Bonsai Fertilizer

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Bonsai Fertilizer

Post  Eastern Bonsai on Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:22 am

I recently found a new Bonsai fertilizer. Its called POKON 4-4-4. I believe its from Holland. Can anyone tell me if this is a good fertilizer, or has anyone tried it. I have been using RapeSeed Cakes and Bonsai Pro from Dyna Gro. Anyway I was going to try this spring.

Eastern Bonsai
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai Fertilizer

Post  JimLewis on Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:12 am

Your bonsai do not care what you use so long as it contains Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK) and trace elements -- iron, sulfur, manganese, magnesium, zinc, etc. Some folks insist on varying the NPK ratio depending on the time of year -- less N in the fall, etc. -- but that's not necessary, but OK if you want, I suppose. Most of the "cake" formulas do not have a consistent NPK ratio. None of them to my knowledge have any of the necessary trace elements.

The Dutch product you mention would be OK (I have no idea whether it has trace elements -- read the label), but 4-4-4 is a bit on the low side.

I've always thought that the best fertilizer is the cheapest balanced fertilizer you can buy. That's often Miracle-Gro, Peters, or other "houseplant" fertilizers that you get in super stores, and for a bit more $$$, elsewhere.

_________________
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

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai Fertilizer

Post  John Quinn on Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:30 am

Jim's right on with his advice. Some folks prefer all 'organic fertilizer', but again, the plant will not ask the Nitrogen who his daddy was.

_________________
"Eschew obfuscation"

John Quinn
Member


Back to top Go down

There is no such thing as a bonsai fertiliser

Post  mikesmith on Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:27 pm

Just to add my two pennorth worth and I acknowledge Jim is a bit of an authority here so hopefully I have some of this right. Like most of us I have heard all sorts of confusing remarks about fertiliser and as Jim has stated elsewhere there is no easy way around this but to get the proper horticultural books out and study. Anyway, here is a summary of what I have so far:

Fertiliser

*Nitrate is the controlling nutrient for plant growth. It is fundamental to the synthesis of chlorophyll (the green stuff that helps plants grow) so the delivery of nitrate is usually what most growers focus on.

Organic v Chemical
In most plant biology books there will be a description of the nitrogen cycle. This explains how *nitrates are formed. Simply described; organic matter decomposes creating ammonia, bacterial action breaks this down into nitrites, bacteria breaks this down further into nitrates. Nitrates are more easily absorbed by plants. It is important to note that the right soil conditions are required for this process. That means a supply of oxygen, water, and heat. If these are not provided then ammonium salts can build up and it is the ‘burning’ effect of these ammonia salts that most refer to when talking about root burn. This effect can happen just as much with organic fertiliser as it can with chemical fertiliser because the product is either not being broken down properly, absorbed efficiently or flushed out of the soil. It can occur when:
• Soil conditions are too hot or too cold.
• Soil conditions lack sufficient air or moisture.
• The plant is not taking up the nutrients at the rate it is being produced for example when the plant is dormant or sick.

Chemical fertiliser tends to be in a form that is more directly accessible to the plant. It can give a more accurate delivery as nutrient content is more precise.
Organic fertilisers tend to deliver nutrient more slowly as they break down naturally. It could be argued, I suppose, that there is less risk of salt contamination but it is still possible to occur nevertheless. Nutrient content can be more arbitrary in organic fertilisers.

Solid v Liquid
Often missed by growers are the growth response and delivery times that they are aiming to achieve when applying their fertiliser. Method of application are:
• Base dressing: Solid fertiliser is mixed in with the soil. Growth response over a few weeks.
• Top dressing: Solid fertiliser is scattered on to the soil surface. Growth response over a few weeks.
• Soil drench: Liquid fertiliser is watered in. Growth response over a few days.
• Foliar feed: Liquid fertiliser is sprayed onto the leaves. Growth response over a couple of days.
• Controlled Release Fertiliser: A solid fertiliser, contained in a small, porous, shell pellet that releases nutrient in response to rising soil temperatures. Not often used in bonsai work.

N: P:K
Folks often get confused by the numbers such as 7:7:7 or 0:10:10.
Basically, the old system was the ratio of Nitrogen, Phosphates and Potassium within the product. More recently it refers to the percentage of nutrient in each product. So you can get an indication of value for money by the quantity of nutrient that the product supplies. Fortunately, manufacturers often limit the quantity of nutrient within garden fertilisers because they recognise human nature means there are those who still believe more fertiliser is better and do not read the packet.

What does this mean to my bonsai?
• Make sure you buy a complete fertiliser. One that contains the major nutrients; nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N: P:K) with trace elements. As Jim has said, it does not matter whether it is chemical or organic except for the comments above. And I too am not an advocate of 0:10:10 in autumn. The plant will take up what it needs and the only advantage I see here is that you might save a few cents by not paying for nitrogen.
• Consider how quickly you want it to act and how long you want it to deliver nutrient.
  • Depending on your local climate aim to replenish solid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks

• Do not apply fertiliser in very hot or freezing conditions, when the plant is sick or dormant or if your soil is poorly drained or lacking air and moisture.
• Follow the instructions on the packet. Little and often is better than large single doses.

Regards
Mike

mikesmith
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai Fertilizer

Post  JimLewis on Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:27 pm

A couple of comments:

I use "inorganic" fertilizer most of the time because:

1. I keep a fair amount of organic soil in my bonsai mix, and the inorganic fertilizer adheres to the organic material and stick around a bit longer.
2. Almost all inorganic fertilizers also include the micronutrients.

I use organic fertilizer (fish emulsion or seaweed based) for the plants I have growing in almost pure inorganic (turface/granite grit) soils because the organic fertilizer adheres to the inorganic materials and sticks around a bit longer.

BUT . . . fish emulsion/seaweed fertilizers have few or no trace elements. So I have to apply an eyedropper full of "liquid iron" or other bottled concoction of trace elements a couple of times each summer.

And, the results from foliar feeding come only (or almost/virtually entirely) from the fertilizer that drips off the leaves and onto the soil. Don't waste your time or money on foliar sprays. This is the only place I disagree with Mike.

Getting back to the original post, I can only give the advice I offer for fertilizer AND pesticides: READ THE LABEL and follow directions.

_________________
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

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

concur - mostly

Post  mikesmith on Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:15 pm

Not sure what the difference is between inorganic and chemical. I suppose inorganic is a gentler term.

What might be of interest is often the formualtions sold as 'organic' fertilisers often have their nitrate added as a chemical; ammonium nitrate if my memory serves me correctly. Take a look at the label of Maxicrop Seaweed Extract as an example. So as Jim has said there is no need to get caught up in descriptions too much.

Personally, I like to use a solid complete/balanced fertiliser as a top dressing through out the growing season. It is difficult to judge the delivery rate of this as it is weather dependant, so I will also top this up with a weak solution of Miracle Grow say half strength, weekly. My standard solid, organic fertiliser is fish, blood and bone, it's cheap and works fine.

I like Jim's approach to use organic based fertilisers on mineral based soils and vice versa. He has quite correctly noted that retaining nutrient in the soil is important also and is dependant on soil chemistry. I too have started to favour adding some organic material in my soil mix for the reason of nutrient retention as well as moisture retention. I have found that soils completely devoid of organic matter are more difficult to manage. So I tend to add about 10% by volume of fine bark chips or shredded sphagnum moss.

Yes I agree most proprietry brands of complete fertilisers will have micro nutrients included. Single nutrient fertilisers are unlikely to have these but I do not expect most of us will be going down this track.

As for foliar feeding, we are in agreement here. I added the method as an option rather than a recommendation. I have tried it on occasions and to be honest have not noticed a significant effect. I suspect the absorbtion of this is dependant on a whole range of things including the the thickness of cutin layers. I would advise not to foliar feed on new growth and particularly on Japanese maples. One of those hard won lessons in this respect. Anyway, it is not an application method I use anymore but should readers wish to experiment then branded products of liquid fertilisers often give instructions, so no need to buy special foliar feeds.

Readers might also like to read Marco's comments on fertiliser here http://www.marcoinvernizzi.com/chokkan/

mikesmith
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai Fertilizer

Post  JimLewis on Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:06 pm

Not sure what the difference is between inorganic and chemical.

Since ALL fertilizers are "chemical" fertilizers, I use the "inorganic" term to distinguish between made-in-the-chem-lab fertilizers and fertilizers that a made from so-called "natural" ingredients.

When you get right down to it, WE are nothing but chemicals, too. It's too broad a term.

_________________
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

JimLewis
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai Fertilizer

Post  mikesmith on Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:18 pm

When you get right down to it, WE are nothing but chemicals, too.

A tempting philosophical debate there Jim, but likely to take us way off piste. Smile

I suppose ultimately fertiliser choice is going to be down to which and how much nutrient it contains, how it is applied (top dress, liquid feed ) and release rate( how quickly it is going to be used up or leached from the soil). As this all will impact on cost.

mikesmith
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai Fertilizer

Post  Alan Walker on Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:40 pm

Unfortunately, the terms organic vs. chemical are pervasive. Since "organic" compounds are also chemical compounds, it is misleading. A more accurate term might be organic vs. synthetic.

Alan Walker
Member


Back to top Go down

Feeding

Post  jamesransom on Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:29 am

There is always one and thats me, I feed my trees in a different way slightly it seems. I will stare with a soil mix that retains as much as possiable i.e. moisture, air, feed, warmth and bacteria (to help the breakdown of feed for the plant). Then a spring, mid-summer and Autumn dressing of frit for the minor feeds. Then in the growing season feed with straights (the N P K) so some trees will have just one, two or all three out of the N P K depending on the tree and its needs.
Like us trees are all different and require different things, they come from different parts of the world and require different amounts of food. We dont eat all fish and chips as some may need other things than others. The plants will show inthe growth and leaf structure what is required.

James Ransom

jamesransom
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Bonsai Fertilizer

Post  Sponsored content Today at 12:43 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum