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fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

Posted by garedneck atlanta 7 (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 23, 13 at 13:57

Do you really need specific fertilizers for our fruit trees and bushes or will a general 10-10-10 suffice? A recent starkbros catalog has "tree pep" fertilizer 22-24-12, orchard fertilizer 45-0-0, blueberry fertilizer 12-12-12 and blackberry fertilizer 12-10-10... The first number is Nitrogen then phosphorus and potassium ... Can't i just use 10-10-10 and the plants will use what they need?

Is it better to put down pelleted fertilizer which feeds (breaks down) over time or use a liquid fertilizer (maybe dissolve the pelleted fertilizer in water first) on the soil?

Is there any benefit to spraying the fertilizer on the leaves instead of applying to the ground?

I had my soil tested and the parameters were slightly below "great" and that is why i thought a 10-10-10 will make the soil "great" and then whatever plants are there will grow as well as they ever could?

Any other considerations including the obvious of adding organics like manure or chips which add to soil nutrients over time? So shouldn't i just mulch or compost any of my pruned wood for recycling?


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 23, 13 at 14:30

If you add manure and chips you should not need anything else. When you say the levels are below great, do you mean below for a garden, or below for an orchard?


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

You are right balanced fertilizer 10-10-10 is fine. Except some plants should not get too much nitrogen because they make too much leaves and less fruit. I know that Fig trees and pepper vegetable do I give them lower Nitrogen content.
As for the spikes which you call pelleted fertilizer. It is the best because it is easy to apply and it keep supplying the trees with food over extended period of time . Don't break them otherwise you will have your fair share of healthy weeds.
As for spraying soulable fertilizer, some people do, but I don't because I think wet leaves encourages funji infection.
Abe


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

I think it is hard if not impossible to pick the right fertilizer unless you've had your soil or leaves tested and know what deficiencies (if any) you are dealing with.

When you had your soil test, which elements were lacking? I'd start out with basic fertilizer recommendations for the types of trees you have, and then add/subtract elements which were low or in excess. Did your soil test include trace elements and pH, if so then factor those needs (if any) in.


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

I think glib and steve have the right idea. My neighbor grows lives/figs and almond in italy (and plus and grapes of course), and here he has an apple and 2 plum. A quote from him "all I use is S---, you dont need anything else unless you decide to add compost"

The only problem is that its possible for you to have high amounts of nitrogen.

My advice would be to plant, and not suppliment the botom of the plant hole (unless drainage is an issue) and just suppliment the top 6 inches of soil with a mix of compost and composted manure with a mix of the native soil. Mulch the tree with 4 inches of organic matter (leaves, woodchips, paper etc).

IF you dont want to get your soil tested the only way to tell is to do the above, and see if any deficiantcies show themselves, unless you know there is a present problem?


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

How much 10-10-10 would you give each tree?


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

Please understand my orchard/garden area is over a 30 by 600 area so needless to say it is difficult to get a representative soil sample (comprised of a variety of samples in a small area) for testing to determine if enhancements are recommended, and i didn't want to pay for a soil sample where each tree was to be planted. Also, each variety tends to have different nutrient needs, so even if all the soil is the same, a blanket approach to fertilizing may not be appropriate.

10-10-10 at 1/2 lb/ 100 ft2 was the recommended application once a year and about the same annual dosage of dolomitic lime was also suggested based upon my soil sample results.

I don't understand if getting the N P or K is so critical why fertilizer isn't sold by just the one chemical so you can really get the chemistry at the tree just right. I suppose an experienced gardener can look at the leaves and fruit and know what to adjust. Yes, since the roots absorbing most of the nutrients are near the surface it makes sense to keep the surface mulched, manured and weed free.


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 25, 13 at 21:38

"I don't understand if getting the N P or K is so critical why fertilizer isn't sold by just the one chemical so you can really get the chemistry at the tree just right."

Garedneck,

Fertilizer is sold by each individual compound. Urea is 45-0-0, triple super phosphate is 0-45-0, and muriate of potash is 0-0-60. Urea and potash are regularly used to boost their respective elements in soils. Super phosphate isn't used much any more because Monoammonium phosphate (MAP 11-52-0) or Diammonium phosphate (DAP 18-46-0) are more mobile in the soil, although they do have a nitrogen component. Phosphorous by nature doesn't want to move to the root zone if applied topically, so MAP and DAP are helpful in this regard.

Generally blended fertilizers use a mixture of these base materials to come up with a mix like 10-10-10.

I've had a couple thorough soil tests and one leaf analysis done for my backyard orchard and did try to bring fertility levels up to optimum for peaches based on the tests. I quit doing soil testing or applying any fertilizer because we've continually applied wood chips as a mulch around the trees. Wood chips add fertility to the soil over time (NPK and micros).

At the farm, I chose not to do soil testing or any initial fertilizing for the new planting. This is the opposite of what extension personnel would recommend, so I may well rue that decision.

However, my decision was based on the fact that I intended and have used wood chips to mulch the trees, which again add fertility. Also peaches don't seem to suffer as easily from nutritional orders as fruits like apples. Lastly, I feel like vigor is a pretty good measure of fertility/health of the tree and is a criteria I'm watching very closely.


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

I wish I had a nickel for every time someone came to my yard, admired my plants and then said since I was a
"professional" I must be using some secret fertilizer on my plants to make them look so nice.

Are they surprised when I explained I buy what is cheapest at the time! K-grow from K-mart for a liquid fertilizer. High in Urea so it takes about two weeks before
you see any reaction by the plant.

I mention this because their are no "miracle fertilizers".
I am not buying tomato grow, rose grow ect for each plant i fertilize. Yes I agree some plants are more heavy nitrogen feeders than others. Sometimes the issue is
the fertility of the soil you have.

I have used 10-10-10 on my tree fruits with good results.
I have used lawn fertilizer (28-0-16) and had good results too, just use at a much lower rate as higher in nitrogen.

My soils are fine on phosphorus and we have a phosphorus ban here anyway unless it is a new planting.

I did not spring for a soil test but let the trees tell me the
problem. I strive for 18"-24" of new growth on young fruit trees. If I don't get it, then next year I fertilize. Too much growth, then cut back or eliminate fertilizing the following year.

I fertilize all my young fruit trees with a granular fertilizer
just after leaf out by broadcasting it around the drip-line of the tree. My soil must be very low in nitrogen as imust
apply a lite application around old established trees too or their foliage turns yellow-green by mid-June. I fertilize
the old trees at about half the rate I use on the young ones so I do not promote a lot of growth but have good
leaf color.

I know this is not scientific but it has worked for me and I am happy with the results. If I was professionally growing
fruit for a living, I would gladly pay for a soil test as well worth the cost and not worth the risk of going without it.


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

Since you are in Atlanta - I think doing the soil test was a fine idea....

Generally, our Yellow/Orange southern soils tend to be quite Mineral deficient - which leads to a bunch of trouble... not to mention bland fruit....

Personally, I feel like the Phosphate, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, and soil organic matter are far more important for Fruit than Nitrogen... Lots of Nitrogen gives you lots of leaves and giant, bland, watery fruit....

To this end - I prefer to try to get the mineral amendments sorted out... and don't really worry too much about the Nitrogen... as the fruit trees get plenty of Nitrogen from the lawn fertilizer spread in their vicinity....

Thanks


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

john i think the dolomitic lime releases a lot of minerals.
olpea thank you for the educational posts and if you decide to sell and ship your produce let me (us) know as i'd like to try some of the various varieties you (and others) grow instead of just reading catalog descriptions.
spartan please post pictures of your orchard!

I do have 3 july elberta peach trees i could try an experiment with.... one do nothing, one lime/fertilizer and one manure/chips each year with the annual pruning/spray the same and see if there is any difference in fruit quality! Stay tuned you long term garden webbers for an update in 3-5 years!


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

garedneck:

Here are a few shots if this turns out. I am best to stick
with raising fruit than fighting computers. Learning all
the time on the modern technology however. Hopefully
this works.

Ok one shot shows up. Not sure why they don't show all
3 in sequence. If you have any info on how I can figure this photo thing out, I need all the computer help I can get.

This post was edited by spartan-apple on Fri, Mar 1, 13 at 11:01


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 1, 13 at 14:14

"olpea thank you for the educational posts and if you decide to sell and ship your produce let me (us) know as i'd like to try some of the various varieties you (and others) grow instead of just reading catalog descriptions."

Thanks Gareneck,

Actually, I don't think they would ship very well. To be any good, they need to be picked near peak ripeness. To arrive to you in decent shape, I think the fast shipping charges would be cost prohibitive, else they might become over ripe, or all bruised up in the box.


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

Spartan
What a good looking tree. What is your spray schedule? If not for thr fungi I could have good lookingt rees too. I started a weeky spray.I am crossing my fingers.
Abe


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

foolishpleasure:

For me the big peach pests are squirrels, peach leaf curl and plum curculio. I trap the squirrels with a hav-a-hart
trap baited with a peanut and take them for a 5 mile ride
while going to work.

For peach leaf curl, I spray in March/early April as soon as warm enough but before the bud scales crack. I use
chlorothalonil and it seems to do the trick.

For curculio, I spray Imidan for the month of June only.
Bacterial spot has not been an issue, nor peach tree borer.

I tend to spray my peaches until July 1st and then stop.
I have not had any issues later than that to worry about
except squirrel control.


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

"However, my decision was based on the fact that I intended and have used wood chips to mulch the trees, which again add fertility."

I'd be cautious using wood chips instead of fertilizer. They generally pull N from the soil, at least until they have broken down. One can end up with a N deficiency if your wood chips end up pulling more N to decay than your soil an excess of. This is less of a problem with mulches (where only a small amount of them are in contact with the soil) than if you mix them in.


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 4, 13 at 21:21

"I'd be cautious using wood chips instead of fertilizer. They generally pull N from the soil, at least until they have broken down."

Steve,

As I mentioned I may yet rue the decision not to fertilize my new planting, but peaches seem to grow well for me as long as they are mulched and in a well drained mound. I've built mounds dug out of unfertilized clay and the mulched peach trees seem to be as vigorous as ever.

As you allude, I think the key is that the mulch is not incorporated in the soil. The peach roots are below the mulch and don't really have access to the nitrogen deficient mulch for several years. By the time the roots invade the mulch, it's broken down enough that it's no longer N deficient.

Here is what Linda Chalker-Scott has to say about the topic:

"Concern: Wood chip mulches will tie up nitrogen and cause deficiencies in plants.

Evidence: Actually, many studies
have demonstrated that woody
mulch materials increase nutrient
levels in soils and/or associated plant
foliage. My hypothesis is that a zone
of nitrogen deficiency exists at the
mulch/soil interface, inhibiting weed seed
germination while having no influence
upon established plant roots below
the soil surface. For this reason, it is
inadvisable to use high C:N mulches in
annual beds or vegetable gardens where
the plants of interest do not have deep,
extensive root systems."

Here is a link that might be useful: Linda Chalker-Scott Wood chip mulch

This post was edited by olpea on Mon, Mar 4, 13 at 21:24


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RE: fertilizer? 10-10-10, 12-12-12, 12-10-10, 45-0-0

You may be right olpea. Certainly if you are aware of the potential problem and keep an eye out for symptoms you should be fine.

My soil here is fairly sandy (decomposed granite mostly) and originally low in nutrients, and I actually saw N deficiency the year I used some "composted" horse manure as a mulch in my annual garden. The manure was stable sweepings mixed with a lot of wood chips (50% or more). It was left out but not watered, covered or turned, which in our climate means not much decomposing took place. There were very noticeable problems with the vegies growing there, which went away as soon as I added some N fertilizer.

No doubt young annuals are a different deal than established trees. But I think that how the trees do with N will depend quite a bit on the fertility state of your soil prior to the addition of mulch.

Ultimately wood ship mulches and the fungi they support are supposed to be the preferred soil microbiology for perennials, such as orchards. But I think some caution may be in order, especially if you are dealing with low fertility soils.


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