What fertilizer should I use?

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What fertilizer should I use?

Post  giga on Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:32 am

Some I can pick up at a local hardware store? I was looking at them and I had no idea what to grab?

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  Auballagh on Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:55 am

Get some Miracle-Gro from the big box hardware stores, then go to London Bridge nursery or the Hydroponics guy on Newtown road and get a bottle of Dyna Grow.
Alternate each once per week at 1/4 to 1/3 strength from spring through October for Hampton Roads.
Plus, I can email you a document in MS Word of a recent VBS presentation done on bonsai fertilizing.
PM if interested.

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  PeacefulAres on Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:53 am

Auballagh wrote:Get some Miracle-Gro from the big box hardware stores, then go to London Bridge nursery or the Hydroponics guy on Newtown road and get a bottle of Dyna Grow.
Alternate each once per week at 1/4 to 1/3 strength from spring through October for Hampton Roads.
Plus, I can email you a document in MS Word of a recent VBS presentation done on bonsai fertilizing.
PM if interested.

Why use two different inorganic fertilizers? And why use 1/4 strength? There should be no problem with using either at the full dosage recommended for an outdoor plant. I'm not trying to be rude, I'd just like to understand your logic.

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  Auballagh on Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:20 pm

First off, let me get this straight. The fertilizing methods I use for my trees, work for me in southeastern Virginia. If you have a system that works really good for you in your geographic location? Great! At least you are feeding your trees. Plus, if you were to ask 3 people with bonsai trees what they use and how they fertilize their trees, you would most likely get 5 answers!
But, what I've seen unfortunately, is that too many people just aren't feeding their trees enough. So, here are hopefully answers to your questions,
Q1 - Why two different non-organic fertilizers?
A - They are formulated differently. The trees receive different benefits from the mix. I liken it to myself, in that a mixed, varied diet helps to hit all the nutritional wickets and hopefully make up for any deficiencies in any one source of food.
Q2 - Why use at 1/4 to 1/3 strength?
A - Because of the fact that these are non-organic fertilizers and the once per week frequency I feed my trees. Roots can be burnt and salts can build up in the pot with excessive fertilizer use. For my own trees, I feel it's better to be consistent with fertilizer use, but safe.

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  JimLewis on Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:47 pm

Plus, if you were to ask 3 people with bonsai trees what they use and how they fertilize their trees, you would most likely get 5 answers!

Which should tell us all something that is very important: Don't make a simple thing too complicated.

For some reason, people get all huffy when I say this every time we're asked "which fertilizer," but fertilization AIN'T ROCKET SCIENCE.

Trees (plants) need N, P, and K and trace minerals. There are a gazillion ways to give these to them, and they don't care much which one you choose. As Walter Pall says, you'll do fine choosing whichever commercial plant food is on sale at your local box store as long as it has NPK and trace elements -- so Read the Label. (You'll also do ok, I suppose, if you buy fertilizer that says "Bonsai Food" on the container, but you'll be a lot poorer when you're done.)

EVERYTHING (and more) that you need to know about fertilizing bonsai is right here:
http://www.evergreengardenworks.com/fertiliz.htm

I do have to differ with the previous message that says "too many people just aren't feeding their trees enough." That depends to a great extent on whether the tree is in the beginning stages of training or is a "done" tree. Fertilizer makes trees grow. When we have a finished tree, we're a lot less interested in growth than in health -- so you don't need to fertilize as often.

I foresee another LONG thread coming up, but searching for older threads might forestall it.


_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  drgonzo on Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:12 pm

Auballagh wrote:
Q1 - Why two different non-organic fertilizers?
A - They are formulated differently. The trees receive different benefits from the mix.

Dyna grow has its nitrogen in the form of both ammoniacal (NH4) and nitrates (NO3) and are thus immediately available for the tree to use. The bulk of the nitrogen in Miracle grow is in the form of Urea which will need to be metabolized by soil micro organisms in order to be turned into the usable form of nitrogen already found in the Dyna grow. Urea is a cheaper source of Nitrogen for fertilizers hence Miracle grow is a less expensive and therefore with regards delivering N, a less efficient product.

Dyna also has ALL necessary trace elements needed for plant growth and all are fully chelated, (as Dyna was originally formulated for hydroponics) Miracle grow simply does not. As such, thinking that one is providing the trees with what the other is missing (ie a varied diet analogy) is only true if the 'One" being referred to is the Dyna grow. I started off using Miracle grow several years ago and developed various nutrient deficiencies and occasional burns so I switched to Dyna and have had very good results with that product.

-Jay

P.S. And for (the quite justified) fear of another monster fertilizer thread, I will echo Jims words and recommend you search 'fertilizer' on the forum as you will find a wealth of info on the subject.


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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  JimLewis on Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:42 pm

I didn't want to complicate the question for a newcomer, but I probably should have added that no matter what you use you probably will want to add trace element at least once early in the summer. Any decent nursery sells a liquid formula of chelated trace elements. I usually add 10cc/gallon to my second fertilization of the summer. That seems to be sufficient, and you CAN overdo the trace elements.

While most commercial fertilizers contain trace elements, as Jay says those aren't adequate for bonsai in essentially inorganic soils. That includes Dyna Grow and most other "organic" blends (but especially fish emulsion), according to my friends at the Extension Office.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  PeacefulAres on Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:10 pm

drgonzo wrote:
Auballagh wrote:
Q1 - Why two different non-organic fertilizers?
A - They are formulated differently. The trees receive different benefits from the mix.

Dyna grow has its nitrogen in the form of both ammoniacal (NH4) and nitrates (NO3) and are thus immediately available for the tree to use. The bulk of the nitrogen in Miracle grow is in the form of Urea which will need to be metabolized by soil micro organisms in order to be turned into the usable form of nitrogen already found in the Dyna grow. Urea is a cheaper source of Nitrogen for fertilizers hence Miracle grow is a less expensive and therefore with regards delivering N, a less efficient product.

Dyna also has ALL necessary trace elements needed for plant growth and all are fully chelated, (as Dyna was originally formulated for hydroponics) Miracle grow simply does not. As such, thinking that one is providing the trees with what the other is missing (ie a varied diet analogy) is only true if the 'One" being referred to is the Dyna grow. I started off using Miracle grow several years ago and developed various nutrient deficiencies and occasional burns so I switched to Dyna and have had very good results with that product.

-Jay

P.S. And for (the quite justified) fear of another monster fertilizer thread, I will echo Jims words and recommend you search 'fertilizer' on the forum as you will find a wealth of info on the subject.


Jay, I have a few questions, if you don't mind. I know the inorganic vs organic fertilizer question is a common one, but what do you think about using an organic fertilizer as a slow release type of fertilizer system? I've been trying on my hackberries, since they seem to be a bit sensitive to the Dyna Grow and can't handle more than a 1 tsp per gallon ratio without starting to show signs of leaf burn. I've noticed that the trees which have been given a tablespoon of bone meal ever 3 weeks(that seems the time span it takes for the bone meal to dissolve into the substrate without getting build up.) have developed a much darker shade of green to their leaves. What are you thoughts?

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  drgonzo on Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:52 pm

PeacefulAres wrote:
what do you think about using an organic fertilizer as a slow release type of fertilizer system?

As much as I like the Dyna line of fertilizers it has also been my experience that there are some species that seem to have extreme salt intolerances, in your case Hackberry, in my case American and to an lesser extent Japanese Beech. This year I will be experimenting with organic slow release fertilizers for those two species, I think I'm going to try out Bill V's poo poo ball recipe for those.

-Jay

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  PeacefulAres on Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:55 am

drgonzo wrote:
PeacefulAres wrote:
what do you think about using an organic fertilizer as a slow release type of fertilizer system?

As much as I like the Dyna line of fertilizers it has also been my experience that there are some species that seem to have extreme salt intolerances, in your case Hackberry, in my case American and to an lesser extent Japanese Beech. This year I will be experimenting with organic slow release fertilizers for those two species, I think I'm going to try out Bill V's poo poo ball recipe for those.

-Jay

I'm curious, why make balls, rather than sprinkle over the surface of the soil? What's the time span you're shooting for between feedings with the organic balls?

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  giga on Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:01 pm

were would I find the poo poo ball recipe?

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  drgonzo on Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:07 pm

giga wrote:were would I find the poo poo ball recipe?

Do a google search on "Bill Valavanis fertilizer balls" or just "bonsai fertilizer balls" and you will find many different recipes.

-Jay

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:14 pm

poo balls = compost

If you follow the Japanese practice of pure silca gravel for pines and you add poo balls, over time it will be as if you mixed inorganic with organic.

I was shown last night by a friend that Akadama is listed as a red earth/ball clay and I saw a chemical breakdown that was close to an iron stained kaolin.
The kanuma was listed as pumice. This came off a Japanese site.

So after firing; the akadama is as crushed red brick. Save that there are apparently 3 temperature ranges and the medium is considered this to be the best for Bonsai. Red brick probably ends up as the high end of firing, but is still porous.
Thus if you use 100 % Akadama and then add poo balls, it is going to end up as the above again.

American hackberrys, like a simple soil mix, and a weak fertiliser, miracle grow and lawn fertiliser should at 1/3 strength cause no harm. I have been doing this for years. Humidity down to 55 / 50 %.
My trees are presently going guns, no leaf burn even though they are in full sun with heavy winds.

Compost is supposed to be N.P.K sufficient, with trace minerals if the heap is built properly. The fertiliser is simply a boost for the spring growth and late spring maintenance.

We grow our bonsai for beauty, not for produce or size .
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  PeacefulAres on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:22 pm

Khaimraj, I believe that jay is talking about fertilizer balls/cakes/cubes made from organic fertilizers like blood and bone meal etc, and chemical fertilizers. This would dissolve slowly, and percolate through the soil, but not really build up in the way that compost, or an organic soil component.

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:10 pm

PeacefulAres,

the recipes for those cakes are normally built on rapeseed meal, soymeal or othermeal, plus if you wished, bonemeal, not so sure about blood meal, and whatever else you might want to put into it.
It is normally fermented, and allowed to decompose [ compost ].

Making compost, would end up using more or less the same, but using weeds and plant parts to get the same result as N.P.K. mico nutrients, and so on.

You can use as liquid feed or bring it back to a solid state. Using these cakes will feed organic material back into whatever you are using as soil.
Some folk don't bother gluing the mix into cakes or balls, and just sprinkle on the soil's surface.

You can use it to grow or just maintain.

Additionally, the porous inorganics can hold in solution in their body a given amount what dissolved in the water, to be extracted by the feeders on the roots.

I am not sure what would be gained to use a commercial fertiliser in an organic cake.
Have you checked the N.P.K's of the various meals?
It would be enough for bonsai.
Later.
Khaimraj

Organic Cakes -

•4 cups Cottonseed Meal
•4 cups Bone Meal
•1 cup baking flour
•1 packet of active dry yeast
•3 cups Fish Emulsion (deodorized!)
•3 cups of water

Okami Cakes
6 cups Cottonseed meal
2 cups Dolomite lime - powdered
1 cup Bone meal
2 cups Dry roots 2
1 cup Fish emulsion (some like Neptune’s Harvest don’t smell)
1/2 cup Soluble fertilizer powder
1/2 cup Superthrive
2 cups Blood meal (optional, this smells bad!)

Bob's Organic Fertilizer Cake Formula:

Solids:
1.3.5 lbs blood meal 2-0-0
2.4.0 lbs bone meal 6-12-0
3.4.0 lbs Cotton seed meal 6-2-1
4.4.0 lbs Whitney Farms all purpose fertilizer 5-5-5

Liquids:
1.Lilly Miller Liquid Chelated Iron & Zinc
2.Atlas Fish Emulsion
3.Water

Could Also Add:
1.Rape Seed Meal
2.Liquid Seaweed
3.Alaska Natural Startup

Instructions
1.Mix components into a slurry.
2.Let ferment for up to 60 days in a container with the lid on.
3.Form into balls using an ice cream scoop or melon spoon.
4.Place several of the balls on the soil around the trunk of your bonsai.
This recipe courtesy Bob Bugay

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  drgonzo on Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:16 pm

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:
I am not sure what would be gained to use a commercial fertiliser in an organic cake.
Have you checked the N.P.K's of the various meals?
It would be enough for bonsai.
Later.
Khaimraj


My understanding is that the addition of small amounts of chemical (ie non organic) fertilizer is to add micro nutrients to the fertilizer balls. Unless one takes care to add a micro nutrient supplement either mixed in with or in addition to, the fertilizer balls, simple NPK is not enough to sustain plant growth and micro deficiencies will begin to show. As I'm sure you know.

-Jay

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  my nellie on Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:30 pm

drgonzo wrote:
giga wrote:were would I find the poo poo ball recipe?
Do a google search on "Bill Valavanis fertilizer balls" or just "bonsai fertilizer balls" and you will find many different recipes.-Jay
Why does one put oneself in this stinky process instead of buying readily available dry organic fertilizer made of animal manure? Is the home made better vs the commercially bought?

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:47 pm

Jay,

I had actually forgotten about the micro stuff in the mix, since I know about the cakes, but I never had to use it.
Thank you.
So I gather one could use fish and seaweed for micronutrients.

Additionally, I wonder what the chemical breakdown on various ,meals look like, I have N.P.K's but no micro stuff.Something to look up.
Thanks again.
Khaimraj


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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:56 pm

Jay,

a little help, what micro nutrients are you trying to put into the cakes/meal.

I looked at a chemical analysis of canola meal - it looks like this

Calcium (%) 0.62
Phosphorus (%) 1.06
Available P (%) 0.3-0.5**
Sodium (%) 0.10
Chlorine (%) 0.10
Potasium (%) 1.20
Sulphur (%) 0.83
Magnesium (%) 0.53
Copper (mg/kg) 5.7
Iron (mg/kg) 162
Manganese (mg/kg) 51
Molybdenum (mg/kg) 1.4
Zinc (mg/kg) 57
Selenium (mg/kg) 1.1***
Electrolyte balance Meq/kg (K+Na-Cl) 324***
Dietary cation-anion difference mEq/kg
(K+Na-Cl-S) -193****

Is this enough for a tree ?

If so would you need anything else as micro stuff goes ?

Vitamin Amount
Biotin (mg/kg) 0.96
Choline (mg/kg) 6500
Folic Acid (mg/kg) 0.8
Niacin (mg/kg) 156
Pantothenic acid (mg/kg) 9.3
Pyridoxine (mg/kg) 7.0
Riboflavin (mg/kg) 5.7
Thiamin (mg/kg) 5.1
Vitamin E (mg/kg) 13

Thanks in Advance.
Khaimraj

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  PeacefulAres on Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:17 am

For the sake of argument, here are two pictures of my hackberry, taken 11 days apart. It has been given a once weekly feeding of Dyna-gro, at a ratio of 1 teaspoon per gallon, and 1 tablespoon of bone meal fertilizer every three weeks. The soil is also primarily inorganic, with a small layer of sphagnum moss about 2 inches under the surface of the substrate, to keep the roots moist.

Taken on 4/4


Taken today, 4/15



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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:24 am

Peaceful Ares,

yes, that looks about right, but I get the same result with either my soil mix for bonsai and the garden soil. This tree is very adaptable, and very easy to grow and train. It also heals easily and well.
It doesn't need much fertiliser either.
You have a bright future there.
Thanks for showing.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  PeacefulAres on Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:35 am

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:Peaceful Ares,

yes, that looks about right, but I get the same result with either my soil mix for bonsai and the garden soil. This tree is very adaptable, and very easy to grow and train. It also heals easily and well.
It doesn't need much fertiliser either.
You have a bright future there.
Thanks for showing.
Later.
Khaimraj

The one thing I have noticed in my short amount of time growing the celtis species we have in Florida, is that they do not take well to severe root pruning. I tried to treat a few of them like I have treated Mulberries and American elm, which can more or less be turned into a large cutting. Giving that same treatment to three hackberries, resulted in them setting out a few buds and then promptly dying. I'll have to try the sphagnum moss layer other newly collected hackberries, as they seem to like wet feet, and it has worked well with this particular tree.

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  Tona on Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:55 am

I use to use Miracle Grow, Peters etc. mixed with water. This year my teacher Roy Nagatoshi had me start using Kelloggs Greenhouse 12-12-12 all purpose fertilizer and the results are amazing. I believe that when using free draining substrates that liquefied fertilizers are washed out too quickly. All my trees look the best they ever have this year. I use about one tablespoon sprinkled on the surface every three weeks. No cake etc.
Works for me!!
Tona

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:32 am

Peaceful Ares,

one to bake your noodle, I normally take the Celtis out of the refrigerator on April 1st. From last year 4 were left in colanders, in the growing troughs. I made sure that the sun could not directly reach them by allowing the papaya leaves to shade them.
They only awoke last week, on their own.

So how come you have so much growth on yours for this year ???????? and you live in Florida.
Bizarre huh?

What are your design plans for the tree ?
Later,
Khaimraj

* I can get away with one year of no refrigeration, but not two. I have test roots to work with, expendables.

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  PeacefulAres on Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:30 am

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:Peaceful Ares,

one to bake your noodle, I normally take the Celtis out of the refrigerator on April 1st. From last year 4 were left in colanders, in the growing troughs. I made sure that the sun could not directly reach them by allowing the papaya leaves to shade them.
They only awoke last week, on their own.

So how come you have so much growth on yours for this year ???????? and you live in Florida.
Bizarre huh?

What are your design plans for the tree ?
Later,
Khaimraj

* I can get away with one year of no refrigeration, but not two. I have test roots to work with, expendables.

Are your Celtis' locally collected, and do you know the species? The trees I have are Celtis Occidentalis and Laevigata. Also, what's your climate like? high 80s-low 90s are the norm in my area. Here, the hackberries seem to be on of the the only fully deciduous trees. Native elms, mulberries and maples etc, seem to hold onto a fair amount of their leaves, it not all of them. The hackberries will completely drop their leaves.

Oddly enough, it seems that these trees are better collected after they have leafed out, or at least that has been the indication with my small sample size. The trees that were collected in late winter/early spring took the longest to bud out, while the trees collected after February have budded out faster and stronger. But in general, it seems like they take a minimum of a month or so to send shoots out from the bare trunk. In comparison, My groundsel trees(an obscure native) will send out in 5 days to a week after being cut back to a stump.

I'm not entirely sure what to do with this tree. It has a lot of strong potential leaders. I see a tree with several branches emanating from the top and forming a large canopy. I'll probably also hollow out the top, around the flat cut. Perhaps it would resemble something vaguely like this...


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