Frequency of fertilizing

mcpesq817

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I was wondering how often people fertilize their trees. I imagine that it depends on what soil you are using, whether you are using fertilizer cakes, what stage of development your trees are in, etc.

Right now, my trees are for the most part in 100% inorganic soil (pumice, lava, turface, granite chips, in various combinations). I'm not using fertilizer cakes this year, but am strictly using liquid fertilizers (alternating between Miracle Gro/MirAcid, Dyna-Gro and fish/seaweed fertilizers) every two weeks. My trees are in various states of development, from growing out small stock to growing out new leaders on trees with established bases to yamadori like ponderosas.

I think my trees are pretty healthy, but I was wondering if given the fact that my soil is 100% inorganic, whether as a general matter I should consider fertilizing every week through the growing season rather than every two weeks.

Thanks!
 

Tachigi

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My 2 cents is that with an inorganic mix a liquid diet is not fertilizing optimally. Every time you water your flushing part or all of those nutrients.

I use a combination of liquid and cakes...A balanced 6-6-6 cakes and Rape Seed cakes This has produced unequaled results for me.

As you summaised, Fert strategies depend on different variables. What you need to consider is are they grow optimally not just do they look "healthy". So bottom line is you might want to rethink your fertilizer strategy
 

greerhw

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Whatever you end up using, Marco told me most American's under fertilize, it sounds to me like you should double the amount of times you fertilize. I can't tell you what to use, we have different trees, climate, growing periods and soil, good luck finding the right combination for your trees.


keep it green,
Harry
 

mcpesq817

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Thanks guys. Given that I switched for the most part to a completely inorganic mix, I was wondering whether the fertilizers might be washed out too quickly for the tree to get the full benefit from an application, and it strikes me that I should be fertilizing more often than the directions might otherwise say.
 

John Ruger

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You could alternate a soil application and a foliar spray. If you spray the leaves, you'll use less inorganic fertilizer and a higher percentage of nutrients will be used by the plant, but don't rely on this method alone.
 

mcpesq817

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I guess what I'm wondering, is that if you don't use cakes or any slow release fertilizer like osmocote, is it better to use the recommended strength once a week rather than twice a week? Use double the recommended strength at the recommended frequency? Double the recommended strength once a week rather than twice a week?
 

Fangorn

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I also use a inorganic mix of Akadama, Red lava, turface and granite for most of my trees.
I don't feed them all the same way/amount, but like Tom I've had good results with a combination of Peters 20/20/20 every 1 1/2-2 weeks, MEANGREEN fertilizer cakes and a shot of Colin's Micro Total every few weeks.
The only thing I don't like about the cakes is they seem to clog up the top layer of soil. I usually just mix it up a bit but I'm thinking that I might try getting some nylon stockings cut them up and making up some "packages" to put on the soil
 

John Ruger

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General rule of thumb, fertilize more frequently at less strength than a heavy dose less often. Why not try half-strength more frequently.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I wouldn't go above the recommended concentration under any circumstance. Less strength and more frequency may help offset the fact that you're constantly washing remaining fertilizer out of the pot.

This type of thread usually causes debate, and even some snipes from the folks who have been around long enough to see it come up more than a hundred times. But it's important and you should read the archives.

I see chemical fertilizers like junk food; a quick fix for the trees and it's gone; many will disagree with that statement due to personal results, that's fine...to each his(her) own.

Organic fertilizers actually feed the microorganisms in the soil, which in turn produce nutrients needed to the trees, ensuring some nutrients are always available in the soil.

I make cakes from PlantTone (5-3-3), and place 8-12 1" square cakes on an 18" pot. I also feed weekly with fish emulsion and/or liquid seaweed. My trees have NEVER looked better than when I switched to organic feeds. As an added bonus, squirrels don't mess with the pots that have the cakes on them!
 

Fangorn

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I guess what I'm wondering, is that if you don't use cakes or any slow release fertilizer like osmocote, is it better to use the recommended strength once a week rather than twice a week? Use double the recommended strength at the recommended frequency? Double the recommended strength once a week rather than twice a week?

I'd use regular strength once a week rather than a double dose. Because fertilizers are salts, a double doses could lead to salt buildup in the roots and actually cause backward osmosis, which can make them loose water. A double dose might not be enough to do that but I wouldn't chance it
 

greerhw

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I also use a inorganic mix of Akadama, Red lava, turface and granite for most of my trees.
I don't feed them all the same way/amount, but like Tom I've had good results with a combination of Peters 20/20/20 every 1 1/2-2 weeks, MEANGREEN fertilizer cakes and a shot of Colin's Micro Total every few weeks.
The only thing I don't like about the cakes is they seem to clog up the top layer of soil. I usually just mix it up a bit but I'm thinking that I might try getting some nylon stockings cut them up and making up some "packages" to put on the soil

I use tea bags and they can be used for a whole growing season, empty them out and refill them.

keep it green,
Harry

http://perennialtearoom.com/makeyourownteabags.aspx
 

Tachigi

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The only thing I don't like about the cakes is they seem to clog up the top layer of soil.

This can be an issue with some cakes and pellet type ferts ... the answer to this problem is how the cake is made. With the right ingredients, manufacturing process...this problem can be resolved.

Below is a cake that still has retained it shape after 8 weeks of being applied, it left no crumbly bits while providing nutrients
 

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Fangorn

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This can be an issue with some cakes and pellet type ferts ... the answer to this problem is how the cake is made. With the right ingredients, manufacturing process...this problem can be resolved.

Below is a cake that still has retained it shape after 8 weeks of being applied, it left no crumbly bits while providing nutrients

My manufacturing process is me making little stinky mud-pies by hand (and a spoon). I've only used Meangreen, they seem to stay together well and my trees love the product, but there must be some kind of premature breakdown with them.
Do you have any manufacturing tips Tom?
 

FrankP999

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I make cakes from PlantTone (5-3-3), and place 8-12 1" square cakes on an 18" pot. I also feed weekly with fish emulsion and/or liquid seaweed. My trees have NEVER looked better than when I switched to organic feeds. As an added bonus, squirrels don't mess with the pots that have the cakes on them!

Will you share your recipe for cakes made from PlantTone? How often so you have to replenish the cakes on your trees?

Thanks

Frank
 

mcpesq817

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Thanks everyone for your thoughts. Glad this didn't turn into a "food fight" :rolleyes:

Fangorn - I tried MeanGreen last year (the make your own cakes mix). It was easy to make them, and I loved the fact that they didn't stink. But, they seemed to break down pretty quickly, and cause the top layer of my soil to get crusty. This seemed to particularly be an issue where I was using a 100% turface mix. In those cases, I noticed that I would actually have dry pockets in my soil mass, regardless of how much I watered.

Does anyone know if fertilizer manufacturers take into account certain assumptions, such as water retention, frequency of watering, etc. when crafting directions for use? It would think that manufacturers are not considering the use of completely inorganic fertilizers with lots of watering.
 

painter

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hey tachigi
do those cakes attract wasps?
im allergic and dont want to learn the hard way.
p
 

John Ruger

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The most success I've had are with products from "Down To Earth" and "Home Harvest". Both companies have supplied me with several different products from dried blood, feather-meal, and dried bone, to different manures. All the products form very well into shape, they retain their form for weeks on end, and I've never encountered any issue with residues (crusting), or impeded drainage. I mix a solid NPK formula, add water and form-it dries quickly.

Smell is really non-existant.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Will you share your recipe for cakes made from PlantTone? How often so you have to replenish the cakes on your trees?

Thanks

Frank

It's easy, I dump a 10 lb. bag into a 5-gal. bucket; add a couple cups of flour (binding agent) and mix water in until I can make a ball out of a handful of it (I also add EcoVie, which are micronutrients, but that's optional). Then, I cover a piece of plywood with tin foil, and spread it out and pat it down flat (using gloves); it ends up about 2' by 4', by 3/4" thick. I score it into 1" squares and leave it to dry in the sun for a few days. When it's mostly dry, I'll dump the cakes into my soil sifting screens and allow them to dry in the sun on all sides for another couple days. Watch the forecast before you start...These do not attract bugs or wasps.

It breaks down slowly, about like Tom showed, and I replace them about every 6-8 weeks. About 3 "rounds" in a growing season here. In fact, I just added the second round this week.
 

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