ammonium nitrate for blueberries

Noogy(6 sw mi)June 29, 2013

I realize some components in fertilizers, such as muriates, contribute to the formation of salts in the soil that kills bb's. I've also read things about nitrates, but am not sure or positive about their use w/blues. I don't need the sulfur component, so is ammonium nitrate safe for blues?

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

No, don't use it. Get the right stuff, ammonium sulfate. You may not need the sulfates but they won't hurt. The nitrate in large enough quantities will hurt your plants.

Further I'm surprised you can buy it. That's the explosive stuff.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 9:49PM
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I agree the ammonium sulfate will work better. The ammonium nitrate you can buy today usually has a urea coating on it now to keep it from being explosive. You can still get the original stuff but it is hard to get.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 10:14PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

I'd be inclined to stay away from ammonium nitrate, as well. Nonetheless, if you do want to use it, it looks like a light application might be OK:

"...ammonium nitrate can be used in fertilizer mixes where the nitrate portion of the mix constitutes a minor part of the total nitrogen in the mix and the soil pH is below 5.3.
Ammonium nitrate can also be used for very light (20 pounds per acre or less) applications of nitrogen where a small amount of nitrogen is needed. On soils where the pH is on the high end of the range for blueberries (above 5.0), use more acid forming fertilizer such as ammonium sulfate."

This is from a UGA Extension publication by Krewer and NeSmith (Blueberry Fertilization in Soil).

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 10:39PM
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AN is still sold, but (as another said) to the non-farmer public it is diluted with something to make it non-explosive. Yesterday I saw some for sale at Lowes with just added limestone.

You can't even buy urea in this state (SC) without the agricultural exemption.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 4:59PM
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I'm not a big fan of ammonium sulfate, mostly because it is like steroids for plants. The Miracle-Gro azalea formula has a lot of N too, but has some other elements that plants need as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Effects of salinity induced by ammonium sulfate fertilizer on root and shoot growth of highbush blueberry

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 5:23PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


That's a good link. It looks like ammonium sulfate should be limited to no more than one gram per liter. I'll need to convert that to teaspoons per gallon when I get my scale working. I'll cut that rate in half and fertilize more frequently when pushing growth.

The main reason I use ammonium sulfate over other fertilizers is it's highly acidifying.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 6:48PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

1/8 ounce gallon equal to 0.94 grams per litre .

Here is a link that might be useful: put 1/8 in space

This post was edited by gator_rider2 on Fri, Jul 5, 13 at 19:22

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 7:21PM
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Yeah, I used to use AS on my lawn and on various ornamentals. I found that plants greened up quickly and then petered out just as quickly. This put me on a cycle of constantly having to use it. It can burn plants down to the be-jesus belts in Summer. Pest pressure was off-the-chain as well because of the tender juicy foliage. I will never use that stuff again on anything, or for any reason.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 8:20PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Plants only need nitrogen constantly, the P and K just have to be supplied now and then and on some soils never depending on the soil and what they are mulched with. Why pay 100 times as much for Miracle Grow? It is just not wise. The excess P runs off and creates a mess in our waterways so is not very ecologically responsible.

For micros a small amount of a product like Axilo Mix 5 can be added and that takes care of the micros.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 10:21PM
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I have no love for the MG azalea formula, other than it was a very easy entry point for BB in pots. My plan is to use up what I have and then make a change to a fully organic fertilizer for BB moving forward. I may move my BB to the ground somewhere as well.

You won't get agreement from me regarding your assessment of N-P-K, trace elements or plant needs. My focus is geared more toward soil fertility and tilth as opposed to feeding plants directly. Feed the soil, and the plants will be fed. Potted plants are a different story and I'm less excited about them as a result.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 1:36AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


This may be a first but we agree. One of my favorite sayings is feed the soil and ignore the plant. I started here with snow white fine sand we call sugar sand, loks just like the stuff in an hourglass.......I apply a dozen or so utility truck loads of wood chips per year, 10" of it a year to my plants and now have dark healthy soil.

The problem is I don't have just a handful of plants on a postage stamp lot...I have so many fruiting plants I have to be realistic. I could spend $100 a year for 6 51# bags of ammonium sulfate or I could spend $10,000 for the same kick from a fully organic fertilizer. The AS gives the plants a nice boost for the growth and production I want with no negative aspects.

I only grow in ground.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 8:18AM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

A combination works well for me. AS without moisture at the root zone will dry the roots out when the salts are concentrated. The use of woodchips in the 3-4-5" range is necessary. I assume the AS also feeds the decomposition of the woodchips. As long as the WChips and substrate are moist I have no problems and limit runoff or excess. Is my logic sound? I bet my results would be different without Wchips as a moisture mediator. I also have my plants on 18"spaced drip emitter tubing. I haven't needed it. They also receive the discharge from my mower, further adding/recycling compost and N.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 9:23AM
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I'm not living on a shoestring, so I have no reason to cut any corners, especially on things that I feed to family and friends. My compost bins supply most of the amendments that I need, and all the inputs are free. At the same time good compost has tremendous value in the garden. My property is also valuable and I care about what I eat, so I'm cutting out chemicals that have a corresponding OSHA chemical danger sign:

Here is a link that might be useful: Get Your Ammonium Sulfate OSHA Chemical Danger Signs Here

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 12:57PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Nice try Clint but once again you have failed:).......the government lists ammonium sulfate as GRAS (Generally regarded as safe).

Not only that but ammonium sulfate can be added directly to food as an ingredient.

Select Committee on GRAS Substances (SCOGS) Opinion: Ammonium sulfate
The GRAS Substances (SCOGS) Database allows access to opinions and conclusions from 115 SCOGS reports published between 1972-1980 on the safety of over 370 Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) food substances. The GRAS ingredient reviews were conducted by the Select Committee in response to a 1969 White House directive by President Richard M. Nixon.

Ammonium sulfate
SCOGS-Report Number: 34*
Type Of Conclusion: 1
ID Code: 7783-20-2
Year: 1974
21 CFR Section: 184.1143
SCOGS Opinion:
Ammonia and the ammonium ion are integral components of normal metabolic processes and play an essential role in the physiology of man. Although there have been no significant feeding studies specifically designed to ascertain the safety threshold of ammonium compounds as food ingredients, numerous metabolic studies have been reported in the scientific literature. Extrapolation of these findings to the concentrations of ammonium compounds normally present in foods does not suggest that there would be untoward effects at such levels. In the light of the foregoing, the Select Committee concludes that: There is no evidence in the available information on ammonium bicarbonate, ammonium carbonate, ammonium chloride, ammonium hydroxide, mono and dibasic ammonium phosphate, and ammonium sulfate that demonstrates, or suggests reasonable grounds to suspect, a hazard to the public when they are used at levels that are now current or that might reasonably be expected in future.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nice try though

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 1:11PM
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If you want to base what you put in your soil and feed your family based on a 1969 directive from Richard Nixon, I say have at it. It certainly isn't illegal to do so.

To others that might be on the fence, I suggest reading the storage directions, potential health effects and other cautions from the MSDS.

Here is a link that might be useful: AMMONIUM SULFATE MSDS

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 1:25PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


If the AS caused harm I think we would have heard about it by now:) I'm sure you have eaten food grown with it your entire life as we all have..

Read the MSDS on Phosphoric acid, that one is ten times worse yet people drink it every day directly in soda:)

Or the MSDS on citric acid, deadly stuff and organic.

Wait read this one!!!!

Potential Acute Health Effects:
Very hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation. Hazardous in case of skin
contact (corrosive, permeator), of eye contact (corrosive). Liquid or spray mist may produce tissue damage particularly on
mucous membranes of eyes, mouth and respiratory tract. Skin contact may produce burns. Inhalation of the spray mist may
produce severe irritation of respiratory tract, characterized by coughing, choking, or shortness of breath. Inflammation of the
eye is characterized by redness, watering, and itching. Skin inflammation is characterized by itching, scaling, reddening, or,
occasionally, blistering.
Potential Chronic Health Effects:
Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation. CARCINOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available.
MUTAGENIC EFFECTS: Mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells. Mutagenic for bacteria and/or yeast. TERATOGENIC
EFFECTS: Not available. DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICITY: Not available. The substance may be toxic to kidneys, mucous
membranes, skin, teeth. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage. Repeated
p. 2
or prolonged contact with spray mist may produce chronic eye irritation and severe skin irritation. Repeated or prolonged
exposure to spray mist may produce respiratory tract irritation leading to frequent attacks of bronchial infection.

What is it? Vinegar:)

Again though, nice try.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 2:38PM
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Table vinegar is 4% to 8% acetic acid. Pure acetic acid has its own MSDS. It has no bearing on a discussion about AS.

You are buying and storing 51lb bags of ammonium sulfate and recommending that others do the same. You may be storing more than one bag at a time and are either unaware of the MSDS for the chemical or choose to ignore it. You at least make light of it. Florida and some other states regulate AS (it says so in the MSDS). Folks might want to dig a little deeper before they jump into this blindly.

Again, I'm not trying to talk anybody into or out of anything, just trying to bring another point of view and some balance to these heavy-handed and one-sided discussions.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 3:49PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


Florida regulates AS? That is news to you have a link proving that? I see no mention of Florida in the MSDS. Sure you are not confusing ammonium sulfate with ammonium nitrate?

Lets compare Ammonium sulfate to Table salt.AS first:

Health Rating: 2 - Moderate
Flammability Rating: 0 - None
Reactivity Rating: 1 - Slight
Contact Rating: 1 - Slight
Lab Protective Equip: GOGGLES; LAB COAT
Storage Color Code: Orange (General Storage)

Table SALT

Health Rating: 1 - Slight
Flammability Rating: 0 - None
Reactivity Rating: 0 - None
Contact Rating: 1 - Slight
Lab Protective Equip: GOGGLES; LAB COAT
Storage Color Code: Orange (General Storage)


You can try all you want to scare people but the facts kind of make your argument ineffective.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 4:37PM
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I don't have an argument. This is a very simple discussion were another perspective, other than your own, is being presented. It's hardly worth the effort as you have no inclination to read the MSDS for it's intended purpose, and you would rather bring up side show topics about table salt, sodas and vinegar. This is from the MSDS for Ammonium sulfate:

Section 15: Other Regulatory Information Federal and State Regulations:
Rhode Island RTK hazardous substances: Ammonium sulfate Pennsylvania RTK: Ammonium sulfate Florida: Ammonium sulfate Massachusetts RTK: Ammonium sulfate New Jersey: Ammonium sulfate TSCA 8(b) inventory: Ammonium sulfate

You are going to use AS no matter what other evidence or data is presented. You are still going to store 51lb bags of it somewhere on your property without knowing proper storage, safety precautions or your local regulations.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 5:30PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

I do agree you have no argument :)

This is the entire section 15 of the MSDS YOU does not have any of what you posted in it. So like I said post a link to what you are claiming.

  1. Regulatory Information

--------\Chemical Inventory Status - Part 1\---------------------------------
Ingredient TSCA EC Japan Australia
----------------------------------------------- ---- --- ----- ---------
Ammonium Sulfate (7783-20-2) Yes Yes Yes Yes
--------\Chemical Inventory Status - Part 2\---------------------------------
Ingredient Korea DSL NDSL Phil.
----------------------------------------------- ----- --- ---- -----
Ammonium Sulfate (7783-20-2) Yes Yes No Yes
--------\Federal, State & International Regulations - Part 1\----------------
-SARA 302- ------SARA 313------
Ingredient RQ TPQ List Chemical Catg.
----------------------------------------- --- ----- ---- --------------
Ammonium Sulfate (7783-20-2) No No No No
--------\Federal, State & International Regulations - Part 2\----------------
Ingredient CERCLA 261.33 8(d)
----------------------------------------- ------ ------ ------
Ammonium Sulfate (7783-20-2) No No No

Chemical Weapons Convention: No TSCA 12(b): No CDTA: No
SARA 311/312: Acute: Yes Chronic: No Fire: No Pressure: No
Reactivity: No (Pure / Solid)

Australian Hazchem Code: None allocated.
Poison Schedule: None allocated.
This MSDS has been prepared according to the hazard criteria of the Controlled Products Regulations (CPR) and the MSDS contains all of the information required by the CPR.

This post was edited by bamboo_rabbit on Sat, Jul 6, 13 at 18:06

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 6:03PM
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Folks that really love ammonium sulfate can get an extra helping of it at Subway. They use it in their bread dough.

There are a bunch of MSDS out there for AS, try this one.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 7:05PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


All that Florida regulates is the labeling :) Some states have rules over how chemicals are LABELED. You said Florida had a restriction on AS which it does not.

Wow subway puts AS in the have convinced me, the stuff must be deadly.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 7:14PM
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It doesn't say anywhere in the document that Florida regulates the labelling. The word "label" is used one time in the document. Whereas if you ingest some of it you are supposed to get immediate medical advice and show them the label or container.

The MSDS also reads:
Special Remarks on other Toxic Effects on Humans:
Acute Potential Health Effects: Skin: Causes skin irritation. Eyes: Causes eye irritation. Inhalation: May cause respiratory tract irritation. Ingestion: When ingested, its osmolarity can draw water from the body into the bowel, acting as a laxative. However, if enough is absorbed systemically it may produce Ammonia poisoning. Symptoms may include gastrointestinal (digestive) tract irritation with nausea, vomiting, hypermotility, diarrhea. May also affect eyes (Mydriasis), behavior/central nervous system (somnolence, tremor, convulsions, muscle contraction or spasticity), and respiratory system (respiratory stimulation, dyspnea). Also, with ingestion of large doses of Ammonium Sulfate arises the possibility of sufficient absorption to produce diuresis, an excessive discharge of urine, and kidney damage (renal tubular disorder, abnormal renal function). Chronic Potential Health Effects: One Russian occupational standard study discussed chronic exposure effects which may include cardiac contraction, neurotoxicity, and hypertension. This has not been confirmed in other ammonium sulfate exposed workers.

Just because AS is deemed safe for food use doesn't mean I want to eat it, use it in my garden or store 51lb containers of it.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 8:29PM
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Lol, this is great! Yall keep it going;)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 9:00PM
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You are so right, blueboy. This thread just needs more memes!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 9:54PM
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Whew ! I'm getting tired....

One post, and I'm draggin my AS out of the garage.
Next post, I'm draggin my AS back into the garage.

Back and forth so much, my AS is really draggin now.
You guys should be ashamed of what you have done to my AS.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 10:16PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

Ha ha ha northernmn

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 10:55PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


I'm just trying to get poor Clint to do his research and stick to the facts. The real question is your AS in or out of the garage currently so we know who his winning.

Btw Clint my arguing skills allowed me to retire at 40 ;)

This post was edited by bamboo_rabbit on Sat, Jul 6, 13 at 23:09

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 11:06PM
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    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 11:26PM
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northernnm you have the best post in this thread :)

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 12:05AM
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Bringing Sodium Chloride into the conversation is relevant because it gives some context.

Salt is generally considered safe in reasonable doses, in fact, its essential to sustaining life.

Yet its MSDS indicates that it is an explosive mutagen that should not be ingested.

You've got to use some sense and not get scared by the language and formatting.

Bagged Ammonium Sulfate is concentrated. Many common and safe household substances (like organic fertilizers) can be harmful if misused in a concentrated form. No, you shouldn't eat teaspoons full of fertilizer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sodium Chloride

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 12:08AM
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bamboo, I was 90% sure that you would be the one that is most interested in where my AS is now. Your tenacious interest in my AS comes as no surprise.

My AS is back in the garage. I have no concerns about it being there. However, I have quit putting it on my breakfast cereal.

This post was edited by northernmn on Sun, Jul 7, 13 at 7:43

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 7:35AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 8:30AM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8


    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 11:18AM
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