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can you fertilize too soon.....?

Posted by terratoma 7a (My Page) on
Thu, May 30, 13 at 19:17

I've inquired about this before but thought I'd give it another try.
I've planted small trees in 7 gallon containers filled with gritty mix. I am keeping them outside but out of the direct sun for the first couple of days (temps are reaching the high 80s) and plan to gradually move them into the morning sun. Initially, I began watering when the mix lost its moist feeling beneath the surface. (All of this I've gleaned from the helpful posts in this forum.)
My question is about a fertilizing program. For whatever reason, I've held off from fertilizing for the first 48 hours after planting. I then began fertilizing with the Foliage Pro at every watering. The rate is 1/4 tsp. per gallon of water.
Did I begin fertilizing too soon, or too late?
Also, I find myself watering while the mix is still very slightly moist. This is probably foolish and creating unnecessary work but I don't want to risk the plants dying for lack of water. Is this rate of watering harmful? Since the water contains Foliage pro, am I "over fertilizing" when I water so frequently?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: can you fertilize too soon.....?

t...sounds like you are dialed in! I have been potting up my first 5-1-1 and 1-1-1 pots as well. Think this craziness might pay off in the long run. It is kinda a twisted sort of way. :)

RE: can you fertilize too soon.....?

I wouldn't water with foliage pro every day. You can water every day, but I wouldn't use the fertilizer water more often than every other day.

RE: can you fertilize too soon.....?

Thanks fireduck and Ohiofem (I'm a former Buckeye from the extreme southern part of the state... right on the river!)

Ohiofem: When watering every other day with Foliage Pro, what dosage do you recommend? I'm using 1/4 tsp. per gallon of water now. Should I continue with this or, because I'll be fertilizing only half as often, increase the dosage to, for instance, 1/2 tsp. per gallon?

Along with the maples I'm now trying my hand with several cacti, a hosta and some ornamental peppers. (I decided to jump into this container gardening with both feet. :) ) Would you recommend a different regimen for the hosta and peppers because_ at least I've read_ they are "heavy feeders"?
Appreciate all responses.

RE: can you fertilize too soon.....?

The general rule I learned is to base the dosage on what the package says you should use on a weekly basis. With FP, this 1 tsp. per gallon of water once a week. (This is the production rate, or the maximum you should ever use.) I divide the weekly rate by the number of times I water. If I water seven times a week, to be precise, I would use about 1/7th of a teaspoon per gallon of water each time. (For reference, 1 teaspoon = 120 drops = 5 ml.) But, I also believe you should use plain water every third or fourth time you water to prevent salt build up. I was rounding off when I suggested using 1/4 teaspoon per gallon every other day.

I would not recommend a different regimen for Foliage Pro with any plant. But all my "heavy feeders," like tomatoes, are in a mix that includes controlled release fertilizers, so they do get a little extra. In the winter, with indoor plants, I water much less often. But, I never add more than a teaspoon of FP fertilizer per gallon of water. Some of my big succulent plants don't need water more than once a month during winter, so the weekly dosage they get is accordingly much lower.

I hope that's not too confusing.

RE: can you fertilize too soon.....?

Thanks for the help!
I saw pics of some of your plants in another recent post concerning watering ... beautiful. I'm afraid that I'm unfamiliar with many of the plants (clivia, for instance) but I'm preparing to learn more about them, It sounds as if these are plants will grow and thrive indoors during the winter months. Just what I need.
Am watering with a solution containing 1/4 tsp. of FP for every gallon of water every other day (for instance, Mon-Wed-Fri-Sun) and water only on alternate days (Tue-Thurs-Sat-Mon). Every other "water only" day (Tue-Sat in the example above) I water very heavily to flush any salts from the mix.
BTW, your advice was not in the least confusing. The only thing in question is my understanding. : )
Now that I know the frequency for fertilizing and watering, allow me to ask another dumb (and related) question. Since the gritty mix is so free draining, I'm concerned about the amount of water that I'm applying. I want to ensure that each plant is getting enough. When I water (whether with water only or water with FP), I water until it's flowing freely out of the drainage holes, The trees are in 6/7 gallon containers and I'm putting about a gallon of water (or water and FP) in each container each time. Does this seem too little or too much? (FWIW, they get morning sun only and, although it has been a mild summer thus far, I expect daytime temps in the high 80s/low 90s soon.) Since the mix drains so well, I'm assuming that you can't over water; that once the mix has absorbed the amount of water necessary (specifically the Turface), any excess water would simply drain away. And given the characteristics of the mix, there shouldn't be much of a PWT. And further, the same would apply when I apply the water and FP solution.
Have I completely lost my marbles? Believe me, I'm not looking for a lot of excess work to do. : ) I just want to do it right.
Hope I hear from you.

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