Feed them cake or powder?

dbonsaiw

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I came across an easy and relatively cheap method of making fertilizer cakes out of regular fertilizer. It appears that simply feeding the trees out of the bag risks making the soil hydrophobic. I'll be feeding my trees for the first time next month and wanted to learn more about the use of fertilizer cakes. Have folks found that regular quick release fertilizer (Miracle Gro or whatever) makes the soil hydrophobic over time? Does the use of cakes solve this problem? Does it pay to buy cakes or make your own (seems easy, albeit stinky, to make your own)? Do the cakes need to be placed in containers or can they go straight onto the soil (not sure if they will just disintegrate and cause the same problems)?

I ask the question under the assumption that, in addition to this feeding, the trees will receive a weekly dose of fish juice.
 

rockm

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I came across an easy and relatively cheap method of making fertilizer cakes out of regular fertilizer. It appears that simply feeding the trees out of the bag risks making the soil hydrophobic. I'll be feeding my trees for the first time next month and wanted to learn more about the use of fertilizer cakes. Have folks found that regular quick release fertilizer (Miracle Gro or whatever) makes the soil hydrophobic over time? Does the use of cakes solve this problem? Does it pay to buy cakes or make your own (seems easy, albeit stinky, to make your own)? Do the cakes need to be placed in containers or can they go straight onto the soil (not sure if they will just disintegrate and cause the same problems)?

I ask the question under the assumption that, in addition to this feeding, the trees will receive a weekly dose of fish juice.
Uh, have never heard of miracle grow making soil water repellent...if it is, probably means your soil isn't all that great.

Cake fertilizers don't "solve" anything. However, THEY CAN cause soil to become clogged over time, since traditionally they 're made with organic stuff like blood and bone meal, etc. which dissolves and works its way into the soil. Over time, they can form a layer on top of the bonsai soil.

Miracle Grow and soluable ferts like it are usually called "chemical" ferts, while cakes are generally called "organic" ferts. Both are useful, but for different things. Chemical ferts are more readily available to the tree, while organics take months to break down into useful form (with the assistance of soil microbes).That means chemical ferts offer more immediate results than organics--making chemical better for faster growing development, while organics' slow steady stream is better for developed trees that don't need to push a lot of new/fast growth.

Making your own organic cakes can either be a stinky, maggot-infested mess, or a fun pass time. It's up to the maker to decide which...
 

dbonsaiw

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Uh, have never heard of miracle grow making soil water repellent..
I believe the recipe called for Espoma Plant Tone. I believe this is an organic fert?

Miracle Grow and soluable ferts like it are usually called "chemical" ferts, while cakes are generally called "organic" ferts.
This was a very helpful piece of information. Thank you.

Is the conclusion then that, putting aside other pros and cons, organic fertilizers will cause clogging over time, whereas chemical fertilizers will not?

Making your own organic cakes can either be a stinky, maggot-infested mess, or a fun pass time. It's up to the maker to decide which...
Personally, if I am outside and busy, it's fun time. But I can do without the maggots.
 

rockm

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I believe the recipe called for Espoma Plant Tone. I believe this is an organic fert?


This was a very helpful piece of information. Thank you.

Is the conclusion then that, putting aside other pros and cons, organic fertilizers will cause clogging over time, whereas chemical fertilizers will not?


Personally, if I am outside and busy, it's fun time. But I can do without the maggots.
Plant tone is "organic" and made of a lot of "meals" like feather, bone, manure, etc. Yes, organics are more likely to clog soil drainage than "chemical," since organic ferts have stuff that needs to break down before it can be used (manure, etc)..

Maggots and bugs (and squirrels) are drawn to organic cakes because they have good smelling stuff in them. Squirrels can be a particular problem. I used to put big chunks of organic cakes on my soil every March. Cakes were usually stolen by squirrels in a couple of days. I assume its the bone meal and alfalfa meal they like. Bugs are part and parcel of using cakes, since they help in the decomposition process-although there are recipes out there that have Sevin insecticide in them...which makes them a little toxic to work with (and don't let your dog get them)
 

Arnold

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I would say cake but I have a weakness for sweets and chocolate so.... xD
 

LanceMac10

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....maggots? No prob compared to the wasp's you'll get after an application of fish solution.....🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝

Use a combination of liquid/solid....and don't forget a little Miracid once in awhile for your JM's...
 

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