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
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
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.
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
Sulfur is necessary. It is not just a byproduct that is put in the fertlize
r for filler.
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
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.