I’ve been experimenting with fertilizers lately. For years, my primary fertilizers have been cottonseed meal and fish emulsion. Both are easy to find and easy to use.
I’ve been happy with the results too, but have been curious about newer products that have components beyond the standard NPK. Today it’s easy to find fertilizers with humic acid, mycorrhizae and a good variety of micronutrients. After talking with Ryan Neil about Mirai’s approach to feeding – Ryan has observed good results from such fertilizers – I decided to give several a try.
E.B. Stone Natural & Organic Starter Food
Dr. Earth Life pellets
Happy Frog Japanese maple fertilizer
I’m using the fertilizers in tea bags and directly on the soil. Some trees get only one of the above, others get some of each.
Chinese quince with cottonseed meal, Dr. Earth Life, and E.B. Stone Starter
3-1/2 year-old black pines with Happy Frog Japanese Maple Fertilizer
2-1/2 year-old black pines with E.B. Stone Starter
2-1/2 year-old red pines with Dr. Earth Life pellets
1-1/2 year-old black pines with Dr. Earth Life pellets
Shimpaku cuttings with a mix of fertlizers
Several different fertilizers together
I don’t expect to see big differences in growth or health with the different fertilizers, but I am curious to see if any trends develop.
A few things I noticed right away. The E.B. Stone Starter works its way into the soil well, but it can inhibit drainage as the fine particles can form a crust on the surface of the soil – as a result, I like using it in tea bags. Water drains through Dr. Earth Life pellets applied directly to the soil better than it does through the E.B. Stone or the Happy Frog Japanese Maple fertilizers. Cottonseed meal works great on the surface of the soil or in tea bags.
I’ll continue to experiment with more of my trees throughout the year and will be sure to share if I notice any general trends.
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