Author Topic: fertilizer  (Read 7884 times)

Chrisl

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Re: fertilizer
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2014, 01:06 PM »
I've been using this this yr:  http://drearth.net/products/organic-fertilizers/life-all-purpose-fertilizer/

Balanced and w. humic acid.  Smells goes away after a wk or two. 
 

63pmp

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Re: fertilizer
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2014, 04:43 PM »
You have to consider the type of plant you are fertilizing.  This is because temperature has arguably the greatest impact on how a plant feeds.

For example.  Scots pine in Norway obtain over 90% of N through symbiotic fungi and in the form of amino acids.  They take up some ammonium in summer, again by symbiotic fungi.  And no nitrate at all.

Tropical plants feed almost exclusively on nitrates,

Forest trees feed completely differently to vegetables or crops.

So what plant you are feeding is more important then what fertilizer to feed them, as you have to adjust fertilizer to suite generic differences.

Paul
« Last Edit: August 19, 2014, 04:46 PM by 63pmp »
 

Anthony

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Re: fertilizer
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2014, 09:03 PM »
Paul,

do we use the 55 deg,F [ 12.8 deg.C ] and no lower to define a Tropical Tree or the area between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, removing any area above say 900 metres [ 3000 feet or so ] ] ?

Secondly, as you may already know , we use a simple soil mix of organic to inorganic particles. The organic being, compost, coco peat and at times Canadian peat [ when the coco peat disappears, we don't make the stuff ] .

Thirdly, we have been testing rounded inorganic particles [ the ball bearing effect as mentioned by Ms. Iris Cohen on IBC  back in 2010 ].
So far the results have no negatives.

We also have Hackberry trees [ as seedlings - some never knew winter in Lafayette, Louisiana ] since 81 or so, using a fridge to simulate winter [ 2 months ].
We have been growing new trees from roots and leaving them out of the fridge to see if any adaptation will take place.
Too soon to say yes.
But they also grow in our above mix.

The zone 7 to zone 9 Chinese trees, need no refrigeration, so it is assumed that they go dormant through shorter days and our long periods at 72 deg.F to 68 deg.F [ 22.2 deg.C to 20 deg.C ] 5.30 p.m to 8.00 a.m, sometimes to 10 on cloudy days. Also helps.

All use the mix mentioned above.
Fertiliser is Lawn or Blaucorn at 1/3 strength, into moist soil once a week. During the 4 to 5 to 6 month dry period of no rain.

As mentioned, Hackberrys were grown in Philadelphia, the UK and Florence, Italy and Trinidad in the above mix. A single specimen of a Contorted willow also made the trip as well. Size was around 8 cm for all plants.

J.B.pines do well in just 3mm to 5 mm gravel and compost.
Have any comments and thanks in advance if you do.
Good Day
Anthony

* Also being tested, air-pots and colanders and the kitchen sink. :)
 

63pmp

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Re: fertilizer
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2014, 09:43 PM »
So how does temperature affect what plant N is being taken up?

It does this in 2 ways. 

Firstly, the chemical reactions in the soil are done by different types of microorganisms.  Fungi are every good at converting proteins into amino acids, certain bacteria then convert amino acids into ammonium and a different group of bacteria convert ammonium into nitrate.  All these reactions occur outside of the bacterial or fungal cell and the RATE of the reaction is strongly dependent on the temperature.  For example, it's harder to dissolve sugar in cold water and easier in hot water.  Dissolving is the chemical reaction and the rate, how fast it dissolves, is temperature dependent.

So in Scots pine forests in Norway it is too cold for nitrate to form and only warm enough for ammonium to form in summer (enough to be usable anyway)

The second factor is microbial activity, as temperature decreases bacterial activity slows down.  So that the nitrate makers stop at about 7 degrees C, the ammonium makers stop at 4C and fungi stop at -3C.  Norwegian soils rarely fall below -3C.  But only go to about 7 in the warmest part of the year.  So microbiology is skewed to the amino acid and ammonium makers.

In tropical forests the fungi and ammonium producers are at maximum speed, but so are the nitrate makers.  The half life of an amino acid in a tropical forest is measured in minutes, not months as in the arctic.  So all the N from decomposition is very quickly turned into nitrate.  So N in tropical forests is skewed towards nitrate.  (However, this is not the full picture of tropical forests as most of the N is tied up in living organisms, trees in tropical forests also depend on symbiotic fungi to obtain N and everything pretty much happens in the organic mulch layer).

The whole process is pretty slow in a Norwegian forest.  Consider a leaf falling to the ground in Norway, it will take about 5-10 years to become unrecognizable, while the same leaf in a tropical rainforest will be unrecognizable in 3 weeks.  So rate of organic breakdown is important, and it too is temperature dependent (because the microorganisms are).

So Scots pine are tuned towards symbiotic relationships with fungi and take in N as amino acids because this is the most prevalent form of N in these forests.  While tropical rainforests are strongly skewed towards nitrate consumption.

More to come.

Paul
« Last Edit: August 19, 2014, 10:32 PM by 63pmp »
 

63pmp

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Re: fertilizer
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2014, 09:51 PM »
Hi Anthony,

You asked

do we use the 55 deg,F [ 12.8 deg.C ] and no lower to define a Tropical Tree or the area between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, removing any area above say 900 metres [ 3000 feet or so ] ] ?


Yes, a good definition of a tropical tree.  Though to be honest, I'm not sure what the proper definition is, but that's a good one.

Doesn't matter what the substrate of you potting mix is as long as it is chemically and physically stable, and has adequate air filled porosity.  Could be crushed glass, brick, granite, marbles, pine bark, perlite, zeolite, akadama; it doesn't matter.

I'm glad you and Khaimraj are still experimenting.  Keep at it.

Paul
 

Sorce

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Re: fertilizer
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2014, 05:04 AM »
Alright Paul!

Excellent information. This makes great sense. Never thought about it that way.

Thanks!

Sorce
 

Judy

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Re: fertilizer
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2014, 08:25 AM »
Thanks for the posts Paul.  Very understandable, and salient. 

And exactly why people need to choose their own program of fertilization that works for their specific climate and trees.  People offering up their way of doing things as if it's the one true way are very narrow minded to think that it will work for every tree in every circumstance.

Thanks again!
 

coh

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Re: fertilizer
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2014, 12:28 PM »
.
.
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So Scots pine are tuned towards symbiotic relationships with fungi and take in N as amino acids because this is the most prevalent form of N in these forests.  While tropical rainforests are strongly skewed towards nitrate consumption.

So is the take home message regarding Scots pine, that it is best to feed using organics (which I presume are made of more complex, amino acid containing materials) rather than using standard dry or liquid fertilizers in which the nitrogen sources are ammonium or nitrate?
 

GBHunter

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Re: fertilizer
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2014, 05:57 PM »
From what I gather it seems to be dependent on temperature.
 

coh

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Re: fertilizer
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2014, 06:50 PM »
My interpretation is that the temperature controls the activity of soil organisms that are responsible for converting various nitrogen sources. But...does the temperature also affect what the tree takes up? So if you take that Scots pine and place it in a bonsai pot in the U.S., and the summer soil temperature averages 20 C or higher...will the tree take up more ammonium and/or nitrate? Or will it still tend to primarily make use of amino acid sources? If true, it seems to imply to me that certain fertilizers would be more useful than others (for Scot's at least).
 

63pmp

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Re: fertilizer
« Reply #25 on: August 21, 2014, 12:19 AM »
I want to apologise for the above post.  It's been a long time since I've looked at this stuff and my memory is vague and I completely lost the plot with that post.  I'm embarrassed I posted such crap, sorry for posting misleading information.

The point I want to make is that trees can feed on a wide range of N forms, and can switch from one type to another when it's favourable. 

The main reason that N is limiting to growth in many environments is competition for N from various biological forms; fungi, bacteria, insects, plants, etc; no matter where they are. 

In cold climates N is in relatively short supply due to slow cycling and low biological fixation.  Plants here have evolved to become nitrogen specialist so that they can get enough N to grow.  They do this by forming symbiotic relationships, ramping up specific nitrogen transport systems in the roots, and by being efficient in the use of N.

As soil temperatures increase, as we move towards the equator, nitrogen becomes more prevalent due to increasing nitrogen fixation and increasing cycling.  Plants here do not have to specialize to the same extent as cold climate plants, but forests are denser and they have to be more adaptable to light conditions.  They can switch to different nitrogen forms quickly. 

Temperature effects the rate of N taken up by roots.  In European Beech ammonium uptake at 10C is about 70% the maximum rate, which happens at 15C.  Soils rarely get much over 10 C where these plants grow naturally, so when grown in warm climates (10 C is easily reached in spring and it easily exceeds  25 C in summer where I live) ammonium uptake is always at maximum, or near the maximum rate. 

The implications are that in cold climates, trees need to be heavily fed to provide the N they need.  As the same species is moved to a warmer climate they require less N. 

All plants will do better under an organic fertilizer.  If you are relying on a chemical fertilizer, then symbiotic specialists will need more N than the non symbiotic specialists.  For example, a Beech will need less N than a Scots pine.  In warmer conditions a Scots pine will need much more N than a beech, but both will require less than a J black pine.  Cold climate plants tend to specialize in ammonium N.  Scots pine, Picea species only really feed on ammonium and amino acids.  Japanese white pine will need less N than a JBP because it is a cold climate pine.  Problem with Picea andother ammonium specialists is that ammonium is quickly converted to nitrate in warm soils, so plants tend to starve a bit over summer.

Cold climate deciduous trees are highly efficient in their use of N.  So much so that they don't need N feeding until mid spring.  They are ammonium specialists and require only low levels of ammonium in their fertilizer.  Cold climate deciduous trees growing in warm climate need very low levels of ammonium in their fertilizer.  Ammonium is poorly regulated by roots and so these plants are very prone to ammonium toxicity. 

Tropical plants are difficult, as some are legumes and can supplement their own N needs.  High light conditions favours nitrate feeding, while low light conditions favours ammonium feeding.  High organic soils and organic fertilizer would suite tropical's as they support fungi better then a mineral soil.  Tropical's being grown in colder climates would require a higher feeding rate than those grown in warmer climates.

That's basically why I think temperature is the most important aspect of fertilizing.  It's kind of vague because each species has different needs in different climates.  However, it explains why Walter Palls method works for him in Germany,  but kills my plants when I do what he suggests here in Oz. 

I also separate my trees into 2 groups.  Cold climate deciduous, (ie beech, hornbeam, Japanese and Trident maple, azalea) and pines.  I lump Eucalypt's and other evergreens into the pine basket, (ie Gums, camelia, and box).  But this is only to reduce feed mixes to 2 types.  I don't have any tropical species.

Paul
 

Anthony

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Re: fertilizer
« Reply #26 on: August 21, 2014, 07:49 AM »
Paul,

thank you!!!

Well I guess you explained why we can use the same soil mix in a zone 7 to a zone 13.
I figure next year, the continued focus will be Design, as the soil experiments level of.

The simplification of the Horticultural part of Bonsai, will make it easier to pass on to the other hobbyists down here.
Good Day
Anthony

* We also have a Gingko, and had a 16 year old Trident, as time goes on plans are to test White pines.
Shimpaku grows easily down here.
 

jlushious

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Re: fertilizer
« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2014, 09:44 AM »
That. Is. Awesome. Thank you so much, I live in a zone 3 and have wondered about my fertilizing scheme. I am mostly growing zone 2 or 3 hardiness level trees (eastern white, red pine, euro larch, some hardy cherry/crabapple) but also have some higher zone plants like j. maples and tridents. I use a chem fert - mostly because that's just what I started with, but it sounds like maybe to improve under colder conditions I should think about switching to organic.

I do feed them all a lot, I also use a non-organic substrate and my growing season is short so I try and pack as much growth as I can in that time.

Wonderful information, thanks for sharing!
 

Chrisl

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Re: fertilizer
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2014, 11:09 AM »
Thanks Paul.  Interesting and consistent with what I've been told...that in general, trees stop taking nutrients in after temps > 90F.

Side note, I've always wondered, does using chem ferts kill the organisms needed to breakdown organic ferts?  I use org on all trees exc my maples and wisteria that I use chemical that I'm bulking up.  I was just curious...
 

63pmp

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Re: fertilizer
« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2014, 07:08 PM »
Coh said

So is the take home message regarding Scots pine, that it is best to feed using organics (which I presume are made of more complex, amino acid containing materials) rather than using standard dry or liquid fertilizers in which the nitrogen sources are ammonium or nitrate?

Proteins are made up of various types of amino acids.  There are many different types.  It is a fairly recent discovery that plants can feed off these small, water soluble organic molecules.   
 
I never had much issue with fertilizing my plants with organics, I used to use fish emulsion fortnightly.  It was only when I switched to chemical  and listened to the advice from the people on bonsaitalk that everything fell apart, those fools are still giving the same advice.

I think solid organic blocks, like those used in Japan, are best if you can keep them moist.  Where I live they just dry out and sit on the surface.  Liquid organic fertilizer is good, but increasingly having urea added to boost N content, which is not good.

Chrisl wrote:

Side note, I've always wondered, does using chem ferts kill the organisms needed to breakdown organic ferts?  I use org on all trees exc my maples and wisteria that I use chemical that I'm bulking up.  I was just curious...


I would recommend organic fertilizer over chemical, especially for Japanese maple.  Though there are times you may have to supplement the organics.  Try and stick with ammonium sulphate if you want to add N.  Use very dilutely at first and built up as plants respond.  Its easier to add it but impossible to remove.  I currently use 35g/1000l for my deciduous trees and I use that concentration every time I water (0.35g for 10 l of water, which you can't measure on electronic kitchen scales, so use 1g, use  it every second or third day for a week, wait another week before adding more).  The food blocks are best, you can add and subtract blocks as plant needs vary.

Ammonium toxicity is a problem with cold climate plants, they have a lot of trouble regulating intake when it is in high concentrations in the roots.  Often the only signs of too much ammonium in spring is marginal leaf burning in summer.  This pops up all the time on forums and has been frequently dismissed as what maples do in summer.  I believe over feeding with ammonium in spring causes several problems; potassium deficiency in the leaves; increased leaf size; long internode length.  Potassium is essential for proper stomatal closing in leaves, deficiency also causes a thinning of the leaf cuticle, the waxy coat which protects the leaf from drying out.  In spring the leaf copes, but when summer comes, it struggles and burns on the edges.  Plants will decline and die if over fed with ammonium.  Beech really struggle with high ammonium levels.

Regarding nyccorhiza, I believe it is high phosphate levels that damages these symbiotic fungi. Phosphate is a different story to N, but best to use low concentrations of the stuff.

I've never heard the 90F theory.  Is that soil temperature, or air temp?  I know that roots stop functioning as soil temps go over 107 F, but this is because they are dying.

90 F = 32 C .  My trees are still growing at these soil temps, especially tridents that are out in full sun, if the plant is growing it needs N.  Of course, it is species specific.  I try and keep cold climate plants roots cool, I use things like terra cotta pots which weeps water and has an evaporative cooling effect, wooden grow boxes, planks to shade sides of pots, etc.  I keep my beech under 50% shade cloth except for morning sun till about 10am, japanese maples in sun till about midday, everything else in shade by about 3pm.   

Anthony,

I think you should be able to grow white pine.  Its not heat that bothers them.  I have two cultivars and the heat doesn't phase them growing side by side to J black pine.  We have heat waves of 7days straight of 35 C plus going to 40C and it doesn't bother them. 

They do like acidic soil, around 5 is good, low ammonium and phosphate levels, shade in hotter part of day.  Try and keep roots cool of course.

Good luck with it all

Paul