Top Dressing with Granules/ Cakes

Johnathan

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Okay so this is probably a silly question that I know the answer to, but I was considering ramping up the ferts using either granules like Osmocote Plus, or even possibly making my own fert cakes.

Problem is that I don't really want to go through the hassle of removing the top dressing on a few of my trees to do so lol

20200529_113340.jpg

As you can see, it's not an overly expensive or top dressing or anything, just some sphagnum moss. My question is do I really need to remove the dressing and place the ferts directly onto the soil?
 

NOZZLE HEAD

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The short answer is no. Any nutrients adsorbed or absorbed to the moss will be released into the root zone eventually.

The long answer is probably. You will see a faster response the closer you can get to the roots.

I like polymer coated nutrients (osmocote) there is no better value for a protected nutrient molecule. The actual plant adsorbed molecules are the same as a living organism based product and the release curve is more reliable.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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I dislike polymer coated nutrients, because the release curve isn't reliable in my experience. The release depends on too many factors. With straight up liquid/soluble nutrients, you know what you dose. With organics, it's a matter of water, temperature and time. With polymer coated, it's a matter of temperature, time, watering, moisture contact, age of polymer, state of the soil, constituents of the water, and so on. Too many variables.
Here's a discussion about it: https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/you-got-balls.32768/

Use whatever you like of course! Just putting this out there.
 

Shibui

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Controlled release fert like osmocote are designed to be in the soil where moisture can extract the nutrients. Top dressing is the least effective way to apply these products. It would work well if placed under the moss dressing I think.
Fert cakes work by releasing nutrients every time you water so they work fine right on top. Most of organic fert is not nutrients. The leftovers filter into the soil and there is some concern about leftover sludge blocking the soil spaces so many use the tea bags to be able to remove the leftover waste.

Osmosis Plus is the strongest variety, correct?
There are now a huge range of slightly different controlled release products. You an choose the length of release from 3 months through to 16 months of useful life. There are a range of slightly different nutrient formulations and there are some newer products that can influence when the nutrients are released (quick early release for fast growing plants or slow initial release building up to larger release later for slower growing long term plants)
I think Osmocote plus just means it has micro-nutrients as well as the same amounts of the big 3 as previous osmocote so not really stronger, just with added trace elements.
I think the trace elements are valuable but the small differences in major elements is probably not significant for the way we grow trees.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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"Strength" is dose dependant. How much you pile on determines how much gets released to the soil.

Osmocote and Nutricote both polymer coated fertilizer pellets release based on Temperature, not the amount of moisture present. This is good in northern climates, where summers are cool enough you do not encounter summer dormancy. It is bad in hot climates in that you can overdose the fertilizer right as the temps hit 100 F, and the trees are "shut down". It is safe to apply these fertilizer pellets in cold weather, as when temperatures are below 50 F, the release is really slow.

In areas with hot summers, I suggest looking closely at the number of months the pellets are supposed to last. For example 3 month pellets. Apply the pellets 3 or 4 months BEFORE your normal beginning of 95+F weather. That way the pellets in the soil will be mostly exhausted before the summer dormancy kicks in. Then after the heat of summer has broken, apply your 3 month dose to get you through autumn. If your 95+ F weather normally starts in June, for 3 month pellets, apply them to your trees no later than end of February. Otherwise what can happen is come the heat of summer the pellets will dump an excess of fertilizer right at the time the trees take a summer dormancy.

I am lucky, I live far enough north that we do not get a summer dormancy. Or rarely do we get a summer dormancy. I do find these coated fertilizers handy for young material that you are trying to size up. I use liquid fertilizer for all my trees. I make up 55 gallons at a time and just water everybody with the same strength fertilizer. So I dose the fertilizer according to what my most mature trees need. Which means light or no fertilizer in spring and moderate fertilizer in autumn.

For younger trees I'm trying to bulk up I put a light to maybe medium dose in the pots. Then I still water them with the liquid fertilizer that I use for the mature trees. The 2 doses together are a nice "full strength" fertilizing.

So Osmocote is good, useful if you are cautious with it.
 

Johnathan

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Well, I live in OKC, we can get 100+ Temps at time. Are there any granules that you all would recommend that are not coated?
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Organic fertilizer pellets. They dissolve based on watering frequency and microbial action. They dissolve slightly faster in hot weather because insects and microbes are more active in the heat and you water more in the heat. Brand isn't that important, most are based on soybean meal or cottonseed meal or rapeseed meal.
 

Johnathan

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Organic fertilizer pellets. They dissolve based on watering frequency and microbial action. They dissolve slightly faster in hot weather because insects and microbes are more active in the heat and you water more in the heat. Brand isn't that important, most are based on soybean meal or cottonseed meal or rapeseed meal.
Thank you sir!
 

NOZZLE HEAD

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I dislike polymer coated nutrients, because the release curve isn't reliable in my experience. The release depends on too many factors. With straight up liquid/soluble nutrients, you know what you dose. With organics, it's a matter of water, temperature and time. With polymer coated, it's a matter of temperature, time, watering, moisture contact, age of polymer, state of the soil, constituents of the water, and so on. Too many variables.
Here's a discussion about it: https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/you-got-balls.32768/

Use whatever you like of course! Just putting this out there.
One more factor is microbes.

I topdress feather meal in commercial organic blueberries in January and get nitrogen release from March to May.

If I topdress in May, usually because the farm changed hands or management, and apply an concentrated biological product. The crop response is the same.
 
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