Just bought that Miracle Gro plastic sprayer that attaches to the end of the
Comes loaded with their miracle gro fertilizer, also.
No idea what the mix is in the fertilizer.
Have never used this before.
Is it perfectly safe to spray Directly on the flowers and buds of oramental
shrubs, bushes, and small trees ?
e.g., is directly on the flowers of azaelas, etc. safe ?
Any caveats ?
Supposedly, water droplets on leaves can act like little magnifying glasses
and if it's sunny, burn the leaves. I don't know, but why find out? And, I
don't care WHAT the manufacturer says about foliar feeding. Take the sprayer
back to the store, and instead, buy just a container of the fertilizer and a
nice watering can. Pour the liquid on the soil.
Maybe safe, but not recommended. Azaleas should be fertilized after
the blossoms fall, and then an acidic fertilizer should be used.
Deciduous trees are better fertilized at the roots in fall and winter
when the ground is damp. Each kind of plant has different needs.
Beware that some plants may be killed by too much fertilizer. There
are exceptions but in general fertilizer should not be applied to
flower parts nor buds. Miracle Gro is strong stuff. Read before you
You will be just fine using miracle grow to foliar feed your azaleas.
I use a similar water soluble fertilizer in the nursery plus iron and
manganese chelate with every pesticide application and the plants are
fine. Make sure you follow the label rates, because too much applied
to the leaves can definitley cause damage, especially if it is a hot
day. Maybe use half the label rate and go from there. for what its
worth, applying the fertilizer directly to the root zone will be more
effecient and useful, but the foiliar feed is good for plants that are
visibly deficient in iron, manganese, or nitrogen. The foliar route
also dosent last very long, but works quicker. As for the bit about
water acting as a magnifying glass, thats a bunch of voodoo mostly.
The water droplet would have to be so thick that the leaf probably
couldnt support it anyway, and if it was a sunny enough day for the
magnifying effect to take place, the water would evaporate before it
even had a chance. Another point- when you use a magnifying glass to
burn something, what happens if you hold it right up against the
object?? Nothing, because the beam has to be focused, and in this
case, it wouldnt be. Simply put, its a myth.
Liquid fertilizer directly on a flower will generally cause the
flower to wilt and die (not just with azaleas but with others
too). If you spray liquid fertilizer onto plants while they are in
flower, rinse the fertilizer off and into the soil.
Azaleas (and camellias too) actually prefer a lean soil without
The only time I have sprayed a liquid fertilizer is when I had a
newly seeded lawn. Wheeling a spreader across it would have torn
it up. Then, I was feeding through the soil (rinsing the
fertilizer down towards the roots), not through the foliage. Many
plants have waxy leaves that resist foliar feeding.
The problem with liquid fertilizers is that they break down and
leach away too quickly. If properly diluted, however, they are
great when you have a large number of container plants; you can
feed while watering. Just be careful you don't burn the confined
roots or cause a buildup of salts.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
On Fri, 29 Apr 2005 12:31:57 -0400, Robert11 wrote:
Good day Bob. The one issue to watch for when using a hose end sprayer to
fertilize with is fertilizer burn. Hose end sprayers are notoriously
horrible at consistent application of fertilizer/pesticide. These devices
are not calibrated to _your_ house water pressure, but to a industry
standard (55/ 60 pounds..etc). Your house's water pressure maybe higher or
lower, which means that the amount of fertilizer coming out the hose end
sprayer is not what the dial says is coming out. People also tend to be
inconsistent in the motion they use to sweep over an area which leads to
some areas getting double/triple the ammount of fertilizer while others
Another issue to watch for is cross contamination of your water supply.
This can occur when the water pressure drops suddenly and the chemicals
get siphoned in to the main water system. Purchase a check valve or
anti-siphon device that attaches to the hose to advoid the problem.
All in all hose end sprayers waste much of the fertilizer that they are
suppost to deliver. Much of it gets on non-targeted areas and plants or it
just plainly gets over applied. Hose end sprayers are good at one thing
though.... and that's selling fertilizer. If you were to mix the
fertilizer in 5 gallon buckets and hand water, the fertilizer that you
would use would be much less that with a hose end sprayer.
Hose end sprayers are great stuff, and a testament to capitalism. If you
can't sell your product to more people get your existing customers to buy
more of it.
Miracle gro is strong stuff, you don't need much of it, a careful gardener
who follows the directions and mixes the stuff in a watering can uses far
less stuff, which of course means Scotts sells far less. Scotts probably has
done research on the average number of minutes a gardener sprays their
garden. Combine that with an average rate of product consumption, and Scotts
knows every minute you spend watering their garden, you're using up N cents
Isn't capitalism great?
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