Fertilizer ?

briana_2006April 2, 2010

Hi all -

Has anyone had experience with either of the following products:

http://www.dyna-gro.com/ - Foliage Pro NPK - 9-3-6, which has the 3-1-2 ideal ratio, which seems to be a more complete fertilizer over MG for example and

Pro-TeKt 0-0-3, which is a silicon supplement.

I have found a local source for both.

From my limited reading it appears the Pro-TeKt helps ward off insect damage and helps orient the leaves better for more ideal photosynthesis along with other stated advantages.

I have also read some trees/plants have been shown to uptake silicon (and benefit) while others have been shown to not uptake silicon.

I am curious if anyone knows if the Pro-TeKt is beneficial to figs or citrus in containers?

Would I expect to see significant difference in plant growth/fruit taste if using either or both of these products?

Thanks as always for any advice,


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The combination of 3:1:2 RATIO fertilizers like 24-8-16 and 9-3-6 with ProTeKt 0-0-3 is something I started writing about a few years ago on the container gardening forum. I initially used them together to increase the versatility of 3:1:2 ratio fertilizers, to help prevent an overabundance of foliage on tomatoes. IOW, I used it to shore up the amount of K being supplied after lowering the concentration of the 3:1:2 ratio solutions to limit N supply. I never noticed symptoms of P deficiencies because plants use roughly 6X more P than N. It didn't take long to realize that it worked well to limit vegetative growth on my containerized trees as well, a good tool to have in your bag of tricks.

Plants tend to take what they need and leave the rest (nutrients). The problem with that is what they don't use stays behind in the soil and unnecessarily raises the level of EC/TDS. These are roughly measures of fertility or salts in the soil. As the level of EC/TDS goes up, it gets increasingly difficult for plants to absorb water and the nutrients dissolved in water; so ideally, we want to keep EC/TDS as low as we can while supplying all the nutrients plants use in a ratio as close to that ratio plants actually use. 3:1:2 ratio fertilizers are the most efficient at this, barring tissue analysis and injecting your own chemical solutions as needed into the irrigation water.

The primary differences I've noticed in plants when using ProTeKt regularly is more durable leaves (especially on fragile plants like the dissectum Jap maples), leaves that are more resistant to insects, and plants that seem to be better able to tolerate extremes in soil temperatures, which is a very good thing for containerized trees, unless you can double pot or otherwise shade or keep containers cool.

You ask about seeing better growth if you use this or that. Growth is limited by genetic potential. IOW, we can never cause a plant to grow at a rate beyond it's genetic potential. If you see what you think is a growth spurt in a plant after a repot or after fertilizing, it's not a growth spurt - it's the plant returning to growth at much closer to its genetic potential after growing under stressful conditions or under strain. Fertilizers and soil amendments aren't magic growth stimulators, they are simply building blocks the plant needs to grow as close to its potential as possible, within the limitations of other cultural factors. If you research 'Liebig's Law of the Minimum', it will summarize this line of thinking.

The short answer to the benefits of using ProTeKt is that I think if you're close to your trees, you'll notice the same things I mentioned above. I think you'll see healthier, stronger trees. As close as I am to my trees every day (bonsai), I can't say that I see a difference in 'growth', but it has to be there to some degree if it is helpful in relieving any form of stress.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 10:14AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

You may fine this link about Fertilizing Containerized Plants helpful.


Here is a link that might be useful: Fertilizing containerized plants

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 10:25AM
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Once again "thanks" for the good info for a layman. Just a couple of questions:

a. Does the term "foliage" in the context of the specify
fertilser applies to better leafing characteristics or
intake of nutrients via its leaves is possible.

b. If intake of nutrients is possible via its leaves, any
chance you can let us know what kind of foliage ferti-
ser have work best.
My goal is not to overdose the root zone toxicity level
of fertilizers. I think I have killed/or stunted some
plants this season due to fertilizer toxicities as I
read your comments on cold soil & fertilizer is No, No.



    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 2:42PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

A copy/paste from one of my replies to a similar post:

Only SOME plants can absorb an appreciable amount of nutrients by way of a foliar pathways. The nutrients they DO absorb need to be in ionic form, and organic preparations like fish and seaweed emulsions are very heavy in organic molecules which cannot be absorbed and very weak in nutrients in ionic form. Also, cultural conditions on leaf surfaces are generally not conducive to further breakdown of organic molecules into ionic form.
The good news is it won't hurt anything (as long as you don't mix it too strong) & organic molecules will eventually be washed from leaf surfaces where they will end up in the soil to eventually be broken down by soil biota into nutrients the plant CAN use.

Weak doses of soluble fertilizers are far more effective at providing nutrients via foliar pathways.

Remember too, that there is no good reason to foliar feed unless there is a recognized nutritional deficiency and you're trying to temporarily alleviate it. The soil to root path Mother Nature designed is much more effective at supplying necessary nutrition for nearly ALL the plants we would be discussing on this forum. You can't force-feed a plant, and common hort sense says you shouldn't try. ;o)

BTW - it's very difficult to inadvertently over-fertilize if you are using reduced doses of fertilizer with an appropriate soil and are watering correctly.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 3:09PM
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organic_aer1(NJ 6)

Hi Al
What are your thoughts on the use of worm castings to feed the beneficial micro-organisms that produce enzymes the tree and all plants need. It is my understanding that with out the good micro-organisims plants can't use the fertilizer as we apply it. There is a need for the micro-organisims to convert the N into a form that the plant can use, in turn the plant feeds the micro-organisims sugars it produces in exchange. So to have a happy plant you need to have happy and healty micro-organisims. Compost teas are a good source of micro-neutrents and benificial to all soils and plants.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 5:33PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

When it comes to growing in my gardens and beds, in-ground growing, the philosophy of "feed the soil instead of the plant" has served me well, with only the occasional application of nutritional supplements being necessary. Container culture, I find is quite different. After having tried approaching container culture with an 'all organic' ideology, I found it requires more work, yields less reliable results, and is much less forgiving, leaving the grower with much narrower latitude for margin of error.

Since I'm not limited by any particular ideology, and am very results oriented, I much prefer a durable, highly aerated soil and practices that don't support abundant populations of soil biota, in combination with soluble fertilizers that deliver nutrients in ionic form for container culture.

I don't use castings in container media because of the negative affect they have on drainage/aeration, and they supply nothing significant that can't be had by using any one of a variety of commercially available micro-nutrient supplements that have no impact on media structure. I would have no hesitation using them in the gardens, however.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 10:33PM
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