Rain verses fertilizer ?

john222-gg(Mississippi 8a/8b)May 10, 2013

where I live we get lots of rain at this time of year.So for this year abought 30 inches.It is raining right now.the question is will rain wash fertilizer away? my soil drains real well it is veary poor.For my fruit trees to grow right I normally fertilize 3 times a year.I have a lot of new trees most are showing sings of stress from not enough sun but this nectarine is acting like it needs fertilizer.The other trees look OK it is just the weather.This one tree might not be draining enough or it has a fertilizer problem.More opinions shore would help.thanks

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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Nitrogen is easily leached away, and your tree looks like it is gone. You may want to fertilize more often using a high nitrogen fertilizer like you use on your lawn. Al

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 9:49AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Rain leaches the nitrate form of nitrogen quickly through permeable soil. Even ammonical nitrogen like urea is converted to nitrate in the soil in about a week so it leaches also. The tree you picture is probably nitrogen deficient although it could be something else.

About your only defense is smaller applications more often. Once a month isn't too often.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 9:53AM
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I can see mud tracks from the mower in the yard.
Maybe it's drowning?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 10:00AM
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alan haigh

If you mulch under the trees the process will help stabelize the leaching and encourage a gradual release of N. saving the trouble of frequent applications. Trees would do better if planted on at least slightly raised berns but mulch alone will help.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 10:24AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

The tree pictured could be showing signs of poor drainage. The original post is somewhat confusing. It says the soil is poor and drains really well, that sounds like sand. But then the OP says this tree might not be draining enough. Can you clarify? Is there clay under sand?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 10:39AM
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john222-gg(Mississippi 8a/8b)

No clay the trees have been putting up with the water so for.It might be the water can't do much to change it.It is still raining right now.My land normaly drys rather quickly I am on a slight slope.Am hoping it is not the rain.All I know that I can try is to add nitrogen.I have tried to use mulch around all my trees but have a horrendous problem with black ants.Have fought with ants for years.This is an ongoing problem that I have tried almost every thing you can think of.It I tried different mulches even cedar.Only last a veary short time.Our weather is not Idea for growing fruit lots of rain lots of fungus lots of bugs.I just won't give up.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:37AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Hang in there John. Your climate is very challenging!!

You might consider applying a slow release fertilizer. I can't recommend a specific brand but there are several like Osmocote 15-9-12. This could be used to supplement your other fertilizer not a complete replacement.

Here is a link that might be useful: Osmocote 15-9-12

This post was edited by fruitnut on Fri, May 10, 13 at 11:57

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:50AM
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alan haigh

Good idea, FN. Trees are probably suffering from inadequate oxygen but that would certainly clear up any doubt.

Why would it not function as a complete replacement? You talking about trace minerals?

I thought the only problem with time release fertilizers is the expense- plus they keep putting out nitrogen when you may not want it- like once fruit is half developed.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 2:15PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


I'm not certain how well John's soil drains. So drainage could be an issue but leaching or denitrification of nitrogen fertilizer is almost certain with that much rain. The slow release could easily replace all of whatever he's adding now but it is expensive. So I thought add some to supplement the current program.

My soil drains an inch an hour or more 24/7 365. So the nitrate disappears fast. If I don't fertilize garden crops regularly they show severe nitrogen deficiency. I've learned to start fertilizing before or at planting. If not it takes weeks to get things like watermelon growing properly.

John might want to dig a post hole and see how long after a big rain it takes for the hole to dry up. I dug a 12 inch hole and it drained the second fillup in 30 minutes.

This post was edited by fruitnut on Fri, May 10, 13 at 16:21

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 4:18PM
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john222-gg(Mississippi 8a/8b)

Fruitnut and Harvestman I really apreshate the info I am going to try adding nitrogen tomorrow will post new pics soon as I see a difference one way or the other.Am going to start looking for slow release to see what I can come up with.I have heard some orchards in Florida use time release don't know for a fact.I have always had problems in my orchard thanks for making suggestions

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 7:02PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

If the soil does drain well that grass is not helping, it is sucking a lot of nitrogen out of the soil. I understand your reason for not using mulch but it really is the way to go. Why are you so opposed to the ants being in the mulch? What problems are the ants causing you? Here I have the fire ants but still mulch like crazy. A tree the size you show already has a 10 foot across ring of mulch 10" deep. It works wonders for sand.

Anytime you want to send some of that rain my way I will take it:)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 7:42PM
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alan haigh

Also if the ants like mulch you can always use the final product and go with compost. Nothing in that left for the ants and it will serve the trees beautifully.

A nice light forest compost would be the ticket- airy and porous- the kind that sheds water.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 8:35PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

That would not matter...the ants don't eat the mulch they use it to nest in.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 9:18PM
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john222-gg(Mississippi 8a/8b)

The ground is normaly damp or wet the ants like to just live any where above ground.Then when plants start to bloom the ants kill all the blooms.I have jujubes the ants will kill all the blooms you will not get any fruit if you don't keep the ants out.The ants love aphids and start aphid farms.I have approx 70 fruit trees. the ants will damage all if not controlled.The ants love new leaves on all fruit trees.I use a spray program of spraying every 2 weeks for fungus and bugs and still have to spray in between for ants.thanks for the comments.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 9:50PM
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Have you ever tried stick fertilizer. It is very slow to desolve

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 10:28PM
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alan haigh

You can stop the ants from getting up the tree with tangle trap, can't you?

Some ants do eat decaying wood, but if the issue is dry places to nest you are clearly in a catch 22- both ants and trees benefit from higher, dryer ground, so even trees planted on mounds of existing soil would presumably be attractive sites for ants.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 5:40AM
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john222-gg(Mississippi 8a/8b)

yes it is a bad situation.I have never tried tangle trap will check to day and see if I can find some around here.Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 6:31AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

"Some ants do eat decaying wood"

Umm no.....there are no ants in the US that eat wood and I don't believe any ants in the world eat wood. They nest in wood....carpenter ants chew wood to make their tunnels but no ants consume wood.

I would just use the tanglefoot and be thankful they don't swarm and sting like our fireants. Mulch the trees heavily and you will be amazed how fast your trees will grow. How old is the tree in your picture?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 9:03AM
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Just wonder wouldn't you want to plant your trees on berm like H-man suggested earlier? You have a lot of space and can build as high and wide a berm you want. This will eliminate a number of issue including water log/wet feet issue and poor soil.

I wish Olpea would chime in. He is an expert on peach growing. If I had space like yours, I'd put all my peaches on berm.

If you can't find tanglefoot locally, you can order it on line. In the meantime, you can use masking tape with the sticky side out wrapping around each tree as a temporary measure.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 11:39AM
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