Superthrive for Bonsai

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Re: Superthrive for Bonsai

Post  Brett Summers on Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:41 am

So as not to risk taking Brent out of Context with his quote here is the full discussion with him over at Bnut.
It was very refreshing to discuss this with a clear thinker like Brent but I feel we both left the discussion a little disappointed.

http://bonsainut.com/forums/showthread.php?t=548

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Re: Superthrive for Bonsai

Post  caver on Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:33 am

Hello,

Maybe Superthrive is snake oil, but I can tell you this -

I started using it at age 15 when I became interested in perennial gardening. Generally speaking I don't use fertalizer and food products (like miracle grow, etc) Plants I thought were totally gone have been brought back to life using this stuff. My gardening has been self taught (minus my Bonsai instruction, in which I'm very green) so I make no claim to know what I'm talking about - The fact is I don't and I have no clue what's in the bottle of ST. All I can speak from is my experience perennial gardening. If the stuff doesnt work "miracles" it certainly will not hurt your tree. Whether it's snake oil or not, I'm a Superthrive believer.


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Re: Superthrive for Bonsai

Post  fiona on Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:52 am

Brett Summers wrote: Fiona I am suprised you can't think of any situation that this could be of use in bonsai. If this is able to speed root formation after transplanting then I would find this a great benifit, especially in bonsai.
One of my situations in which it didn't work was precisely that - an emergency repot where I used ST to try to stimulate an ailing rootball. Didn't work.

An why surprised? I am quite clearly stating that I am not a scientist - all I have to go on is experience.

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Re: Superthrive for Bonsai

Post  stavros on Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:14 am

caver wrote:
The fact is I don't and I have no clue what's in the bottle of ST. All I can speak from is my experience perennial gardening. If the stuff doesnt work "miracles" it certainly will not hurt your tree. Whether it's snake oil or not, I'm a Superthrive believer.


For a moment, let's all agree that it will not hurt the tree.
The BIG question is: Do the trees benefit from it ?? Is it worth spending money for it?? Are there other less expensive products that can do what Superthrive does??(... regardless if it seems that it doesn't do what the marketeers claim)
I would say NO, NO, and NO (YES, there are products that do much more) respectively....
This is my personal experience and humble opinion.

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Re: Superthrive for Bonsai

Post  Brett Summers on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:03 am

Dilute solutions of naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) were applied at two treatment times, just before and just after cotyledon expansion. Lateral root numbers were increased by up to 20 times on responsive species.

Do the trees benefit from it? The above study and others show Yes, in certain circumstances.

Is it worth spending money on it. Maybe? Depends what you are doing with it.

Is there less expensive products that can do the same. Maybe, but my sums say that the concentration of Superthrive may be worth the extra money.
But you may find Maxicrop plant starter more to your liking
http://www.multicrop.com.au/accessor.htm

This stuff does have many uses such as helping seeds germinate keeping cut flowers longer. Often beneficial to cuttings so although I don't know how long it's shelf life is I would recommend you have some sought of Auxin solution handy.

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Re: Superthrive for Bonsai

Post  Brett Summers on Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:24 am

fiona wrote:
Brett Summers wrote: Fiona I am suprised you can't think of any situation that this could be of use in bonsai. If this is able to speed root formation after transplanting then I would find this a great benifit, especially in bonsai.
One of my situations in which it didn't work was precisely that - an emergency repot where I used ST to try to stimulate an ailing rootball. Didn't work.

An why surprised? I am quite clearly stating that I am not a scientist - all I have to go on is experience.

It is in no way a magic wand Fiona, It is a fact that in many circumstances it will increase the root growth of a stressed tree.
To understand this you must understand that Auxin is a hormone produced by the growing tips of a plant. It tells other tips not to grow (apical dominance) and also tells the roots to grow. The roots in turn produce a hormone Gibbersomething I believe scratch that cancels out the auxin telling the tips to grow.
So you may imagine a healthy tree has hormones raging and interacting causing lots of root and shoot growth.
If for some reason the growing tips are not growing and not producing auxin there is nothing to tell the roots to grow. Adding auxin by watering at this point will tell the roots to grow and in turn stop the shoots growing. Not really sure how this is affected by the seasons but lets not complicate things drunken And just consider this is when the tree should be growing.

Brent rightly suggests that if you prune a tree correctly at time of transplanting by leaving as much shoots as possible the tree will produce all the auxin it needs and can use. Adding more will be of no benefit. In fact it may even hinder.
It is when things do not go to plan or maybe difficult to collect species. Or maybe flat chopping Olives and multiple other out of the ordinary or roughly treated stock that it may be most useful.

This stuff is used with dependable notable results in the turf industry to save on mowing and making more drought resistant by reducing shoot growth in favour of root growth. In the orchid industry to make fruit stay on the tree longer (maybe another use for our shows Wink ) In much more concentrated form to encourage roots on cuttings.
There is no doubt it can make physical changes to the growth of a plant, the only question is can we find a way to use this?

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Re: Superthrive for Bonsai

Post  fiona on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:44 pm

Brett Summers wrote: Is it worth spending money on it. Maybe? Depends what you are doing with it.

Is there less expensive products that can do the same. Maybe, but my sums say that the concentration of Superthrive may be worth the extra money.
But you may find Maxicrop plant starter more to your liking

And therein lies the flaw in your otherwise reasonably convincing argument: even Superthrive itself on its gaudy packaging states that it is not a substitute for "normal" fertilisers but can be used as an adjunct.

So if I'm going to have to use my normal products anyway, then I'll just stick with that on its own as it seems to get the results.

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Re: Superthrive for Bonsai

Post  JimLewis on Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:51 pm

If it doesn't work the maker of superthrive is one hell of a carpet bagger

I dunno if "carpet bagger" is the right term, but "shill artist" or "snake oil salesman" will do.

As for it being around so long so it must be good, people still pour STP into their gasoline, use Gingko Biloba products for "memory enhancement" and use a host of other "natural" health-store products that have been proven to be purely hogwash, and even dangerous. There are a lot of foolish and gullible (and wishful) people out there.

I guess Brett and I will just have to listen to our own pet stable of experts, but as (I think it was) Coh said, that label on the gallon size (how much does THAT cost???) doesn't fill me with great confidence.

All this said, I have never heard any claims that Stuporthrive damages plants, so if you have money to spare, go ahead and use it. Just don't expect bonsai that are any happier than they wold have been without it.

Nuff said (for this go around), I suspect.

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Re: Superthrive for Bonsai

Post  fiona on Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:28 pm

Oh dear. Before I start to get unhealthily paranoid about feeling like the fall guy of this thread (especially since I openly stated that I wasn't discounting Superthrive out of hand) here is exactly my position:

1. I can understand the science of auxins and gibberellins fairly well. When I say I am not a scientist I merely mean that I have not conducted true experiments in controlled conditions (who among us has?) so my "results" are not based on anything other than observation.

2. I have no reason to doubt that ST works in the turf industry or with orchids, or with perennials, or with any of the other non bonsai plant forms mentioned in this thread. I have heard that it also works well in hydroponics. And yes I can see how it may work well with cuttings where what you are trying to achieve is root growth at the expense of foliage. But then so does the hormone rooting powder I have used for decades - probably similar in composition but minus the irritating hyperbole and a helluva lot less pricey.

3. But I am really only interested in how ST may help in bonsai terms and I state again that in the situations in which I have tried it, I have not had results. One of those was a situation where I specifically wanted to stimulate root growth and it is disappointing that the ST did not work there when according to the theories it could and possibly even should have. I have been charitable enough to state that this might have been because the tree was too far gone.

4. In the other situations where I have used it, I have been looking to trigger foliage growth in an ailing tree. Although Brett's theory suggests that auxins mostly suppress foliage growth until the roots have revitalised, the ST packaging (funny how it always seems to come back to that) implies - braggingly so - that it is both a plant foliage & flower growth stimulant for and a plant reviver. All I can say is that it didn't work when I tried it. That is not an accusation of blame against ST as there could have been other factors.

You asked me for my account of what happened when I used this stuff. I have now given it in full - warts and all. Will I try it again? I currently am doing so in a last-chance scenario.

Anyway, white flag raised - I am not the enemy here, even if I still say that seaweed will continue to be my product of choice.


Last edited by fiona on Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:57 pm; edited 4 times in total

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Re: Superthrive for Bonsai

Post  Randy_Davis on Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:45 pm

Brett Summers wrote:This stuff is used with dependable notable results in the turf industry to save on mowing and making more drought resistant by reducing shoot growth in favour of root growth. In the orchid industry to make fruit stay on the tree longer (maybe another use for our shows Wink ) In much more concentrated form to encourage roots on cuttings.
There is no doubt it can make physical changes to the growth of a plant, the only question is can we find a way to use this?

Folks,

I find this discussion entertaining but not insightfull. And Fiona, your not the enemy dear!!!!! There is no magic elixer that will substitute for knowledge of plant morphology, observation, genus or species knowledge and assignment for cause when something goes arye. Brent, In your examples above, the turf industry could do just as well to use a short species or hybrid of grass to reduce mowing. Drought resistance in turfgrass' can be increased by letting the grass be a bit longer than what is usually done (only because for some reason it looks better to some when it's short and tidy). I also don't know about the fruit of orchids. Fruit? or do you mean the seed pod of the vanilla orchid. if that's the case, staying on longer won't produce more seeds in the vanilla pod but better fertilization (pollenation) of the ovary will. I find those examples wanting at best. Yes, the chemicals in this stuff can make changes in the physical plant but most likely not better than other more widely used materials. The crux I'm trying to get at here is it's your knowledge, of your plants, in your environment and the things you either do or don't do to them that is usually the thing at issue and like i said in the beginning, knowledge is power. In the 50 years that I've been growing and propagating plants I've never felt the need to use this stuff or many other of the magic elixers that have come along at one time or another. NPK in some form or another will do just fine when supplimented with trace elements. Auxins, are only needed when your taking cuttings and even then only on some species and in varying concentrations. Like I say, there is no substitue for reading (technical reading about plants) observation, paying attention to what you or the enviornment is doing, assigning a cause when something goes wrong and then putting the information away in your mind or diary of results. Why would I want to find a way to use aother screwdriver when the ones that I have in my tool box will work just fine.

Randy

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Re: Superthrive for Bonsai

Post  JimLewis on Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:24 pm

Thank you, Randy.

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Re: Superthrive for Bonsai

Post  Mike Jones on Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:12 pm

Naphthaleneacetic Acid at 0.048% inclusion in ST is what essentially has led to it being removed from sale in certain states/countries around the globe.

I was once a believer in ST; then when I discovered it CAN cause harm, particularly to Pines, in-so-far as the alleged breakdown of beneficial mycorrhizal fungi; I stopped using it.

A couple of months back, I decided with the help of a University research department, to see if I could find out precisely what really is in a bottle of ST. This research is not restricted to ST; 'we' are also testing true organic products, which as many know ST is not. For no other reason than my own interest, as I find the subject of feeding /nutrients/vitamins/tonics etc fascinating, and indeed what can be used and at what frequency (guides only of course, as plants/mediums/conditions etc vary).

Strange how the ridiculous claims and marketing material hasn't really changed in all the years. I realise it is generally rubbished around the globe, which I think prompted me to see if I could find out how it ever became so successful.

Like I say, just because I wanted to. Perhaps I have too much time on my hands Mad

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Re: Superthrive for Bonsai

Post  coh on Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:23 pm

It would be great if someone was able to "reverse engineer" ST and find out exactly what's in it, other than the 2 stated ingredients. Have you started that process? I'm actually surprised that it hasn't already been done.

Chris

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Re: Superthrive for Bonsai

Post  Glaucus on Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:49 pm

Plant hormones work on a cellular level. It is not obvious what it will do. It may cause hormonical imbalances. It may cause tissue to grow when it shouldn't.

Growth regulators may be used effectively in some cases. But before you know what it does you first have to do extensive experiements. You don't do that by trying it on your bonsai and conclude it works when your bonsai does well.

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Re: Superthrive for Bonsai

Post  JimLewis on Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:33 pm

coh wrote:It would be great if someone was able to "reverse engineer" ST and find out exactly what's in it, other than the 2 stated ingredients. Have you started that process? I'm actually surprised that it hasn't already been done.

Chris

Easy. (relatively) If you have the equipment and the laboratory.

Chemists call that quantitative analysis. It would tell you the exact amounts of each chemical compound in the concoction. Qualitative analysis could "simply" tell you what was in it, but not how much of each.

I took classes in both 50+ years ago in college. It would be a job, but -- if anyone cared enough to pay for it -- any private commercial chemical laboratory could do it.

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