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Balanced and less fertilizer is best for plants

Posted by Strawberryhill 5a IL (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 5, 13 at 14:17

EarthCo. that tested my soil recommended adding phosphorus. In my pH 7.7 alkaline limestone clay, phosphorus is tied up with calcium and magnesium. My soil is also tested barely adequate in calcium.

I checked on the amount of phosphorus to apply. I could only find info. for alfalfa, research done by Purdue University Extension, here's my summary from PDF file:

"A seven year Purdue study started out with very low phosphorus (8 ppm) and medium potassium (70 ppm) soil test levels. The results show the highest yield in alfalfa with: 50 lb. of phosphorus and 300 lb. of potassium. That's six times more potassium than phosphorus.

Another success is 100 lb. of phosphorus and 200 lb. of potassium. That's twice more potassium than phosphorus. Their study also showed decreased quality of plants with excess chemical: low leaf-to-stem ratio, and P and K cause shoots to grow taller and thicker. See link below:

Conclusion: organic fertilizer is best, since it's in a balanced ratio. Examples: cocoa mulch at NPK 3-1-4 with all trace elements, unsulfured blackstrap molasses with NPK 3-1-5, calcium, and all trace elements.

Dry chicken manure has NPK of 1.6 / 1.8 / 2.0, and all trace elements. Fresh horse manure has NPK of 0.6 / 0.3 / 0.5, versus fresh chicken manure at NPK of 0.9 / 0.5 / 0.5 .... Data taken from NC University Extension.

Below is Basyes Blueberry Rose, 100% thornless, intense wild rose, very disease-resistant. It was stingy when I gave it too much calcium (gypsum) and potassium.

Recently in hot August, I fertilized it corn meal instead, NPK 1.65 / 0. 65 / 0.4, and diluted molasses NPK 3-1-5. More flowers, the purple bloom below is Angel Face:

Here is a link that might be useful: Purdue research on phosphorus and potassium

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Thu, Oct 10, 13 at 11:05


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Balanced and less fertilizer is best for plants

Last year I used ALKALINE horse manure (stable put lime to deodorize, plus they use mold-retardant recycled wood chips) .. my 50+ roses in the ground were healthy, very little diseases.

This year the stable changed the bedding to be wet and acidic, no longer effective. So I tested chemicals and other organics. I like Lilly Miller for roses at NPK 5-8-4 with chicken manure the most, more blooms than horse manure.

Below is a link where I compare the ingredients in Lilly Miller versus Rosetone. I tested Rosetone before, not impressed with the result, since bone meal cannot be utilized at pH above 7, according to U. of Colorado.

Here's a picture of Christopher Marlow rose fertilized with horse manure plus Lilly Miller with dry chicken manure. The trace elements in manures also helped with flowering.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fertililzers for roses: Lilly Miller versus Rosetone

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Tue, Sep 10, 13 at 10:47


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RE: Balanced and less fertilizer is best for plants

I completely agree with the thread thesis. Reposted here and adapted from an old post is my post about the adverse effects of nitrogen specifically, but over fertilization in general:

Problems, sadly, are usually a result of success.
Huh?

Well, say for example, I fertilize and I get rapid results in growth and bloom production. It is easy to conclude ideas like: "oh, they like that!" and more powerfully "oh, I like that!" What would this result tend to influence me to do? I might just decide if it works like that I should keep doing it.

We can be so gullible and so easily led down the rosy path, as it were. Fitting most of us humans into hand baskets is much less difficult than Physics allows. You remember where things in hand baskets are headed, don't you? So, although initial results may be pleasing, remember that "getting carried away" is never a good thing.

"Oversupply of N leads to softening of plant tissue resulting in plants that are more sensitive to diseases and pests." (Not my words -quoted)

And more susceptible to freeze damage and drought and basically any challenge. And good evidence is weak stems - i.e., the whole stem isn't strong enough to hold the blossom and bends weakly under the weight of the bloom.

These are observable ill effects on plants which no sensible gardener would ever attribute to the fertilizer regimen because it is ostensibly, at least, reasonable to assume that fertilizing is like giving them their vitamins, but it definitely isn't like giving vitamins at all.


(really nice photos Strawberyhill)


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RE: Balanced and less fertilizer is best for plants

Thank you, Chris (sandandsun), for an excellent perspective. I agree with you on overdose on nitrogen, considering that air is made of 78.09% nitrogen, and soil bacteria fixes nitrogen for plants.

Unless a plant is in a pot which leaches out nitrogen, or the soil is sandy with high rain, there's no need for nitrogen. Even so, organic nitrogen is best with slower release and less leaching to contaminate ground water.

My soil is alkaline clay, I never fertilize my 26 trees yet they are taller than 2-story building ... See below link on Alabama co-op experiments in fertilizers for cotton:

Cotton thrives in a wide range of soil pH like roses: from 5.8 to 8. There's the misconception that roses grow best at pH 6.5 to 7 ... I beg to differ, considering that Chicago Botanical Garden with 5,000 roses stated that their soil pH is 7.4. And my roses are healthy at pH 7.7.

Regarding Alabama experiments with fertilizers for cotton: cotton and roses are grown for blooms, rather than leaves like alfalfa. The link is in a book, can't cut and copy, but I summarize their points:

"Acid phosphate fertilizer gave the best yield for cotton. The formula suggested for best yield: 200 lb. cotton seed meal, 240 lb. acid phosphate (phosphorus), and 100 lb. Kainit (potassium). So it's NPK of 2.5 / 7.7 / 2.9 for maximum flowering of cotton.

Bailey in CA fertilized his Young Lycidas rose in a pot with salmon bits. NPK of fish meal is 10 / 6 / 2 ....much higher nitrogen than cotton's suggested ratio of 2.5 / 7.7 / 2.9. Bailey got over 150+ blooms in his spring flush, except for weak necks/stem.

The study stated, "Lime soil does not need potash, only need 240 lb. acid phosphate and 120 lb. cotton seed meal" That's NPK of 2.2 / 8 / 0.5. A much higher phosphorus due to phosphorus tie-up with calcium.

The study specified different needs "For sandy soil with rust in cotton, 80 lb. of potash is recommended." The study recommends cottonseed meal (NPK of 6 / 0.4 / 1.5) to supply nitrogen to sandy soil.

The study recommended for lime soil: Organic matter is best, such as white clover, stable manure, and cottonseed meal. Below is Carefree Celebration roses at Cantigny rose park, 15 minutes from me. They fertilize their 1,200 roses with a higher % phosphorus fertilizer ... worked well when there's lots of rain and cool temp., but roses got that "burnt-out-look" in hot and dry drought.

Picture was taken after frost and lots of rain, near freezing temperature late October in my zone 5a:

Here is a link that might be useful: Alabama fertilizer experiments on cotton in different soils

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Thu, Oct 10, 13 at 11:09


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RE: Balanced and less fertilizer is best for plants

Love the healthy English Rose, Christopher Marlow. It is hard to get rid of chemical ingredients, like taking prescription drug, do not know how much stay inside the body, how is being absorbed and the side effect is usually damaging to the cells. If we human go organic, preserve the nature, we should treat our roses kindly with organics, not chemicals, forget about imcestecide. Hopefully we have more topics on research like yours of the benifit of using grains, to guide us in the right direction.


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RE: Balanced and less fertilizer is best for plants

Hi Seaweed: I agree with the after-effects of chemicals. I tested monopotassium phosphate, NPK 0-52-34, salt index of 8.4. I dumped too much of that high-phosphorus stuff on Golden Celebration, W.S. 2000, and Sonia Rykiel. The plants become stunt for good, just like the picture of over-fertilized alfalfa in Purdue University Research.

University Extensions are right: chemical phosphorus binds up with soil elements at pH above 7. Granular phosphorus (bone meal) on top gunked up and burnt my geraniums, so does organic fertilizer Jobes (with bone meal) burnt my Deep Purple Rose.

Superphosphate mixed in the planting hole worked, but too much phosphorus on top burnt roots. Phosphorus mobility is a 1, it stays put where applied ... versus nitrogen mobility a 10, it moves with water. There's a study that showed phosphorus only move 1" down per year if applied on top.

SOLUBLE phosphorus works better in promote flowering. But high dose in my alkaline clay crystallized and became concrete on top. Even when I put vinegar in a bucket to dissolve the soluble high-phosphorus fertilizer, there's crystals stuck on the bottom of the bucket.

I tested MiracleGro Bloom Booster NPK 10-52-10 with trace elements. The rose which I fertilized in full dose: they flowered, but became burnt out and stunt. The roses which I fertilized in 1/4 amount so it became NPK 2.5 / 13 / 2.5, rather than 10-52-10 ... they bloomed lots with immediate branching.

Phosphorus is tied up in my alkaline clay: I get the classic symptom: purplish margins on leaves, reduced branching, and less flowering.

There's more trace elements involved in blooming than just phosphorus. My fruit trees were stingy with 10-10-10, but they gave tons of fruits with chicken manure, NPK 1.6 / 1.8 / 2.0. So much fruits that the branch broke!

Baily in CA fertilized his Young Lycidas in a pot, with salmon bits NPK 6.5 / 3.75 / 0, and got 150 buds in spring flush. Corn meal NPK is 1.6 / 0.65 / 0.4 .... only 0.65 phosphorus, but I got tons of buds in 90 degrees temp.

Phosphorus is NOT the only element that's essential for flowering, potassium plays a role, so does trace elements. A fruit tree grower increased her crop substantially when she added boron to the orchard, after a soil test. Copper, zinc, and boron are high in chicken manure, and helps with fruit-yield. Horse manure has all the trace elements to green up roses.

The best display at Cantigny rose park was decade ago, when they topped their roses with cow manure. It reeked in spring, but gave healthy roses with shiny leaves, and perfect blooms.

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Thu, Sep 12, 13 at 18:05


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RE: Balanced and less fertilizer is best for plants

Old garden rose, Excellenz Von Schubert, smells so sweet, love the colour, like a group of lovely ballerina dancing together, and keeps blooming one group after another, required only organic soil in the pot, Eleanor's VF-11 or liquid fish Emulsion from time to time, glad to present this easy rose. It fits nicely in a small garden.


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Hi seaweed: Your Excellenz Von Schubert is picture-perfect! I have it too, except mine has pale-leaves. It's either my soil /water more alkaline than yours, or your fish-emulsion and Eleanor's VF-11 really greened that up.

I love my Excellenz Von Schubert .. my own-root is almost thornless, only a few prickles at the bottom of the bush. The musk-scent is great. This rose is ridiculously healthy in partial shade. Kim Rupert's Annie L. McDowell is another thornless rose that I love, except that one needs full-sun and the scent is super-potent, pure heaven.

Seaweed, I understand that you grow 160 roses ... that's way more than my current collection of 55 roses (gave away 10+). What's Eleanor's VF-11? Thanks in advance.


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RE: Balanced and less fertilizer is best for plants

A very low concentration, inorganic fertilizer. Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: VF-11


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RE: Balanced and less fertilizer is best for plants

duplicate deleted.

This post was edited by roseseek on Thu, Sep 12, 13 at 17:48


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RE: Balanced and less fertilizer is best for plants

Thank you, Kim, I looked up the links that you sent me, plus the VF-11 link you provided. That Eleanor's VF-11 is very diluted potassium nitrate and potassium phosphate.

My $20 Soil test from EarthCo. was worth every cent. They sent me a free booklet on soil chemistry ... that's where I first learned that phosphorus is immobile, stay put where applied, potassium moves somewhat, and nitrogen moves with water, and leaches out easily.

EarthCo. recommended me for 100 square feet (10 x 10 area), to apply 1/4 lb. of potassium, and 1/4 lb. of phosphorus, plus 4 lbs. of gypsum (calcium sulfate) ... never mind that I'm next to a limestone quarry and within walking distance to a gypsum plant !! Calcium is bound up with magnesium and phosphorus in my heavy clay.

EarthCo. also recommends 2.8 lb. of sulfur for my soil pH of 7.7. My clay is tested exceedingly high in magnesium, most low in phosphorus, then potassium and calcium.

Here's why a Soil test is important, here's an excerpt from the link that Kim Rupert (Roseseek) kindly provided:

RE: Eleanor's VF-11 and fortified perlite
•Posted by bihai zone 9 (My Page) on Tue, Jul 7, 09 at 7:20

"Here in Florida, legislation was recently passed to require that the Phosphorous be removed from all the fertilizers (especially the water soluble ones like Miracle Grow or Peters)because its completely unnecessary in this state, as our soil is already naturally Phosphorous rich. We are only polluting when we add extra phosphates, which then run off and pollute groundwater, lakes, creeks etc.

So no more 'bloom special' here in the Sunshine State."

**** From Strawberryhill: For $20, Earthco. tested 1 cup of your soil for its pH, organic matter, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. For $30, it's the above, plus test for all trace elements. See link below for soil testing:

Here is a link that might be useful: EarthCo. or Drgoodearth Basic Soil Test


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RE: Balanced and less fertilizer is best for plants

What size pot is your EVS in? Mine is own root and will not like my soil. I must keep it potted or try to graft it to something. I wanted to try this rose ever since Jerijen put the picture of hers up.


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RE: Balanced and less fertilizer is best for plants

Hi Kitty: I notified Seaweed to answer your question about the size of her pot.

Kitty, I'm glad to hear your voice of experience ... I learned lots from you, such as Heritage likes it wet, so I'll move Nahema (child of Heritage) to a wetter place ... it's stingy on a hill that drains too well. My EVS gets 3 hours of sun in the ground, much less blooms than Seaweed's EVS.

My EVS was in MG moisture control potting soil ... bloomed when I adjusted my tap water. I used to put vinegar in my pH 8 tap water ... it's a bad idea, since it burns roses in the heat. Then I planted EVS in my clay. At first it was really yellowish, then I fixed it ... see below:

This past month I put soluble gypsum (calcium sulfate), sulfate of potash, plus molasses NPK 3-1-5 and I got EVS in alkaline clay to bloom, plus immediate dark green leaves. The "sulfate" part acidifies my water, and the trace elements and 20% iron of molasses greened up EVS.

I used "Tree of Life" molasses, but the best brand with no salt, and highest in potassium is "Wholesome" Organic molasses. Plantation molasses (17% potassium, 20% calcium, 20% iron ) is second place, since it's too thin.

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Thu, Sep 12, 13 at 22:19


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drug store sells it, but I got it from Home Depot, 16oz, please see the photo, NPK 15-85-55, easy to dilute, one capful or less in one gal of tap water, 8oz into the pot of EVS, then add more tap water underneath the plant, not often give it fertilizer, less is better?

Size of container: 11.5: high, 16" in diameter, several years ago Home depot had it, $8 black hard plastic container, They do not sell them now.


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RE: Balanced and less fertilizer is best for plants

Hi Strawberry Hill,
compared to your organic solution, mine is just too simple, filled up with organic soil, planting mix, "Gardner & Bloome" brand + pumice for easy drainage, nothing else, I am lucky this bare root rose has been very healthy since rcvd 5/26/10, from Vintage, the following year re potted from one gal size. It is facing east sunny front yard.


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want to share with the rose lover again, no need to get into details, planted in the ground from 2 gal grafted BLUE MOON purchased from Home Depot 6/14/2008, I admit that I have no power of resistance whenever I find the rose I admire!


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another fragrant rose, Intense sweet and spicy scent - SECRET, bright light with after sun.


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Thank you, seaweed, for those lovely roses, "Blue Moon" and "Secret". I always admire Secret rose, very pretty!

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Thu, Oct 10, 13 at 18:21


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I asked Jean Marion (Decobug) in HMF about her tons of blooms on her roses. Here's her description of her soil:

"My soil is alkaline about 8.1 pH . It is a mixture of clay, sand and silt. My house was built on what used to be working crop fields. The top section is pretty nice. About 2 feet down is solid clay. I try to get rid of that when planting large plants. I have put Mills Magic Mix mixed in with the mulch for quite a while ...

I actually only fertilize roses now that show signs of deprivation. I check the leaves and if I see signs of deficiency I just treat that particular rose. The more I deadhead the more blooms I get. (I try to deadhead daily during the summer.)" Jean Marion.

**** From Straw: Below is the link to Jean Marion's garden in Idaho SW, zone 6a. Her roses have lots of blooms. They get 12 hours of sun and she waters them well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jean Marion (Decobug) garden in HMF

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Thu, Oct 24, 13 at 12:02


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I found an excellent link on how to apply Chickity-do-do (dry chicken manure) sold for $8.99 for 25 lbs. at Menards. Lowe's sells 1 cubic feet of chicken manure for $3.18 a bag. HomeDepot also sells 40 lbs. of chicken manure for $26, and steer manure & compost in a smaller 1 cubic bag.

Chickity-Do-Do NPK is 5 / 3 / 2.5, with 9% calcium. It stinks unless covered with dirt, mulched, or rained on. Here's a quote from the below link: "The chicken manure goes through an extensive patented process which dries, sterilizes, and kills harmful pathogens and bacteria. The final result is a weed-free, proven slow-release organic nitrogen at 5% - IT WILL NOT BURN. ... Set your spreader to 75% open to spread at a rate of 10 lbs. per 1,000 sq. feet of lawn. "

*** From Straw: chicken manure is stinky, best covered up with dirt or mulch ... the smell goes away if rained on for a few days.

Here is a link that might be useful: Application rates for chicken manure

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Wed, Dec 4, 13 at 14:01


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RE: Balanced and less fertilizer is best for plants

cut roses this morning to wish all of rose lovers a nice holiday, I am pleased that some of roses are happy right now, not sleeping or taking the break, bottom exception is camellia, not rose, lavender pink is Fragrant Lavender Simplicity, clock wise, the left bottom deep pinkish red is Why Not Cherise, Double Delight, orange Rainbow Sorbet, little yellow hidden, bud of Eyeconic Lemonade, coral pink is Tournament of Roses, cream with pink edge is Diana, Princess of Wales, little pale pink, mini Ambiance, right bottom deep pink Yves Piaget, white Sheer Bliss at the center, next left crème with pink edge, Princes of Monaco.


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Hi Seaweed: I treasure every bloom of yours on this Dec. 4. You are lucky to live in the "sunshine" state of CA, it's so gloomy here in my Chicagoland, and your bouquet cheer me up.

Your roses are so vivid and beautiful ... I love them all, esp. Fragrant Lavender Simplicity, bi-color Diane Princess of Wales, deep pink Yves Piaget, and the pink camellia is so pretty with its ruffles. Thank you, seaweed, for that vibrant bouquet.


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