Peter Adam's Mystery Fertilizers

emk

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I was reading back thru some books by Peter Adams and he mentions a few fertilizers and I'm wondering if anyone has any details about these products (most likely Brittish or at least European, and most likely never available here in the States) and what "modern equivalents" might be:

Fisons 'GH5'
Fisions Flower and Fruit Developer
Phostrogen
Tomorite
 

Klytus

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I have not seen the Fisons brand for many years,for me it is synonymous with childhood memories of the Winfield/Woolworths store in Hatfield and their giant disco ball.

Fisons may be best remembered for producing those long bags of compost for growing tomatoes.

The new (then) Flymo hover mowers fill that same memory bubble.


I think Phostrogen is probably still available,i'm thinking J Arthur Bowers?,and Tomorite has so many clones it's impossible to determine if i have actually seen it recently.

And yes these were all British Brand names.

Like De Havilland.
 
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rockm

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If you're reading Peter's books, you might note their publication dates. Some are rather dated.
 

emk

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If you're reading Peter's books, you might note their publication dates. Some are rather dated.
Yeah they might be dated, but I'd still like to know what he's trying to say.

What I'm looking for is the NKP values of these feeds, if they were liquid mixes or solids/slow-release, and what micronutrients (if any) were in these feeds. I'm pretty sure Fisions Flower and Fruit Developer is 0-10-10, but I don't know much else.
 

rockm

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What was said 10-15 years ago about fertilization hasn't changed really,--balanced fertilizer is best for development-- but the manner of delivery has.

Adam's formulas in those books are archaic and ineffective if you're using freer draining soil and fertilizing only every two weeks at half strength. Knowledge had advanced since then. It was common to fertilize at half strength back then. We wound up with underfed trees. I'd think even Peter Adams has moved on from those recipes from the 1990s...

You might email and ask him. He lives in Washington state now.

http://www.peteradamsbonsai.com/index.html
 

FrankP999

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here are my notes I made in the margins of my copy of Adams's Bonsai Design. The N-P-K comes from Adams page 16 unless marked ?

GH5 - organic made from fish, bone, blood meal 6.5-7.7-5
TEF - trace elements frit contains micronutrients 12% iron, 4% zinc, 2% boron, 0.13 molybdenum
Phostrogen - 10-10-27
Tomorite - a low Nitrogen fertilzer for tomatoes perhaps 0-10-10?
Fisions Flower and Fruit Developer - not mentioned in the Adams book I have but probably 0-10-10 or phostrogen


Frank
 

Smoke

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Once again I see fertilizer is being made difficult.

One thing that is universal all over the world is NPK.

Use a balanced formula, 10-10-10

use it often

use it with plenty of water

and use it with plenty of air and sun and you will be rewarded. There is no magic formula....crap is crap.
 

bretts

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Hi Smoke
I always liked the KISS principle (Keep it Simple Stupid) so I am happy to take this advice from people such as yourself and Walter Pall who states "Use whatever fertiliser is on special and with our free draining mixes the tree will use what it wants and the rest will be washed away"
Recently though I was reading an article from Walter Pall on Hornbeam care Bonsai Today 70
Watering
.... However the hornbeam reacts with some sensitivity to high content of salts in the soil mix, which shows up as brown borders on the leaves, If it is watered very frequently (in the case of a soil mix that dries out rapidly), to be safe it is preferable to use rain water instead of water from the faucet.
Maybe this needs clarification from Walter but I take "a soil that dries out rapidly" as a free draining mix. The teaching these days is that a free draining mix is able to have the salts washed away. I had to give this alot of thought. Especially since I believe Walter is one who has suggested that salts will just be washed away in a free draining mix and that is what I have aimed for especially with my hornbeams in our hot climate.
With some thought what Walter states in his care for hornbeam did make some sense when thinking in an extreme abstract manner. If you had a sponge that you watered once in a year and it took one year to dry out compared to a sponge that you watered 3 times a day for a year with it drying out each time in between. Just like a leaking pipe it makes sense that no matter how much you flushed the sponge out there would have to be more salt buildup residue in the frequently watered one.
Although I believed advice that any drinking water was OK for bonsai and our water is not bad anyway, I now believe that salt buildup is a major factor in the margin leaf burn I have been trying to cure in my hornbeams.
Rain water and careful monitoring of only using fertiliser that the tree needs seems to be the obvious solution. If the tree only needs P:K will I save on salt residue/buildup by using a 0:10:10:
Although I wish we could just keep it simple I think as with everything there are exceptions to the rule.
The Demo I went to see Peter Adams at in Australia recently (less than 12 months :) ) He was pushing organic fertilisers and seasol alot. Maybe fish emulsion. I will double check the notes.
This is my unfinished theory so I look forward to any thought anyone might have!
 
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Smoke

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Salt buildup is possible with chemical ferts. but organic fert. is nearly impossible to have a salt problem. Gyp will help with that, and regular repots. Just not that big of deal.

I live in the largest farming community in the world. We have so many products to counter salt problems. One is called agua flaca. This is good stuff. Large quanities only so don't even ask.
 
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bretts

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That's interesting Smoke
Just not that big of deal
Maybe not for you but it is for me. When KISS Walter states that we must use rain water for a Hornbeam because of salt intolerance and it is now obvious that my hornbeams are suffering from salt burn then that is a big deal to me who has not been able to accomplish the brilliant colour my trees are capable of because they always head into Autumn with damaged leaves. Believe me they are more amazing than I have seen in any other tree let alone carpinus. Maybe you are lucky enough not to have the issue but as I said like always things may not be as black and white as you would like to suggest?
Being no horticultural master I have been considering whether there will be less salt with Organic fertiliser. The advice I had was that salt level was directly relevant to the level of fertiliser. But everything I googled told me that if you have salt issues use organic ferts to alleviate the issue?

Maybe organic fertiliser is converted to salt as need be by the soil microbes? That seems to be all that makes sense to me at the moment

I have started to use Gypsum but am still unsure how useful it is in pot culture. Agua flaca sounds interesting but don't worry I won't be hitting you up for any free bee's the postage to Australia would kill me :)

I am growing the hornbeams out of zone but don't want to give up :D
 
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BUBBAFRGA

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I agree with you Al, what ever as long as it has the right mix of NPK you are looking for. I use both Chemical and organics. My Tropicals like the chemical fert and my Junipers and d trees likes the organics.

But old debate about soil can be applied to this also....if it is working for you then use it.
 

bretts

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Hi Bubba
I agree with you Al, what ever as long as it has the right mix of NPK you are looking for
I think that is the oposite of what Al is saying :p
 

jk_lewis

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Everybody needs to remember that if you don't live right next door to the "expert" who is making those recommendations, they may not apply to you. Walter's water (European) may have high "salts." Yours (and you don't give us a hint where you live that I can see in a quick scan here) will be different.

IF your bonsai soil is mostly inorganic, you will not have a salt buildup as you will need to water so often it'll go right though. If you are worried about the salts in your city's water, and you are in the USA, write your water department. By law they MUST give you an analysis. But if you can safely drink it, your trees can -- but you may have white residue on the pots and leaves if it is very hard.

But here again, much mystery seems to be made of fertilization. Your trees don't give a hoot if it is "oganic" or "chemical." (And, for the record, ALL fertilizer is "chemical." WE humans are "chemical."). All trees want is a sufficient amount of NPK and trace elements. The delivery system is immaterial (with the exception of time-release ferrtilizer, which tends to provide very irregular doeses).
 

Attila Soos

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Just a note on free-draining mixes. There are free-draining components that cannot hold nutrients for almost any period of time. These are the inorganic ones, such as lava, pumice, etc.
On the other hand, there are organic free-draining components that can hold these nutrients: coarse peat-moss, bark mulch, etc. They are just as free-draining as the inorganic ones.

So, I always add these organic components to my mix that is predominantly inorganic. This helps with maintaining nutrients in your soil mix.
 

Smoke

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Just a note on free-draining mixes. There are free-draining components that cannot hold nutrients for almost any period of time. These are the inorganic ones, such as lava, pumice, etc.
On the other hand, there are organic free-draining components that can hold these nutrients: coarse peat-moss, bark mulch, etc. They are just as free-draining as the inorganic ones.

So, I always add these organic components to my mix that is predominantly inorganic. This helps with maintaining nutrients in your soil mix.
If you started use in regular applications of humic acid you would find there is no need to add any organic medium. That is the beauty of the humates.


Bretts...one thing you should consider is that organic fertilizer is made from composted organic solid waste. Ie; crap.

Chemical fertilizers like miricle gro or peters, or osmocote while having the same NPK values are made up of different chemical salts extracted mostly from urea. Chemicals like Potasium nitrate, ammonium nitrate (the bomb that blew up the FBI building in Oklahoma) and things like that. It's these kind of salts that can build up in your soil. Chemicals in salt form or "sulphated" are easily absorbed by plants and so quicker though short lived results are seen. That would be your trade off.

For us and bonsai we are not trying to bring a crop to market in record time so fast acting fertilizer are not necessary. Stick with organic slower acting stuff and your problems will go away.


I have many hornbeams in scorching summers here with inorganic soil. maybe you can post some pics of your trees in fall so we can analyze whats going on. It may not be fertilizer related at all.
 
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bretts

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Thanks Smoke
I will start a new thread and see if we can get to the bottom of my leaf burn :)

I am definitely no expert when it comes to fertiliser. I am starting to wonder if it is something I should seriously study as it can be a complicated subject.
Many seem to consider that Organics will cause less salt issues but when I ask if organic has less salt any experts are adamant that they contain the same salt? Yet chemical ferts are "made" stronger.
A friend asked his horticultural teacher some about this for me and got this.

The Tafe teacher basically said what i did, that the salts are what the plant can take up. However, chemicals are just pure salts, and often stronger (higher N:p:K). He claims that when diluted to the same N:p:K:, there should be no difference with salt burn. But its not just the nitrogen phosphorus and potassium, but the other elements. Any element in any fert could be unbalanced. Its up to the buyer to beware of the full analysis. He claimed that ferts are being better regulated these days and that salt burns are far less frequent now. He also claimed that certain organic ferts could be unbalanced too, such as mushroom compost. I forgot to ask what it had too much of, but apparently it can cause real issues for some plants.
So I wonder why are organic fertilisers made weaker. I do have a 9:9:8 fert that I thought was organic but (now I feel stupid) reading the analysis it states .43% organic Nit, 3.36% Nit as urea, 4.6% Nit in ammonium form. Total Nitrogen 8.39
So I am now guessing most of the nitrogen here is chemical ?
So is it possible to get a 10:10:10 organic fertiliser and will this give you less instant salt and/or residual salt than a 10:10:10 Chemical fert?
The fertiliser company I have been dealing with is pretty good maybe they can answer for me.
 
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So I wonder why are organic fertilisers made weaker.
Because instead of having only the desired ions, you got their precursors in complex organic molecules containing useless (for our goal) elements.
For example, to get N in an organic fert, it has to be included in an amino-acid that contain usually more C than N.

So is it possible to get a 10:10:10 organic fertiliser and will this give you less instant salt and/or residual salt than a 10:10:10 Chemical fert?
I would say that, on the contrary, for the same NO3 or NH4 concentration , an organic fert will give your always more osmotic pression (salts if you want) because the breakdown of the proteins is gradual.
 

jk_lewis

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I am starting to wonder if it is something I should seriously study as it can be a complicated subject.
It's only complicated if you MAKE it complicated. Your trees don't give a damn whether you feed them "chemical" (read artificial) fertilizer or "organic" (read more or less "natural") fertilizer. It especially doesn't matter with bonsai, because the trees' habitat (pot and very little soil) is 100% artificial and they only get what you give them for "dinner".

Give them a fertilizer -- ANY fertilizer -- with more or less balanced percentages of NPK and with trace elements. The specific numbers (10-10-10 or 2-3-5, etc.) don't really matter in pots. Your plant will use what it needs, the rest will wash out the bottom of your pot when you water. You'd have to TRY and try HARD to "burn" the roots of a correctly potted bonsai by applying several times more fertilizer than the directions set out on the fertilizer label.

(Your leaf burn is MUCH more likely to be from wind or wind and sun.)

If you insist on details, everything you will ever need to know about fertilizing bonsai is available here: http://www.evergreengardenworks.com/fertiliz.htm
 
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