Alternative Organic Fertilization

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Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  JustLikeAmmy on Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:19 pm

Hello everyone! I still haven't seen all the threads here so forgive me if one exists.

I only have one bonsai tree, the details are all on this thread: Buddy's Story (My Indoor Juniper)

Due to the difficulty of the task described in that thread, and my lack of decades of experience coupled with my extreme determination to allow Buddy to thrive--I've reasoned my only chance is to become as aware as I can of the chemical processes that my tree requires.

This thread is intended to be a place to discuss the chemistry of a living plant. Not amount of sun--unless it's as a source of energy to permit necessary chemical processes to occur. Not soil type as in 'rock'--but things that should be in it, such as pH levels or sulfur amounts.

In my research on how to keep my Juniper alive indoors, I've been reading not just bonsai, but Botany and chemistry, as well as metabolic cycles and chemical reactions that take place.

There are some basics I'll introduce. The most common is there are 16 MAIN nutrients that plants need--and on top of that probably about as many other minor nutrients as you can find in the soil. As far as I've been able to tell, over the counter fertilizers ONLY focus on the main 16. I believe this to be a huge reason so many people have experienced failure when it comes to raising indoor Juniper and other difficult trees.

This is why I have began a feeding regime for my Buddy Bonsai. I mean this literally. I'm using human food and other things that basically are reminiscent of witch doctors. I've been crushing up bone meal, boiling down Superfoods (more on those in a bit), introducing used coffee grounds for acidity, and other things that make me feel a bit crazy, but IMO have really paid off on my tree--which is still thriving just fine so far on it's strange diet.

The three most important nutrients I've been focusing on are describe well in a copy pasta from this article:

N - Nitrogen is responsible for the size and amount of new growth and, to some extent, the green color of the leaves. Nitrogen is required for cell division and, also, protein manufacturing. It is the primary nutrient for green growth. It will make leaves large, deep green and will create long internodes in good growing conditions and with adequate soil space. It is essential in spring when deciduous and evergreen plants are putting out new growth. It should be tapered off at the end of the season to stop forcing soft new growth that could be damaged by frost.
P - Phosphorus is also necessary for cell division and is associated with good root growth and flowering. Also is important in promoting root growth, flowering, strengthening cell walls and for fighting off diseases.
K - Potassium activates cell enzymes and is related with overall healthy cell activity. Also aids in general cell functioning. A balanced fertilizer seems to work just fine under normal conditions (all the numbers for NPK are the same such as 10-10-10). Higher nitrogen percentages are suitable for spring growth and for acid conditions.

There is another nutrient that's actually just as important I've found reading about plant life, and that's Sulfur (S). I wont' get into this in detail, because there is a specific article that does a great job of explaining its role thoroughly here.

These are the nutrients I have most been focusing on, and I have been incorporating the other important ones by using ingredients that contain a large proportion of the main 16. The great part about using these organic materials especially when it comes to my sensitive indoor Juniper is that it's a better emulation of it's outdoor environment. The nutrients are always different and always potent because the ingredients are always different--and the small molecules in the boiled down water compost quickly in the soil since they're basically 100% surface area and already deteriorated from cooking.

Imagining a wild juniper, I can't help but think of all the families of squirrels and birds and deers and wildlife that are constantly urinating and defecating on it. Not only that, but dropped seeds, grains, eggshells--just a constantly renewed supply of organic materials that are INCREDIBLY rich with the same nutrients fertilizers focus on. To make my life easier, I found a great list of organic foods you can use however you want depending how fast you want the tree to have access to the nutrients.

A list of Superfoods for humans--which basically is just a list of high-nutrient foods that exist in general: What Are Superfoods?

I've had my Buddy Juniper indoor for about 3 weeks now, only within the last week have I started this 'diet'. I feed it the infused veggie water (I boiled 'em down super concentrated, froze it, and dilute it as I need it) about once a month. Then continue it's normal watering with regular clean bottled water (I'm working on rainwater--haven't had any in a couple weeks).

Since it's only been a week, I'm not certain about any new growth. I'm not sure if my eyes are tricking me--but I may see a tiny new little leaf or bud happening on one of the dying and fragile branches of my tree...which would be so exciting and reassuring. I'll keep you guys posted.

I feel experimenting in ways that aren't similar to the methods others have used who have failed is my only chance at making Buddy thrive. And if this works out and it stays healthy---the entire world can grow indoor Juniper for under 60 bucks.

But since it's so experimental, I'd love ANY real input from real people experienced with the specific rolls/balance of nutrients! Most just shrug off and say ''heh--just do a 10-10-10 or something then switch it in the fall or something", but this sort of thing will be the death of my tree, which is why I'm delving so deeply into this. Also because it's really fun Very Happy

Thanks for reading, can't wait to hear any ideas or critiques! Can't wait to see how Buddy reacts in the long term Smile Pretty hopeful!

EDIT: Wanted to include this reference picture, it's a general diagram of the metabolic cycle of plants!

Diagram.


Last edited by Kev Bailey on Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:43 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Added reference diagram!)

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  fiona on Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:17 pm

At the moment this is not an advanced technique subject. Let's see how it develops.

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  rock on Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:24 pm

JustLikeAmmy wrote:

In my research on how to keep my Juniper alive indoors, I've been reading not just bonsai, but Botany and chemistry,
Wow ...all that for your one "indoor Juniper"

Imagine how pampered it is

Wink

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  stagz on Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:30 pm

^massages the branches, exfoliates the foliage, u know the usual pampering

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  JustLikeAmmy on Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:36 pm

fiona wrote:At the moment this is not an advanced technique subject. Let's see how it develops.

I only really used that terminology because I'm considering so much more in a much more technical way than say, a compost pile like a normal organic fertalizer would be.

You can edit it to "Alternative" now i think about it if you want, I don't think I can though.

I'm excited and hopeful--I just checked again and I think I see a 2nd little new piece of growth on the other feeble limb--*fingers crossed!*

I actually have never massaged the branches ahaha. But I do turn it occasionally, so it gets some movement.

I wish someone here would start a sapling and try out these and similar organic methods with me as a second source! It'd be great to hear how it goes in a different environment/with someone elses nutrition judgment.

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  drgonzo on Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:46 am

I believe that the more you understand about Botany and/or horticulture the greater and richer your experience with Bonsai or any form of horticulture, will be.

Several excellent texts were mentioned recently on this thread.
http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t11171p45-where-to-purchase-fertilizer

Searches for keywords like, "fertilizer" "pH" will also bring up in depth discussions about these topics and their relation to growing Bonsai.

Good luck
-Jay

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:52 am

Hello Just Like Ammy,

read this article and perhaps talk to Mr.J.Wikle, he has a very old Indoor Juniper.

http://www.bonsaihunk.us/WikleArticle.html

Best to you.
Khaimraj

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  FrankP999 on Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:44 pm

Three weeks is not a very long time to judge how happy a tree will be indoors. Conifers can remain green long after they are dead. Think of a Christmas tree and how long it can stay green and even uptake water even though it is dead.

Good luck and keep up posted.

Frank

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  handy mick on Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:30 pm

Maybe try a little music or leaving the tv on while you are out. pirat

Regards
Mick

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  Rick36 on Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:41 pm

Good idea, Mick. You could try "The Pharyngeal Reflex" - works for me!!

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  JustLikeAmmy on Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:00 pm

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:Hello Just Like Ammy,

read this article and perhaps talk to Mr.J.Wikle, he has a very old Indoor Juniper.

http://www.bonsaihunk.us/WikleArticle.html

Best to you.
Khaimraj

I love Wikle! I didn't know he was so much of a Bonsai celebrity until this forum Very Happy I have learned a lot from that man. I'm going to read that article again even though I think I've read it before because some of it seems new or newly worded Very Happy

FrankP999 wrote:Three weeks is not a very long time to judge how happy a tree will be indoors. Conifers can remain green long after they are dead. Think of a Christmas tree and how long it can stay green and even uptake water even though it is dead.

Yea I've heard they can stay 'green' for ages, too--but I've done a little 'test' to ease my worries...I saved a clipping I made a couple weeks ago, and have been comparing it's slow death with my tree--and my tree is definitely still technically 'alive', so that's good news! Not just green, but green on the inside and getting new tiny growth on it's weakest limbs. It's very exciting!

mick wrote: Maybe try a little music or leaving the tv on while you are out.
Really, music/tv for bonsai? I've heard of this for children but never plants!

Rick36 wrote:Good idea, Mick. You could try "The Pharyngeal Reflex" - works for me!!

Hahaha! You listened to something I made somehow! That's so cool XD

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  zejer on Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:14 pm

"In my research on how to keep my Juniper alive indoors, I've been reading not just bonsai, but Botany and chemistry, as well as metabolic cycles and chemical reactions that take place."


Photosynthesis will play a major role to keep your juniper alive indoors.

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  JustLikeAmmy on Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:26 pm

zejer wrote:"In my research on how to keep my Juniper alive indoors, I've been reading not just bonsai, but Botany and chemistry, as well as metabolic cycles and chemical reactions that take place."


Photosynthesis will play a major role to keep your juniper alive indoors.

Thanks! Botany is actually pretty clear on the importance of photosynthesis Wink

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  Rick36 on Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:21 pm

Very interesting - feeding human food to trees. My wife came out to the garden the other evening to say " We're having oysters for supper", and you know what? I'd almost swear my Hinoki perked up just at the mention of them!!
Good luck.

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  abcd on Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:38 pm

KAWABE sensey tell me this answer to my question: do you give fertilizer when you put a yamadori for the first time in pot ?
KAWABE sensey answer : "when a man is very sick, because the chirurgien have cut a part off his intestine, he can't eat , the chirurgien give it galactose ( c6h12o6), it's the same for yamadori, no roots , so no intestin, give it galactose !!!!!
The same food for the sick trees and the sick men .

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  JimLewis on Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:22 pm

So fertilizer is "medicine" now?

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  Rick36 on Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:37 pm

Not this "medicine" for sure. Galactose= toxicity in green plants at least!


Last edited by Rick36 on Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:38 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Punctuation correction.)

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  abcd on Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:00 pm

galactose is not the exact translation , Anhydric sugar is not toxic, it's not a fertilizer, anhydric sugar is directly assimilable by plants limbs , the mollecule is small and passes through the walls of the cells in the leaves , sugar ( c12h22o11) is not assimilable because thr mollecule is too big, it's an advice off one of the best and most experienced master in japan.
I use anhydric sugar since 5 years for yamadori, spectacular results

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  my nellie on Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:42 pm

Rick36 wrote:Not this "medicine" for sure. Galactose= toxicity in green plants at least!
1. Perhaps it's glucose...? I've read also elsewhere that some bonsaists in Italy feed dissolved glucose their maples to enhance fall colour of foliage (for one month before fall arrives).
2. I have also a friend of mine who asked a chinese guy who had a fine pine bonsai growing for many years "what do you feed your pine?" and he answered "I give it every now and then some milk because this is what my father feeds his bonsais".
3. I am aware of villagers here in Greece breeding sheeps and goats who after making the cheese out of their milk they used to pour the remaining liquid to the garden plants as an extra food.
Maybe there is some truth...

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  rock on Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:19 am

abcd wrote:
The same food for the sick trees and the sick men .
yea chicken soup

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  Rick36 on Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:48 am

Alexandra. Whey from cheesemaking is an acidic fertiliser when used on plants, but should not be for all plants, and certainly not for sick plants. See Jim's earlier comment on this thread re "medicine".

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  my nellie on Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:43 am

Yes, looks like this is the case, not for all plants.
Rick (and anyone else) can you please comment on use of glucose and milk, too?
I am interested in members' opinions.
Thank you.

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  Rick36 on Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:19 pm

Alexandra. Yes I can comment, but this just IMHO. Jim's one liners on the subject of chemical and other commercially manufactured speciality foods and treatments sum it up for me - not necessary! As for milk, that is for my new grandson and then not the sort with added permeates.
Best advice - read Walter on feeding and watering - it works for him.
Others may disagree (and probably will!!).
Cheers. Rick.

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  my nellie on Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:28 pm

Thank you for responding!

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

Post  Poink88 on Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:09 pm

I've used milk as pesticide and it works. I just spray a solution of half milk, half water and a little dish washing soap to my aphid infested plants (fukien tea & crabapple especially) and it takes care of the problem.

Not sure if the dripping solution helps feed the tree as well. It probably does. Wink

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Re: Alternative Organic Fertilization

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