Fertilizer formulae

I just spent (too much) on 4 boxes of E.B.Stone Organics fertilizer for different uses. Examining the formulae on each box, I wondered if there is really enough difference to justify separate purchases.
Your experience, as well as general input and references appreciated.
Any general input and references appreciated
1. Rose & Flower Food: a. Total Nitrogen 5:00% b. Available Phosphate 6.00% c. Soluble Potash 3.00% d. Calcium 4.00% e. Sulfur 1.00%
(Plus, on each box, various organic, bacteria, mycorrhizea, etc.)
2. Citrus & Fruit Tree Food: a. 7.00% b. 3.00% c. 3.00% d. 2.00% e. 1.00%
3. Tomato & Vegetable Food: a. 4.00% b. 5.oo% c. 3.00% d. 3.00% e. 1.00%
4. Azalea, Camelia & Gardenia Food: a. 5.00% b. 5.00% c. 3.00% d. 3.00% e. 1.00%
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On 4/6/13 7:09 PM, Higgs Boson wrote:

for different uses. Examining the formulae on each box, I wondered if there is really enough difference to justify separate purchases.

I feed my roses separately from other plants. As my roses start to leaf out, I give them ammonium, iron, zinc, and magnesium sulfates, about a handful of the first, decreasing with each, until only a tablespoon of the last. Starting then, I feed them monthly, alternating between Bayer's 2-in-1 rose and flower food (which contains a systemic insecticide) and just ammonium sulfate. The last feeding is no later than 15 October.
About once in 10 years, I take a piece of steel rebar and poke 3-4 holes in the soil around each rose plant, about 1.5-2 feet from the base and 2 feet deep. I fill these holes with superphosphate (see below about OSH lawn food and phosphorus). This promotes flowering.

I start feeding my dwarf citrus around 15 March, starting with a commercial citrus and avocado food plus two pinches of zinc sulfate. Every three weeks, I then alternate between ammonium, iron, and zinc sulfates and the commercial food with added zinc. When I feed my citrus, I also feed my gardenia the same with slightly more zinc. The last feeding is no later than 1 October.
Citrus requires an acidic fertilizer. I avoid the commercial foods that indicate "fruit tree", sticking only to those specifically for citrus and avocados.
Note that three of my dwarf citrus are in very large pots with a fast-draining mix. The fourth citrus is in a raised bed, again with a fast-draining mix. Thus, nutrients tend to leach away

My only vegetables are perennial: artichoke and asparagus. They get the same once-a-year feeding that I apply generally to my garden.

Ugh! Azaleas and camellias prefer a very light feeding with a slow-release fertilizer. Gardenias, however, prefer much more nutrients, enough that can harm azaleas and camellias. Gardenias will drop their flower buds if they do not get enough zinc, but azaleas and camellias don't need added zinc. See above regarding citrus for how I feed my gardenia, which is in bloom right now.
I feed my azaleas and camellias once a year, right after all blooming is done, with a commercial azalea and camellia food, avoiding anything that also mentions gardenias. I also give them an occasional dose of gypsum, but this is to improve the soil and not to feed them.
For the rest of my garden, I use the house-brand lawn food from Orchard Supply and Hardware (OSH). I do this once a year, sometime in the first half of March. Overfeeding promotes leaf growth over flowering; it also promotes so much growth that more water is required. (Water is my most expensive utility.)
The OSH lawn food has NO phosphorus. Phosphorus is wasted if it is not dug into the soil, down to the roots; it does not readily dissolve and must be place where roots will find it. Also, phosphorus in runoff water is a significant pollutant.
For a new flowering plant, however, I place a small handful of superphosphate at the bottom of the planting hole. For bulbs, I use bone meal. Both contain phosphorus, which promotes flowering.
When I prune my shrubs in the spring (other than dwarf citrus, azaleas, roses, or camellias), I give them an additional feeding to speed their recovery. Depending on the plant, I use more OSH lawn food or ammonium sulfate.
Every fall, I dose the soil around my liquidambar tree and Australian tea tree with sulfur. Both of these tend to get chlorotic and need more acid. Soil bacteria very slowly convert the sulfur into sulfuric acid.
Finally, every other year, I apply a large amount of gypsum to my entire garden in November, to take advantage of whatever rainfall we might get. My soil is heavy clay. The gypsum reacts with the clay to make it granular and improve drainage. I never place gypsum on my hill in back because this reaction can destabilize the slope. Last November, I used about 200 pounds of Bumper Crop gypsum, about 90% calcium sulfate. When I bought Home Depot's gypsum, it was only 70% calcium sulfate and contained many worthless pebbles.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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Also, I do not specifically feed my loquat and peach trees or my guava bush. These get the same once-a-year feeding with the OSH lawn food.
My hugh ash tree has roots throughout my back yard and thus gets fed from the once-a-year general feeding, the monthly rose feeding in back, the camellia and azalea feeding, etc, etc.
The valley white oak, rosemary bush, and lavender in front do quite well without any fertilizer, but I suspect their roots now go under the roses in front and under my neighbor's front lawn, where they find nutrients. These actually do quite well in "lean" soils and can be damaged by overfeeding.
The Japanese zelkova in the parkway never gets fed. Other than treating it for chlorosis, the liquidambar in front merely gets the once-a-year feeding, as do the three podocarpus (without chlorosis treatment).
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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The University of California recommends 125 - 250 lbs of nitrogen per acre. <http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8017.pdf I calculate that at 2.6 - 5.2 lbs of chicken manure/ 10 sq. ft. At that rate you will also have more phosphate and potassium than you need. Recommended P: 60 - 120 lbs / acre Recommended K: 0 - 120 / acre
Chemical fertilizers either quickly concentrate nitrogen in fast growing soft leaves of the plant, which attract insects, or runs off as pollutants with rains or irrigation, and fouls the local water table.
Chicken manure also contains no systemic insecticides, but if you wish, you can always add insecticides to taste.
For ornamentals, you can use chemical fertilizers freely to rid your soil of beneficial microorganisms that make the soil fertile. Or you can join those who are trying to create topsoil for the good of the planet, and free yourself from corporate, environmental terrori$t$.

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wrote:

Bullshit!
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Billy wrote:

...
Billy, you missed, "organics fertilizer" in the description.
Higgs, is there a pH adjustment needed?
sulfur is ok for some acid loving plantings, but i wouldn't just scatter it on everything. in sandy loam, good topsoil or garden soil it may form sulfuric acid which can leach nutrients.
otherwise, i didn't see much of a difference between a few of those formulas, but perhaps the box contains different application rates (and the other ingredients remain unspecified)? if they are using the common wisdom the perennial mixes should be infused with beneficial fungal species and the annual and veggie mixes would favor beneficial bacterial species.
i don't supplement any plantings with commercial fertilizers any longer. i add worms and worm castings for the heaviest feeding annuals and veggies and then rotational plant the following seasons to different crops. for the perennials they may get a top dressing with a green manure and other mulches. the lack of $ spent on such additional fertilizers is well worth the added time i have to spend cutting green manures or feeding the worms. i have the time, i don't have the $.
songbird
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Bird, I wasn't addressing myself to our local IDF representative, but to David E. Ross' reply. I was just running the numbers for my tomato amendments when I saw his response. I thought it was pretty neat that using the recommended amount of chicken manure, also gave me more than the amount of phosphorous that I needed.
Recommended N: 125 -250 lbs / acre
125 lbs/ acre = 43,560 sq.ft.
0.002869605142332 lbs/sq.ft.
1.302800734618916 g / sq.ft. 13.02800734618916 g / 10 sq.ft.
Chicken manure N =1.1
1.1g / 100g = 13g / x
xg / 13g = 100g / 1.1g
x = 1182 g or 2.6 lbs of Chicken manure per 10 sq. ft.
Since 125 -250 lbs were called for per acre 10 sq.ft. will require 2.6 - 5.2 lbs of chicken manure/ 10 sq. ft.
Recommended P: 60 - 120 lbs / acre approx. = 1.3 - 2.6 lbs / 10 sq. ft. Chicken manure P = .8
Weight of chicken manure for N = 2.6 to 5.2 lbs (2.6 to 5.2 lbs) X the proportion of .8/1.1 = 1.9 to 3.8 lbs of chicken manure. [1.1 %N, and .8 %P]
Recommended K: 0 - 120 lbs / acre approx. = 0 - 2.6 lbs / 10 sq. ft. Chicken manure K = .5
I've already prepped 2 beds, but I did it by eye-ball, which I find is an untrustworthy approach. I used most of a 1 cu. ft. bag of chicken manure for just 36 sq. ft. Now I need to go get a second bag for the other bed. For the prepped beds, I'll need to be diligent with the fish emulsion in order to compensate.
Well, back to thinkin' about workin'.
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Run the numbers.

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In article

Hubris strikes again.
Again recommended levels of chicken manure per 10 sq. ft. is half an ounce to about an ounce.
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You are correct sir
0.002869605142332 lbs/sq.ft. = .459 Oz/10 sq.ft.
or about a half oz./10 sq. ft.
It appears that I was calculating chicken manure as if it were 1.1% chicken manure. Don't ask.
In any event that is why we have wrecked gardens, to catch mistakes. Thank you, bird.
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Billy wrote: ...

you're welcome! :) i'm glad i can help.
now did you get the rhubarb moved in time?
the rhubarb here is up and at 'em. all of my transplants from last fall made it.
songbird
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No :O(
Things have been a little hectic of late. Our rhubarb is up as well. Something is chewing on it, but I haven't seen any gastropods.

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On Saturday, April 6, 2013 7:09:45 PM UTC-7, Higgs Boson wrote:

David and Songbird, thanks for the awesome expertise. I suppose you arrived at your regiment over time via experience? I have neglected my roses too much over the years; must shape up and tune up.
Re: buying rose & flower fertilizer I just went to clean out the junque area which has been overgrown since it rained while I was out of the country. Found several HG buckets full of my usual treatment of worm castings, compost and perlite. My bad! Cast me not into outer darkness.. mea culpa, mea maxima culpa
HB
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