snake oils


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Snake oils - real good or really nothing at all.

We all know about Superthrive. Quite a long term marketing campaign and quite a product. I can't say for sure if it does anything or not. I can say I love the way it smells. It just has one of those scents that I find fond. Please note I found leaded gas to have a great scent too. (No - I'm not a huffer. I don't put solvents in bags and huff until I pass out).

Anyhow - I recently found a new snake oil - or something that may work. Time will tell. It's called HB-101. I found it on a thread on another forum and it had some positive remarks to it's credit. I received my shipment today and I liken the packaging and papers to be the Japanese forum of Superthrive - at least in the marketing stuff. It smells good. Not Superthrive good, it may even be better.

I am trying this product as a reviver for a sickly JBP. The pine came from a group of very neglected overgrown nursery stock that was left in a field to die a slow death. It never was all that healthy so I took some evasive measures. Early this winter I removed it from the 15 gallon can and tried to loosen up the rootball. No dice - it was that bad. I decided to saw off the bottom 3" to 4" and I also removed several inches from 2 opposing sides. I potted in a large mesh type basket contraption in a mix of pumice, lava and akadama. I have noticed some very small buds opening but it still has a sickly look.

I'm applying a soil drench and needle mist as per the directions provided. Anyone seen or used this stuff?

My camera is not doing so well - I'll post some photos when I can get it working or can get a new one.

If this should be somewhere else feel free to move it. I grew weary of looking for the appropriate location.
Graydon, that wonderful smell that you find so endearing is vitamin B1. That is the active ingredient in superthrive. I don't use Superthrive, however I do use B1 and B1 with willow water. I buy B1 tablets at the grocery store, its a lot cheaper than superthrive. I have a pharmacist's mortar and bowl and I crush them up to a fine powder an lightly dust the roots at re-potting time. If I'm in your situation I mix it with willow water and do a drench. It works for me I have had what I consider good results.

As far as your poor ole root ball? I'm assuming that it was root bound beyond a good combing. If so I would refrence you off to Colin Lewis. He had a 300 year old Hinoki that he worked on at the Arnold Arborteum, Harvard. He said that it was as solid as a brick and the tree was in poor health. He over a few years water picked it out. I believe he has an article on the process.
I like the smell of Methyl Ethyl Ketone, Jack Daniels, and two-stroke exhaust. I too like the smell of Superthrive and Leaded Gas (though not mixed together), and I like the smell of my favorite transplant fertilizer, Vita-Start. Oh, and don't forget napalm in the morning...

According to , this is an extract of pine (and other) trees, so it only makes sense that your pine will love it. Let us know how happy it is with it, and maybe I too can give this stuff a shot!
As far as I'm concerned, none of this makes sense from a botanical point of view. I can't say that these products don't work, but I've not seen any controlled experiments that say they do.

Few of us have the space, time, and trees to actually do this kind of experiment. I'm doing that now with superthrive......testing it on cuttings and seedlings. I hope to have a couple of hundred plants, with and without superthrive, to collect data from.

I have no preconceived notion, and will report the results either way. I remain skeptical, though, until I see definitive proof of their efficacy.

I'm glad you brought this up Graydon, as I've always been unsure of Superthrive. While I certainly don't believe the more extreme claims made for it, I can see how it would work, although according to research done recently vitamin B-1 doesn't actually have any impact on the plant. The other active ingredients are listed as plant hormones. I assume this to mean auxins, gibberellins, cytokinins etc. These *would* have some impact on a plant, although I don't see how this would be so as a "reviver". Now I have found some things that DO appear to work. Namely mycorrhizal fungi as a soil drench or for bare-rooting (works great for plants that have dammaged roots after collection)
as well as sea kelp, fish emulsion and compost tea as foliar feeds. Anytime you use something like these as a foliar feed, you save the plant some of the energy it would use to actively transport these elements\ions from the soil via roothairs, which means that energy can instead be used for photosynthesis, respiration and other processes that the plant can use to recover. And it has also been shown that anything taken into the plant via the stomata is used much more efficiently within the plant itself.

I can't wait to see the results of BB9's efforts to test the efficacy of Superthrive... I use it... along with a combonation of different things including organic and non-organic ferts in rotations, and soils ammended with micro-nutrients, mycorrhizal fungi, and ozmocote.... lol SOOOOO I have no idea WHAT is making my trees as healthy as they are... I will probably continue what I have been doing... I have been accused of having disgustingly healthy :D

Kindest Regards,

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