Miracle Gro

Discussion in 'Soil and fertilizer (incl water and repotting)' started by DVB, May 19, 2017.

  1. DVB

    DVB Seed

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    London, UK
    Hi!

    Anyone uses Miracle Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food - NPK 24-8-16?

    If so, what amount do you mix with water for bonsai trees?

    The package has instructions with different concentrations, but for bonsai might be diferent from the ones provided.
     
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  3. GrimLore

    GrimLore Imperial Masterpiece

    Messages:
    6,588
    Location:
    South East PA USDA Zone 6b
    During growing season -

    5 to 10 times the amount if the plants are in inorganic mix.

    2 to 5 times the amount in organic substrate.

    Grimmy
     
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  4. augustine

    augustine Shohin

    Messages:
    434
    Location:
    Pasadena, MD
    Some folks do the very high amounts of fertilizer, I think that should be left to experienced people.

    I think you should follow the recommendations on the labels til you get your feet wet and understand why Grimmy is using high doses and the other factors involved (super draining inorganic soil and heavy watering.)
     
    Lynn E likes this.
  5. M. Frary

    M. Frary Bonsai Godzilla

    Messages:
    9,526
    Location:
    Mio Michigan
    Just do it.
    You don't get the experience until you experience it.
    That's what people come here for.
    How to go about getting experienced.
     
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  6. Anthony

    Anthony Masterpiece

    Messages:
    2,705
    Location:
    West Indies [ Caribbean ]
    Mike -------------- just do it --------- on a few set aside for experiments.
    Not All.
    Bad advice or advice gone wrong and you could be ask to pay for the dead ones.

    If I remember correctly, the N and the P leave the soil, but the K2 can bind to particles
    and possibly poison, down the road.

    Always set up for experiments, not the mother plants --------- please.
    Good Day
    Anthony
     
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  7. M. Frary

    M. Frary Bonsai Godzilla

    Messages:
    9,526
    Location:
    Mio Michigan
    Asking is one thing.
    Collecting money from me is a whole other ballgame.
    I never experimented.
    I read Walter Palls article and it only confirmed what I had seen in other growing situations.
    I walked out and put it to every tree I had right away. Never lost one and never looked back.
    Why experiment when someone has already done the experimenting for you?
    Just one look at Walter's trees was all it took for me.
    Sometimes caution can be a good thing and sometimes it slows you down.
     
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  8. Anthony

    Anthony Masterpiece

    Messages:
    2,705
    Location:
    West Indies [ Caribbean ]
    Mike,

    been around Mr. Pall a bit longer than you,

    [1] All you see is what he shows.

    [2] His soil mix before, used to be very different, and feels like the new one is just
    someone else's work.

    [3] You experiment for yourself for a much deeper understanding.

    [4] Because K started when he was about 17 or so, and he did science at University level,
    experimenting comes naturally and time is not a factor.
    So there is no need for speed.

    [5] Folk who grow from seed or cutting often have a much deeper understanding [ often not always.]

    I am personally very happy that your work is progressing.
    BUT we observed that too much fertiliser promotes sappy growth, tasty to insects etc.
    BUT then we also use an organic component, that promotes the organisms that work with the
    root to help the tree age naturally.

    I would suggest not encouraging newbees to fertilise heavily, simply because they
    don't have the experience to understand what is HEALTH.

    However, I won't fight with you, and would rather be friends.
    So for good or for bad, as far as I can, I will not cross swords with you anymore.
    Good Growing to you.
    Anthony
     
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  9. M. Frary

    M. Frary Bonsai Godzilla

    Messages:
    9,526
    Location:
    Mio Michigan
    We will always be friends Anthony.
    I just look at thing differently than you is all.
    I also will push my trees to the brink though.
    Because they are only trees.
    They make them every day.
     
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  10. Bonsaikev1985

    Bonsaikev1985 Sapling

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    South New Jersey (856)
    When I first got started into bonsai I got so frustrated over ferts, what kind to use, micro nutes, etc.... but like said up above "just do it". I have done lots of research and watch hundreds of videos, but the best teaching I've got is trial and error. Yeah know one wants to mess up, but it's all part of getting good. Live and ya learn. But some advice I'd give ya is not to use that individual fert all year long. High nitrogen ferts are great in the spring, but don't go giving them that in lay august or even mid summer when super hot. They go dormant kind of during that time because of heat. What I would do is use that now and as summer hits use a more balanced fert like (20-20-20) for example. Then towards end of summer use something low in nitrogen and higher in P & K. But to make it all very simple for ya, just get your self a balanced fert like (20-20-20, 10-10-10). Those ferts seem to ideal for most bonsai. Good luck
     
  11. Joe Dupre'

    Joe Dupre' Yamadori

    Messages:
    86
    Location:
    South Louisiana
    I think people tend to forget that fertilizer really doesn't "feed" the tree. Photosynthesis through the leaves is what feeds the tree. While the nutrients taken in by the roots are very important, a tree can live quite well with minimal fertilization. I've also read that a root cannot tell the difference between nitrogen obtained from a chemical or an organic source. I do use Miracle Gro exclusively, and the trees seem to love it..........and that is the true test, isn't it?
     
  12. tree4me

    tree4me Mame

    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    Stanley, NC
    I have never heard this before, I need to up my game; starting today. I don't fertilize a lot to begin with.
     
  13. Andrew Robson

    Andrew Robson Shohin

    Messages:
    453
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    For bonsai, especially old bonsai, miracle Grow is way too much nitrogen. Stay in the single digits. If you're looking for a great inorganic fertilizer, consider Dyna Grow instead of miracle grow. It's much more balanced and contains more micronutrients than I've ever seen on any other product. Even for prebonsai that we are growing and building caliper on, we use Dyna Grow, just more of it and all throughout the growing season.

    Miracle grow is a bit like cocaine for the trees. With subsequent usage, the trees become accustomed to it and slightly dependent on it. New growth built with it has trouble sustaining itself once the fertilizer stops.

    Miracle grow is great for lawns, but for bonsai we are looking for something more balanced and refined...
     
  14. timetravel_0

    timetravel_0 Mame

    Messages:
    185
    NPK figures are simply ratios.

    You could always do the math yourself with the "serving size" of your choice and information from the packaging. You can also start weak and keep track of raw growth, increase concentration until you no longer see changes in growth rate.

    For me- organic fertilizers are attractive but were breaking down and clogging my soil, so I've been rotating through various brands and types of inorganics.
     
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  15. Andrew Robson

    Andrew Robson Shohin

    Messages:
    453
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    O
    I disagree... having healthy trees is great, but there are different kinds of healthy trees. In bonsai we want healthy trees with controlled growth, and if we overfertilize we can end up making our trees too youthful, to the point where we can flake off old bark on conifers and abort years of ramifications on deciduous trees. Are those trees technically healthy? Yes they are. Is flaking off old bark our goal for healthy bonsai? Absolutely not...
     
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  16. Andrew Robson

    Andrew Robson Shohin

    Messages:
    453
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    The benefit of organic fertilizer cakes is that you can see what you're doing. If you just mix up one batch of liquid fertilizer in the spring and give it to all your trees, you're gardening, not doing bonsai.

    What's happening in that scenario is that some trees like black pines and tridents are getting under fertilized, and white pines and Japanese maples are getting overfertilized. Shohin are getting too much fertilizer and big trees aren't getting enough. Old bonsai are getting too much and prebonsai aren't getting enough. Every time we go on autopilot with our bonsai, either with fertilizing, watering, etc., we end up no longer doing bonsai...
     
  17. Anthony

    Anthony Masterpiece

    Messages:
    2,705
    Location:
    West Indies [ Caribbean ]
    The figure seen for young trees is 12 N, plus smaller quantities of P and K.
    Hence why we take the lawn fertiliser to 1/3 strength into moist soil [ watered once the night before ]
    once a week.

    Thanks @Andrew Robson,
    Will test 1/4 Lawn Fertiliser next year.

    Our use of 12 N is to help the trees withstand our Dry season and the the two months where we can hit
    low 90's deg.F for half an hour to ten minutes.
    .
    Been doing this for many years. Works, growth is slow and bitter [ insects won't chew save for 4" grasshoppers
    and leaf cutter ants trying to survive. ] and the leaves stay a deep healthy green.
    The sun also keeps the leaves small so no need to depend on defoliation.

    Our compost is a blend of materials with weeds for micro nutrients so the fertiliser stays basic.
    Main ingredient gives 2 N and reads as rabbit manure.

    Try getting Dyna anything down here, even Miracle Gro is rare. You see the lawn fertiliser you buy several
    containers.
    Not so the liquid stuff, so old it's reacting on itself and forming solids.

    Got heavy showers last week, and yup the tamarinds responded and so did the leaf cutter ants.
    Got servings of citrus peel with chemical x. Nests are dead now. Waiting for more arrivals from the
    neighbour's yards.

    Rains are coming and temps will drop to 80's and cloud cover, so little or no fertiliser.

    By Autumn, the rains will hit 9" for August and around October so no fertiliser as the moisture in
    the air, bright light and extra water will keep things growing.

    Found out compost holds 20 times it's weight in water [ or fertiliser in solution ] and some of the
    trees use an inorganic that can hold moisture, but will only break in the soil after maybe thousands of
    years. So fertilising is really only for 5 months.
    We did test an osmocote type [ it was recommended again to us by Michael ] but gave it up and may
    test it again on a few trees.

    For faster growth we use the grow trough [ ground grow ] and the over sized boxes for refinement.
    So you don't really need much fertiliser.
    We seldom hit 90's for any length of time so growth is mostly constant.

    Oil cake meals are around 6N and lower P and K.
    Good Day
    Anthony







    y
     
  18. GrimLore

    GrimLore Imperial Masterpiece

    Messages:
    6,588
    Location:
    South East PA USDA Zone 6b
    Strongly disagree:

    Cakes, Slow release pellets and such offer you little control of the contents...
    Liquid fertilizer can be mixed to precision and applied as you please.

    I find controlling nutrients as you suggested in another post is beneficial once you understand the way it works for each plant. Just don't see eye to eye with you on "how" ;)

    Grimmy
     
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  19. Bonsai Nut

    Bonsai Nut Administrator

    Messages:
    4,842
    Location:
    OC, CA
    This is a very important point. Always ask yourself 'why' you are fertilizing and what you hope to accomplish by it.

    I was just watching a bonsai video where Ryan Neil was explaining how several different bonsai nurseries in Japan have different opinions about fertilizer. One very well-regarded bonsai master doesn't fertilize his trees at all.

    So Andrew is perfectly correct. I use fertilizer when I need my trees to be ready for strong growth (like just before I partially defoliate them). I avoid using fertilizer when I don't want leggy growth and long internodes (like after decandling black pines). Let your trees and your plan be your guide. I am certain when someone like Grim throws out the concentration he uses, it is just half the story. He is saying what strength he uses - not when he uses it and what he uses it for :)
     
  20. jacob letoile

    jacob letoile Sapling

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Northfield, MA
    So, there are a couple things about fertilizer and plants that are commonly misunderstood. Full disclosure, I have been a farmer all my life, and I come at this from paying to fertilize hundreds of acres each year.

    First misunderstanding is that plants can tell the difference between nutrients from different sources. A plant not only doesn't care, but can't tell the difference between N derived from ammonium sulfate, urea, compost or unicorn poo. It's all N. Same for all the other nutrients a plant uptake. Where organic nutrient sources may benefit a is the number of nutrients they release, and the fact that they release them slower.

    Second misunderstanding is the way plants take up nutrients. For the most part plants take up nutrients in the ratio they need them, not in the ratio that there available. What this means is that even though N is needed for shoot growth and K is needed for root growth you can't force a plant to grow roots by giving it more K, unless K was the limiting factor previously. Now plants will grow differently in different seasons so they will have different nutrient needs at different times of the year.

    The last misunderstanding involves the ratio. The fertilizer label, by law will have 3 numbers in this form N-P-K. This is the percentage, by weight, of plant available nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. So a solution made up of X units of 10-10-10 and a solution of the same volume using 2X units of 5-5-5 the 2 solutions are functionally the same. So if you have a 19-19-19 and you want to restrict the growth of one plant, just put less on that plant. So if 5-5-5 is 3/4 the price of 10-10-10 buy the 10-10-10 and use half as much. If you have a mostly inorganic mix most of your nutrients will be washed out when you water the next time anyway.

    I hope that helps.
     
  21. AZbonsai

    AZbonsai Shohin

    Messages:
    347
    Location:
    AZ
    That is my understanding of fertilizer as well Jacob. Well said!
     

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