I’ve been enjoying experimenting with the new fertilizers I’m using this summer. Ten days ago I applied Omakase fertilizer cakes to a number of my trees and I’ve already noticed a few things.
One of my concerns had been whether or not the cakes would break down quickly as the cakes are very hard out of the bag. Just yesterday, however, I noticed that some of the larger cakes had already started to break apart.
The fertilizer cake on the left is starting to crumble
The intact cakes have softened considerably which tells me that water is having no trouble penetrating the cakes.
Because I wasn’t sure, initially, how well water would penetrate the cakes, I tried a few approaches to keeping them moist. On one tree, I buried cakes at varying depths.
Fertilizer cakes on top of the soil (left) and nestled into the soil (right)
While the cakes placed on top of the soil have taken on a lighter color than the cakes that are partly buried, all have softened about the same.
I’ve also tried pre-crumbling the cakes.
Smashing a fertilizer cakes
I then added the crumbled bits directly to the surface of the soil on several trees.
Crumbled bits of fertilizer on the surface of the soil
One of my bigger challenges with bonsai fertilizer over the years has been critters running off with it. I’ve been happy to note that to date the cakes have remained where I left them. Omakase fertilizer is designed to be less interesting to critters than other fertilizers, and so far I’ve found that to be the case.
For a more direct comparison, I’m also testing the fertilizer in tea bags, both crushed and uncrushed.
Crushed fertilizer cakes in teabag
Intact cakes in teabag
Garden critters – mostly squirrels and raccoons, as far as I can tell – have been picking up fertilizer bags filled with cottonseed meal recently and dropping them on the ground here and there. Today I put out more bags with fertilizer cakes inside to see whether or not they stay put.
Omakase fertilizer in teabags
I’ll be increasing the amount of fertilizer used in the garden over the coming weeks as it’s time to start feeding decandled pines so I expect this to be a good opportunity to see what happens with the different approaches to feeding.
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