Fertilizing, not all it's cracked up to be?

#1
So for the last year and a half I've been studying to gain might be BCMA. I've read a lot of books on fertilization and typical PHC stuff. The more I read about fertilization the more I see how other companies might be miss using it. It really seems like it can be a two edged sword.

So many companies with PHC programs try to sell fertilization for every single tree, and from what I have studyed, it seems very few trees actually need fertilization. Many articles and books pointed to the fact that mildly stressed tree sometimes are even more disease and pest resistant due to increased secondary metabolites, sap flow or cuticle thicknesses.

Also where I live storm damage is always a concern due to High winds, from what I've read, constantly fertilizing increases growth rate, but the quick growth generally is weaker then slower growth which can increase possibility of storm damage later in the future.

One company I know fertilizes every tree on a property, and I know some of the trees had scale and he told the customer fertilization will help keep the tree healthy and ward off the scale. I think few people know that many insects benefit from higher nitrogen content in trees. I read a book on Scale insects, and trees with higher nitrogen content increased there reproduction cycle, extended their life expectancy, and hardened and their shells which could make it more difficult for other predators to attack them.

I believe there's definitely a reason to fertilize certain trees but only after a proper soil and foliage analysis has been done. It makes sense to the Home owner to fertilize every tree, just like you do a garden, you fertilize it to get better crops. I think it's a really easy sell to people who are wanting it, but many times it sold for the wrong reasons.

What are your guys thoughts? Am I way off base?
 

RopeShield

Well-Known Member
#2
Low salt index ferts
Organic ferts
Compost and mulch and turf removal is 1st choice
Your right, a lot of soil enviro is being destroyed and along with that tree issues being compounded
 

JD3000

Well-Known Member
#3
Nah...just keep blasting every green thing at 6lbs or more of N per 1000. Throw in a bunch of phosphate for all those sloped sites in watersheds too.
 

JD3000

Well-Known Member
#4
Most deficiencies and limitations can be overcome with some bed work as Rope mentioned but many are induced by poor fert practices/nutrient antagonism, poor plant selection for the site, or soil degradation. Salt water with no specificity isn't going to help.

Fun subject, my primary interest of self study usually.
 
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#7
So for the last year and a half I've been studying to gain might be BCMA. I've read a lot of books on fertilization and typical PHC stuff. The more I read about fertilization the more I see how other companies might be miss using it. It really seems like it can be a two edged sword.

So many companies with PHC programs try to sell fertilization for every single tree, and from what I have studyed, it seems very few trees actually need fertilization. Many articles and books pointed to the fact that mildly stressed tree sometimes are even more disease and pest resistant due to increased secondary metabolites, sap flow or cuticle thicknesses.

Also where I live storm damage is always a concern due to High winds, from what I've read, constantly fertilizing increases growth rate, but the quick growth generally is weaker then slower growth which can increase possibility of storm damage later in the future.

One company I know fertilizes every tree on a property, and I know some of the trees had scale and he told the customer fertilization will help keep the tree healthy and ward off the scale. I think few people know that many insects benefit from higher nitrogen content in trees. I read a book on Scale insects, and trees with higher nitrogen content increased there reproduction cycle, extended their life expectancy, and hardened and their shells which could make it more difficult for other predators to attack them.

I believe there's definitely a reason to fertilize certain trees but only after a proper soil and foliage analysis has been done. It makes sense to the Home owner to fertilize every tree, just like you do a garden, you fertilize it to get better crops. I think it's a really easy sell to people who are wanting it, but many times it sold for the wrong reasons.

What are your guys thoughts? Am I way off base?
Definitely fertilizer when needed. As you said after proper soil testing ,amending the soil and air spade we do alot ..benefits are shown in years later .. these urban soils are crap these days

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#8
What do you use for soil injecting fertilizer once you determine the proper nutrient after test results. I see there are a number of products available. Would like to hear some of your thoughts before purchasing one. We have heavy compacted clay here in most places and ridiculous landscaping practices to constantly fix. Any experiences you are willing to share are greatly appreciated.


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RopeShield

Well-Known Member
#11
There is no advantage in soil injection over broadcast. Fertilising compacted soils is dumb. Aerating is better. 300psi is what is needed. Most all soil injectors won't even gget close to make a difference
 
#12
Already did aeration and vertical mulching but soil and foliar analysis indicate alkaline soils- not suprising- and definitely low in nitrogen so want to show we can turn them around some. Need to get the client to trust me enough to remove the $50 000 in stupid rock and replace with mulch.

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JD3000

Well-Known Member
#14
The most expensive soil injectors tend to be longer lasting. Your tip should have 3 or 4 holes preferably.

Your tank, engine and pump system will depend on how much weight your truck can haul, water is heavy as hell.
 

JD3000

Well-Known Member
#15
There is no advantage in soil injection over broadcast. Fertilising compacted soils is dumb. Aerating is better. 300psi is what is needed. Most all soil injectors won't even gget close to make a difference
That depends on solubility, soil texture and structure, potential volatility, possible immobilization, etc.

Agreed on addressing compaction and structural issues though.
 

JD3000

Well-Known Member
#17
Compost Tea seems like a good idea but there are 0 pier reviewed articles that show any benefit from its use in the horticultural spectrum.
U want forest soil, replicate it as best you can. Fertilizer aint the answer.

I would like to see some more peer reviewed articles slamming the conventional use of prescribed inorganic fertilizers vs the nutrient availability and microorganism communities found in natural systems.

Of course, that wouldn't be particularly profitable now would it?

Kool Aid can be poison.
 

marlinspiker

Well-Known Member
#18
Compost is biologicaly active and way easier to apply than compost tea and has a guaranteed analysis. It also has reams of reputable journal articles supporting its effectiveness. Compost tea is not viable as there is no guarantee that any microbial activity will survive transit and application. Im a proponent of a sustainable soil approach and think fertilizer is part of the equation. Replicating forest soils involves accounting for the nitrogen and nutrient loss that most trees undergo in the urban environment.
 

JD3000

Well-Known Member
#19
And for jobs (most) where the homeowner is not interested in a large bed expansion with appropriate OM, compost included, I have chosen the route of injecting at least some of the components and organisms found in forest soils into the compacted, degraded, etc more grassland type soil. Emphasis on using a fungally dominated compost(s) and foodstocks. Immediately available nutrient amounts are quite low but there are some more that are organically complexed for future use. How much available nitrogen do you think is in a natural forest system? Not much. Fast growth and health are usually mutually exclusive with some exceptions for certain faster species

See also Herm's work on introducing nutrients, defense mechanisms/allication of resources, pest/disease pressure, weaker wood, etc.

I think this thread started with a statement similiar to what I just wrote above. Not all it's cracked up to be indeed.
 

JD3000

Well-Known Member
#20
But yeah there's no guarantee all the bugs will flourish or survive. A great many will if sourced locally from similiar OM and forest soil to breakdown OM and possibly chelate micros along with the humates and some may be excellent rhizosphere critters.
 
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