Have some of this but none of that for gritty mix

earthworm73(WA z8)December 13, 2012

I have decided to place one of my young palms into my first (well really 2nd) batch of gritty mix. It is a palm native to southern inland California/Nevada and are native to alkaline soils. I have a fertilizer that contains Mg but not calcium. Here is the problem my fert is in granular form not liquid form and I am having a hard time finding gypsum in my area. I do however have some d. lime on hand and was wondering if both the granular palm fert and adding d. lime to increase the ph will be acceptable for use in the gritty mix?

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

In many cases, plants that seem to "prefer" acidic or alkaline soils are actually growing there because of difficulty taking up or limiting the uptake of particular elements, and that often goes away in containers when all the elements essential to normal growth are in the soil solution and available for uptake - just one of the ways container culture is so significantly different from growing in the earth.

It's difficult to answer your question with any degree of certainty w/o knowing how much Mg is in your fertilizer and how much Ca/Mg is in the lime. Mg @ about 10% of the amount of N is about right, but that amount of Mg with no Ca in the soil can make Ca difficult to assimilate from the breakdown of organic components because of the preponderance of Mg in the Ca:Mg ratio. IOW, not only do Ca and Mg need to be PRESENT in the soil, they need to be present in a fairly favorable ratio. It's possible that in adding Ca AND Mg to an existing supply of Mg (from the fertilizer) the ratio of Ca:Mg would favor Mg enough to make it difficult for the plant to get enough Ca.

That's how it looks on paper, and what science tells us. How it might actually play out in practical application might SEEM different. You can see a failing plant, but you can't always see lost potential. We might all be growing plants that seem perfectly healthy to our eyes, but in fact are being significantly limited by one, or probably more than one, factors.

I suppose you can try the dolomite. If it was my plant, and because I have gypsum on hand, I would opt for the gypsum because it supplies only Ca (and S - no Mg). If you'd like to use gypsum, I'll get some in the mail to you on Monday. Let me know.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 10:57AM
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earthworm73(WA z8)

Tapla you truly are a good guy. Thanks for the offer but yesterday I was able to find an all in one fertilizer at a local grow shop that has Ca and Mg among the nutes. I'll give it a go but if down the road this isn't working I might take you up on your offer if it still stands. Thanks for responding to my question.

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    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 12:14PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Thanks for the kind words. I wish you lots of success & as much satisfaction as possible from your efforts.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 12:41PM
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