Author Topic: Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.  (Read 6819 times)

Larry Gockley

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Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.
« on: July 26, 2009, 05:26 PM »
I recently read on Walter Palls web site that he is now feeding his trees double strength, and twice as often as recommended. This brings to mind questions I have been wondering about for some time.
   I recently bought an organic fert-  with analysis of 8-0-0, and a mixing ratio of one oz. per gallon. Is that 8% nitrogen as it comes from the bottle, or in the mixed gallon. If I mixed 2 oz. per gallon, would it be 16%?  Another question is if I mix a 8-0-0 fertilizer with a 4-12-3 transplant type fertilizer, per directions,  would the gallon of mixed solution be 12-12-3 ?  Larry
 

rockm

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Re: Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2009, 09:40 AM »
You are using the wrong type of fertilizer if you're looking for alot of development using fertilizer. Organic ferts aren't aimed at the kind of development that Herr Pall aims for. It's the "chemical" ferts that fuel development.

Ann organic with an 8-0-0 ratio doesn't become a 16-0-0 fert if you double application. Do not mix different ferts together.That's simply asking for trouble, since dilution ratios may vary from mix to mix. You risk "burn" if you apply one in too high a concentration.

If you're looking to "superfeed" like Mr. Pall, applying double Miracle grow is the equivalent of what  he's doing.

For what it's worth, using a basic "chemical" mix like Miracle Grow with an organic cake can optimize both. I use Miracle Grow at full strength every week or so, combined with BioGold organic cakes. Applying fertlizers also have alot to do with WHEN you apply them--usually the best time is during active growing periods. In the Northern hemisphere, this is usually mid-spring to mid-summer and early autumn to mid-autumn.

Applying fertilizer in midsummer is mostly pointless, as most trees aren't actively pushing new growth now. Some are even in
"summer dormancy" or mostly coasting....

 

rockm

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Re: Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2009, 01:16 PM »
By "double" Miracle Grow, I mean doubling up on applications, once a week full strength, instead of once every two weeks, half strength.

Also, if you plan on this kind of fertilizing regimen, your soil have to be extremely well-drained. Pall uses a soilless mix (no, or very little organic content). Water races through such mixes, which requires heavier fertlization, as these kinds of soils are more easily flushed than soil with organics and high Cation Exchange materials like expanded shale (Turface). They simply can't "hold on" to fertlizers as well.
 

Larry Gockley

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Re: Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2009, 02:06 PM »
Hi rockm. Thanks for the reply. Actually, most of my trees are sub-tropical, and grow strongly even in this hotter than usual summer. I've never come across fert- cakes in the local nursery. I have the formula to make my own from John Nakas books, but can't find one of the three ingredients. Guess it will be a never ending quest. Thanks again. Larry
 

John Kirby

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Re: Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2009, 03:29 PM »
You can make the fertilizer cakes out of just about anything. We use Fish meal, cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal, blood meal, bone meal, flour, wall paper glue and fish emulsion- because we have easy inexpensive access to all of this stuff. Just need a hot dry day when I am home.  John
 

shimsuki

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Re: Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2009, 04:24 PM »
I use Miracle Grow

Rockm,
What type of miracle grow do you use, the all purpose???
Also, do you use this on all trees or only certain species?

Thanks,
Shimsuki
 

Larry Gockley

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Re: Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2009, 04:53 PM »
Hi John. Thanks for the input. There certainly is no shortage of hot, dry days. LOL  I am going to try some fert- cakes. My one concern always was the cats and or possums would be in my trees looking for food. But I will try them. Thanks. Larry
 

andy graham

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Re: Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2009, 05:33 PM »
Larry,

The percentages are as the fertilizer is in the bag or jug or whatever. Adding water dilutes it even further. I'm using miracle grow full strength once a week. Every once in a while I put on some liquid organics at the recommended rate.

My opinion is that...if you want healthy rapid development...use chemical fertilizers at recommended rates. If you have any organic ingredients in your soil mix they will take care of any microbial activity needed.

On most products, there is a "safety factor" built into the recommended rates.

Andy
 

Larry Gockley

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Re: Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2009, 07:32 PM »
Hi Andy. Good to hear from you. I long suspected that " safety factor", and wonder where the breaking point might actually be. Thanks. Larry
 

meushi

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Re: Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2009, 01:43 AM »
The safety factor depends on your soil mix, really.

The late Michel Sacal did test overfeeding on a trident potted in a purely inorganic mix and the tree thrived until it received seventy times the recommended concentration.

I do feed my trees by having the pot constantly covered with solid organic fertilizer and a rotation of liquid mineral fertilizers. I have yet to experience any problem related to this regime, outside the smell of course.
 

Rick Moquin

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Re: Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2009, 07:42 AM »
I recently read on Walter Palls web site that he is now feeding his trees double strength, and twice as often as recommended. This brings to mind questions I have been wondering about for some time.
   I recently bought an organic fert-  with analysis of 8-0-0, and a mixing ratio of one oz. per gallon. Is that 8% nitrogen as it comes from the bottle, or in the mixed gallon. If I mixed 2 oz. per gallon, would it be 16%?  Another question is if I mix a 8-0-0 fertilizer with a 4-12-3 transplant type fertilizer, per directions,  would the gallon of mixed solution be 12-12-3 ?  Larry
I decided to start from the beginning vice trying to answer the entire thread.

One needs to be cautious wrt reading and then cut and paste information perse. Many factors are involved and even Walter always professes this when he mentions it, another one is Persiano.

Walter also states that although his feeding regimen could be interpreted as Superfeeding, it is far from it and would call his program in comparison with what most do out of fear as an aggressive feeding regimen. All he is doing is feeding his trees. Given them the nutrients they need and water profusely.

It is not as simple as it was let out to be. It all starts in the soil and the ability of the soil to retain nutrients or not. The latter is know as the Cation Exchange Capacity of components or in this case the soil/substrate (which I do not care to go into here, one can always google it).

Walter also professes to use a balanced fertilizer and to not get fancy, in his case 20-20-20. He doesn't do anything fancy wrt NPK numbers and varying ferts depending on tree types etc... they all get the same.

The point that mislead's folks is when he states that he feeds 20-60 times more than the average, that's because the average do not feed enough, that is the point he is trying to make. He is feeding his trees appropriately, we are not. That's what needs to come out of his post.

IMO doubling the recommended dosage should not be attempted by folks without the savey to do so. One should always follow the recommended mfr instruction wrt dilution, and because these are not normal plants/trees is soil, the frequency of application can indeed be increased.

The important factor when choosing a fert is that it contains all the micro and macro nutrients required (this can also be googled)

Because our substrate drains like a sieve, we need to adjust our feeding regimen accordingly as the FOOD does not remain in the soil for very long with our constant watering etc... Perhaps the biggest myth out there is to feed at half or quarter strength more often... <<Feed weakly weekly vice every two weeks>> it's time to burry that one.
 

rockm

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Re: Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2009, 10:00 AM »
I think Rick covered the details well.

Walter Pall's bottom line, as Rick said, is we  in the West tend not to fertilize enough.

There also tends to be alot of mystical junk that gets taken as immutable truth--organics are somehow "better" than "chemical" ferts. Not true and a misinterpretation. Both serve their purpose--organics are less potent, but can last longer. Chemical ferts act more quickly and fuel more growth...

Another "mystical" thing is the kind of fertilizer that must be used. Walter Pall says it best--"Whatever's on sale." I use plain old miraclegrow, or peters or whatever other balanced fert I find at Wal-Mart. I use it on all my trees. I don't have special fert for special trees. I tend to feed older trees a little less than younger ones, but only because those older trees don't require as much growth.

Plants only know N-P-K. They don't know brand names. Potassium is Potassium. Nitrogen is Nitrogen. There is no brand-specific Nitrogen. You can switch brands from time to time, as micronutrients in each blend can differ a bit...
 

Rick Moquin

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Re: Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2009, 11:03 AM »
There also tends to be alot of mystical junk that gets taken as immutable truth--organics are somehow "better" than "chemical" ferts. Not true and a misinterpretation. Both serve their purpose--organics are less potent
... this is another myth that needs debunking. They can be just as potent and in many cases more so than chemical ferts. I do not wish to go into detail but the fact that folks associate that organic is good for you e.g. food, they have associated the term everywhere. However I will concede that component concentrations in chemical fert could be greater, as you said trees don't see NPK like we do, salts are salts.

The reason they can be just as dangerous if the application exceeds the recommended dosage is that they are always present in comparison to chemical ferts which are mostly washed away with watering and rain, whilst watering and rain activate organic ferts.

Quote
Another "mystical" thing is the kind of fertilizer that must be used. Walter Pall says it best--"Whatever's on sale." I use plain old miraclegrow, or peters or whatever other balanced fert I find at Wal-Mart. I use it on all my trees. I don't have special fert for special trees. I tend to feed older trees a little less than younger ones, but only because those older trees don't require as much growth.

Mythical yes but only to some extent. You summed it up nicely in your closing argument, I feed older trees less. Walter does feed aggressively but one also needs to remember that most of his collection are extremely matured trees. Although he has yamadori under development, most trees are well established and hence a balance fertiliser will do nicely.

I will endorse however that brand name has nothing to do with the NPK to some extent with the exception of the nitrogen component and what is used in its make up. The important thing is that it has all the micro/macro nutrients as well in it's composition. Then, the brand does indeed become a moot point. I laughed of late when I went to try and find fluvic acid and when asked what for, they stated wouldn't you want to ,use "bonsai fertilizer" for that.

Quote
Plants only know N-P-K. They don't know brand names. Potassium is Potassium. Nitrogen is Nitrogen. There is no brand-specific Nitrogen. You can switch brands from time to time, as micronutrients in each blend can differ a bit...
... absolutely with the exception of the nitrogen components make up.

However, unlike Walter I have trees under development and depending on tree type and season I will vary the NPK accordingly, but that is the extent of it. I use Plant Products because they are readily available here, and all the mico/macro nutrients are available within. Can I say that varying the concentration of the components between deltas of trees and seasons make a difference? I don't know, all I know is that whatever I am doing agrees with my trees in my climate.

However, I also use a mychorizea innoculent "myke" with all my trees. Several nurseries in the area have endorsed this product and will extend their warranty from 2 to 5 years if transplanted with the stuff. One thing it mentions is that it is only good with organic ferts, bogus!! It works regardless of ferts used and perhaps the latter is because most of our ferts are washed away. Although not as evident as with conifers all have the growth in the soil.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2009, 11:06 AM by Rick Moquin »
 

greerhw

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Re: Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2009, 06:54 PM »
It depends on what species you're talking about and what you're trying to achive....
Marco Invernizza says most Americans under fertilize their trees.

keep it green,
Harry
« Last Edit: July 28, 2009, 06:57 PM by greerhw »
 

weeijk

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Re: Questions for any fertilizer chemists out there.
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2009, 07:10 PM »
Another "mystical" thing is the kind of fertilizer that must be used. Walter Pall says it best--"Whatever's on sale." I use plain old miraclegrow, or peters or whatever other balanced fert I find at Wal-Mart. I use it on all my trees. I don't have special fert for special trees. I tend to feed older trees a little less than younger ones, but only because those older trees don't require as much growth.

Correct, thats btw not only what Walter says, there are others that say the same. Only important thing is, that it is all organic fertilizer. Chemical fertilizer is much more dangerous, I used once 12-18-10 chemical fert. which comes in grains and is used for the lawn. With this kind of fert, some plants died on me. When you want to extra feed, use organic, like said and maybe ad water dissolvable fertilizer. Therfore I use Fuchsia fertilizer which comes in 28-14-14, 10-52-10, 7-10-27 and 20-20-20. I use the various mixtures in different months.

Wessel