Wettability and hydrology of various wood fiber substrates and substrate components

J.T. Smith, B.E. Jackson, W.C. Fonteno
With the increased development, commercialization, and use of wood substrates as substrate components, there is a continual need for research and data on these popular materials. To better understand the physical properties, wettability, hydration efficiency of wood substrates, we obtained three commercial wood fiber products and tested them in combination with sphagnum peat. The three wood fiber materials were blended with peat at 20, 30, and 40% (by volume) and their physical properties (total porosity, container capacity, air space, and bulk density) were analyzed using the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Porometer procedure. The materials were also tested un-amended (at 100%). As the percent wood fiber increased, substrate air space increased and container capacity decreased. Substrates comprised of 100% wood fiber had total porosities above 95%. Wood fiber additions to peat at the lowest rate (10%) increased peatRSQUOs wettability and hydration efficiency compared to peat alone at 25% initial moisture content. The variation in wood substrate components (method of processing, species of origin, particle size, particle shape, texture, etc.) may have some influence on the physical and hydrological properties of substrate formulations.
Smith, J.T., Jackson, B.E. and Fonteno, W.C. (2019). Wettability and hydrology of various wood fiber substrates and substrate components. Acta Hortic. 1266, 437-442
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2019.1266.60
wood substrate, wood chips, growing media, physical properties

Acta Horticulturae