The manufacturing process begins with coconut harvesting. Manufacturers making coconut husk chips collect mature, dried coconut husks for processing. These husks create a more durable, sustainable material than the husks of green coconuts.
Manufacturers soak the husks in water for several months. Once they’re softened, separating the coconut pith and fiber, or coconut coir,Â becomes easier. The husks are also cut into chips at this point.
Coconut chips are often washed with fresh water to lower their sodium levels. They’re then dried out in the sun to reduce their moisture content. Manufacturers then pack and store the well-dried coconut chips for several months to mature.
After maturing them, most manufacturers test their coconut bark chips. The testing process makes sure the chips have a relatively neutral pH level and optimum electrical conductivity. They’re then sifted to remove any fine dust and debris. Once they are pure, manufacturers package their coconut husk chips and ready them for sale.
Where to Use Coconut Husk Chips
Coconut husk chips are a great alternative to bark, rockwool, and clay growing mediums, as they have a relatively neutral pH of between 5.2 and 6.8. They’re perfect for growing plants that thrive when their roots are moistÂ but not saturated, such as orchids, succulents, kalanchoes, anthuriums, and bromeliads. These plants are also notoriously fussy about fertilizers. Nutrient-dense coconut chips can deliver what they need without upsetting them.
Coconut bark chips are also a popular choice for terrarium substrate. A base of coconut husk chips absorbs moisture in tanks while being totally safe for reptiles and arachnids.
Benefits of Coconut Husk Chips
Coconut husk chips provide the excellent structure and aeration that bark growing mediums provide while improving moisture retention. Unlike peat moss, coconut husk chips attract rather than repel water. They can actually hold up to 10 times their weight in water, so gardeners can water their plants less often. While they retain water well, they also deliver excellent drainage. This quality makes root rot and oversaturation unlikely. Coconut husk chips also retain their structure by resisting compaction. This makes them ideal for transplants that need space for healthy root development.
Coconut bark chips are also rich in the nutrients plants need. They retain calcium and magnesium but slowly release potassium and nitrogen to aid plant growth. They’re also high in lignins, which encourage the growth of good bacteria.
Thorough processing makes coconut husk chips naturally weed- and pathogen-free. Coconut husk chips also resist bacterial, fungal, and mold growth, which can threaten plants. Snails, slugs, moths, and other insects also aren’t attracted to coconut bark chips as they are to natural soil and some other growing solutions.
Coconut husk chips are also incredibly eco-friendly. Coconuts grow quickly, with one tree delivering new coconuts every couple of months. We already harvest coconuts for food and drink, so turning the husks into coconut husk chips is a smart way to make use of a waste product. In contrast, collecting some other growing materials such as peat moss damages the natural environment.
Adding to their eco-friendly credentials, coconut bark chips last for three to four years. They’re incredibly durable and can be completely dried out, then wet again, unlike many growing materials that break down much faster. When they do reach the end of their life, coconut husk chips are also biodegradable. That means they won’t clog up landfills.
Coconut husk chips are also lightweight. If you’ve ever wrestled with a bag of potting mix, you’ll appreciate this benefit. Since they’re lightweight, you can also buy coconut husk chips online without worrying about high shipping fees.
Tips for Growing With Coconut Husk Chips at Home
Not all coconut husk chips are equal, though. Visit the websites of companies manufacturing coconut bark chips and read up on their processes. Look for manufacturers that take control of the entire process, from harvest to shipping. Select a coconut husk chip brand that makes you feel confident they care about delivering the best product to you. If you’re not confident making the decision yourself, read user reviews and ask the staff members at your local garden shop for advice.
Pay attention to the labels when you’re buying coconut husk chips. There are products labeled for garden, ornamental, and hydroponic use. They’re all slightly different, so make sure you choose the right coconut chips for your needs and that you don’t use them in other applications. For example, processes remove the potassium and sodium from coconut coir for hydroponics to neutralize its nutrient levels. This allows hydroponics growers to take greater control over the nutrients their plants receive.
Coconut husk chips are available in a range of sizes. Small, finer coconut bark chips are good for developing plants while larger chips suit more mature, hardier plants.
You can plant plants exclusively in coconut husk chips or mix the chips with soil or your preferred potting mix. People often combine coconut husk chips with coco peat, peat moss, vermiculite, orchid fir bark, sponge rock, charcoal, tree fern fiber, and other growing solutions. Mixing coconut bark chips with other growing products boosts the nutrient levels of your growing solution.
Rinse your coconut husk chips thoroughly before you use them. While quality coconut husk chip brands should do this, it will make sure your chips have no sodium residue. Sodium can harm the roots of many plants, so this extra rinsing acts as a kind of insurance policy. Make up your growing mix, adding whatever other products you like, then soak it overnight before planting. This gives it time to absorb the moisture and create the perfect growing environment.
Put your plant in your preferred pot or container, then squeeze the excess water out of your coconut chip mix and add this to your pot. Make sure to fill in all the space around your plant’s roots. Once you’re done, water the plant to settle your coconut bark chips.
Once you discover all the benefits of using coconut husk chips, you’ll wonder why we ever threw coconut shells away. Find these revolutionary products at your nearest garden store today.