Author Topic: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?  (Read 3100 times)

FruitFreak

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 869
    • USA, FL, Naples, 10a
    • View Profile
Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« on: August 18, 2016, 04:32:20 PM »
I was wondering what people's preferences are when it comes to Organic Mango fertilizer. 

A few people have mentioned to me that Cottonseed is sufficient however I believe this is very high in N and I don't know if it has any micros (not sure).  Up to this point I've been using 6-4-6 Sunniland with good results however I'm thinking about going Organic.  Obviously K will be an important element just don't know where to start when it comes to organics.  Any recommendations are appreciated. 
« Last Edit: August 18, 2016, 04:34:45 PM by FruitFreak »
- Marley

Bananimal

  • Dan the Bananaman
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 259
    • Port St Lucie, Fl zone 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2016, 06:25:27 PM »
I use 6 3 16 from Diamond R in Ft Pierce.  It works great for the 4 to 5 periodic appls I do annually.  The lable on the bag says its organic.  Its fine for the bananas all year round.  For mango, avocado etc I put it down for the pre fruit appl only.    Resr of the year its their 8 4 8.   These two come in 50 lb bags for about 22 bucks.  Nobody beats that!!!
Dan

Cookie Monster

  • Broward, FL Zone 10b
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4676
  • Eye like mangoes
    • Tamarac, FL, 33321, 10B
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2016, 08:43:04 PM »
The "best" organic slow release for Florida is tree trimmer mulch :-).

Be careful with the organic fertilizers; some of them use sewage sludge :-(.
Jeff  :-)

FruitFreak

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 869
    • USA, FL, Naples, 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2016, 11:06:31 PM »
I use 6 3 16 from Diamond R in Ft Pierce.  It works great for the 4 to 5 periodic appls I do annually.  The lable on the bag says its organic.  Its fine for the bananas all year round.  For mango, avocado etc I put it down for the pre fruit appl only.    Resr of the year its their 8 4 8.   These two come in 50 lb bags for about 22 bucks.  Nobody beats that!!!

Will have to check this out.  Definitely a nice ratio for most.
- Marley

FruitFreak

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 869
    • USA, FL, Naples, 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2016, 11:08:43 PM »
The "best" organic slow release for Florida is tree trimmer mulch :-).

Be careful with the organic fertilizers; some of them use sewage sludge :-(.

I can imagine and I intend to mulch heavy once trees are in ground but right now I have everything in pots on emitters.
- Marley

bsbullie

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9621
    • USA, Boynton Beach, FL 33472, Zone 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2016, 12:03:02 AM »
The "best" organic slow release for Florida is tree trimmer mulch :-).

Be careful with the organic fertilizers; some of them use sewage sludge :-(.

Many granulars have urea as one of the nitrogen sources.

A very prominent local mango grower is not so keen on utilizing a lot of mulch as it leads to an abundance of organic matter that over time, can alter the soil's ph which can be detrimental for the mango tree's absorption of needed minor elements.
- Rob

bsbullie

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9621
    • USA, Boynton Beach, FL 33472, Zone 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2016, 12:08:16 AM »
The fertilizer that should be used differs greatly based on the age and maturity of the mango tree.

Young trees require more constant applications of a NPK that has a short life when applied.  Excalibur's 8-3-9 is an ezxellent mix for young trees.  It is formulated to be gone through the soil in 30 days.

Mature trees have different needs.   Better to use a fertilizer with littke to no nitrogen and the  apply a supplement such as a calcium nitrate for the tree's source of nitrgen.
- Rob

Cookie Monster

  • Broward, FL Zone 10b
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4676
  • Eye like mangoes
    • Tamarac, FL, 33321, 10B
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2016, 11:35:06 AM »
The question specifically references 'organic' fertilizer. I don't think urea, 8-3-9, or calcium nitrate are NOP approved fertilizers. The short response is that tree tree trimmer mulch is the best organic fertilizer for the OP's area that I know of. The TLDR; version is below :-).

I'm a firm adherent to the philosophy of "go big or go home," and after roughly a decade of applying 8 - 12 inches of tree trimmer mulch every two years to the entirety of my ~10,000 sq foot backyard, I've drawn some conclusions. To give you an idea of how much mulch that is, it's over 1,000 cubic yards, and if it were applied all at once, it would cover my backyard to a depth of around 4 feet. After decomposition, it has raised the soil of my backyard nearly a full foot.

It took many years for the mulch to become a net contributor to soil nutrient levels (it's generally not until the 3rd mulch that it starts to show positive results), but the difference has been overwhelmingly positive. Many of my trees went from chlorotic to healthy with dark green leaves. Even my carambola, which would not fully green up under any fertilizer regimen, is now permanently dark green with zero fertilizer application. Pretty much anything that gets planted in the backyard now grows like a weed. In contrast, trees planted in unmulched areas struggle to grow and present with obvious nutrient deficiencies.

As far as soil pH goes, my soil went from a pH in the high 7's to a pH in the high 6's. That's a full point pH drop, which is significant considering that the pH scale is logarithmic. Fully composted organic material tends to want to neutralize pH, so both an acid and a basic soil would want to go neutral (pH 7.0) with enough organic material. Organic material, having a high CEC, has a very high buffer capacity, meaning that it's hard to move the pH away from neutral -- a good thing in the case of calcium rich South FL soil. When I asked Dr Crane what to do with the adjacent lot (which was unmulched and devoid of topsoil) to make it amenable to growing fruit trees, his recommendation was "green manure" (mulch), as it would neutralize the pH and provide nutrients to a dead soil.

Aside from the fact that mulch is a great slow release contributor of nutrients, it also builds a very healthy soil, abundant with microorganisms and soil builders (eg, worms and millipedes). My soil is teaming with life, and worm castings are everywhere.

Notwithstanding the above, there are some drawbacks to heavy mulching that I've observed over the years. For one, organic matter can tie up some minor elements -- in my case copper and manganese. Fortunately, the only tree which shows manganese deficiency is the jaboticaba, and I'm currently working on a good way to correct this. The copper deficiency is actually a blessing in disguise, as it allows me to spray (OMRI-listed) copper fungicides (which are indispensable for growers not within a couple miles of the coast in South FL) without fear of causing copper toxicity.

The other drawback is that nitrogen levels stay high, which is not ideal for mango trees. The two problems with this are high growth rate and high incidence of soft nose and jelly seed. However, based on an article I found in FSHS, application of gypsum may be able to correct the latter problem while preserving the beneficial effect of larger harvest that higher nitrogen permits (http://fshs.org/proceedings-o/1962-vol-75/364-371%20(YOUNG).pdf). I'm going to be experimenting with gypsum application for next year's harvest.

I know that the mulch vs no mulch is a highly debated topic, and I know that some growers refrain from using it (eg, Ms Wenzel), but I think the positives outweigh the negatives, unless you already have an ideal soil. I can't say that it's perfect, but neither is relying on fertilizers to provide nutrients in a sandy / deficient soil; that's pretty much hydroponic cultivation :-). And, if one isn' t exclusively growing mangoes -- which tend to be the only species here which reacts adversely to nitrogen input -- then mulch is a no-brainer.

Many granulars have urea as one of the nitrogen sources.

A very prominent local mango grower is not so keen on utilizing a lot of mulch as it leads to an abundance of organic matter that over time, can alter the soil's ph which can be detrimental for the mango tree's absorption of needed minor elements.
Jeff  :-)

bsbullie

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9621
    • USA, Boynton Beach, FL 33472, Zone 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2016, 12:25:02 PM »
I know he asked about organic but my point was, giving non organic granular and supplements isnt a bad thing.

My comment was also for mangoes, which really do mot like ultra rich soil.  Other fruits, different story.

I am not going to argue with your success however every lication is different.  Do people have differing oponions, of course.  With that said, its hard not to argue with the likes of the Ziils (including Gary), Chris W. and Richard Wilson.  Whether you like them as a person or not, they do have a great lever of knowledge and expertise and thieir reasons are from experience and success.

Fiwn at Fairchild Farms, is there any mulch under those trees?  I will also see if I can find out what Erickson does to to his trees.
- Rob

Cookie Monster

  • Broward, FL Zone 10b
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4676
  • Eye like mangoes
    • Tamarac, FL, 33321, 10B
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2016, 02:15:15 PM »
Correct. Conventional + organic is the best of both worlds and something I readily advocate as long as one is bio-friendly (akin, perhaps, to taking vitamins while eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly).

Easy there. I'm not saying that mulch is necessarily right for mango trees. It's a very individualized decision -- like buying a Toyota vs a Hyundai. With conventional methods (eg, chemical fertilizers aka Florida outdoor hydroponics) and a deep loamy sand, mango trees do perform beautifully.

I'm currently able to compare the difference between my "mulch lot" and the other lot which has 1 foot deep of imported Palm Beach County loamy sand and no real organic matter. The latter lot is absolutely perfect for mango growing, as it's nearly devoid of any nutrition (esp. nitrogen) and very fast draining. I haven't given the mangoes there any fertilizer other than k-mag (potassium + mag), and the trees are productive and slow growing, with little incidence of internal breakdown -- a dream.

However, most of the non-mango trees on the sand lot do really poorly without nitrogen and minors. As far as I know, mango is the only crop we grow here that prefers this type of condition.

So, if you're in the situation where you already have deep sandy soil, don't really care about building the soil, and only care about growing mangoes, then yah, NOP approved k-mag would be the ticket.

But the OP mentioned ferts with N. So, if one wants organic slow release N, then tree trimmer mulch can't be beat :-)

I know he asked about organic but my point was, giving non organic granular and supplements isnt a bad thing.

My comment was also for mangoes, which really do mot like ultra rich soil.  Other fruits, different story.

I am not going to argue with your success however every lication is different.  Do people have differing oponions, of course.  With that said, its hard not to argue with the likes of the Ziils (including Gary), Chris W. and Richard Wilson.  Whether you like them as a person or not, they do have a great lever of knowledge and expertise and thieir reasons are from experience and success.

Fiwn at Fairchild Farms, is there any mulch under those trees?  I will also see if I can find out what Erickson does to to his trees.
Jeff  :-)

FruitFreak

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 869
    • USA, FL, Naples, 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2016, 05:07:12 PM »
The question specifically references 'organic' fertilizer. I don't think urea, 8-3-9, or calcium nitrate are NOP approved fertilizers. The short response is that tree tree trimmer mulch is the best organic fertilizer for the OP's area that I know of. The TLDR; version is below :-).

I'm a firm adherent to the philosophy of "go big or go home," and after roughly a decade of applying 8 - 12 inches of tree trimmer mulch every two years to the entirety of my ~10,000 sq foot backyard, I've drawn some conclusions. To give you an idea of how much mulch that is, it's over 1,000 cubic yards, and if it were applied all at once, it would cover my backyard to a depth of around 4 feet. After decomposition, it has raised the soil of my backyard nearly a full foot.

It took many years for the mulch to become a net contributor to soil nutrient levels (it's generally not until the 3rd mulch that it starts to show positive results), but the difference has been overwhelmingly positive. Many of my trees went from chlorotic to healthy with dark green leaves. Even my carambola, which would not fully green up under any fertilizer regimen, is now permanently dark green with zero fertilizer application. Pretty much anything that gets planted in the backyard now grows like a weed. In contrast, trees planted in unmulched areas struggle to grow and present with obvious nutrient deficiencies.

As far as soil pH goes, my soil went from a pH in the high 7's to a pH in the high 6's. That's a full point pH drop, which is significant considering that the pH scale is logarithmic. Fully composted organic material tends to want to neutralize pH, so both an acid and a basic soil would want to go neutral (pH 7.0) with enough organic material. Organic material, having a high CEC, has a very high buffer capacity, meaning that it's hard to move the pH away from neutral -- a good thing in the case of calcium rich South FL soil. When I asked Dr Crane what to do with the adjacent lot (which was unmulched and devoid of topsoil) to make it amenable to growing fruit trees, his recommendation was "green manure" (mulch), as it would neutralize the pH and provide nutrients to a dead soil.

Aside from the fact that mulch is a great slow release contributor of nutrients, it also builds a very healthy soil, abundant with microorganisms and soil builders (eg, worms and millipedes). My soil is teaming with life, and worm castings are everywhere.

Notwithstanding the above, there are some drawbacks to heavy mulching that I've observed over the years. For one, organic matter can tie up some minor elements -- in my case copper and manganese. Fortunately, the only tree which shows manganese deficiency is the jaboticaba, and I'm currently working on a good way to correct this. The copper deficiency is actually a blessing in disguise, as it allows me to spray (OMRI-listed) copper fungicides (which are indispensable for growers not within a couple miles of the coast in South FL) without fear of causing copper toxicity.

The other drawback is that nitrogen levels stay high, which is not ideal for mango trees. The two problems with this are high growth rate and high incidence of soft nose and jelly seed. However, based on an article I found in FSHS, application of gypsum may be able to correct the latter problem while preserving the beneficial effect of larger harvest that higher nitrogen permits (http://fshs.org/proceedings-o/1962-vol-75/364-371%20(YOUNG).pdf). I'm going to be experimenting with gypsum application for next year's harvest.

I know that the mulch vs no mulch is a highly debated topic, and I know that some growers refrain from using it (eg, Ms Wenzel), but I think the positives outweigh the negatives, unless you already have an ideal soil. I can't say that it's perfect, but neither is relying on fertilizers to provide nutrients in a sandy / deficient soil; that's pretty much hydroponic cultivation :-). And, if one isn' t exclusively growing mangoes -- which tend to be the only species here which reacts adversely to nitrogen input -- then mulch is a no-brainer.

Many granulars have urea as one of the nitrogen sources.

A very prominent local mango grower is not so keen on utilizing a lot of mulch as it leads to an abundance of organic matter that over time, can alter the soil's ph which can be detrimental for the mango tree's absorption of needed minor elements.

Thank you for taking the time to provide such a detailed explanation of the pros/cons of mulching (especially regarding the pH).  Once my trees are planted out in rows I intend to mulch each row.  In addition to amending the soil mulch will retain moisture and reduce weeds.  Is the soft nose and high growth rate noticeable on your amended plot compared to the plot with no/little mulch?
« Last Edit: August 19, 2016, 05:08:58 PM by FruitFreak »
- Marley

FruitFreak

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 869
    • USA, FL, Naples, 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2016, 05:10:46 PM »
I know he asked about organic but my point was, giving non organic granular and supplements isnt a bad thing.

My comment was also for mangoes, which really do mot like ultra rich soil.  Other fruits, different story.

I am not going to argue with your success however every lication is different.  Do people have differing oponions, of course.  With that said, its hard not to argue with the likes of the Ziils (including Gary), Chris W. and Richard Wilson.  Whether you like them as a person or not, they do have a great lever of knowledge and expertise and thieir reasons are from experience and success.

Fiwn at Fairchild Farms, is there any mulch under those trees?  I will also see if I can find out what Erickson does to to his trees.

Very interesting (makes sense) and curious to hear about the Erickson follow up...
- Marley

FruitFreak

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 869
    • USA, FL, Naples, 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2016, 05:13:50 PM »
I use 6 3 16 from Diamond R in Ft Pierce.  It works great for the 4 to 5 periodic appls I do annually.  The lable on the bag says its organic.  Its fine for the bananas all year round.  For mango, avocado etc I put it down for the pre fruit appl only.    Resr of the year its their 8 4 8.   These two come in 50 lb bags for about 22 bucks.  Nobody beats that!!!

Very nice.  Wish there was a dealer close to me in Naples.
- Marley

bsbullie

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9621
    • USA, Boynton Beach, FL 33472, Zone 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2016, 05:41:12 PM »
I use 6 3 16 from Diamond R in Ft Pierce.  It works great for the 4 to 5 periodic appls I do annually.  The lable on the bag says its organic.  Its fine for the bananas all year round.  For mango, avocado etc I put it down for the pre fruit appl only.    Resr of the year its their 8 4 8.   These two come in 50 lb bags for about 22 bucks.  Nobody beats that!!!

Very nice.  Wish there was a dealer close to me in Naples.

Check with Steve at Fruitscapes to see where he gets his fertilizer from.
- Rob

Cookie Monster

  • Broward, FL Zone 10b
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4676
  • Eye like mangoes
    • Tamarac, FL, 33321, 10B
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2016, 06:32:20 PM »
The weed abatement is a huge advantage to mulching and a primary reason why I mulch. Depending on how woody the mulch is and how much biological activity you have in your soil, a thick layer of mulch is effective weed abatement for 18 - 24 months.

Nitrogen in general greatly increases the incidence of internal breakdown in mango. And, the mulched lot as a lot of it -- 50ppm. However, I just recently discovered that calcium (gypsum) can counteract the fruit quality issues caused by N (see that FSHS article I linked to).

So, yah, the mulched lot does have significantly more internal breakdown, and the growth rate of the mulched lot is vastly greater than the sand lot, which basically just means that I need to be out there more often pruning trees. It also seems to encourage growth over flowering if we don't get enough flower inducing weather (cold).

But, it will take several years before the mulch will really be a net contributor to soil nutrients. Each layer of mulch lasts 18 - 24 months, and it's not until the 3rd application starts to decompose that you'll really notice the difference.

Thank you for taking the time to provide such a detailed explanation of the pros/cons of mulching (especially regarding the pH).  Once my trees are planted out in rows I intend to mulch each row.  In addition to amending the soil mulch will retain moisture and reduce weeds.  Is the soft nose and high growth rate noticeable on your amended plot compared to the plot with no/little mulch?
Jeff  :-)

Cookie Monster

  • Broward, FL Zone 10b
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4676
  • Eye like mangoes
    • Tamarac, FL, 33321, 10B
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2016, 06:34:48 PM »
Isn't Erickson near the sugar cane farms (muck soil)?

Very interesting (makes sense) and curious to hear about the Erickson follow up...
Jeff  :-)

bsbullie

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9621
    • USA, Boynton Beach, FL 33472, Zone 10a
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2016, 07:02:57 PM »
Isn't Erickson near the sugar cane farms (muck soil)?

Very interesting (makes sense) and curious to hear about the Erickson follow up...

Yes, and I know he has said his trees grow faster and more vigorous than those grown in sand.
- Rob

Cookie Monster

  • Broward, FL Zone 10b
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4676
  • Eye like mangoes
    • Tamarac, FL, 33321, 10B
    • View Profile
Re: Mango Growers.....Best Organic Slow Release for Florida?
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2016, 08:37:34 PM »
Yah, muck is pretty much old compost. Curious to see what he's doing. Wonder if he's just using gypsum and potassium.

Isn't Erickson near the sugar cane farms (muck soil)?

Very interesting (makes sense) and curious to hear about the Erickson follow up...

Yes, and I know he has said his trees grow faster and more vigorous than those grown in sand.
Jeff  :-)

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk