard" to avoid the dust, but I think that was just another example of Health & Safety gone mad!
Caroline
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MacT1
Champion Tree
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MacT1
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Joined: 7:24 PM - Oct 05, 2002

11:58 PM - Oct 25, 2003 #7

I don't use vermiculite but use a lot of perlite mainly to mix in with the potting compost for tubs etc but also for rooting cuttings. I prefer this method over just putting the cuttings in water or straight into compost. I just leave the perlite that has clung to the roots and put it straight into compost ....result well rooted cuttings.
I must admit the perlite can be very dusty and being an asthmatic I am careful not to breath it in just in case. I am off to look at the web addy David included
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OldJake1
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Joined: 3:30 AM - Mar 18, 2003

12:08 AM - Oct 26, 2003 #8

Many years ago when I wanted a very open, well drained compost mixture, I used to beak up expanded polystyrene and mixed that with the compost.
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jo m 1
Herbaceous Perennial
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jo m 1
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Joined: 5:16 PM - Nov 08, 2002

6:27 PM - Oct 26, 2003 #9

The only bad point I have is probably far too silly for consideration
BUT - I wish they would change the colour of Perlite! I have spent many a happy hour 'squishing' what I thought were bugs' eggs, only to find it was in fact Perlite!
memo to self.....really MUST get eyes tested asap!

jo
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