Feeding regimens

Rick Moquin

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I was visiting Walter's site during morning coffee. After hours of research and extrapolation I have come to pretty much the same conclusions and have been feeding aggressively ever since.

This is what Walter has to say:

I wrote this mail to a friend and though this could interest many others. The friend had asked why I would feed a lot more than other folks.


Normal feed mixtures are for normal plants. Normal plants grow in soil which already has nutrients. They just grow and should not grow too much anyway. Like house plants.

Bonsai sit in very well draining substrate and are watered aggressively. The minerals are washed out quickly. Bonsai have to grow MORE than other plants during development phase. 99 % of bonsai are in development phase. They have to grow much to make it possible to style them quickly. They have to grow lots that can be cut off several times during a summer.
I definitely use three times the advised strength of fertilizer. I definitely use regular cheap fertilizer for normal plants. That is 10-10-10 or 20-10-10 or similar, anyway lots of nitrogen. And I feed every ten days to two weeks throughout the whole growing season. Compared to regular bonsai folks I feed about 20 to 60 (sixty) times more.
My trees look as happy as trees can look like. Yes, they grow much stronger than in other gardens and I have to cut off lots and lots. I think this is great because my trees can be developed much faster than others. My trees have no pests because they have very strong immune systems. So far I have not realized any damage from my super-feeding-program.
I feel that in America the following happened: During the past fifteen years the overwhelming majority of bonsai folks have changed from soil to modern substrate with their trees. But they are still applying the old wisdom concerning watering and feeding which was correct with soil. As a result many trees are suffering from drought and are starving. Nobody is telling people that with the new substrate they RADICALLY have to change watering and feeding schemes.

I hope this helps
Walter


Let's discuss what folks are doing out there.
 

bretts

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I am glad you brought this up again Rick.
As I like to keep it simple I liked Walters suggestion that the modern substrate is very versatile and we are able to use lots of balanced fertiliser and not swap ratios for certain times of the year as the tree will use what it wants and the rest will be washed away.
I have generally been using a high nitrogen fertiliser and have had various fertilising time schedules. One general fertiliser I used made me feel safe fertilising every week at full strength as it recommended 7-10 days.
It has recently been suggested that since I generally fertilise through most of the Summer That the high fertiliser regime that I use is contributing to leaf burn that I struggle with because I am growing colder climate trees than I should.
Since it is about the leaf being able to suck up enough water so as not to dry out and transport is done by the salts this seems worth considering. It was also suggested that what seems to me like trace element deficiencies that I still get could be the result of an excess of nitrogen or other component.
As what Walter states obviously works for him I have to wonder if the extra heat of my climate could be a factor?
At the moment I have decided to use a low nitrogen fertiliser called bloom buster 6:14:16 with a worm extract Bio fert seaweed with a mention of humates and component Analysis very low? I will use these about every 10 days as Walter suggests. I am unsure if Walter fertilisers through Summer or what he would recommend for a hot temperate climate. Maybe that is all I have been doing wrong. Maybe I should be more consistent with my Autumn fertilising as well so they get a better start?
 

Rick Moquin

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I believe your from down under right?

The heat of the summer will cause maximum evaporation rates and thus may create a higher concentration of salts. Walter also waters aggressively, which is something he also stresses. I understand you folks undergo heavy water restrictions during summer and the latter may indeed cause a change in regimen.

I have had favourable results fertilizing all year round. Mind you the weather in Nova Scotia is rather wet, in comparison with the rest of Canada. During the height of the summer, usually 2 weeks end July mid August I find myself watering twice a day 7 and 7.

The only changes from the following schedule is a dose of 30-10-10 for acid loving plants whenever it dawns on me. It must be working as most of my trees are ready to explode mid to end February. My trees overwinter in a cold frame and my conifers in a green house. Come spring mid to late March the conifers hit the bench and the cold frame trees get moved to the green house, which is fabricated with 65% shading lexan. I have lost several trees over the last couple of winters by leaving them in the cold frame too long. The tops were frying although sufficient moisture was available in the soil. This year not one tree was lost and all are growing like mad.
 

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Rick, Is this feeding schedule on line someplace that I can download it?
 

pauldogx

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I am following Walters regimen. So far it seems to be working great!!

With a free draining substrate it really is just common sense.
 

milehigh_7

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LOL as soon as I saw the article heading, I went and copied the link from Walter's blog so I could say, "Just do what Walter does." LOL
 

bretts

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Intresting feeding Rick roots 2 not available here but I have learnt that is a humate I think.
I am looking at finding a suplier.
Yes sorry from Australia I have been slack not filling out my details.
Edit: watering restrictions don't stop me from watering by hose and can be upto three times a day on the hottest usually twice in summer.
 
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waltr1

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I also feed fairly heavy and every 7-14 days through out the growing season and well into the autumn. The autumn feeding is important as this is when many trees are growing roots and storing energy for spring bud growth. I use a variety of fertilizers: Neptunes fish & seaweed, Holly tone, Peters 20-20-20, and bat guano (during the spring flush).
I also water every day and have an automatic watering system set up that comes on at about 10am during the summer. With this I don't see heat stressed trees due, I think, to having plenty of water in the pots during to hottest part of the day.
My soil is well draining inorganic.
The results have been excellent growth. My Poderosa has heavily back budded and pushes candles instead of just buds opening.
 

pauldogx

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I also feed fairly heavy and every 7-14 days through out the growing season and well into the autumn. The autumn feeding is important as this is when many trees are growing roots and storing energy for spring bud growth. I use a variety of fertilizers: Neptunes fish & seaweed, Holly tone, Peters 20-20-20, and bat guano (during the spring flush).
I also water every day and have an automatic watering system set up that comes on at about 10am during the summer. With this I don't see heat stressed trees due, I think, to having plenty of water in the pots during to hottest part of the day.
My soil is well draining inorganic.
The results have been excellent growth. My Poderosa has heavily back budded and pushes candles instead of just buds opening.
I have seen waltr1's trees in person any they were as healthy as a tree can be.
 

Rick Moquin

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Rick, Is this feeding schedule on line someplace that I can download it?
It is my own made up from extrapolated information and Persiano's superfeeding program. BTW Persiano's SF program only deals with conifers. You are free to save the pics as such and use 'em if you may. I have no objections.

I got my hands on some Humic acid today which will be forming a part of my future schedule. I got this bit of info from Al Kepler, which as he informs us was a slip (not clearly defined) in the original Persiano program. After research and a loooooooooooong discussion today at a Hydroponic shop, I acquired some. Al's thread wrt humic acids and humates was posted a while back and is presently being viewed at BV.
 

Rick Moquin

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I am following Walters regimen. So far it seems to be working great!!

With a free draining substrate it really is just common sense.
... yes it is. I have been professing this for years, albeit I haven't been at it as long as Walter. I found (as Walter) reference lacking and came to my own conclusions, through a lot of interaction and research. That is why I decided to post it here today after reading it on Walter's blog.

Walter prefers to share info on his blog versus the circus act the forums have become of late.
 

Rick Moquin

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Intresting feeding Rick roots 2 not available here but I have learnt that is a humate I think.
I am looking at finding a suplier.
Yes sorry from Australia I have been slack not filling out my details.
Edit: watering restrictions don't stop me from watering by hose and can be upto three times a day on the hottest usually twice in summer.
Roots2 contained kelp if I am not mistaken as an ingredient. So I was using kelp with iron from Miracle Grow which I thought was a good substitute as I could not get this in Canada. I was mistaken. After Al's enlightenment I have since acquired humic aci through a local hydroponic shop, not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but the only available source here.

When I ask for humic acid, and they ask what for? and I say bonsai, and the reply is... shouldn't you be using bonsai fert for that. Now you folks know where I am coming from.

... BTW shipping fert from the US is cost prohibitive. $35 USD worth of fert 2 years ago cost me $140 CD
 

Smoke

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Roots 2 was/is not a very good fertilizer. It is a general purpose fertilizer but made of very inferior ingrediants as far as good fertlizer go. The humic acid in the product is not from leonardite but rather industrial waste ie; feather meal, and kelp extracts and probably many other waste products.

There are far better products on the market today. Many are being introduced as we speak and are really great. Check the kellogs product line. Many of these are available in big box stores as well as home garden centers and nurseries.
 
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Rick Moquin

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This is what I came up with.

They refine this potent deep earth substance to make Humic Acid. Many generations of Enggys have used Humic to protect seeds so they germinate better and resist diseases that kill seedlings.

Humic provides natural carrier compounds that transport nutrients and vitamins into plants more efficiently, so plants grow faster and have stronger cellular processes.

Grandma’s brew can be used in soil and hydroponics to increase water-holding capacity, root zone aeration, and root efficiency. Humic stimulates root branching, plant enzyme function, and plant immune systems.

Grandma’s extra-strength Humic can be used on foliage to provide a natural barrier to pests, pathogens and other attackers.

This comprehensive product can be used from start to finish in your garden because it ensures early vigor in seedlings and clones, hastens maturity and floral development, makes plants better able to thrive despite heat and stress, and facilitates faster, more efficient utilization of nutrients and vitamins.


... at a rate of 5ml/l it will last a long time, because buying from a hydroponic shop is like buying from a bonsai shop:)

Kellog's is not avail in our neck of the woods.
 

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