Too Much Fertilizer?

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Too Much Fertilizer?

Post  Carolee on Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:07 pm

I'm curious. I know that using a very high concentrate of fertilizer can 'burn' a tree. But if one is using a water soluble, balanced fertilizer at its proper dilution, is it possible to over-fertilize? It seems to me that the tree will take what it needs, and the 'extra' fertilizer will just be wasted, and there will be no harm to the tree. Thanks,

Carolee
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Re: Too Much Fertilizer?

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:04 pm

Carolee wrote:I'm curious. I know that using a very high concentrate of fertilizer can 'burn' a tree. But if one is using a water soluble, balanced fertilizer at its proper dilution, is it possible to over-fertilize? It seems to me that the tree will take what it needs, and the 'extra' fertilizer will just be wasted, and there will be no harm to the tree. Thanks,

The answer to your questions depends upon a number of factors, 1. how often you apply the fertilizer., 2. How much you water in between., 3. The makeup of your water., 4. The makeup of your fertilizer., 5. But probably most important, the make up of your soil.

Some soils retain more of the fertilizer chemicals than others. There are members who know a lot more than I do about this subject, but soils are actually rated as to the ability to hold nutrients. If i recall correctly one director of the National Collection in Washington, DC stopped using Turface for this reason.

Also, if you water has a high mineral content the extra chemical salts from your fertilizer could tip a balance toward a toxic situation.

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Re: Too Much Fertilizer?

Post  Garykk on Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:17 am

No matter what the source, too much nitrogen at one time can upset a plants osmotic balance. It doesn't actually burn the plant but dehydrates the plant, giving up moisture by reverse osmosis.

__gary

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Re: Too Much Fertilizer?

Post  JimLewis on Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:59 am

With bonsai, given our free-draining soil and the frequency of watering as a result, I don't really think you CAN over fertilize. I certainly have never seen a problem, and I've been doing this for a LONG time.

All bets are off if you soil doesn't drain, or if your tree is planted in the field and you really lay the fertilizer on.

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Re: Too Much Fertilizer?

Post  Garykk on Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:04 am

If your dog pees on it or you mix 3 tbl/gal of triple 20 on the tree, I promise you will dehydrate the plant.

__gary

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Re: Too Much Fertilizer?

Post  Alain Bertrand on Mon Jun 08, 2009 8:04 am

Garykk wrote:No matter what the source, too much nitrogen at one time can upset a plants osmotic balance. It doesn't actually burn the plant but dehydrates the plant, giving up moisture by reverse osmosis.

It is not only nitrogen, it is any ion. NaCl works great too Wink

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Re: Too Much Fertilizer?

Post  Garykk on Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:12 pm

Bonsai 'fry' disclaimer.....lol's go easy with the sodium chloride please. I know, most fertilizer materials are salts but I avoid the sodium chloride, Doctor's orders. tongue

__gary

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Re: Too Much Fertilizer?

Post  Carolee on Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:18 pm

Thanks for the answers. Billy the conditions you laid out are certainly important. Jim, that's what I was thinking, but I wasn't sure. As I said I was curious. I won't change the weekly pattern I use during the summer, but I was curious.

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Too Much Fertilizer?

Post  growlikecrazy on Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:24 pm

Hello...I want to tell you harsh chemical fertilizers are harmful for gardening. You must use naturalorganic fertilizers in your garden for your plants or tress or crops. The thing is you should apply fertilizer in right amount. Excess of anything can be harmful.

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Re: Too Much Fertilizer?

Post  DreadyKGB on Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:51 pm

And if you follow growlikecrazy's website link you will find a great miracle fertilizer that will solve all your bonsai problems (maybe you marital woes as well).

Chemical or organic doesn't really matter all that much as long as you follow an appropriate schedule and dilution for the specific fertilizer that you are using. I don't have any fruit bearing bonsai that I use as food suppliment so I'm not particularly worried about chemical fertilizers there. My veggie garden on the other hand is a different story, but I don't buy organics for it just go talk to your local horse barn owner or cow farm.

Todd

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Re: Too Much Fertilizer?

Post  Kev Bailey on Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:41 pm

Todd - exactly!

Keep it real. Environmental damage from a few teaspoons of chemical feed for your bonsai trees are nothing in the great scheme. For my trees I use both, organic cakes, chicken manure pellets, seaweed feed but also standard 20:20:20 and "miracid" etc.

I too make a huge effort for my organic kitchen gardens, with lovingly built compost heaps and well rotted manures and will make no compromise on my organic principles there.

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Re: Too Much Fertilizer?

Post  JimLewis on Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:54 pm

Garykk wrote:No matter what the source, too much nitrogen at one time can upset a plants osmotic balance. It doesn't actually burn the plant but dehydrates the plant, giving up moisture by reverse osmosis.

__gary

Yup. I suppose. But you'd have to be a total idiot to put THAT much fertilizer on a bonsai. It would require applying it at 10-20 times the label strength.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@alltel.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: Too Much Fertilizer?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Oct 02, 2010 1:31 pm

Hmm, a fertilizer debate.

I found that trees in bonsai pots, unless they are fruiting, don't need much to be happy. Since all of my organic material in my bonsai mix, is home made compost, aged for one year before use and some cocopeat [ which breaks down within a year or less - Tropics ] I only need a bit of osmocote type spheres to go through the heavy rains.
[ I presently have a thrown out in the streets and found bunny, who is working hard to saturate sawdust for my compost heap - go Bun-E-Lava ]

In the dry season and a month after repotting to keep the leaves green, I have to use a well diluted lawn fertilizer. As the rains start I back off and let them stay fertilizer free for about 2 months. Then use the spheres. The mame' get about 5 spheres, which will normally wash out in the rains - the spheres.

To withstand the rains, I make sure the trees are repotted after January 2nd and by June/July they are all potbound. The excess water can't harm them after that stage.

For ground growing or trough growing [ more control ] the last thing you want to do down here is fertilize.
Produces, even in full sun, soft weak growth that will be munched. Clay soils, though dense are very nutritious, for non-fruit bearing trees /shrubs.
Until.
Khaimraj

* If I want better growth in clay soils, I use the side of a hill and introduce buckets of one grade of sharp sand / sharp pebbles.

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