Jeffrey-777
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Winter Fertalization?

Hi everyone.
I have a question regarding fertilization in Winter.
My instructions say to "feed" the tree once a week.
A friend says I should "feed" it every four to six weeks including Winter.
Is this correct, or am I being misled?
Thanks,
Jeff

P.S. I forgot to mention the the fertilizer I use is Bio-Gold
as it was recommended to me.

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Gnome
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Jeffrey,

You will have to give us a little more information than that. Specifically, are we talking about a temperate tree that is in dormancy now or a tropical that is kept indoors? I suspect the latter is the case but I just want to confirm that before we get too far along.

Other information that would be helpful is details regarding your growing medium, how much light is it receiving, how vigorously is it growing and what species are we talking about. In the meantime there is no need for concern, a few days (or even weeks) here or there will not be fatal to your plant.

If I am not mistaken, Bio-Gold is a slow release type of product, correct? therefore I would think that you still have some remnants of it in/on your soil. Although it is widely used, I am unfamiliar with this product and don't know how long an application lasts until it is dissolved.

Norm

opabinia51
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Hi Jeff, if you have a temperate tree albeit a conifer or a deciduous tree; fertilizing it during winter will only burn the tree.

Dormant trees do not take up nutrients and the salts (I'm assuming that you are using a synthetic fertilizer?) will just accumulate in the soil; killing any beneficial soil inhabitants such as fungi or bacteria and burning the tree roots.

Regardless it is better for your tree if you use an organic fertilizer like liquid Fish Fertilizer (smells bad but, works well), kelp meal, sifted compost and so on.

These will never burn your tree and the use of compost will give your tree a long term supply of both macro and micronutrients. Also, you only need to add it to your tree once or twice a year.

With organic fertilizers, your tree will be healthier, that much more resistant to disease and it will grow like you wouldn't believe.

Also, consider a weekly foliar spray of an aerated compost tea.

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Gnome
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Opa,

Putting aside for the moment the merits of organic vs chemical fertilizer, I believe that Bio-Gold is an organic product.

Excerpted from an on-line retailer:
Premium Pellet Fertiliser 500gm pack.
High quality slow release pellet fertiliser.
Organic feed for your Bonsai Trees repacked into handy re-sealable bags.
Insert the pellets at 2 to 3 inch intervals around the edge of the pot, or scatter an equivalent amount on the surface. Each application of Bio Gold will last approximately 8 to 10 weeks.
As far as burning the roots, a solution many times the recommended rate will indeed cause problems. Brent Walston discusses fertilizers in general and root burn specifically in
[url=https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/fertiliz.htm]this[/url]article. He describes root burn as a sort of reverse osmosis that occurs when very high concentrations of salt accumulate in the soil medium. In bonsai culture the excess will simply be flushed away by our copious watering methods. In other words you would have to make a huge blunder for this to become an issue. Note, I am not specifically addressing winter fertilization here but fertilization in general.

I would also tend to avoid sifted compost simply because of the texture. We expend considerable effort to ensure that our mix is well aerated and very free draining. Sifted compost would seem to be at odds with those goals. I am re-thinking the use of my homemade organic cakes for this very reason.

I am not opposed to organic fertilizer but for many beginning in bonsai (especially those with a single tree in their home) by far the simplest and easiest to explain is the common water soluble chemical types. For those so inclined I think seaweed, fish emulsion or even compost tea would be a better choice than compost since it is liquid and will not impede drainage. As noted, Bio-Gold is an organic product that is in pellet form.

[url=https://www.dallasbonsai.com/store/fertilizers.html]Here[/url]is a retailer that offers numerous types of fertilizer, both organic and chemical. Opa, thanks for stopping by, it is always good to get another perspective. Sometimes we get set in our ways and tend to overlook other alternatives.

Jeffrey, if you read the material excerpted above I believe you will find the answer to your question.

Norm

Jeffrey-777
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Hi Everyone,
@ Gnome, Thanks for the move and info.

@ Opa, My tree is a China Elm. It currently has leaves.
It was given to me in January, so I gave it two tablets/blocks of Bio-old yesterday. The pot is quite small so I didn't want to overdo it. It sits on my kitchen window because that's where the most light is at this time of year.
I know what you might be thinking. Kitchen, Oven, too warm? No the tree is far enough away from the oven that it's not a big factor.
In summer, I'll put it on the Balcony.

Thanks again,

Jeff :D

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Gnome
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Jeffrey,

Chinese Elms are sub-tropical and as such are often recommended as indoor trees, I prefer to keep mine outside allowing them to go dormant. I made a point of asking because you did not note if your tree was outside and dormant or inside and growing.

Since it is so late in the season you should not even consider putting it outside now. But the balcony should be fine once the weather warms up, you can decide how to handle it next winter later.

Please read the sticky threads at the top of this forum regarding soils and re-potting. Pay particular attention to your watering practices, particularly if the tree is in an organic, peat heavy soil. Only water when the soil approaches dryness. Not bone dry but certainly not constantly wet either. When you do water do so with a watering can or spray nozzle from above and water copiously. A little water often is the wrong approach.

The Bio gold is a slow release organic fertilizer and I don't think you have anything to worry about. Save that link I posted and re-read it later in the season. Can you post some pictures? If you don't know how [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3724]here[/url] is a link. Good luck with your tree.

Norm

Jeffrey-777
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Location: Bayreuth,Germany

Thanks Norm,
I've killed a couple of trees over the years from inexpierence, and do not want to do it again.
The winter here has been realativley mild this year. So there was probably not much of a chance for the tree to go Dormant.
Like I said my wife bought it for me at a Garden Center at the beginning of Jan. Some leaves are yellowing a little, but I think it could be from the change. Other than that it looks healthy. It's even growing new leaves.

Jeff

opabinia51
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Hi Norm,

I'm not really sure that I would attribute root burn to reverse osmosis as what would happen with salt accumulation is that water from inside the roots would move from the roots out to the soil, to a place of lower concentration of water. This is not reverse osmosis but, osmosis.

Also, having high salt concentrations in the soil kills beneficial soil organisms that create a healthy environment for the tree to grow in. Simply washing these salts out with watering practices does rid the soil of the high osmotic pressure gradients but, it also rinses away all the nutrients that are available in the soil for both the tree and the soil organisms.

Therefore, with the use of salt based fertilizers people are infact feeding the plant and not the soil (I think I might have already said this but bear(sp?) with me) with organic fertilizer (and Norm has listed some great ones) you are actually adding water insoluble nutrients as well as some water soluble nutrients. This way the tree is able to release small amounts of acid or base to release these molecules from their insoluble form into a soluble form as the plant needs them.

The result is a healthy tree with healthy soil that is more resistant to disease and is not dependant on a human to supply it with all of it's nutrients and therefore there is less work to do for us as well!

I acutally haven't used any synthetic fertilizer for several years, and spend very little money purchasing fertilizers because I can make all my own fertilizers from available materials. That is one more benefit to organics; they are easier on your pocket book :wink:

However, I do use kelp meal and liquid fish/seaweed fertilizer.

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Gnome
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Opa,
I'm not really sure that I would attribute root burn to reverse osmosis as what would happen with salt accumulation is that water from inside the roots would move from the roots out to the soil, to a place of lower concentration of water. This is not reverse osmosis but, osmosis.
You are entirely correct concerning reverse osmosis, that term has a very specific technical meaning and I did use it inappropriately, my apologies for any confusion. I should have said that an excessive level of salts in the soil (lower concentration of water) would cause osmosis to occur in the opposite direction from normal. Perhaps “backwards osmosisâ€

ynot
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Opa Please answer that akadama thread. 4 Months is long enuf

Gnome wrote:At most, I use 25% bark in my medium
Me too, That would be at the absolute maximum % of organic material in my potting medium.
I have had about half of my trees in an entirely inorganic mix for several years. They love it. [And therefore so do I..]
opabinia51 wrote:The result is a healthy tree with healthy soil that is more resistant to disease and is not dependant on a human to supply it with all of it's nutrients and therefore there is less work to do for us as well!
Opa, I did not understand this statement at all.
I do not want a healthy soil, I want a healthy tree [which is the most resistant to all ills]
Having it living in an organic soup [constantly wet/wet far too long, Compacted, Limited aeration] is simply not the best way to go about that.

Consider how often OVER-watering is an issue, I think adding more organics [and hence even more water retention capability] is being a part of the problem vs being a part of the solution.

Additionally, It does not promote the fibrous feeder root systems [as well as a looser more open soil would] required for situating bonsai in the shallow pots often used.

Dependancy?... When did this become an issue? It is container culture, That pretty much puts the ball straight into our court as far as who supplies what...lol

Make no mistake about it, It IS up to me to supply all that my trees require. [It's just that simple, That's all I have to do. ;) ]

It is only if you lack this absolutely fundamental understanding of bonsai, That you then have to 'work' to be successful at bonsai.
IE: Happy they survive VS. Watching them thrive....

I have never 'worked' a second on my trees, I don't intend to...lol

Ferts:
I get all my ferts from 'available materials' also, I just take my available materials [$] to the store...and buy them. :idea::smile:

I use several different kinds of ferts Primarily Miracle-Gro/Peters'/Ironite [chelated], and a fish emulsion [Outdoors only! Phew!].
I think I might of spent maybe $25 all together in the last 3 to 5 years on ferts, So I would not say they were breaking the bank.,,:LOL:

ynot

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