Product pushers misleading the public

Sorry Miracle Grow, but you are a prime example of what I mean. They claim they can sell you plant food.
1st, trees are autotrophs and not heterotrophs.
Autotrophs make their own food. Heterotrophs have to have it made for them.
Most plants, there are exceptions, are autotrophs. The ghost flower is an exception. It has no chlorophyll therefore cannot photosynthesize. It gets its food from other plants by means of the bicarbohydrate transfer of plants. You will still not find plant food in a bag on a shelf. They say I play word games. Think for a minute, Consider poor Joe who liked alcohol. Drank methanol rather than ethanol. He then quickly learned, as his brain got burned. That words are important after all.
The point is that people who do not understand plants really think they are feeding their plants by adding elements (fertilizers). I called them the other day (MGrow)and the guy tried to convince me that elements were nutrients. You can put a element in a nutrient but you can not put a nutrient in an element. You can put a file in a folder but you cannot put a folder in a file. I think it is a serious problem. The guy told me that they add N-P-K and that's all you need because the other essential elements are there. Short of a soil test I find that hard to believe. By adding nitrogen you increase the plant in mass. However , when you do that you increase its requirements for food for defense. You increase the demands for the other 16 essential elements and water when you increase the size of the symplast of the plant.
The more nitrogen you add the more the chances are you will get sucking insects. They say that's ok, heres somethiong to kill the sucking insects. They want me to believe that adding food causes sucking insects? A good example of this is the xmas tree farms. They sock the trees with N for big growth yet they have lots of sucking insects. Another example is if you have fire blight. Adding N will increase your plants problems. Does that mean by feeding the plant we increase fire blight? Silly. But thats want the product pushers want you to believe.
What the guy from M. Grow did not understand was that if calcium or boron is lacking you will have problems. Nickel was added to the list of essential elements by Penn State.
There are 17 essential elements. They are required in different amounts by the plants. I do not refer to micro elements as minner elements because they are anything but miner. Try telling that to M. Grow.
Its my responsability as a arborist to prov ide sound information to clients. Would you go to a doctor who said you were an autotroph. What if he said he had a bag of chemicals to help you photosythize. Thats silly. Just as silly as plant food in a bag for autotrophs. They know this at M. Grow. People like to feed their trees so they calkl it plant food. Ask them, that's what they told me. I am not against fertilizing after proper mulching. Remember there are 17 essential elements.
If your tree is deficient in boron, then by adding boron you may help the plant. Its just not that simple. pH for starters plays a key role. If you have high pH soil for your pin oak, you could add all the iron in the world and it would not make a difference. Microorganisms alter chemical elements so they can be absorbed. Properly adding composted wood chips and leaves stimulate and feed such organisms. We can FEED the SOIL with composted wood and leaves providing carbohydrates to soil organisms.
We can feed the system, not the plant. Nitrogen is an energy source for decay fungi or rot. Add nitrogen to your compost pile and it will stimulate the microorganisms thus speeding up the decay (rot) process. You can also stimulate root rot of trees by fertilizing the soil around the infected roots with nitrogen. HOW IS THIS FEEDING THE TREE?
Food is a substance that provides and energy source, mostly. Nutrient is a substance that provides an energy source, elements, and other substances essential for life, in types and amounts that can provide a healthy life. Fertilizer is a substance that provides elements, as salts mostly, or in bonded forms, that require microorganisms to alter to forms that can be absorbed by plants. I do not call elements - nutrients, however nutrients would contain elements. You can put a file in a folder but you can't put a folder in a file. A list of elements can be found here: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/tableofelements.gif&imgrefurl=http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/&h42&wV1&sz &hl=en&start=1&um=1&tbnid=UTc7pOYXbhfhkM:&tbnh&tbnw3&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dperiodic%2Btable%2Bof%2Belements%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1T4DMUS_enUS211US211%26sa%3DX
17 Elements For Life - Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Sulfur, Magnesium, Manganese, Iron, Copper, Boron, Molybdenum, Chlorine, Zinc, Nickel [Sodium, Cobalt, Selenium?]
14 essential elements are obtained by trees from the soil. I do not have a list of which ones they are.
Wood is the substrate of the base of the food web, the mycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhizae tend to be abundant in composted wood such as nurse logs. We had great success at tree biology workshops finding mycorrhizae during dryer times, in and about nurse logs. I believe, you don't have to agree with it, please, just think. I think that by applying mulch as I recommend under mulch here that you facilitate the mycorrhizae rather than just adding fertilizer. Not that its bad in any way, fertilizer i.e.. Over fertilizing with nitrogen is a serious problem for trees. Over nitrogen leads to sucking insects.
Mulching - http://home.ccil.org/~treeman/sub3.html and http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/M/ Look up "Mulch"
Did I say - Mycorrhizae are organs that facilitate the absorption of elements essential for healthy growth. Mycorrhizae resist the Demons Of D. Mycorrhizae facilitate the absorption of elements. Demons of D are those things that add up to the big D word DEATH. E.g., Depletion, disruption, and dysfunction. Elements can be depleted. Disruption, you get hit my a Mac truck. Dysfunction, some organ such as mycorrhizae may not function.
Major Elements C; H; N; O; P; K; S; Mg; Ni; Fe; Ca; Zn; Mo; Mn; B; Cl; Cu
There is the law of the minimum. It states the element that is deficient the most, would be the determining factor in the health of the tree.
I think research would be wise in the search for the optimum fertility level for trees.
I did some soil testing in the upper four inches of soil and from at and about nurse logs in old growth forest which contain hemlocks and white pines. And much more. Here is my average on my testing for the latter. These where five test. 3 test sites where in Allegheny National Forest(Hearts Content) Pennsylvania and two where in Allegheny National Forest(Tionesta Scenic area) Pennsylvania. Results are in Pounds Per Acre PPA. AVAILABLE ELEMENTS P 8.2 K 236 Mg 107 Ca 594 Al 220.6 Fe 110.8 Mn 118.6 Zn 11.96 NO3-N 28.8 Did not get B or CU. Organic matter was 29.32% Ex Acidity 81 ME/100G Salts mmho: 0.01 mmho/cm Moisture %3.97 Water Soluble mg/kg B 1.0738 ACID Soluble (mg/kg) Cd 0.976 Cu 6.768 Ni 5.71 (Penn State discovered the element Ni to be essential in small amounts) Mn 426.378 Co 3.084 Zn 46.818 Pb 101.792 Cr 5.078 P 726.226 The CARBON TO NITROGEN RATION was 27:1 pH 4.2 WOW
That would be a goal of mine if I was going to provide essential elements professionally. I did not see to many people in the old growth sections.
There was more calcium at a nurse logs in a separate test.
We don't feed trees, however, we can feed the soil with composted wood (chips and nurse logs) and leaves. We can feed the system.
I have some results for some sick hemlocks (elements in soil) If anybody would like to share results please contact me and we can discus fertilizing hemlocks and white pines.
What are you thoughts?
Sincerely, John A. Keslick, Jr. Arborist http://home.ccil.org/~treeman and www.treedictionary.com Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology. Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us that we are not the boss.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

~snipped for efficient band width usage~

Interesting that this topic was covered in about 4 minutes, in simple layman's terms, on Seattle's Cisco show a few days ago. Essentially his message was nourish and build the soil, don't feed the plant. If the soil is healthy the plant will take care of its self. Test your soil and go organic. Miracle Gro was mentioned, after a quick sucking of air through the teeth, nervous chuckle and "Oooo, la la" his answer was pretty much; You'll get fast lush growth, very pretty for the short term but creates a plant magnet for sucking insects and disease. Healthy soil, healthy plants more resistant to insects, disease and extreme weather. Compost, compost, compost and go organic.
I use no pesticides. My only soil amendments and additions are from a small worm bin (no longer have a large garden and there's no room for a compost bin on my apartment balcony) and a bag of organic alfalfa pellets purchased at a feed store, has been for years. I have a wide variety of exceptionally healthy trees, vines, flowers (mostly perennials), herbs, various bulbs (the same ones I planted 6 years ago and they keep right on blooming and multiplying, like I was told they wouldn't) and plants, many of which I was told would not grow in containers but are doing beautifully, with only an occasional spring aphid infestation that is quickly staunched by a good blast of water. I have also not changed out any of the soil in the pots for over 6 years and IMO it's now better than the original bagged stuff I started with. Oh, and not to forget, I give everything a good drink in early spring and mid summer with liquid kelp. It all works well for me. I have people from 3 stories below on the sidewalk call up to me when I am working on my balcony to tell me how incredibly lush and beautiful it looks.
Val
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Val
I really hate mentioning product names. Anyway, one fertilizer I use is "plant tone". Its mislabeled as well. It is supposed to have 16 essential elements. Used to have a big jug of micro-elements. It had no nitrogen. I wish I could find it again.
If anybody knows of a source for micro-elements please let me know. I would like to add it to my tool box.
Sincerely, John A. Keslick, Jr. Arborist http://home.ccil.org/~treeman and www.treedictionary.com Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology. Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us that we are not the boss.

Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

essential
would
Medina Soil Activator, Medina Plus w/40 trace elements, BioZome
http://medina.theshoppe.com/medina_plus_quart.html
http://www.biozome.com/pages/what.html
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.