Author Topic: Help me understand plant feeding  (Read 501 times)

Plantinyum

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Help me understand plant feeding
« on: July 11, 2022, 03:05:35 AM »
I want to really get a hold of my feeding program for my plants' ive started writing dates and info on the feeding and practices i do to the plants' which i have never done before. Helps quite alot ' but theres sne major thing that i do not understand - chelated vs water soluble ferts.
Now i know chelates are also water soluble ferts/ ingredients of it, what i dont get is that when i buy a given fertilizer, some of the micronutrients are listed as chelates( manganese, zinc etc) which means they can be only available to the plant via foliar feed? No ? So the given fertilizer is listed as one that can be used both as a foliar and as a watering one, but if i water the plants with it they wont be able to absorb the chelated ones, so for those i need to apply the fert as a spray?
So basically i need to swich between watering and spraying each time to get the max bennefit out of the fert?
Thanks alot for clearing this out , i got myself into a site which explains this but i just got more confused while reading.....
https://www.greenhousegrower.com/production/fertilization/understanding-plant-nutrition-fertilizers-and-micronutrients/

Daintree

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Re: Help me understand plant feeding
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2022, 09:28:57 AM »
No, you don't need to foliar feed these micronutrients. Chelated micronutrients were invented because many of these nutrients only work within a very limited pH range of soil or soilless medium. Chelation protects the nutrients against pH damage and lets them be available to the plants across a broader range of pH.

The more important thing to me is organic (for example, manure) vs synthetic (chemically manufactured nitrogen source). Now, discussing this is like talking about religion or politics - people tend to have strong opinions. This is my take on it, after decades of growing happy, healthy plants. You can take it or leave it.

I go with synthetic fertilizers (good old Miracle Grow, at half the recommended rate, every time I water) for all my peat-based potted plants. Organic fertilizers need to be broken down by soil microbes before becoming available to plants. This takes time, months to years, AND if you are using a soilless potting medium like I do, it is hard to get flourishing microbial life to begin with.

However, in my garden, in the ground, with dirt and worms and things, where I can plan a year ahead, I prefer organic fertilizers.  I still tend to get pre-mixed stuff (I like Dr. Earth) rather than try to balance manure, compost, blood meal, guano, bone meal, etc into something my plants need.  I only add a single product if I can see a difficiency. There are probably recipes for complete organic fertilizers, but it can take months to see results from what you add (the stuff has to travel through the gut of microbes first...), so it is almost impossible to tell which thing you added had what effect.

Did that help, or confuse you more?

Cheers,
Carolyn

Plantinyum

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Re: Help me understand plant feeding
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2022, 10:23:47 AM »
No, you don't need to foliar feed these micronutrients. Chelated micronutrients were invented because many of these nutrients only work within a very limited pH range of soil or soilless medium. Chelation protects the nutrients against pH damage and lets them be available to the plants across a broader range of pH.

The more important thing to me is organic (for example, manure) vs synthetic (chemically manufactured nitrogen source). Now, discussing this is like talking about religion or politics - people tend to have strong opinions. This is my take on it, after decades of growing happy, healthy plants. You can take it or leave it.

I go with synthetic fertilizers (good old Miracle Grow, at half the recommended rate, every time I water) for all my peat-based potted plants. Organic fertilizers need to be broken down by soil microbes before becoming available to plants. This takes time, months to years, AND if you are using a soilless potting medium like I do, it is hard to get flourishing microbial life to begin with.

However, in my garden, in the ground, with dirt and worms and things, where I can plan a year ahead, I prefer organic fertilizers.  I still tend to get pre-mixed stuff (I like Dr. Earth) rather than try to balance manure, compost, blood meal, guano, bone meal, etc into something my plants need.  I only add a single product if I can see a difficiency. There are probably recipes for complete organic fertilizers, but it can take months to see results from what you add (the stuff has to travel through the gut of microbes first...), so it is almost impossible to tell which thing you added had what effect.

Did that help, or confuse you more?

Cheers,
Carolyn
Thanks ,yes you helped me alot with this clearance on the subject, the most important thing that i was looking for ,and you cleared this up is that chelates as you say will work with wattering ! Thanks a lot  Carolyn 🙏 

achetadomestica

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Re: Help me understand plant feeding
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2022, 04:40:27 PM »
One big nursery I know says never fertilize twice with the same fertilizer.
every time you fertlilize give the plant something different then the previous round.
Taking notes is a very good idea.

Plantinyum

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Re: Help me understand plant feeding
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2022, 12:00:06 AM »
One big nursery I know says never fertilize twice with the same fertilizer.
every time you fertlilize give the plant something different then the previous round.
Taking notes is a very good idea.
  thanks, i usually use several brands of ferts ,but havent used them this way, i'll start to rotate them.

spaugh

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Re: Help me understand plant feeding
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2022, 12:39:53 AM »
One big nursery I know says never fertilize twice with the same fertilizer.
every time you fertlilize give the plant something different then the previous round.
Taking notes is a very good idea.

Were they selling fertilizer?
Brad Spaugh

jbclem

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Re: Help me understand plant feeding
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2022, 04:41:45 AM »
"Were they selling fertilizer?"

That was the first thing that popped into my mind.  Wouldn't they love having customers coming in and ordering 5 different brands of fertilizers each time.

achetadomestica

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Re: Help me understand plant feeding
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2022, 09:54:32 AM »
One big nursery I know says never fertilize twice with the same fertilizer.
every time you fertlilize give the plant something different then the previous round.
Taking notes is a very good idea.

Were they selling fertilizer?
They don't sell fertilizer
Wholesale trees only, sold out this year they have so many contracts they won't
take more orders. It has to do with the 2021 freeze in Texas and 2022
freeze in Florida

pagnr

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Re: Help me understand plant feeding
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2022, 05:57:20 PM »
There are possible reasons to rotate fertilisers.
Depending on the formulation, applying Calcium fert can push pH up and Sulphur ferts can push pH down ( Iron Sulphate, Magnesium sulphate ).
So you might alternate to balance any possible pH drift.
Different forms of Nitrogen can be better suited for different seasons, or plant growth stimulation.
This isn't a rule of thumb, but should be based on analysis and calculations from the fertiliser formulations and application rates.

I usually base my fertiliser choices on a NPK % plus trace element % formula that is in the window I am aiming for.
Then I check the actual formulation of the fertiliser, i.e. N as Urea or N as slow release ammonia forms.
The Mg, Fe, Zn and trace elements are most usually sulphates giving S. I usually avoid fertilisers with chloride, as we already have salinity in our water.
The release rate is important, some are slow release and some are fast or basically fully soluble instant release.
The Container label usually has application rates, and any hot weather warnings etc.
I usually apply below the label rates, especially on small or sensitive plants.

Unless the fertiliser formulations are changing, or the components are changing i.e. Iron Sulphate or Iron chelate, N as Urea, Ammonia or Calcium Nitrate,
or the release rates are changing, i.e. 6 months release vs 12 months release
I can't see any reason to simply change fertilisers without good reason, or without an outcome in mind.

I would recommend this book for anyone interested in growing plants in containers, and fertilising them.
Growing Media for Ornamental Plants and Turf  Kevin Handpick and Neil Blackhttps://www.amazon.com.au/Growing-Media-Ornamental-Plants-Turf/dp/1742230822
If you google the title, you might find other sources or previews

K-Rimes

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Re: Help me understand plant feeding
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2022, 08:15:38 PM »
Admittedly I use a lot of different fertilizers but definitely stick to the cheap stuff. If it's on sale, I'll probably buy it. I'm always hunting for deals. Perhaps there's some benefit to it? My thoughts are to use a combination of organic fertilizers like Hollytone, Dr Earth, Down to Earth, chicken manure, mulch etc to help with soil biology then blast off to the moon using light but frequent doses of synthetic "slow release".

Some of the cheaper slow release stuff like Vigoro really only pumps the plant for 2-3 weeks then tapers off so I just dose it when the "rush" seems to be cooling off and a week later they're tearing it up again.

People take plants / organic gardening really seriously and I think go overboard with their ideation of what's best. So many plants, even what are seen as "sensitive" don't care what I put down. It's all food to the plant. The only thing that's really important to avoid is dosing the plants too hard if they're not actively growing. The only time I dose a dormant plant is right before winter to hopefully prep it for a big spring bloom.

Edit: on the topic of foliar feeding, I really don't see much cost:benefit time to growth wise. Maybe if I had a really efficient fogger or something I'd get more into it but just don't really get the return on time investment needed. I spray for bugs with neem or pyrethrin or insecticide soap though, that's worth my time.

 

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