Creating Topdressing - confused about the final step in the application process

Just returned to the Mirai archive and viewed Ryan’s video entitled ‘Topdressing Creation’. I now understand how to shred, sift, dye and dry sphagnum moss to create an attractive top dressing. I also understand what type of moss to collect and how to shred it to create fine spores for growing moss on the surface of the soil.

What was not covered in the video (or in the two referenced videos - Repotting Yamadori and Nusery Stock Series Pt4) was how and in what quantity one would apply the moss spores to the soil surface. There’s a reference in the video to combining ground sphagnum and the ground/sifted collected moss 50-50, but unless I missed it, the video never shows Ryan actually mixing the two or adding the ground collected moss spores at any time before or during the application process.

When and how would that be done? Is the ground collected moss added to the ground, dyed sphagnum after it dries but before it’s placed on top of the soil? Is the moss simply sprinkled on top, and if so, when?

I believe it is mixed after the sphagnum has dried from the dye and before it gets applied to the surface.

3 Likes

It is either… or. I think this step is seriously over-thought all the time. You can either add it to the ground sphagnum at the time of initial application OR add ground live moss to the surface after you have already top dressed with sphagnum. Listen, the important part is that you add the sphagnum top dressing… that is what will create the functionality of reduced water loss at the soil surface. You could NEVER add live moss and just refresh the sphagnum layer each spring and you will STILL reap the benefits of an evenly drying water column. Live moss just adds more longevity to this funcutiin… once the Sphagnum breaks down after a year the live moss picks up the job.

What I’m trying to say is, that in my experience it is as easy to add ground live moss weeks after the application of sphagnum, and it will grow very happily. BUT Live moss is not creating the functionality… but it increases the longevity of the functionality. SO, in conclusion, add the sphagnum top dressing, and worry about adding live moss later if you have to. Because it will easily grow LATER. But if you have no live moss on hand, you will already benefit from the dead sphagnum top dressing… until it turns to muck year later… ( this is when live moss should take over).

4 Likes

Old thread – but I had the same question after initially watching the Topdressing video. I later watched the Repotting Vocabulary video. In it, Ryan thoroughly goes through the process of finishing off the repotting and applying top dressing.

If you’re new here and have the same confusion about top dressing, check it out:

https://live.bonsaimirai.com/library/video/repotting-vocabulary