Author Topic: What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?  (Read 891 times)

LazarusLong714

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What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?
« on: September 17, 2023, 10:38:07 PM »
Good evening everyone.

    Ok, I HAVE searched the forum for this info and I came away more perplexed than I started.

    I have a couple of handfuls of kumquat seedlings that are just about 3 months old.  The biggest ones are right around 3 inches tall and dark green. Some of the other ones are a lighter shade of green and some have a little yellow on the edges of the leaves.    I also have about the same number (25-ish) of lemon seedlings that are only 2 months old but are almost the same size, and interestingly enough, all the same tone of green.

     Background information:  I plated these (ALL) in the same "seed starter" bagged potting mix that my wife just happened to have in the garage.   I have not fertilized in any way up to this point, but I think that is what is needed right now.

     Reading up, it could be anything from "needing fertilizer" to "needing iron or calcium or other micronutrients".    Any thoughts?  Pictures are included.

    And here is where I found myself scratching my head in wonder, as I frequently do here...  I have read that the "perfect" generalized ratio of fertilizers, using the NPK standard measurements is some multiple of 5-1-3, AND micronutrients. 

    I have read from various people that there is some variety to this general number, as some varieties of citrus prefer a little less of this, or need a little more of that. 

    What I would like is a recommendation of something close, that is shelf stable for the needs that I have.    I am simply watering some seedlings and will be fertilizing them on a simple and not too frequent basis.  These plants will get moved to bigger environments eventually, but here in Ohio, will never be "outdoors, in the ground" trees.

     Urban Farms, "apples and oranges" liquid fertilizer gets good mention, but the owner/inventor says he doesn't like to do wholesale to retail locations because it sits in a warehouse, or on a back shelf for too long and loses potency.  That doesn't sound real shelf stable to me, specifically with the amount I will be using.   Even their smallest container (1 quart) says it makes 64 gallons of fertilizer and I think that might be a lifetime supply of fertilizer based on my watering needs right now.

     Are there any dry fertilizers that are shelf stable, but need to get mixed with water for delivery?   or would dry slow release fertilizers be a good bet?    If Urban Farms is the best bet, and it needs replaced once per year, I guess that isn't horrible, but just wasteful.

     Really long story asking for advice for fertilizer for my kumquat seedlings, IF you think that is what they need right now.

    Thanks for the help and I hope your week gets off to a good start.

Lazarus.














brian

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Re: What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2023, 09:09:35 AM »
I use Osmocote Plus slow-release pellets for all my small container trees, and I switch to Jacks High Performance 25-5-15 granular fertilizer once they become large, as it costs much less.

I agree it looks like your seedlings need fertilizer

EDIT - also, you should know that those peat-trays don't decompose easily as advertised, if you are planning to transplant them by cutting the peat tray apart and planting the entire segment, I suggest cutting or tearing the bottom off so the roots are not restricted
« Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 09:20:29 AM by brian »

LazarusLong714

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Re: What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2023, 09:32:18 PM »
Hi Brian.

Thanks for the reply.  That is some actionable information and I appreciate it.  Technical question: why do you not just start out with JACK'S HIGH PERFORMANCE in the first place?   Is it too much for the baby plants to take?  At what size would you consider them "large" and switch over?  Do you follow the instructions on the package or would you say there is a "maximum" threshold to how much fertilizer you would apply?

   Thanks for the info on the peat pots.   I haven't actually thought that far out...   I saved the seeds and put them in wet paper towels to sprout them, and then I scrambled around the house (garage) looking for something to put the seeds and some potting soil into!  Just happened to be what I found.   I will plan further ahead with my next batch!   I will remember to cut the peat pots into sections before I transplant!

    Thanks for the info.  Going to do research now!

Lazarus.

poncirsguy

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Re: What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2023, 10:33:07 PM »
Kumquat seedlings need lots of light 16 hours per day and lots of feed.  5-1-3 or 3-1-2 ratio is fine is ok

brian

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Re: What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2023, 11:03:30 PM »
Hi Brian.

Thanks for the reply.  That is some actionable information and I appreciate it.  Technical question: why do you not just start out with JACK'S HIGH PERFORMANCE in the first place?   Is it too much for the baby plants to take?  At what size would you consider them "large" and switch over?  Do you follow the instructions on the package or would you say there is a "maximum" threshold to how much fertilizer you would apply?

   Thanks for the info on the peat pots.   I haven't actually thought that far out...   I saved the seeds and put them in wet paper towels to sprout them, and then I scrambled around the house (garage) looking for something to put the seeds and some potting soil into!  Just happened to be what I found.   I will plan further ahead with my next batch!   I will remember to cut the peat pots into sections before I transplant!

    Thanks for the info.  Going to do research now!

Lazarus.

Osmocote is slow release and so less likely to burn roots.  I switch to granular fert around 20gal size or when I plant in-ground.

I don't measure I just eyeball it so I can't give much advice there. 

LazarusLong714

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Re: What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2023, 08:58:13 AM »
Thanks for the additional explanation, Brian, that makes a LOT of sense.

Years ago, I researched Terra Preta.  That is the black soil that they find all over the Amazon river basin and even way out into the forests.   If you add up all the square area that they have found so far that is identified as historic Terra Preta, it is mind boggling.  There are a bunch of modern people trying to profit from marketing a "modern equivalent" as "BIO-CHAR", but the big take away is that the original idea is to have processed hardwood into charcoal then "charge it" with nutrients and minerals, and mix it with the local soils.   In the Amazon basin, nutrients and significant minerals get washed away by the naturally occurring fluid cycles (lots of rain equals lots of drainage.... that's what often happens in a rainforest).  The solution was to put minerals and nutrients into a form factor that the rains and subsequent drainage won't wash away, but yet allow plants to access and "take what they need" without burning or overdosing them.
      I worked in the medical field (still do, but in a different capacity) and have seen how "activated charcoal" is used to SOAK UP orally imbibed chemicals (Drugs).   I put 2 and 2 together to come up with 4 on that one!!   The "activated charcoal" is charcoal that has micro fractures throughout and those fractures cause a massive exponential increase in surface area.   That surface area can then act as a sponge for certain water soluble substances.     Once taken up by the charcoal, these substances are not easily removed from the charcoal substrate, so they then pass through the GI tract harmlessly.
     How that works for PLANTS is just such a miracle.   Let's imagine that the charcoal is like a big battery and you have charged it up with nutrients and minerals (currently there is a large debate on the best way to do this in modern times, and no one has definitively determined how it was done in ancient times, similar to ancient Damascus steel vs the modern equivalent......).   You mix it in the soil.  You provide the soil with a way to maintain a moisture content (we would make a loamy soil, the ancients used broken shards of once-fired clay) and then you plant your plants.   The Miracle part is that the micro-roots of the plants can get into the fissures in the charcoal and uptake those nutrients and minerals from the charcoal battery, but no amount of water will leach it out.

      Then you get really crazy information, like with C-14 dating of the charcoal.  Some of the charcoal they have carbon dated from Terra Preta locations is over 1500 years old, and plants are still growing on it, year after year without any additional fertilizer, or compost, or nutrient input.  To the locals, that Terra Preta (Black Earth) is almost magical.

     Ok, sorry about the dissertation.  Not like you wanted to, or needed to know about all of that, but I was relating it to your statement that the Osmocote is slow release, and this is just where my mind went.  It makes perfect sense to me and I will get some today.   Osmocote, that is!

      Thanks Brian.

Lazarus.

Millet

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Re: What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2023, 12:43:25 PM »
I use 25-5-15 by Jacks Professional Company.  This formula provides the 5-1-3 fertilizer required by citrus..

BorisR

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Re: What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2023, 06:50:10 PM »
If you look at the problem from the other side...
The fact that everything is OK with lemon seedlings, I think the problem is not with fertilizer, but with genetics. As you probably know, kumquats are known for problems with their own roots. I think the best gift for your seedlings would not be the search for the perfect fertilizer, but the search for the perfect rootstock.

Seanny

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Re: What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2023, 10:31:44 AM »
Fungi can perform miracles to extract nutrients from the biochar.

Millet

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Re: What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2023, 12:27:58 PM »
Boris, where do you get that Kumquats have problems when growing of their own roots?

BorisR

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Re: What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2023, 04:05:42 PM »
Millet
I have read about it more than once, also from my own experience. Over the course of several years, I have sown several dozen seedlings of F. margarita and F. obovata. Over time, either those growing in the ground or grafted onto seedlings of other citruses survived. The grafted ones have overtaken in development those who were on their own roots. Although they were grafted on seedlings of the same age. Seedlings of other citruses are easier to grow.

poncirsguy

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Re: What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2023, 06:17:01 PM »
My Fukushu on Flying dragon grows faster than my Fukushu seedling.

pagnr

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Re: What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2023, 07:20:51 AM »
On the topic of Terra Preta, what did you find out about the method it was originally made ? Bio Char is interesting, but not the same thing ??

LazarusLong714

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Re: What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2023, 03:59:36 PM »
Hi Pagnr,
     No one really knows how the origin Terra Preta was made.    All added up there are THOUSANDS of square miles of Terra Preta area.  Some estimates I have read say all the square area added up is larger than England.   I can neither confirm nor deny that.   Again, some of the reading I have done claim that the carbon dating covers a span of time greater than 1500 years.  Keep in mind that in today's world, you would make charcoal in an oxygen free environment so it burns without being consumed.   Now consider the cubic area.....
      We were to look at simply ONE ACRE of land.   208' x 208'.   Terra Preta is anywhere from 2 feet deep to 6 feet deep, and can be anywhere from 10% to 40% of the volume of that cubic space.  So lets say, only 3 feet deep over 1 acre.   That breaks down to 4807 cubic yards of material moved, and if we average that at 20% charcoal per volume, that is 960 cubic yards of charcoal, for a 1 square acre plot of land.   
    SO, you take that 960 cubic yards of charcoal and "charge it" up, however that was done, then mix it back in with dirt at a consistent ratio, and start back filling your hole.  Oh, and every 6 inches of depth or so, add a loosely scattered layer of broken, once fired clay.   That clay acts just like terra cotta pots do...  it will absorb water when abundant and give it off slowly when water is NOT abundant.                Now multiply that out by 100 acres.       And multiply the effort required to do that, moving all that material BY HAND (no tractors or motorized earth moving equipment....).

     There was a journal entry of some spanish ship captain who claims to have sailed quite a way up the amazon river basin, and claims to have seen huge, thriving cities filled with people that were highly civilized and cultured.  NOT aborigines.    Of course, the sailors do what sailors do.   
    The ship left and went back to Spain, but it was more than 50 years later (maybe closer to 100 years?) that another ship sailed where this one went to confirm the stories.   The place was so different that the second captain thought the first one was a first rate con-man.   There were no cities.  Small groups of locals were obviously ignorant tribesman.

     Looking back now, through the lens of history, suspicion is that the sailors spread diseases that the locals had no defense to and the population plummeted as a result.    As the population dwindled, they could no longer maintain the infrastructure of the civilization and the rainforest reabsorbed the cities.   Of course, in a rainforest area, the easiest resource to use would have been wood and not stone.   It would not take long in that environment for wood structures, without constant maintenance, to decay into oblivion.

It's all very fascinating, but no one really knows how they figured it out, how they charged up the charcoal, or how may people they must have been able to feed if all the Terra Preta acreage were planted at the same time.  The estimate is that at any specific location, they could have fed hundreds of thousands of people.   This would support the claims of the original explorer to that region.

   I just tried to do a quick google search and cannot quickly find documentation on this, but if I do, I will post links.    I know I spent months reading about it, since I found it fascinating, along with the science behind the REMINERALIZATION movement, and I know I have seen several posts on this forum about members here who use commercial rock dust in their soils (I think Azomite was mentioned?).

    I get interested in something and can spend months searching and absorbing the info.  Terra Preta was an interest of mine over a decade ago, but I still feel it is a valid technigue to consider on smaller, individual scales.    I guess now I should start experimenting with a process to "charge" the charcoal for use.   What's one more project that could last the rest of my lifetime......

Lazarus

LazarusLong714

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Re: What fertilizer(s) do you use for kumquats (seedlings) and why?
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2023, 04:08:41 PM »
Poncirsguy,
 
     It is interesting what you say about your Fukushu growing faster on F.D. that on their own roots.    I am looking for some seeds for the Flying Dragon and am really only finding MASS quantities to start my own.   Would you know of a source that I could buy 50 or 100 seeds at a time?   Or do you thing\k that if I were to buy the MASS QUANTITY that the group here would be interested in purchasing some to offset the cost?   The cost difference between 1000 seeds and 4000 seeds is pretty small and would really knock the price down on "100 seed" blocks.
      Eh, I am considering it either way, but there are so many rootstock seeds that I would LIKE to get started, for my own use and experimentation....   you know, to do things like you did, to get a kumquat scion onto an incompatible rootstock.   THAT interests the daylights out of me.   All sorts of qualities you could try to enhance that way: disease resistance, temperature tolerance, increased flavor or increased fruit-set.    I am going to need more space and a LOT more lights!     I appreciate those of you who have been doing this, as mostly hobbyists, but to see some of the people who have gone on to turn it into businesses...   even better.

      I really like that you guys are pushing at the edges of the envelope.  That is how amazing thing happen.

Lazarus.