A good friend of mine that has a nursery and use's a lot of this told me the same thing a couple of months ago. He was desperately trying to buy all he could at that time. I haven't heard anything since then.
Ray - the Florida peat is way worse at water absorption and has a higher Ph. When I have a plant where the peat has dried out and is repelling water, I will put it in a five gallon bucket, add water and let it sit for 4 hours. If you are a user Canadian peat, a more costlier European peat alternative is coming.
There is some talk that the Canadian peat was found to have "a fungus". None was harvested this year. Usually shipped via train, the transportation cost compared to overseas travel will be very noticeable.
More likely to get it from sphagnum moss than peat moss...
Nasty looking stuff: http://www.google.com/search?ix=heb...g&biw=1280&bih=899&sei=HFMlT__mG6fKsQKk46yMAg
Caused by the fungus Sporotrichum schenckii.
Found in soil, on flowers and shrubs, on wood, timber, forest litter, and various mosses, including sphagnum moss.
Infection occurs when spores enter an open wound such as a scratch, thorn prick, cut, etc.
The fungus is found throughout the United States, but it appears to be most common in the Midwest, especially in Wisconsin. Several outbreaks in other states have been traced to sphagnum moss shipped from Wisconsin, hence the state forest tree nurseries in Wisconsin no longer use sphagnum moss for packing seedlings.
There have been no cases as a result of handling sphagnum peat moss, according to this article for those who want more details: http://www.peatmoss.com/sporo.php
Anyone using sphagnum moss for airlayers would be wise to wear gloves and avoid handling the moss when open wounds are present...
Interesting Peyton. I really hate to wear gloves but ... I got some sort of fungus last year on my left hand. It took months of putting a precription anti-fungal cream on it to bring under control. It would seem to be gone, so I stopped with the cream just to break out again. I continued treatment for a month after the last symptoms disappeared to finally get it taken care of. As much as I hate the plastic gloves, they will be used making air layers this season. Whatever it was, it was a pain in the a$$ to get rid of.
This is turning out to be a very important thread! I strongly urge everyone to look at the links that Peyton (Crotonologist) has provided for us.
Ray - thanks for your post. I recall Ron Schaff (long time South Florida Palm Society Board and International Palm Society Member) getting a very bad "infection" from using peat moss about 15 years ago. Ron used to grow liners of various Rhapis species for the trade. It took many months of medical treatment for his issue to get resolved. Unsure if he was hospitalized, can't really remember.
On a recent visit to Marie Nock, she was using surgical gloves while working with her plants. I told her I didn't care about getting my hands dirty. The issue about fungus was discussed at length - thats why she wears the gloves.
After reading the link provided by Peyton, the symptoms described sounded much like what was my experience. The link further went on to mention that Sporotrichum schenckii going untreated may invade the lymphatic system causing a serious medical situation.
I was spreading alot of mulch and handling both peat and spaghnum mosses without gloves when I got the fungus. What the source was cannot be determined. As much as I hate my hands sweating in the gloves, I will just have to deal with it. I am going to put on surgical gloves then leather gardening gloves when handeling the mulch in the future.
Don't think, "this won't happen to me". The evidence is very strong that the use of gloves when handling these materials seems to be mandatory.
I have a lot of what my youngest daughter used to call "spiky plants" - agaves, yuccas, pachypodiums, cacti, etc - so it seems like I always have a few punctures on my hands from working around these plants, so fear of fungal infections has crossed my mind, though I never was really concerned about it...
In fact I kind of enjoy getting my hands dirty...
But after looking at those google image search results, I think I may start wearing the gloves too.
I remember about 35 years ago Jerry Horne, he had a rare plant nursery, and was always using sphagnum moss and had a fungal infection from using it. He found that eating kelp, I don't know what strain, got rid of the infection. There were some kind of minerals in the kelp that suppressed the fungus. Never had the infection myself but I have always been concerned about it.