Fertilisers:perhaps an alternative view?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Houzi, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member

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    Spring's not far away :-)
    Must admit the only garden action around here(myself included) has been the mass repairing of fences etc. after the strong winds recently DAMMIT!
    So...I have been reading some views about fertilisers elsewhere wrt containers,and though not my own research,I think they're worth thinking about....or even disputing?
    It has been stated that all plants need far more N than P&K.When I think of what N,P&K are supposed to do for a plant respectively,personally I'm inclined to agree with this.This straight away gives me cause for concern when I often read of low N fertilisers being used(wrt P&K)
    It has also been suggested that all plants have similar proportions of NPK in their make-up,so for optimum health should have similar ratios of NPK available to them.
    Surprisingly one of the fertilisers which comes closest to this ratio is the much maligned 'Miracle Gro'( P is a little high but apparently not a great issue in container soil)
    Straight away we think Miracle Gro?!!....24-8-16!...that's far too much N.....but these numbers are often read wrongly.It is a lot of nitrogen in that bottle,but we're not gonna use the whole lot neat.The NPK ratio is pretty good and we can make these numbers as low as we want by dilution.....and we do...10ml added to just a litre of water(still far too strong) straight away gives us a 0.24% N mix...doesn't sound so scary now.Basically it's a 3:1:2 ratio.
    Sure many of us see too vigorous growth when using MG,but does the plant look like it's lacking anything?...it's just getting NPK in a good ratio,but far more than it could ever hope for naturally.
    Maples need little N so dilute it a lot,and the P&K won't be dissproportionally high either.Also there should be less risk of 'root burn' as such low doses.Although not actually being burnt,too much of anything(even sugar) dissolved in water can cause this.It makes the plant less solute than the water(a rare event in nature)This causes osmosis to occur in reverse,instead flow is from the plant to the soil,ripping off root cells as it goes.
    So I for one am going to try MG a bit more,as it's so readily available,and being such a strong mix will be quite economical.A little and often is best I feel to avoid big fluctuations.I may have to up or down the dosage,but at least the ratios of NPK won't be far out.
    There must obviously be room for these other different ratio fertilisers if the soil is lacking or has surplus in anything....but personally I'm not sure I would be able to find out which.So I think for a relatively neutral/stable container soil,MG isn't a bad starting point.
    As I've said,these are not my own findings,but I'm willing to give it a go and it's something to chew over
    Happy New Year everyone :-D
     
  2. pat bateman

    pat bateman Member

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    Hi Houzi

    I've got about 50 acers in containers & do pretty much as you say. 2.5ml of Miracle_Gro in 6 litres of water twice each week from March to September. I figured that since I water every day if I used a more concentrated solution less regularly it would wash out so a little & more often was my preferred option.

    I have found this works well and I don't get any "unnatural" growth except on Seiryu where I get say three stems where there should be one. So I half the amount for Seiryu.
     

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  3. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member

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    Hello Pat,your trees seem to be doing well on it.You've got some lovely looking specimens there,I particularly like the exposed stems and branches on the tall two....I'm not really one for dense floor to ceiling foliage.
    Well I deliberately chose Miracle Gro as an example because it's the one that's most widespread and 'feared' because of it's high N content,just to emphasise that the size of the numbers are really meaningless.It's the ratio between them that's important.Unless it's known that the soil has high N,or low P&K I really cannot see the logic in using a low N fertiliser unless P&K are proportionally reduced as well....but that's really just dilution anyway.
    Hope the winter's been mild for you too...I'm glad as I've root pruned all my maples this autumn.
     
  4. emery

    emery Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    My maples are really allergic to urea-based nitrogen. Don't know if that's why miracle gro has a rep, I don't use it. But I have killed maples in ground with only a little of the "blue death..." :(
     
  5. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member

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    You're scaring me now Emery...no,seriously I've used MG quite often but not solely on my potted maples with no adverse effects.For my in-ground maples,as I don't know what's in the soil I rely on traditional gardening methods,just compost,mulch etc...I let nature do the balancing.I look around and if everything in the garden is growing normally,I see no reason to add fertiliser.Perhaps then MG would be doing nothing but harm.I think you've got to really 'know your stuff' when using fertilisers in the garden and I don't.I used to apply them just assuming I'm helping the plants...but was I? We all know that fertilsers can boost crops,flowers,fruit,growth etc. but we do it for our benefit,probably not the plant's.
    DAMN!..I've just noticed today that one 'Katsura' is starting to leaf out...this is 2months too early.I hope it's not a sign of things to come..maybe I'm not so glad of the mild winter now :)
     
  6. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    I've used all types of soluble and liquid feeds on my container maples and never had any problems. I've used most brands of "general purpose" ferts on the UK market, as well as orchid food, tomato food, rose food and various other things from time to time. I never use them for maples at concentrations greater than one quarter of the manufacturer's recommended dose and always water plenty of times with just water inbetween feeds. At these low doses of N (and everything else) I have never seen any adverse effects.

    For an economical and widely available (in the UK) plant food for containers I prefer Phostrogen to Miracle Gro. At 14-10-27 it has a lower content of N than Miracle Gro (24-8-16) and higher K; I prefer to use the lower ratio of nitrogen for maples. Both types of fertiliser contain the micronutrients boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc, but in addition Phostrogen lists the content of magnesium, calcium and sulphur. Also, it is not blue, which is a considerable advantage if you ask me.

    (Usually, every spring I also top dress the pots with a little blood, fish and bone mixed with some potting soil, which should provide a relatively slow release organic source of nutrients to supplement the low doses of chemical ferts.)
     
  7. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member

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    Hi Maf,I agree the micro nutrients are another issue.I'm not advocating MG is the very best as I don't work for them ha, and it does lack some of these.However after reading this piece,for me it makes perfect sense that plants should need more N than P&K....it is after all the main nutrient that allows all that growth above soil.It is also stated as a fact that all plants are made up of more nitrogen,then K&P in descending order,and apparently in very similar ratios.....this for me adds further weight to the arguement,and also nitrogen does get washed out of soil far more easily.
    We all use different fertilisers and often have success and no adverse effects,me too.I'm not trying to suggest everyone converts if they're happy with their lot.Just for me,I will now always seek a fertiliser with more N than P&K,and dilute as needed as I now believe that a higher P&K is unnecessary.
     
  8. emery

    emery Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Wow, Katsura already? Now that's scary! But it is such a strange non-winter, only 2 big frosts here so far and currently 12C. Fuschia still flowering along with snowdrops, crocus, narcissus. Even a few early (or late?) geraniums from what is normally just clumps now. Now sign of maple leaf-out here, thank goodness, but ginalla buds are very red. I've just been out in the rain doing the last of the winter pruning, maple sap is not running yet.

    On subject, is MG blue? If so, sorry didn't mean to scare you! The blue death is the high N stuff you get from the farmers coop. Very nasty, even in tiny doses, for palmatums.

    I think your argument about dilution is compelling, seeing as how much money we dump into our hobby already. Anyway I try to be as minimalist as possible when it comes to fertilizer. I use a light seaweed treatment in spring Some species (mandshuricum, tutcherii) seem to benefit from sequestrene. The soil here is acid and poor. The exception is pots I'm trying to grow on quickly, where I use organic citrus liquid feed at about 1/10 strength, perhaps 3 or 4 times during the growing season.
     
  9. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member

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    Yes Emery,I can see a few leaves emerging from swollen buds....this poor lil' guy is bound to get hit by frost,infact we've just had some which surprises me that it's waking up.I'm surprised to hear your winter's also weird.We've only gone sub-zero once.I've got a newly grafted Shaina which still hasn't dropped it's leaves,and a gorgeous Golden Willow near work seems to be waking up too.
    Ha ha,yes MG is blue,infact flourescent blue as Maf pointed out....stains your fingers! I'll also be using liquid seaweed as a foliage spray to supplement the fert.Well I guess all I'm saying is that if you don't need any or little Nitrogen for your maples,then perhaps you hardly need any of the other two elements.Using a low N fert. may just be a waste of money and possibly unbalanced.Many old gardeners still believe we never should need to add P&K to soil in the garden,saying it's usually available and stays there for years unlike N.N gets washed out through the year but is topped up in spring by the composting of debris either side of winter.Modern garden practices often keep the garden too 'clean' of debris so may need supplementing.I'd rather rely on composts and nature than my own guesswork with fertilisers.I can still understand the practices of fertilising for flowers,or adding a source of P in autumn to boost rootgrowth,they appear to do no harm but it is an unnatural boost.
    At the end of the day we all do what we think is best,and I wish everyone continuing success.I may find this new(to me)info doesn't work,but in my own head it makes sense and I'm gonna try it for the whole year.
    Now I'm praying for a colder winter...never thought I'd say that!
     
  10. Gomero

    Gomero Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    But have you, guys, demonstrated (to you) any beneficial effect?
    In some of my potted maples I have tried to see if I can see any difference between fertilizing and not fertilizing (they all get a new layer of oak leaf compost every winter) but with no success.

    Gomero
     
  11. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    I have seen mild chlorosis and weak growth on some potted maples that had not been fertilised, which improved after feeding, so in those cases the medium must have been suffering from nutrient deficiency. Admittedly these plants had not been repotted for a couple of years and had not been top dressed with fresh compost in the year in question.

    Composted oak leaves are a very good organic source of plant nutrients, and a decent layer of this applied annually may be enough to meet all of a container maple's needs. I am interested to hear how these plants do in the long term compared to ones that are also fertilised.

    My use of synthetic fertilisers on maples is minimal and could be described as a safety net targeted at preventing the plants suffering from any nutrient deficiency rather than an attempt to enhance the growth rate or "push" the plants. I try to use as little as possible, hopefully just as a top up to natural processes that are going on in the container mix to convert organic matter into usable plant nutrients.
     
  12. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Houzi, I do not know what the ideal N-P-K ratio for Japanese maples is, but I know that excess nitrogen can lead to soft leafy growth which is why I prefer to err slightly on the low side with N.

    I agree that phosphorus (P) is unlikely to be washed out of the container soil, but available potassium (K) is highly water soluble and I believe could easily be leached from a container in the right circumstances. Potassium is a very important plant nutrient essential for plant health and many physiological processes including the production of cellulose and proteins. It is also tolerated by plants in a relatively wide range of concentration so it is not easy to overdose.

    Given the choice, I would probably rather my plants be deficient in nitrogen than potassium (though would prefer they were deficient in neither), and would certainly rather they had excess K than N, which is why I tend to prefer the ferts with higher levels of K than N. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with using Miracle Gro and I am sure it produces good results if used carefully.
     
  13. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member

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    Yes Maf,until reading this info I and most people think the same way as you,and it has done us no harm...but I am now convinced any plant should have nitrogen as the biggest quantity.I am no-longer sure maintaining N at an acceptable level with the others higher is the right way to go,although until now I may have done the same(if only plants could speak)It may be that only N in excess is visible to us,I don't know what excess of the others will show up as.At the end of the day,whichever method used will probably do no great harm,but I'm willing to see if this way of thinking shows any benefits.....we'll see.I'm not about to change the way people have been gardening for ages,but perhaps make people think of those NPK numbers differently and also provide another school of thought should things not be working out.
    Well Gomero,they're alive and grow ha ha.I'm with Maf on this one...I feel that the main difference with containers is that nature cannot maintain the nutrients.I must admit I haven't had the guts to not fertilise pots.I always assume that any nutrients initially available in the compost will be used up in a few months,(it sometimes tells you this on the packet)so they need to be provided by myself.True,bark if used will provide a little also,but it is used because it breaks down slowly and hence won't provide much.Fresh organic material would have to be provided to supply these nutrients without fert.but I think it'll be hard to do in enough quantities in a pot.The new soil-less practices must have virtually nothing available without external help.Unless someone tells me their maples live quite happily for extended periods without,I'm very apprehensive to leave them in their pots unassisted....but it sure would be nice!
     
  14. plantman56

    plantman56 Member

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    Google - "Fertilizer Program for Containerized Plants" , there is some good information discussed.
    Plants ( maples) do not require high levels of these macro nutrients found in some of the MG products, and in containers unless you dilute it could cause more harm. I am happy with 9-3-6 Maro and Micro ---- .
    Dyna Gro - Foligage pro. MG has a similar product with similar Ratios - however the key is Weak solutions, more frequent applications.
     
  15. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

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    I like Emery's reference to the "blue death". I have not lost any maples but I did lose a bonsai to a diluted version of the "blue death". I did it once and I will never do it again. It seems that once a fertilizer sensitive plant is over fertilized (which is easy to do with concentrated fertilizers) it’s very difficult to save the plant.

    I feel like a liquid urea-based fertilizer is like going to an all you can eat buffet and overeating. It's simply not sustainable in my opinion. The next day you’re hungry again. It's my understanding that urea delivers nitrogen very quickly to the plant (like the food at the buffet).

    A local Japanese maple grower swears by Osmocote, its slow release formula creates some very amazing specimens with great character. He has some very old maples in very large containers and all his maples are grown in containers.

    Higher nitrogen and over fertilizing can cause some very undesirable growth characteristics in my opinion. New branches become long and leggy. The distance between leaf pairs becomes very long, which in my opinion ruins the character of the tree. Then winter comes and the tree suffers from die back, because all the new growth does not have time to harden off. So in the long run you are left with a less than desirable appearance. (or that is the case in my area with our winters, some areas maybe more forgiving)

    I have found that using a 0-10-10 in late summer seems to help harden off new growth and prepare the tree for winter. Since using it I have far less die back on my maples that are unprotected from the harsh winter winds. This time of year, last season’s growth on the tree appears healthier and the buds have a nice healthy color.

    I think soil quality plays a big role and by adding organic matter that breaks down slowly to feed the tree is desirable.
     
  16. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member

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    Yes I agree with everything being said,but it's a bit of a numbers game.Maro 9-3-6,Osmocote,Foliage Pro all sound good to me.Like MGro,all have basically the 3-1-2 ratio.Slow release seems a great idea but you have to hope it gets released at a suitable rate,it's up to the weather to regulate and dilute.Remember there's no such thing as a Hi N soluble fertiliser,you can make it deliver less N than any other fert.you've got(excluding zero N)
    The crux of the matter is wether you believe the higher P&K is beneficial.If one diluted eg.MGro to achieve a desirable growth,to deliver the same amount of N using phostrogen for example,you would be supplying 2.1&2.8 times the P&K as MGro,or much more if using a Lo N fert.If that is healthy then could be said that Mgro and all the above have two SERIOUS deficiencies.
    Maybe urea does affect some maples badly,I don't know but will probably find out this year ha.I agree as in nature, that N should be reduced after the growing season.I shall obviously be winding down the fert. by then.However,at the end of summer,I probably won't fertilise,I'm not sure I wish to boost rootgrowth in my potted maples if they're healthy...seems to contradict the root-pruning I do.
     
  17. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

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    I think root development is important, even in a potted tree or bonsai. Roots serve the tree in a few very important ways. The first two ways are quite apparent, they serve as a way of anchoring the tree and to absorb water and nutrients via tiny root hairs which are most abundant on young roots as they grow. The third is to store nutrients while the tree is dormant so they can be used next spring as the growing season begins. Without healthy roots our trees simply can’t survive. Think of all the root related diseases that can devastate a tree. Healthy growth below the soil line is just as important as the growth above. I buy into the belief that it’s all about balance; that root development and division creates a better branch structure. I have touched on this in the past when discussing soil mixtures and it’s a topic Peter D. Adams explains quite well in Bonsai with Japanese Maples.

    That is why root pruning should be done with great care and only when necessary. It involves way more than just simply reducing the root mass so it can better fit into a pot. I believe it takes more care than branch pruning when done properly. The best example of this is how you can cut a tree back 95% in June and if the roots are healthy it will develop buds. Four to six weeks later you will have little branches developing. By late August you will have a very short tree with a pretty full little canopy. Now, if you take a healthy tree and cut 95% of its roots, well I think we all know how that will end.

    I know that the above is off topic, but I did not want someone new to growing maples in containers to feel like root development contradicts root pruning or that root growth is the enemy in container growing. Now using fertilizer to "boost root growth" may not be the answer to a certain degree. But I think healthy root growth / development is an important consideration to include in the equation.
     
  18. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member

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    JTI,thanks for the advice.Sounds like you're experienced in root-pruning so any more advise is always welcome.Just to let you know I root -prune really to slow down the potting up procedure,giving the roots space for growth,and hopefully a better fine root ratio.I won't be constantly cutting back the rootball to permanently maintain the same containers,but increasing their size more slowly than if not pruned.I don't use an ultra gritty type mix, so the whole thing's a kinda compromise between what you probably do and not pruning....that make sense?
    It's just to me,the idea of fertilising just prior to rootpruning doesn't seem to make much sense,maybe you can enlighten me or have I misunderstood you?(sorry if I have)
    As for the fertiliser subject,I think I've probably said enough by now.I just wished to share the results of a study that although goes against many people's beliefs,has at least made me question my own practices..so I've gotta find out.
    Whichever way one chooses,I'm sure they'll be as successful as ever,and I wish everyone well.Let's hope it's gonna be a decent year for our plants at last.
     
  19. pat bateman

    pat bateman Member

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    Thanks for your kind words about my Acers Houzi - ( if anyone is thinking the two tallish specimens in the middle of the photo are misformed because I've over fertilized them, they are both Emerald Lace ! )

    There's lots of interesting views here. I've been reading round a bit and looked at the information on Pacific Coast Maples site which says:

    "Japanese maples are not heavy feeders but do need to be lightly fertilized a few times a year. The first feeding should take place in early spring (before the leaves emerge) and should be followed up with a second feeding in July.

    When fertilizing it is important to remember to NEVER over-fertilize your tree. The soil must be moist prior to applying the fertilizer. The fertilizer must then be watered well into the soil. In soils in the northwestern United States, Japanese maples seem to resist the ammonium sources of nitrogen. Calcium Nitrate seems to work best. Other non-ammonium sources also perform well. A balanced fertilizer designed for roses (flowers) is highly recommended. Many times the fertilizer is called "Rose Food." Newer slow-release fertilizers such as APEX (brand)- "Woody Plant 18-6-12" are also very effective.

    After researching various fertilizers we are extremely impressed with a few products from DYNA-GRO. We are currently using and selling DYNA-GRO's products at Pacific Coast Maples. Our new grafted seedlings seem healthier and our Japanese maple trees are thriving using the nutrition and protection solutions. We are extremely pleased with the results.

    DYNA-GRO's products are scientifically researched and designed. The University of Florida and Minnesota are assisting DYNA-GRO by doing research-based studies. The university studies have shown tremendous results both during and after propagation when using DYNA-GRO. All plants tested seem healthier and more resistant to disease, heat, and cold when using DYNA-GRO's products.

    Plants that have been grown using DYNA-GRO's products have won numerous awards for "Best in Show". The world's largest indoor zoo (Henry Doorly), supporting 2,000 species of exotic plants and trees in Omaha, Nebraska uses DYNA-GRO.

    Two products Pacific Coast Maples is especially pleased with is the Grow 7-9-5 "The Nutrition Solution" and Pro-TeKt 0-0-3 "The Silicon Solution". We offer these two nutritional products as well as more information about them on our website in the "Supplies" section.
    "

    Does anyone (in the US ?) have any experience of using the products they suggest ?

    (I can only find one supplier for Dyna_Gro in the UK - OrchidAccessories.co.uk )
     
  20. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member

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    Hi Pat,yes there's so much info out there,about everything these days,it's so confusing and often conflicting.It's not advice I'm giving as I haven't tried it yet ha,just trying out what makes sense to me in my own head.
    I've read good things about Foliage Pro mainly because it contains many micro nutes,but I never know if these good words come from good results or speculation,so I'm not gonna start adding them to my list of worries....it's a never ending spiral!...we'll end up with a chemistry lab if we take all the advice out there.
    I think it's fair to say not to believe everything claimed on the bottle or by anyone selling these bottles.Regarding that 7-9-5 fert.it's interesting that on another forum,people have contacted Dyna Gro on these issues,and a CEO is quoted as saying that as a business,they have to supply all types of demand,even if they feel they are not ideal,as they don't know fully the intentions of use.He also says that circumstances would have to be very highly unusual for it to be ever beneficial to use a fertilizer in containers that supplies as much or more P than either N or K.Even 'balanced' 1:1:1 ferts supply way more P than is necessary for best results.More extreme versions are often touted as 'Bloom Boosters'
    We're hearing advice against urea and ammonium now,that crosses off Mgro,Osmocote and Foliage Pro straight away and Phostrogen uses both but also has calcium.It's pretty obvious to me that we should try not to get too bogged down by all this otherwise we won't use anything(actually that's probably nearer the ideal)and just use what works for us.
     
  21. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

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    I think it maybe because we root prune at different times and maybe I root prune less frequently than you (I am guessing that could be the difference). If a tree needs root pruned, I do it in the spring as the buds are swelling, but before the leaf emerges. When I use a 0-10-10 fertilizer in mid to late August the tree benefits through fall up to when I root prune in early spring. For the years I don't root prune the tree continues to see the benefits. Note, like you, I always use less than the recommended dose when fertilizing maples closer to 1/2 the recommended application. Mid-August works for me in my area but it may be different for people in a different climate.

    Like pat bateman I think this has been a great topic and I feel it’s the perfect time of year for such discussions, as many of us will be making decisions on products soon and setting out to buy them before the growing season starts. You have given us all some great food for thought. The idea of finding a product that works and is readily available to everyone would be nice.

    I have used rose fertilizer before and my maples seem to respond well to it. My wife use to be into roses, so I have used rose tone and ortho rose pride slow release fertilizer. Rose tone has micro nutrients, but it needs to be mixed into the soil. If you just apply it to the surface it tends to get matted together as it breaks down. The ortho rose pride slow release fertilizer is much easier to use.

    I like to apply fertilizer in spring before the growing season and again in mid-summer to stay ahead of the second push of growth. It does seem to be around July for the second application, but depending on the climate it may be different for others. I think the key is to know your maples and plan an application before the growth starts both in the spring and summer. My third application is the no nitrogen application to prepare the tree for winter dormancy. I am not saying what I do is the best approach for everyone, but my maples seem to like it.
     
  22. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

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    Houzi congrats on your updated status to Contributor from Registered Plus breaking that 100 post mark.
     
  23. Houzi

    Houzi Active Member

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    AHA! yes you're right,I root-prune in autumn as I can get away with it and take advantage of a bit of root growth before deep winter.This years winter has been extremely mild so I've had no worries about doing it.As for how often I do it,I'll just take a look each year,this is the first year I've root-pruned all the maples as most have never been pruned before.I've found it hard to notice flushes of growth here.Most of mine seem to just grow gradually through the year,or not much.Annoyingly I have tended to get a lot of very late growth on the in-ground maples,perhaps a sign of the mild autumns we've been having.As I've said I've given up using ferts in the garden.I've seen better blooms and bigger growth on flowering plants but nothing noticeable on the maples.So I assume I'm just unbalancing things there and now rely on just compost and mulch.
    Like everyone else,I'm just looking to find what's best and also convenient as I'm directly responsible for the soil in a pot.A man spent donkeys years studying the nutrient requirements of many plants.I don't suppose he cared what the results were but these were the results he came to.You can either dismiss all his work as a waste of time,or accept that things are a lot simpler than you thought.I don't always agree with studies or even scientists but for me this time the 'penny dropped'.It'll make my life much easier if it's true,but I understand we all stick to our beliefs and respect that.I will probably try Foliage Pro when I've used what I've got(if I can get hold of it)just out of curiosity about the extra nutrients,but I doubt I'll be able to notice any vast improvements.We have good years and bad,any gains and losses can easily be attributed to outside influences more than the fertilisers.I'm just hoping I'm starting off on a good base.
    Oh I didn't notice the contributor thingy...thanks.....GEESH! I've said a lot of cr*p!
     
  24. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Some of the issues herein in this thread
    have been lightly covered in the past in
    this forum.

    I'll say this now that even though I have
    cautioned about the overuse of Nitrogen,
    I still give my containerized Maples some
    granular forms of Nitrogen in the Spring
    soon after leaf out and prior to the first
    flush of new growth. Inasmuch as much
    of the time in ground Maples do not need
    to be fertilized every year or in many cases
    every two to five years in some areas, there
    is a need to provide nutrients at intervals in
    the trees growth over time. We simply do
    not get to see a tree get up to twenty years
    of age in the ground very often without some
    additional help from us. - either by way of us
    providing mulches or sometimes well composted
    organic matter, humus, humics and yes, even
    supplemental light fertilizing.

    I would not use a liquid form of fertilizer
    for in ground Maples but have used granular
    forms instead. For container Maples I have
    used both liquids and granulars and have a
    preference depending on the age and size of
    the Maple to be fertilized. As a rule for me
    I will give all of my five gallons one ounce of
    granular applied in a circle closest to the
    outside ring of the container, never towards
    the base, trunk, of the tree. For my fifteen
    gallons, I will give them one Spring application
    of two ounces. For a twenty inch boxed plant
    three ounces. For a twenty four inch boxed
    tree four ounces and for a thirty inch box five
    ounces and for a thirty six inch box six ounces.

    Should my Maples appear to show a chlorosis
    I've had very good luck using liquid applications
    of quarter to half strength Mir-acid in the past.
    I don't like giving my container Maples fertilizer
    during the Summer months but I have cleared
    up some nuisance chlorosis in deciduous
    Magnolias with half-strength Mir-acid, even
    with applications as late as August and
    September for me here and I will apply
    five gallons of material for twenty four
    inch boxed trees at a time. One gallon every
    two weeks with no more than four applications
    total for five gallon chlorotic Maples.

    Years ago I wrote about the benefits of
    applying a granular 0-10-10 during the
    Fall for us here. I am glad to finally
    read that someone else has tried it
    and has some good luck from it. For
    helping the roots harden off better for
    sustained cold during the Winter for
    my mountainous trees in the equivalent
    of a Western Garden book zone 3, I
    swear by it. I doubt I would ever had
    been able to get Sasanqua Camellias
    to adapt to that same location without
    the aid of the Fall and Winter applied
    0-10-10 over a period of years.

    One rule to follow is that less than
    full strength solutions of liquid forms
    of fertilizer applications have been
    quite useful in greenhouse operations
    in the past for young Maples and
    for many years is the preferred
    method of choice for seasonal and
    Holiday flowering plants such as
    florist grown Orchids and Azaleas,
    greenhouse grown Spring bulbs,
    Chrysanthemums, Cyclamens and
    Poinsettias.

    Jim
     
  25. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    I wouldn't expect Japanese maple roots cut in fall to make any significant growth during the subsequent winter. Bare-rooted stock of various kinds of trees and shrubs supplied by nurseries does not grow new roots until the spring after planting, when this growth is triggered by hormones sent to the cut root ends by opening dormant stem buds.

    Other notions that have popped up in this thread can be found discussed here.

    http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda chalker-scott/Horticultural Myths_files/index.html
     

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