Osmocote fertilizer. When and how much?

Octogenarian(z5 Lake Erie)March 21, 2009

At what stage of growth should Osmocote 14-14-14 be applied to my tomato plants? I use Miracle Grow at planting time and two weeks later to supply available nutrients to the soil What is the rate of application per plant and where to apply it? It is my understanding that it will not burn the roots.
I plant 3' apart and 4' between rows, using Early Girl and Celebrity.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Osmocote is a slow release fertilizer. I don't know anyone who uses it it on a vegetable garden. It isn't cheap. It is used mainly in potted flowers like begonias and geraniums. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon full on top of the soil. The pellets remain as the fertilizer is leached out when watering

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 6:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I use Miracle Grow at planting time and two weeks later to supply available nutrients to the soil.

So can I ask why the Osmocote would even be needed?

Osmocote is a timed-release fert usually mixed, per the application instructions on the container, into the planting hole or container mix.

That's alot of fertilizer used along with MG!! Especially nitrogen. ;) JMO but I would expect blooming and fruiting problems, blossom drop, even BER if I used all that in my soil. Is your soil especially nutrient deficient? Had it tested?


    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 6:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Octogenarian(z5 Lake Erie)

Osmocote is approved for vegetables, lawns, flowers, trees and pots. How much to use so it doesn't raise havoc. A shovelfull? a thimblefull? The correct amount would tend to strengthen the plant against BER. I use calcium foliage spray, never had BER. I believe I had my soil tested sometime in the past 56 years of gardening and selling. I was actually looking for facts and figures from an experienced user. Thanks anyway, Doug

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 5:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I was actually looking for facts and figures from an experienced user.

If you mean a user of Osmocote on tomato plants then I'm sorry we couldn't help you. Apparently no one here uses it. And honestly, I have never heard anyone mention using it on tomato plants before, here or at any of the other tomato growing forums.

We do however frequently discuss BER, its causes and the many varied things that folks claim prevent/cure it.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 6:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Osmocote is not a slow or timed release fertilizer, it is a controlled release fertilizer. The release rate is controlled by soil temperature. Putting it on top of the soil would be inefficient as water is required to wash the evacuating salts that coat the prill into the soil.

Anyway, for the OP, there is no real way to tell you how much to use. The reason is that it will depend on your soil temperature. Also, nobody really knows how evenly the fertilizer is dispersed.

It could be that given a consistent temperature an even amount of nutrients would be released each day, but it could also be that more is released on day 1, a little less on day 10, even less on day 20 etc.

What happens with controlled release ferts is that water passes into the prill and pressure builds inside the prill (governed by temperature). This pressure forces the semi soluble nutrients out of the prill. That's why they release faster in warm soil and slower in cooler soil. The warmer the salt semi solution inside the prill the more soluble it becomes and the easier it passes through the prill.

Anyway, like I said, there is no standard amount to use per tomato (or any other plant) that I know of. If you manage to figure out the ideal amount for your climate/product, it likely won't hold true in a different climate (different soil temps) or a different product with a different prill coating technology or thickness.

Some products are labeled to release over 3 months, some 4 months, some 6 months, some 9 months etc. All these time frames are based on a specific, constant temperature. In a real world scenario a 6 month product may last 3 months or 9 months and whether any given plant is getting too much or too little nutrient supply at any given time is anyone's guess.

There are products being researched that take one's typical soil temperature into account and match nutrient rates to specific plants, but to the best of my knowledge they aren't on the market yet. I suspect that if/when we see them they will be marketed to commercial greenhouse growers, not back yard gardeners.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 9:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
LandArc(z9 CA)

I have used Osmocote in the past, I may use it again, hard to say. In general, I would use it at planting and use the MiracleGro once the season gets going, if I was going to go down that road. Like Justaguy said, Osmocote works from within the soil, so it should be incorporated into your backfill. And I would suggest into the top 6 to 8 inches as that is the soil that will get warmed. If you choose to use MiracleGro after that, you might choose to foliar feed or drench, although I would tend to think it would be unnecessary, although you know your soil best.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 11:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
timmy1(6a ri)

The type 100 is approx a 100 day release.

The type 140 is a 140 day release.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 11:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
scarzi(z7 MD)

Ten years ago I was growing tomatoes with Chuck Wyatt and Osmocote is all he ever used. I seem to remember about a 1/2 a cup full went in the hole with several shovel fulls of peat. It seemed to work great.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 9:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Osmocote really works. For tomatoes...I wouldn't overdo it...put a little bit in the potting hole..maybe 10 dots per plant..then watch how they grow...then depending on your variety, top dress later in the season. Gauge how much you use based on your soil fertility. Also, don't over do it due to salts and leaching etc. I am an organic grower, but one season I used osmocote 10-10-10 on my strawberry beds when their leaves were 2.5 inches across. The next spring my strawberry leaves were 8 inches across very large leaves. Tons of fruit. Then we got a hail storm....smash. its been 2 years with organic fertilizers..going on 3 years...I have 1/4 of strawberry plants I started out with. Horrible fruiting and small plants. Going to try osmocote again to help jump start them.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 6:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How often should I use K44 on Roses after pruning?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 4:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Osmocote (14-14-14) is just an old "all purpose" slow release fertilizer . It has nothing special for tomatoes AND it is outrageously expensive for just being Slow Release. There are much cheaper and better alternatives for tomatoes. There had been an "Osmocote Plus" with different analysis for tomatoes and peppers but it is not readily available anymore.

Slow Release, if it really is/works as claimed, then it is a better choice in containers where they are watered more often than in ground beds.

BTW: Osmocote is made by Scott company, who owns Miracle Gro. But some of MG brands are much better than Osmocote ( economically and by ingredients).

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 6:31AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Brandy Boy Contest -2015
I propose a "Brandy Boy Contest" for 2015...
Container size for tomatos
I'm considering some of the larger tomato plants. How...
Need Help with Hydroponic Tomatoes
I started growing tomatoes hydroponically indoors using...
Critique Varieties please for 2015
My garden each year seems to expand here in N. Indiana...
Are You Germinating Yet ?
Now that you've got all the seeds and have decided...
Sponsored Products
Artificial Grass: Turf Evolutions Flooring Pet Turf Indoor Outdoor Landscape
Home Depot
Pro-Control Plus TR Aerosol - 6 oz. - WMPCONTRPL
$191.99 | Hayneedle
Plantmates Scatter Box - 1361-6503
$26.99 | Hayneedle
Flower Power Plant Sensor
$59.50 | FRONTGATE
Metallic Glass Tulip Garden Light
$399.00 | FRONTGATE
Azos Nitrogen Fixing Microbes Bag - RT1350
$43.99 | Hayneedle
Artificial Grass: Turf Evolutions Flooring Deluxe Indoor Outdoor Landscape
$56.97 | Home Depot
Roots Organics Formula 707 - 3 cf - RO707
$51.38 | Hayneedle
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™