Fertilization

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by 829, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. 829

    829 Active Member

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    Last Winter here in Arkansas I put my Meyer's out in the greenhouse too soon and needless to say things did not go so well. I got my first buds of this year about a week ago as the weather turned cold. I have read about getting citrus specific fertilizer to boost growth. I bought the Vigoro citrus spikes, but the things are huge and my trees died back and are only 1' - 2' tall. Is there anything smaller or should I chop these up? I bought these over the miracle grow, because they had more minerals listed on the package.

    Link to the spikes, http://www.vigoro.com/ProductCategories/PlantFood/VigoroFruitCitrusFertilizerSpikes/


    Thank you in advance.



    Edit, they are in pots.
     
  2. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Spikes are not good for container citrus --not really good for inground trees either. Citrus are heavy feeders and container citrus need a ratio of 5-1-3 (that is the ratio they use) with trace minerals. I have heard that Miracle grow has a new formulation that fits that, but have not seen it.

    I use slow release fertilizer-- I now use Dynamite with trace minerals--it is 18-6-12, but soluble fertilizers will do as well, they just require more work.
     
  3. 829

    829 Active Member

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    I have been using Osmocote Slow Release granules, should I return the citrus fertilizer and continue with it?
     
  4. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Osmocote fertilizers are fine to use on citrus, but be sure to use the "heavy feeder" rate. You have three fertilizer options to use on container citrus.
    1. Slow release fertilizers such as Osmocote or Dynamite.
    2. Water soluble fertilizers.
    3. Combination of water soluble fertilizers and Osmocote or Dynamite.

    I use the 3rd option. 18-6-12 Osmocote w/miners, plus Peters 25-5-15 w/TM water soluble fertilizer. Skeet, the new 5-1-3 ratio (25-5-15) is manufactured by the J.R. Peters company not Miracle Grow. If Miracle Grow has one I have never seen or heard of it. - Millet
     
  5. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Millet, You are right--I remember that now-- I am just so use to seeing Miracle Grow.

    The benefit of using the proper ratio is that there is much less salt buildup for containers. While the Osmocote and Dynamite are not exact, they are pretty close. The Peters that Millet listed is a perfect match for citrus, but requires frequent application in the water.
     
  6. 829

    829 Active Member

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    I am going to up to the heavy feeders today, since I have not fertilized since spring.
     
  7. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    The Miracle grow citrus and plam fertilizer is labelled *NOT* to be used for indoor or container plants.

    I've been looking now for some time for a liquid fertilizer I can use indoors on my Meyer lemon both online and in every nursery and garden center I've set foot in and I have to say I'm starting to get a little skeptical of the golden 5-1-3 ratio.

    I see everyone repeating it online like it's an irrefutable fact but I don't see:

    a) any reputable sources for this info or study and how rigorous and accurate it is

    b) any readily available fertilizer that follows this ratio

    c) even specifically labelled citrus fertilizer that uses this ratio.

    Surely with the sheer number of people growing container citrus *someone* would be making this golden ratio fertilizer and marketing it widely through retailers or at least online.

    If this fertilizer is generally unavailable to the general public as it seems to be would it not be better for people in the know to simply recommend the closest match that's widely available and good for citrus? Something they've tried and had good results with?
     
  8. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    JCardina, you can purchase 25-5-15 w/trace minerals from J.R. Peters company. J.R. Peters is one of America's outstanding nursery and greenhouse fertilizer manufactures. Any grower can also easily be blend a 5-1-3 ratio fertilizer on his own.You can read all about the 5-1-3 ratio and citrus production in the works and research of people such as Giovanni Dugo, and A.D. Giacomo. Further you can read all about 5-1-3 ratio in the book, "The Genus Citrus", or in the nutrient field records of many commercial citrus groves recording soil nutrient loss caused from citrus fruit and foliage production. Concerning, the fertilizer needs of citrus trees. Citrus, like many other crops, can do well on different formulations of fertilizer. Some are better than others, and therefore some produce better results than others, and some present less problems than others. 5-1-3 is the formulation that exactly matches the nutrient uptake ratio of citrus. Because the root system of container grown citrus trees have to rely upon only on what is applied to the limits of a small container, the ratio given to these trees is much more important than it is to a field grown trees whose root system reaches out into a large surface area in search of it nutrition. Also for container grown trees you should look into soluble salts and their build up . Take care, and good growing. - Millet
     
  9. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    I checked out their website earlier from your other post, that's why I said "readily available", they seem to be hyper specialized and U.S. only so not much help for the common grower unfortunately. I'll try to find something at the local nursery that can make do or blended.
     
  10. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I am familiar with some of the problems that growers in Canada have when trying to locate various items. I am no longer surprised at the amount of more or less common items that are not available for purchase north of the border. - Millet
     
  11. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    To be fair I don't think most U.S. citizens can walk into their local garden center and buy that highly specialized fertilizer you've recommended. That's why I was saying it would be nice if someone could determine a *readily available* alternative because basically anything you find in an average garden center anywhere in the U.S. you'd find here as well.
     
  12. Davidgriffiths

    Davidgriffiths Active Member

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    Fair enough - but Canada's agricultural output is much different (and far less varied) that the US. We don't have California, northern Oregon, and the South East. I could easily say, "I am no longer suprised at the amount of more or less common types of sleds not available south of the border".

    I have three Meyer lemon trees that I picked up back in June. I looked for a citrus fertilizer, and gave up - how many people grow citrus in Canada? Not many, and none commercially. Just as well - I dislike commercial fertilizers - most are fossil-fuel based. So I used compost when repotting, and have "watered" with compost tea a couple of times.

    Now that it's getting close to indoor-time, I'll put some compost on top of the soil to give it slow release nutriants through the winter.

    The largest of the three is looking to bloom now, and has quite a few new leaf-buds, so it must be doing ok.
     
  13. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    Unfortunately the speciality fertilizer that was suggested isn't sold in the U.S. commonly at retailers either. My assertion was never a Canada vs US thing. I think you're right, the best bet is to just top dress them with some nice sterilized well rotted compost when they come in for winter.

    I'm surprised you haven't brought yours in yet, we've had a few nights now dip below 5c. Probably colder here on the island away from the water out in the countryside though.
     
  14. Davidgriffiths

    Davidgriffiths Active Member

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    I don't think it's dropped below 10 yet here. This week, the low is to be 9-13 degrees at night - still above the 4.5 celcius min for these plants. I have another week or so, I figure. And the rain is much nicer than the chlorinated stuff from the tap.
     
  15. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    I wouldn't trust that too much, they've said the same thing here and when I get up early in the morning it's much colder than predicted. :)
     
  16. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I've come across only one specialty citrus fertilizer in the local area. I believe it was this one with a 10-6-4 formulation.
     
  17. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: O.T. Availability

    "To be fair I don't think most U.S. citizens can walk
    into their local garden center and buy that highly
    specialized fertilizer you've recommended.
    "

    Even in Citrus growing areas the above dilemma
    can be very true. I've seen it around here that it
    can be difficult to find a certain brand of Citrus
    fertilizer on the mass merchandiser store shelves
    or from full service retail nurseries.

    "That's why I was saying it would be nice if
    someone could determine a *readily available*
    alternative because basically anything you find
    in an average garden center anywhere in the
    U.S. you'd find here as well.
    "

    We cannot always do the leg work for you and say
    that this or that fertilizer is available where you are
    in Canada or not. You may have to do some of
    the checking around for yourself. I encountered
    a similar problem a while back when I advised
    someone in Nova Scotia to use a certain low
    grade fungicide for her indoor Grapefruit and
    later was told there wasn't any available in that
    area. After some checking around online, a
    mail order source was found that did carry that
    fungicide in small quantities that could ship to
    Canada. You should be able to locate an online
    reseller that can ship almost any water soluble
    crystalline powder or granular fertilizer or timed
    release gel capsule mentioned in this forum so
    far into Canada. You may even find, with some
    searching, there may be a source in Canada
    already that has it, as was true for the fungicide
    that was secured.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2008
  18. Davidgriffiths

    Davidgriffiths Active Member

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    Where in Vancouver did you find it? I am going to try to avoid using it, but just in case, I'd like to have some on hand.
     
  19. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    What part of "anything you find in an average garden center anywhere in the U.S. you'd find here as well" was confusing to you? Your statement here comes across as insulting an arrogant and completely unnecessary if you had simply read what I wrote.


    I lifted my apparently lazy Canadian *** out of it's chair and dragged myself into to town and discovered that Walmart sells Miracle gro All Purposes 24-8-16 with micronutrients in water soluble format. This is in the ballpark of the "golden ratio" for citrus and readily available and if it doesn't kill my meyer lemon and seems to make it happier that is what I will be recommending.

    Walmart seems pretty universal, you guys foisted them on our lazy asses after all so anyone in North America should have no problem finding that fertilizer for their indoor citrus.

    There, when we get off our high horses it really isn't so hard is it?
     
  20. 829

    829 Active Member

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    You guys are hi-jacking my thread. You can be mean to each other all you want, but please take it to another topic.


    Now, do the water soluble tablets dilute down to the ideal 5-3-1 ratio? I have always wondered that, when people say something like "24-8-16 with micronutrients in water soluble format." Does that mean it would dilute down to 3-1-2? Seems like the water fertilizers always are well over the ideal ratio, could someone please explain?


    Thank you.
     
  21. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    Sorry I'll let it go, I just don't like being told we're lazy when I simply stated that it would be useful to recommend something widely available rather than some obscure laboratory mixed formula. This is helpful to anyone be they Canadian or in the U.S.

    The Miracle Gro comes in a bag inside a box and is crystallized powder that you dissolve in water. On the bag it states a half teaspoon per two liters of water or one teaspoon per gallon.

    Those numbers are just the percentage so if two boxes contained an identical weight of fertilizer but one said 5-1-3 and the other said 10-2-6 then the second one would be exactly doubly concentrated.

    In other words if you had been given a rate to apply 5-1-3 at, let's say a half teaspoon per liter of water once a week for a given container size and all you had was 10-2-6 then you could add half as much to the water to get the same resulting strength liquid fertilizer.

    However I'm just following the instructions on the box and using it once every two weeks to be on the safe side since it's recommended every week or two weeks. I'll watch for signs of over or under fertilization over the winter and adjust accordingly.
     
  22. 829

    829 Active Member

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    Thank you, now I understand. I am still new at this.
     
  23. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Re: O.T. Availability

    I realize you are new to this forum and surely
    did not mean to insult you in any way. We
    have seen evidence in other threads in this
    Citrus forum and other UBC BG CPR forums
    whereby what some of us, including me,
    have assumed products that are readily
    available for some of us around here are
    products that you also have access to in
    Canada. As we’ve read in other posts
    a product that may be common for me
    to buy here may be scarce to find in
    Florida and may not be found anywhere
    on the shelves in stores in British Columbia.
    Even products carried by the same mass
    merchandiser may not be the same from
    cities in close proximity to each other or
    even from store to store in the same city.

    I can give you an example: Dynamite
    Citrus and Palm food may be found in
    one mass merchandiser store in this
    city whereas four other same stores in
    this city do not have it and do not
    carry it at all. Hard to tell someone
    how easy it is to pick up a canister
    of it and then learn they cannot find
    it from the same named store nearest
    them across town!

    Jim
     
  24. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Correcting to get the 5-1-3 ratio from various fertilizer formulations. Assumptiions: Just straight forward recepie calculations, no regards to other factors such as chemical reactions with the other mixes, solubility, the actual ratios of slow releases and other variables. While I have the boring actual mathematical formula derivations for various fertilizers and desired formulations aside from the 5-1-3 ratio and various sources of N and K, those more generalized equations would be unnecessarily complicated and the purpose of simplification and usability would have only been defeated. Thus the formulas here is the simplest that I can reduce them to. Given: You can get any fertilizer sources that has a certain N-P-K ratio to be corrected, preferably those with minor and micro nutrients. where N,P,K are non-zero, the N to P ratio is no more than 5, and the K to P ratio is no more than 3. Ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) and Sulpomag (0-0-22) are used to adjust the ratio. Solution: Amount of original NPK fertilizer is 1 unit (could be lbs, kg, as long as same units are used. Volume like cups, can be used but it becomes approximate) Amount of Ammonium sulfate needed for correcting 1 unit of original fertilizer is: Ammonium sulfate = (5P - N)/21 units Amount of Sulpomag needed for correcting 1 unit of original fertilizer is: Sulpomag = (3P - K)/22 units where N, P, and K are the raw (not simplified) ratios of original fertilizer. (If you would have used urea(46-0-0) for correction then the amount would be: Urea = (5P - N)/46 units If you would have used Muriate of Potash (KCl: 0-0-52) for your source of K then the amount would be: KCl = (3P - K)/52 units You will have to change the formula accordingly to adjust to the actual formulation of the N and K. I would recommend the sulpomag over muriate of potash because you will have excessive Cl which is bad for sodic soils) example 1: Correcting Romeo's 24-14-14 fertilizer For each lb of Romeo's fertilizer we must add Ammonium sulfate needed = (5*14 - 24)/21 = 2.19 lbs Sulpomag needed = (3*14 - 14)/22 = 1.27 lbs When properly mixed, the effective raw ratio would be: 15.68 - 3.14 - 9.41 which is exactly a 5-1-3 ratio example 2: correcting Triple 16 For each lb of triple 16 we must add Ammonium sulfate needed = (5*16 - 16)/21 = 3.05 lbs Sulpomag needed = (3*16 - 16)/22 = 1.45 lbs When properly mixed, the effective raw ratio would be: 14.54 - 2.91 - 8.72 which is exactly a 5-1-3 ratio example 3: correcting Complete 20-20-20 For each lb of Complete fertilizer we must add Ammonium sulfate needed = (5*20 - 20)/21 = 3.81 lbs Sulpomag needed = (3*20 - 20)/22 = 1.82 lbs When properly mixed, the effective raw ratio would be: 15.09 - 3.02 - 9.05 which is exactly a 5-1-3 ratio example 4: correcting the osmocote 18-9-10 for each lb of this Osmocote you would need to add Ammonium sulfate needed = (5*9 - 18 )/21 = 1.29 lbs Sulpomag needed = (3*9 - 10 )/22 = 0.77 lbs When properly mixed, the effective raw ratio would be: 14.71- 2.94 - 8.83 which is exactly a 5-1-3 ratio, but beware, the N and the K would have spiked availability during the first watering because of slow release of the original 18-9-10. example 5: correcting my favorite BEST fertilizer with minors: 6-20-20 XB for each lb of Best fertilizer I would add: 4.48 lbs of Ammonium sulfate and 1.82 lbs of sulpomag. They turn out really cheap and have plenty of magnesium, sulfur and other minors. Probably the best and cheapest mix all of which I can locally and cheaply buy. No shipping and handling hassles and can always wait on sale promotions from big box stores.
    Equations for correcting from one ratio to another
    Derived and Simplified by Joe Real

    Let Nd-Pd-Kd be the desired final but reduced ratio:
    Nf-Pf-Kf be the actual ratio of fertilizer to be corrected
    Ns-0-0 be the ratio of the Nitrogen Source
    0-0-Ks be the ratio of the Potassium Source

    For each unit weight of actual fertilizer with raw ratio of Nf-Pf-Kf, when correcting into a fertilizer with the desired Nd-Pd-Kd ratio, we need to add the following same units:
    Weight of added Nitrogen Source = (Nd*Pf - Nf)/Ns
    Weight of added Potassium Source = (Kd*Pf - Kf)/Ks

    Desired Ratio For Citruses, Nd-Pd-Kd is 5-1-3
    Desired Ratio For Bananas, Nd-Pd-Kd is 3-1-6
    Nitrogen Source: Ammonium sulfate, Ns = 21
    Potassium Source: Sulpomag, Ks = 22

    Thus we can use Triple 16 for citruses provided you mix the following
    1 lb of 16-16-16 with
    Ammonium sulfate: (5*16-16)/21 = 3.0476 lbs
    Sulpomag: (3*16-16)/22 = 1.4545 lbs.

    For bananas, we simply mix:
    1 lb of 16-16-16 with
    Ammonium sulfate: (3*16-16)/21 = 1.5238 lbs
    Sulpomag: (6*16-16)/22 = 3.6364 lbs

    Above calculated by my friend Joe Real - posted by Millet
     
  25. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Sorry, 829. Straying momentarily OT to answer the question...Cedar Rim Nursery.
     

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