Is NPK really just NPK??? Your Thoughts and Experience Please...

Anthony

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#41
Epm,

here is what we do --------- silica based gravel and compost
if the plant is thirsty and likes a lot of sun, for up to half of
the gravel, substitute crushed red earthenware brick [ it is porous]

Additionally, roots cannot damage the inorganic.

Early observations had perlite, pumice smashing in use.
K.I.S.S

For pines - 5 mm gravel plus compost and an earthenware pot or
cast water aged concrete pot.
Takes out extra water even on rainy days.
Good Day
Anthony
 
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#42
It's basically universal, in every stage of development. Since the concentrations are in grams/L water and not based on grams/dryweightofplant. These are generalized averages, usually sampled over seasons and mediated to form a steady average.

Some commercial nutrient mixtures have tried to mimic these compositions of MS, others are based on woody plant medium or other generic formulations. These are all public and freely available.

the impact of soil composition and pH should not be underestimated. I'm a little short on time today to go in depth about that.
 

Anthony

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#43
My question would be, if the roots produce substances to
encourage the microbes / wildlife, they prefer.

Would these microbes be able to digest any form of
nitrogen offered?

If so then the fertiliser offered, organic or inorganic
would not matter.
Anyone ?
Good Day
Anthony

* Even the J.B.pine responds to Miracle Gro Lawn fertiliser.
 
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#44
Anthony, these microbes have a preference. But there are millions of types of microbes. Giving one type of nitrogen, allows the microbe that benefits from it, to thrive. Give another type of nitrogen, and another type of microbe will thrive.
Some microbes know how to work with all of them, others are very specialized.
Microbes themselves excrete material that could change a urea molecule to nitrate, then the microbe can use it's nitrate reduction function to change it to something it can take up.

We humans do stuff like that too, in our digestive system (basically our roots; body helps microbes break things down, we take it up and spread it from there, even our water comes from there!). If we change diet, our microflora changes as well. In plants thats the same, even seasonal changes. Some microbes thrive in heat, others in the cold.

That's why I keep hammering: feed and mend to a community, not just 1 type. If possible. Otherwise there's a chance of the microbes of one type disappearing. That might just be a type that produces some kind of unknown antibiotic that protects the tree, or infects gnats or shrubs and kills those. That, we don't know!



*microbes in this comment are fungi, bacteria, the whole package, etc.
 

Anthony

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#45
So essentially, they can adapt.
Probably explains why our simple way works.
Thank you.
Good Day
Anthony

*since 1980 --------- only leaf cutting ants, and grasshoppers.
Never have used a spray.
Touch wood, fingers crossed.
Go Rodale !!!
 

EPM

Yamadori
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#46
So essentially, they can adapt.
Probably explains why our simple way works.
Thank you.
Good Day
Anthony

*since 1980 --------- only leaf cutting ants, and grasshoppers.
Never have used a spray.
Touch wood, fingers crossed.
Go Rodale !!!
Hi Anthony,
What's this Rodale I've seen you refer to a few times before? Forgive me if you've posted more on it in the past. Thanks
 
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#48
My girlfriend is doing her phd in the field of moleculair lifesciences. Back in the day she had to grow plants in sterile environments that for instance had different types of mycrorrhiza and the other moulds that stimulate nitrogen symbiosis. Since these kind of experiments can't be influenced by different colonies of bacteria's/moulds it needed a 'neutral' fertilizer (not promoting other growth than needed for the expertiment). They used a fertilizer with the following:

20%Stikstof totaal (N)
  • 6,0% Nitraatstikstof (NO3N)
  • 3,9% Ammoniumstikstof (NH4N)
  • 10,1% Ureum (Ur-N)
20%Fosforzuuranhydride (P2O5)
  • 20,0% wateroplosbaar (water soluble)
20%Kaliumoxide (K2O)
  • 20,0% wateroplosbaar (water soluble)
0,12%IJzer (Fe)
  • 0,12% wateroplosbaar (water soluble)
  • 0,12% DTPA gechelateerd (chelated)
0,06%Mangaan (Mn)
  • 0,06% wateroplosbaar (water soluble)
  • 0,06% EDTA gechelateerd*
0,02%Borium (B)
  • 0,02% wateroplosbaar (water soluble)
0,015%Koper (Cu)
  • 0,015% wateroplosbaar (water soluble)
  • 0,015% EDTA gechelateerd*
0,010%Molybdeen (Mo)
  • 0,010% wateroplosbaar *
0,015%Zink (Zn)
  • 0,015% wateroplosbaar *
  • 0,015% EDTA gechelateerd*

Since this stands on it own and doenst need reactions with bacteria/moulds it can also be used as leaf fertilizer.

To the discussion about if NPK is NPK. In our own bodies we can eat vegetables and this will contain (for instance) the precursor of Vitamin B. Than processes in our body will know what kind of Vitamin B we need (and where) and makes a balance of vitamin B and transport it where its needed. We can walk around and find different ingredients for our foods. Plants don't have the luxury of hunting and gathering and are bount to the ingredients in the soil and therefore developed even better mechanisms to convert the found compounds in what it may need. Doesn't hurt to give it a complex dieet but a basic well rounded fertilizer should do the trick.

Here I have to add that you can overfeed a living organism to which it balace gets f'ed up and it gets problem to know what it should produce for itself.. How it reacts is species specific and this is where experience comes in ;) Hurray to bonsai forums ^^
 

M. Frary

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#50
I use all inorganic substrate.
Only Miracle grow in very large doses weekly.
I have mychocazzi abundantly in my trees soil.
I sometimes add Epsom salts when fertilizing.
Not this year yet.
This all tells me that organic anything but the tree in the pot isn't needed.
 

SU2

Chumono
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#52
I also use rainwater mostly, so I supplement with Cal Mag+. (I also use foliage pro..)
Would be very thankful to hear what specific #'s you use (even if it's just "1tsp/gal once weekly of productX", I can figure out from there ;D ), am using rainwater mostly myself and this need to add cal/mag never occurred to me, have to say it still sounds like something that's pretty independent of water-source to me, insofar as how much cal/mag you're actually getting from the tap! I guess I'd have thought they needed supplementation regardless of what your water source was ;p
 

SU2

Chumono
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#53
I use all inorganic substrate.
Only Miracle grow in very large doses weekly.
I have mychocazzi abundantly in my trees soil.
I sometimes add Epsom salts when fertilizing.
Not this year yet.
This all tells me that organic anything but the tree in the pot isn't needed.
M.Frary, you are the most no-BS / to the point type of person that I'm surprised you find forums useful/worthwhile! I agree with you here, in the same way I agreed with you in the thread where you made a similar claim (I don't doubt these claims at all, want to be clear on that!) only it was pH, you told me something similar to the above, something like "well I just use high-pH tap-water and my trees are great"

I don't disagree with your statements, but there's a difference between what works and what's optimal, and learning to move from the former to the latter is why I come online, why I suspect most come online to these forums- while a tree will grow in improper conditions, should we not seek to optimize them? I almost get the feeling you're ambivalent on that Q, but surely you acknowledge that there is a difference between "what works" and "what's optimal", and that these are just points on a continuum from "killing it fast" to "100% ideal/optimal conditions", right?

As to the meat of your point- not that I'd doubt anything you post (hold you in pretty high regards actually), but can confirm very very much what you describe- my first collected-tree went into a large box of 100% NAPA DE, I used just tap-water and 24-8-16 miracle gro (no minors, no pH stuff, etc), and it was the only container I've ever had that had such a great myco colonization that it was growing mushrooms!!! Seriously I was pulling 1-3 mushrooms a day from it (hmmmmm, if only the neat kind of mushrooms were symbiotic w/ our substrates!!!! ;D )
 

SU2

Chumono
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#54
I've been trying to learn more about fertilization and micronutrients this year since I had some various oak species and a Japanese beech develop mild chlorosis. I had a few Japanese black pine seedlings show some chlorosis symptoms. I've since tried to switch to rain water which has helped but for the oak trees has not entirely resolved. I've tried other things as well. Since then I've read that high phosphorus can interfere with absorption of certain micronutrients (can't recall the source offhand) so I've been trying to reduce that. Soil media could also be having an impact here. The mixture I used for oaks is high in pumice which can have a high pH depending on the mine it comes from, or so I've read.
Glad to hear you switched to rain-water, FWIW there's "pH-Down" products (diluted phosphoric acid liquids) that you can add to your tap-water to make it closer to rain (rain is in the 4's pH, my tap is 8pH and most are >7pH) if your reservoirs are empty, I recently started both using rainwater and using the PA liquid when out of rainwater and have also resolved long-standing chlorosis issues (issues that I'd slammed them w/ iron and magnesium [not at same time of course, as they compete for absorption] and got no results, til I learned about the relative-absorption of minors based on pH:
pH related to nutrient uptae.jpg

I'd thought I had my issue narrowed-down to either insufficient Mg+, or insufficient Fe, so got both (individually) and applied the iron first, got no results, concluded it had to be Mg+....I tried the Mag next, got no results! Then I looked into it more and realized that all signs pointed to iron-deficiency, and in that research I found the above chart and others like it that show how easily you can get iron-chlorosis due to pH, and how impossible it can be to solve if you don't remedy the pH first!
 

M. Frary

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#55
just wondering does your soil ever have weeds?
If so.
Pull out or cut off heads of the weeds ?
They get some weeds. Not sure where they come from. Must blow in. Like the damned red maple seeds.
I pull them all. Was actually just out pulling things out of my pots,buckets and colander.
Obviously the collected trees have weeds in their native soil. And they now have or had the good life. Water daily and fertilizer weekly.
 

Anthony

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#56
Actually Gogeerah,

I was checking for your source of the organic.
Bird poop, dust, bugs, roots [ plant and weed ] etc.
Something for the microbes to feed on [ so small in the millions ]
Like the seeds that colonised new lava flows, and then come
the trees.

What we [ Anthony and Mike ] do is similiar to new lava flows.
As well as using Miracle Gro - potent or weak.
Good Day
Mottie
 

JudyB

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#57
Would be very thankful to hear what specific #'s you use (even if it's just "1tsp/gal once weekly of productX", I can figure out from there ;D ), am using rainwater mostly myself and this need to add cal/mag never occurred to me, have to say it still sounds like something that's pretty independent of water-source to me, insofar as how much cal/mag you're actually getting from the tap! I guess I'd have thought they needed supplementation regardless of what your water source was ;p
I use 2.5 Tbs to 8 gallons of water. My watering tank is 8 gallons. I use it about weekly.
 
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#60
Also notice that this fertilizer is 2 percent nitrate nitrogen. Very expensive and mostly not available in most commercial fertilizer. Nitrate is immediately available to the plant. Absolutely no need to break down for uptake.
I used to use the blue stuff like Mike Frary and Mike B. With almost completely inorganic soil components any excess washes out after a few days. But because it does, urea doesn't have much time to break down to ammonia, something immediately useful to the plants, as bananaman stated. Miracle grow nitrogen is almost completely urea. So now I look for ferts with a significant percentage of nitrogen in the form of ammonia or nitrate salts. Still use it heavy and often.