First fertilizer of the season?

BonsaiWilly

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So I have an assorted pack of deciduous prebonsai trees in their pots, they've started pushing leaves.

I'm wondering, if you had pellet type fertilizer, would you put that in when the buds just start to push, or do wait until all the leaves a fully out to apply?
 

markyscott

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For trees in development, start fertilizing as soon as the buds swell. For developed trees in refinement, withhold fertilizer until the spring flush has hardened off, then start fertilizing.
 

Alain

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For my pre-bonsai trees I use the soil mix recommend by Brent from evergreen garden works and he says to add balanced oscmocote fertilizer to it, so my pre-bonsai are fertilized all year long :)
 

KennedyMarx

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For my pre-bonsai trees I use the soil mix recommend by Brent from evergreen garden works and he says to add balanced oscmocote fertilizer to it, so my pre-bonsai are fertilized all year long :)
I have some plants in Brents mix this year, but I didn't mix any Osmocote into it. I mixed some organic fertilizer into it (Plant Tone mixed with cottonseed meal) and tossed some slow release chemical fertilizer on the soil surface. This way I can scrape the soil surface and reapply throughout the growing season.
 

BonsaiWilly

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Well they're granulated, don't know if that counts as pellets, sorry. But yes, I believe they are slow time released. Organic 4-2-3.

So one is a 5 year old Dwarf Trost Birch tree, leaves are a couple days from being all the way out, the others are BloodGood maples, maybe two seasons old, one might be 3. Their leaves are unfurled but don't look as big as they normally do, so those I should wait on the plant food with those tree's; until they are fully developed?

And then I have two Rose of Sharon that are five seasons old, their pushing buds, that are green, but not unfurled These two I should feed?

one other thing I should mention is, the label said to use every six weeks, the guy at the shop said a pinch every two weeks; which I did, the later that is. The trimming of the roots was all done last year, so I wasn't gonna trim this year, so same soil as last I keep em all in a 45%ish grit content. they should be flushed of last years food by now right?
 

GrimLore

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So I have an assorted pack of deciduous prebonsai trees in their pots, they've started pushing leaves.

I'm wondering, if you had pellet type fertilizer, would you put that in when the buds just start to push, or do wait until all the leaves a fully out to apply?
Seems to me you are not past danger of frost there yet... If so it does not matter what the plants are doing - don't fertilize at all if so.

Grimmy
 

0soyoung

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Inter-node lengths are forever (or they must be cut off). Plentiful nitrogen is equated with long inter-nodes, but is absolutely necessary for budding. So, one always wants to fertilize late in the season, regardless of species, regardless of state (in development or not) to assure that buds are set for the next season.

If your aim is to thicken an existing trunk or branch sections (inter-nodes are already set), pour on the fertilizer first thing in spring. Otherwise, reason it through logically. It is actually not at all complicated or mysterious.
 

Paradox

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Inter-node lengths are forever (or they must be cut off). Plentiful nitrogen is equated with long inter-nodes, but is absolutely necessary for budding. So, one always wants to fertilize late in the season, regardless of species, regardless of state (in development or not) to assure that buds are set for the next season.
This is true for deciduous, which you state is what you have mostly. For conifers you start fertilizing early and for Japanese black pines, you stop when you cut candles and start again once the new candles have opened and are almost hardened again.
 

0soyoung

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This is true for deciduous, which you state is what you have mostly. For conifers you start fertilizing early and for Japanese black pines, you stop when you cut candles and start again once the new candles have opened and are almost hardened again.
Yes, you are correct for JBP and JRP when we time candle pruning relative to the end of the growing season to limit node and needle size. But candle pruning isn't necessarily practiced when the trees are in development, in which case ...;)
 
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Leo in N E Illinois

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Coated chemical fertilizers like Osmocote, and Nutricote, the control for release of the fertilizer is temperature. At 70 F they will release fertilizer over a 3 month period (check label on bag, there are several different formulation)
The same Osmocote that is a 3 month at 70 will be a 2 month at 80 F and 4 month at 60 F, and release almost nothing at 40 F. Generally, for northern growers this is good, and can be taken advantage of. Plants need more nutrients when it is warm, less when cool and growth is slower. If you are in an area with more than 14 days a year above 90 F, coated chemical fertilizers can bite you in the rear. At high temperatures many trees go into a summer dormancy, and slow their metabolism, It is in these high temps that the coated fertilizers will dump out their contents the quickest. Not a good mix. You can get fertilizer burn at high temps. If you use these, and they are useful, you must plan for them to do their release at high temps.

And I got in trouble once. Put some on in spring, and the target tree was still looking "chlorotic", looking starved. Well, it was a cool spring. Without thinking I gave the tree a double dose, still no response, ended up at triple dose. Then our weather suddenly broke. We went from 50's and 60's to 80's and 90's in a short time. Bang, the tree went from looking starved, to suddenly green to suddenly "burnt" in the coarse of a couple weeks. Had to repot the tree to get all the fertilizer pellets out of the mix. It sat the rest of the summer without fertilizer. recovered some, and this spring it is finally looking quite healthy again.

So don't overdose pelletized control release fertilizer. especially early in the cooler part of the growing season. On the other hand, I now use water soluble fertilizer, but supplement the heavy feeders I want to bulk up with the coated fertilizer, and I keep a tag with dates in each tree, so I know not to dose again. Great stuff for heavy feeders, growing out stuff rapidly, pretty tricky to use for more refined trees.
 

0soyoung

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Good post, @Leo in N E Illinois!

Summer dormancy, though, corresponds to metabolism being in high gear. It is consuming carbohydrates faster than the foliage can make them (i.e., the rate of photosynthesis is maxed out). Hence no growth occurs. Trees even lose (carbon) mass at these times.
 

fredman

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Osoyoung..... I enjoy your scientific responses very much. I even understand some of it some of the times....:eek:
Not being nosy, but you obviously have a scientific/biological education....? Or are you just a abnormal plant wizard :p
 

0soyoung

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Osoyoung..... I enjoy your scientific responses very much. I even understand some of it some of the times....:eek:
Not being nosy, but you obviously have a scientific/biological education....? Or are you just a abnormal plant wizard :p
I was a physicist/engineer - hard science, none of this 'life science' crap. I dearly despised biology because my high school class was about drawing what we saw in the microscope - we had to dot the paper to show density and other things I thought ridiculous. It was just like being chided for coloring outside the lines in pre-school.

Anyway, long story short. I love 'problem solving', but gardening and bonsai are relatively new to me. Serious gardening started about 10 years ago. It is hard to identify when (if ever) I subsequently started 'doing bonsai', but I'm into that different world now and enjoying it. But that sciency stuff is just the way I am - can't help myself.

My wife and I decided we were going to collect Japanese maples when we moved here, to Anacortes. Our first purchase was an acer palmatum 'ukigumo that we later realized had a strangely different second trunk and all the foliage on it was different from ukigumo. After a couple of seasons my wife talked me into air layering that stem which we had come to realize was the root stock! It worked, and for a few years hence I was just an air-layering maniac (doing what I knew how to do :cool:). In the midst of this, some very curious things happened and that led me to take a deep dive into tree physiology, trying to understand how trees work and why I got those curious/surprising happenings - Google Scholar is my best friend. BNut #2.
 

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