What fertilizer should I use?

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:34 am

Peaceful Ares,

chuckle, my celtis come from Lafayette, Louisiana, as seedlings [ say 2 or 3 leaves ] from 1980 - 1982 or so. We moved from Trinidad to Lafayette, I went to school in Philadelphia and the family stayed in Lafayette. Dad worked for an oil company and thought he needed a change of climate, so he moved the family.

The original 3 came from the backyard, there were several hackberrys growing in the semi-woods/swamp behind the house.

The island climate is mild, tempered by eastern breezes. We can hit say 93 deg.F for about an hour, and then drop back to a low 70 at night. Humidity is between 80 % with heavy rain, down to 50 % when there are no rains.
These trees have always grown in a blend of [sifted all ], silica based builders sand/gravel, crushed porous red earthenware brick and compost.

Normally, we go through a mild version of a typical northern climate, growing cooler around October and coolest around February/March, sometimes April, and then the rains return around April/May /June.
Rains typically stop around December's end.
The big change is the drop of temperature in the evening to morning [ will go to 66 at lowest, but can hold that temperature for a long time ]

I believe hackberrys are induced to sleep by shorter days and then stay asleep by cold.

I grow hackberrys in full sun, and the soil I use allows me to water once in the early evening, say 4.30 p.m. and the leaves have time to dry. Note I still use a watering can, and the evening watering is just one pass, more to wet the surface and leave the soil mass moist
Morning, starting just when it is bright enough to see I water twice, enough for the drainage holes to drip.
I finish around 6.30 to 7.00 a.m.

I try not to leave holes on the trees, as on our side, holes tend to rot easily or something tries to eat the wood.

Hackberrys as far as I know them are very easy to grow, just follow the cycle. They often put out a second flush around October for me, and then they go dormant, by January's end they are ready to be put into the fridge.
When they go dormant, I move them to the north side of the house which is in the shade, and is a cool zone at around 70 to 66 deg.F.
I simply try to mimic the normal cycle of a sub-tropical zone 9.

I imagine the prime difference in our climate is probably humidity, we only get to 80% with heavy rain. Our miserable weather comes for two weeks normally at the ending of August. No real breeze, and humidity stays at 80%.
Note also I am at 200 feet on the side of a hill, in what seems to be a wind channel.

Oh and as fertilizer goes, to keep the leaves green, I normally use lawn fertiliser at 1/3 strength, and once a week, into moist soil. I discovered this year that Miracle gro Singles at 1/3 strength will hold the green of the leaves well, but encourages very minimal growth. Something around 8 N.
So I guess I figured out how to keep the oldest trees happy.

Hackberry's will resprout from roots and often roots have more personality, additionally these trees grow so fast you don't need to collect, just focus on the roots. So you can have typical shapes or exotic shapes.
I get over an inch on a pencil thick root if I allow it to free grow for a typical year.
You should be able to do much better.

My preference is for trees between 15 to 18 inches,with trunks at 3 inches. Not too heavy to lift as pots go and the pots remain affordable - ha ha.
I had to import from Bonsai at the Monastery, a 5 inch deep, close to 20 inch long pot, for my oldest from seedling Tamarind and it was pricey, plus the shipper chipped the pot.

Anyhow that's my long run at the mouth about hackberrys, and the memories they carry.
If I ever build the big cold room I can take the trunks up to 5 inches, instead of the 1+ inch I have on most of them to fit inside of the fridge.
Later.
Khaimraj

* If you don't mind I have collected your image.

You could just let the tree heal over, and go broom style.

Hackberrys occur naturally in Puerto Rico, hopefully our IBCer over there will locate it. It does however have a different look.


Khaimraj Seepersad
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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  augustine on Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:37 pm

giga,

As you can see you've opened up a can of worms, fertilizer is one of the hot and controversial subjects in bonsai.

Miracle-gro is fine or any other brand that has trace elements like iron, copper, etc. This info is listed on the label. A balanced fertilizer is good meaning the numbers are equal like 12-12-12 or relatively close together. Acid loving plants like pines and azaleas can be fed with a fertilizer like Mir-acid or other brands. Feed according to directions. Many feed full strength every 2 weeks or half strength every week. You have less waste and work using the 2 week method.

Many folks use a combo of inorganic (Miracle-gro or equal) and an organic like the balls. There is no reason to go through the work to make the balls, imo. You can apply organics that are readily available in box stores or nurseries. There is fish emulsion, kelp and differnt products mfg by Espoma.

However, read the fertilizing article on evergreengardenworks. The process can be as simple or complicated as you choose. Different strokes for different folks. All the differnt ways offered in this thread are good.

Best,
Augustine
central MD - 7a

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  giga on Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:21 pm

Yeah geeze crazy worm can I jumped into, just a learning the ropes for all my new yamadori I have ready to start sitting on my benches

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  PeacefulAres on Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:53 pm

giga wrote:Yeah geeze crazy worm can I jumped into, just a learning the ropes for all my new yamadori I have ready to start sitting on my benches

As others have posted, Miracle Gro will probably be fine for you. Personally, I would recommend Dyna-gro, as I have had great results with it, and if you're using a really inorganic mix, it will probably be better than Miracle Gro. Not to mention, it seems to last a while. I've been giving weekly feedings and I still have about 2/3 of a 32 oz bottle left.

Khaimraj, from what I've read, it seems that the North American hackberries have some strict dormancy requirements. Though you're a bit more southerly than I am, it seems my daytime temps are probably consistently hotter than yours. And though most of the people on this board would probably fall off of their chairs laughing at the idea of winter in Florida, we do get quite a few days in the low 50s, which, combined with the shortening of the days, is probably enough to send the hackberries into a true dormancy.

And I have noticed the way hackberries happily bud out from buried roots. I collected these trees from my backyard, and in the future I intend to return to them. Hopefully there will be some interesting raft styles, or something like that waiting below the surface.

PeacefulAres
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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  augustine on Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:39 pm

I'm sure that Dyna-Grow is an excellent product. Let me share my specific experience.

I use regular inorganic fertilizer + Espoma Plantone which is organic. I have been pleased with my results. For example, I had a number of plants in 4" pots last year which were repotted into one gallon nursery cans or other training pots approx the same size. This year at repotting time the gallon containers were completely filled with roots. They were trimmed and repotted. I mix the strength according to directions more or less.

I also had a mat of fine feeder roots close to the surface which I attribute to the Plantone sprinkled on the surface.

Last year was first time I used Espoma Plantone with is small granules. This substance DID clog the soil a bit. This year I plan to place the granules into teabags to place on the soil. But anyway I had good results and removed the top layer and did clean up at the end of the growing season.

I am in the camp of jkl, Brent Walston and Walter Pall in that any reg box fertilizer is fine. (However, Mr. Pall "superfeeds" and I haven't done this since I use some organics to keep the plants from drying out during the extreme heat. I don't doubt it's a good idea and I always accept his recommendations absolutely. His superfeeding program involves 100% inorganic substrate, watering heavily and increasing the strength of the fertilizer solution. He has a good article published on the web that you can google.)

However this does not have to be controversial and I'm positive that all of the above recommendations work well in the various regions in which the practitioners reside. Keep in mind that there's usually a difference between feeding developing stock and refined trees. Make the cakes and balls if you enjoy the process and have the time or use something like miracle gro. Most important enjoy yourself and allow this hobby to make you happy. You will learn the most and the best if you JOIN a club.

Best regards,

Augustine
central MD 7a

augustine
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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  63pmp on Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:51 am

The only time you could recommend Miracle gro as a good product is when you live in a cold climate and have acidic, hard water. Outside these parameters you will have trouble.

Sorry, but the product lacks calcium, magnesium, and the urea will drive the pH up. Urea breakdown is temperature related, so if you live in a cold climate most of what you add will simply wash through at the next watering, which is OK because most plants don't need a whole lot of N. If you live in a warm climate, then you run the risk of problems with increasing pH and ammonium toxicity/burn.




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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:48 am

Maybe this will help -

http://www.cre.ie/web/compost/

just click on -

Compost Use in Organic Growing

Excerpt - Compost can therefore stabilise soil pH and reduce the
acidifying effects of inorganic nitrogen fertilisers -

Probably explains why I have never had any problems with the use of 1/3 strength Lawn fertiliser [ Mircale gro or Phostrogen ] applied once weekly during our dry season.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: What fertilizer should I use?

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