Wal-Mart Fertilizer has no phosphorus anymore.

drafted72(Chicago)April 1, 2010

Wal-Mart Fertilizer no phosphorus anymore.

I went to WM today to pick up some 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 fertilizer for my garden like I have in the past. Well, to my surprise and frustration, WM is not selling anymore fertilizer with phosphorus (the middle number) in it. They only carry 10-0-10 or 12-0-12. On the bag it says there is no phosphorus to help save our water supply from being polluted. I had to go to another big box store to pick up some with phosphorus in it.

Just another reason why I dislike that store so much.

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denninmi(8a)

That's pretty common now. A lot of communities have banned phosphorus from lawn fertilizers because it gets into lakes and rivers and promotes algae blooms.

Wal-mart never carried great diversity of product lines, anyway.

Rather than some big box that sells a lot of foreign goods, try a local farm supply. There is an old mom and pop one near me, rundown, sad looking, but they sell all kinds of neat stuff you can't find anywhere else, except online.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 5:16AM
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marlingardener

Feed stores and agricultural supply stores are great! In addition to having the "necessities" they offer sound advice specific for your area or problem. If you happen to hit a time when several farmers or ranchers are waiting for their trucks to be loaded, you can pick up a book's worth of knowledge by just listening to them. Ever learned anything useful at WalMart?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 7:43AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I agree that it is quickly becoming the standard nationwide - no phosphorus - so to be fair it is hardly a Wal-Mart thing. The ban/restrictions on it has been in the news now for over a year.

Since most soils don't need it anyway or only need small amounts it sometimes does more harm than good. But yes, you can still find it as long as older supplies exist. But within a few years it will be even more difficult to find anywhere.

Dave

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 10:25AM
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anney(Georgia 8)

Bone meal is a fine organic replacement for the middle number if a soil test shows you need it.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 10:55AM
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brookw_gw

The truth is that the U.S. phosphorus supply is due to run out in a few decades, and world supplies could be depleted by the end of the century. Google Scientific American. We've probably overused it anyway. I mean, is running water supposed to be foamy??

Brook

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 1:50PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

I can foresee the day when the only fertilizer available will be 0-0-0. I wonder what it will cost? :-)

Jim

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 2:19PM
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calliope(6)

As far as I know, the only mandates so far have been with lawn chemicals. Studies have shown that just removing phosphorus from OTC lawn feeds has already dramatically reduced run-off from excess and leaching. I suppose it's been a voluntary omission from gardening fertilisers. You can take it to the bank farmers will have access to it, but we are already operating under stricter (and needed) guidelines as far as where it's applied and how, so that it doesn't easily find its way into water supplies.

I have always been a proponent of having soil tests done for garden plots. It's not expensive. Probably a lot less expensive than what people buy automatically and dump on their land without testing it. I compost and use manures. I can't remember when I've had to add manufacturered fertilisers to my veggie plot, and I never have added them to my flower gardens. One is obliged to use a balanced feed for potted plants, however and there is no reason to ban them.

I'm sorry, I have to groan over the 'green' publicity of certain box-stores when they purchase the bulk of their goods in countries where there are really little to no restrictions to safe-guard the ecology. Then suck up fossil fuel to ship it here. It makes the same mess, only not in our bed.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 5:27PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

From what I have understood, phosphorus attaches to soil and
unlike nitrogen, is not water soluable to be carried away with water drainage. The only way for it to pollute is by soil errosion.
I don't think that will happen in most home gardens.
It sounds like more politics than ecology.
Big polluters are running loose and dumping toxics by tons in landfills, ceans, lakes an rivers.
There has to be a sensible national regulation and law to decide not WallMart.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 5:53PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Big ag gets a lot of bad press about all sorts of these issues. But the unfortunate thing is that home owners are much worse about polluting with chemicals and fertilizers than is commercial agriculture. If a little is good, a lot must be better.

I've very seldom applied anything with P or K fertilizer. My soils are high in K. Neither fruits nor vegetables nor lawns need much P. But most people don't know what they need.

I'm with Walmart on this one. Even though I don't like their stores.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 6:14PM
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nc_crn

Phosphorus is rarely needed in many gardens unless it's a new area, anyway.

"The only way for it to pollute is by soil errosion. I don't think that will happen in most home gardens."

It's mostly lawn nuts that cause this problem (not counting home/land developers with poor runoff containment and farms...both get heavy fines if caught). They water too much, they fertilize too much and improperly, they cut too much, they pick the wrong grass for their climate too much...

For every do-it-yourself "lawn pro" out there, there's about 10 more that have no idea what they're trying to take care of.

I've seen plenty of people spend a Saturday/Sunday morning putting expensive time release chemical pellets or their "monthly treatment du jour" on their lawn only to watch them follow it up by their home sprinklers washing it out to the sidewalk/streets or the unpredictable rains doing it for them.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 6:53PM
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glib(5.5)

It is a positive development IMO. Who buys P fertilizer anyway?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 8:17PM
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nc_crn

There's lots of nitrogen in P. Wait... =p

People like to put some P in the soil when they plant because it help aids in root growth. The idea is having it as close to the root as possible, but if your soil is already fine on P it usually isn't much of an advantage.

It just hangs out for years and years and years without leeching very far down the soil profile. It's rarely a limiting nutrient in anyone's garden unless it's an unamended first time garden bed area...and even then many native soils aren't P deficient.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 8:45PM
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obrionusa(5)

I personally use Phosphorus for root development on newly seeded grass. Its high priced right now, so that is why they are cutting back on the middle number. They used to have a 13-25-12 which I loved and developed great roots for new lawns. This is just what the sales men tell me. I own a lawn care company and just bought 22 pallets of 30-0-15 and 12-0-6 with dimension crabgrass control. All the products I looked at had no phosphorus except for starter fert. and the price really jumped.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 8:55PM
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calliope(6)

Many states are allowing exemptions for phosphorus in new turf plantings. Most who do, give a time limit for use. Yes, there are water soluable phosphorus formulations. I use one of them daily in my g'house business. The only way to pollute is NOT just by soil erosion, but that is a major polluting factor in mass agricultural plots and land development.

I do see phosphorus restrictions as a positive action. It all ends up eventually in our oceans. We are killing areas of our sea, it's not hype, and I saw this coming back in the sixties when I was attending Agricultural classes in University. The first step to cleaning up our act is to stop using the stuff we are wasting. It goes a long way to buy us time to address how to handle the stuff we must use.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 11:51AM
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idaho_gardener

There is a huge 'dead zone' in the Gulf of Mexico. Do you really believe that it is caused by homeowners using too much fertilizer? I don't. The dead zone is blamed on runoff from farmland.

If farm runoff is enough to cause that dead zone, how can it not be the cause of Phosphorus in streams and water supplies?

When farmers farm, they do a very carefully analysis of how much fertilizer they need to maximize their profits. If they don't, they go out of business. They could care less about runoff if their farm is at stake.

I agree with cyrus on this one; it's political. Just as with air pollution and vehicle pollution controls, it is politically expedient to force the ordinary person to bear the brunt of regulation. Businesses get a pass.

For years, trucks were exempted from the requirement to use catalytic converters. They were 10% of vehicles on the road but they were creating 50% of the air pollution. Only recently were they required to clean up their exhaust.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 1:44PM
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promethean_spark

Some phosphorus (rock phosphate) is not very water soluble. Rock phosphate is also the stuff that's mined unsustainably off tropical islands, leaving a nasty wasteland behind - still 'organic' though because it's semi-fossilized poop.

Other sources of phosphorus are quite soluble, TSP for instance has very high phosphate (the sodium makes it a poor choice for gardening though). Used to be lots of soaps had phosphate in them and that was discontinued for water quality issues.

Rock phosphate is a relatively limited resource, but phosphorus bearing ores are common - we won't run out anytime soon.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 3:09PM
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calliope(6)

Let's put it this way.....you can survive for a lifetime if your O/C lawn isn't as thick and lush as a golf course's. But,you're going to feel a little differently if the food starts disappearing off your grocery shelves because of lack of productivity in the fields and we've almost made our agricultural industry non-sustainable. That's what I meant when I said that you cut out the waste first. We don't need lawns as much as we need food. If you aren't directly related to agriculture, I find the general public has no idea about the ecological restraints put upon us now. It's not a bad thing, but the homeowner isn't the only one who is changing the way they do things.

I do agree with idaho gardener that the 'corporate' farms have been getting a free ride for a long time with their methods, but states are starting to fight back now on stench, manure management, runoff.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 3:21PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

When you go down to a lake, slow river or lagoon, all that green algae is from excess nitrogen and phosphorus.

Most of that phosphorus is synthetic fertilizer, highly soluble, and less than half of what is applied is used by the plants, the rest is washed into the water sources... year after year after year. The two biggest offenders are chemical farmers and people who obsess about their lawns.

Natural phosphorus, such as in rock powders, tend to not be so soluble, and need soil microorganisms to make it available to the plants.

Politics are always part of the equation. First, you get the taxpayers to pay for the initial cost (farm subsidies), then you get them to pay for the cleanup, then you make all forms less available to raise the cost. WhoopeeeDOODOO!

Sue

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 2:35AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

It's pretty conclusive that phosphorus does not stimulate root growth. Yikes, that is going to be another myth that will be hard to squelch!

Phosphorus isn't needed as a turf 'winterizer', either!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 5:36AM
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nc_crn

Elongation of roots is not effected very much by P and show low/no effect on the cortex cells, but the epidermal cells and root hairs are positively affected by P.

It is thought that P deficiencies "take" from the epidermal in order to produce a stronger cortex/tap root.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 5:11PM
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