Question for songbird

Common use fertilizer used to come pretty generic, like 8-8-8, 10-10-10, 13 -13-13, with little-to-no micro-nutrients. Last spring I started seeing so mething different, like 10-10-10 with "up to 8% sulfur" and "up-to-12% chlo rine". That's not MICRO-nutrients! I contacted the factory and asked why, and got weird answers. "Soil needs sulfur and they are eliminating it from industrial smokestacks", and "Don't use chlorine if you plant tobacco" (wh at about veggies?)
Have you heard anything about all this or am I the only one who noticed the fine print?
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

i'm about the last person to ask about those type of fertilizers as i've not used them for some years now. next time i'm at a store i'll take a look and see what they have on 'em.
sulfur would be ok in small amounts for a garden that has a higher pH (8 or higher). they must be talking about chlorine compounds and i'd not generally want those as some might be as common as table salt. for an arid climate or near arid climate garden you really don't want to add salt to the garden. for places that do get enough rain to leach salts away it isn't as bad, but i still would not want it.

i have read a few things about what is used for filler in some manufactured fertilizers and that it can be about anything. i don't think there are as much regulations as long as it isn't certain animal wastes/byproducts.
as a rule, if i don't know what is in it or where it came from i don't put it on my gardens.
i think what you might be seeing is that more and more people want to know what it is in what they are buying. so the manufacturers are now spelling out what they use whereas before people didn't care.
i am not surprised at all to hear about flue scrubbings being used as filler. if the power plants don't have to pay to have it landfilled they are coming out ahead on the deal.
songbird
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On Friday, January 10, 2014 1:49:21 PM UTC-6, songbird wrote:

Thanks! I was thinking that sulfur was being added with a purpose but your opinion that it was just a byproduct from a filler makes much more sense. And they probably see it to their benefit - you'll have to buy more lime mo re often, hopefully their brand, to counteract the pH change from their sul fur. The chlorine is probably a byproduct of their potassium/potash treatme nt prior to mixing the fertilizer.
I guess these compounds have always been in fertilizers, but they used to b e listed as micro-nutrients, like .05%. When they started being listed in 8 %-12% amounts, the same or higher as the NPK amounts, it really drew my att ention.
Thanks again.
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Sulfur is necessary. It is not just a byproduct that is put in the fertlizer for filler. http://www.soil.ncsu.edu/publications/Soilfacts/AG-439-15_Archived/AG-439-15.pdf
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On Sunday, January 12, 2014 9:47:10 AM UTC-6, Ralph Mowery wrote:
Sulfur is necessary. It is not just a byproduct that is put in the fertlize r for filler. http://www.soil.ncsu.edu/publications/Soilfacts/AG-439-15_Arc hived/AG-439-15.pdf
True, it is necessary in some amounts. But when soil tests show a pH of 6. 0 or less, adding sulfur is not necessary for most plants. (Blueberries & a zaleas excepted). A thick subsoil can retain sulfur and cause problems if m ore is added. Which was my point. Cotton fields in the South fertilized s teadily over decades are in very poor condition because of component buildu p.
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On 1/9/2014 2:12 PM, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

No, they're secondary nutrients.

No, no, no. It comes from the basic source of potassium for that fertilizer. Potassium is the third primary element (NPK). The most common sources of K for chemical fertilizers are Potassium Chloride (yes, chlorine) and Potassium Sulfate (yes, sulfur). The amount of sulfur present in the fertilizer isn't enough to significantly change the pH of the soil unless you were to drastically over-apply the fertilizer. Don't worry about it. As for the chlorine, it's another essential element for plant development, but like all elements, some plants are more sensitive to it than others. Soils in coastal areas tend to have higher levels of chlorine, whereas soils far from the coast tend to have fairly low levels of chlorine.

In the case of tobacco, an oversupply of chlorine affects the ability of the dried leaf to burn cleanly. In most cases of home gardening, use of potassium chloride-containing fertilizers will be just fine. In fact, in areas where the natural soil level of chloride is low (such as the US Midwest) applying a chloride-containing fertilizer can be beneficial. Some of the benefits are increased crop yields, improved quality, and increased disease resistance in plants. But if you're concerned about it, look for a fertilizer whose potassium content come from potassium sulfate.
Also, chloride is water soluble and will leach out of soils over time. It's not usually an accumulator.
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