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Old 11-05-2011, 12:00 PM
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Ric Ric is offline
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Location: S W Florida
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Originally Posted by greendoctor View Post
In acidic clay soils, dependent on calcium levels, a good nitrogen source is calcium nitrate. This is almost like liming the soil minus the dusty mess and slow reaction. On acidic soils, most of my N comes from calcium nitrate instead of ammonium sulfate. In another thread, I detailed three or so different soil conditions I deal with. The fertilization program changes dependent on the soil. I do not have the good fortune of one type of soil. A one size fits all "lawn fertilizer" blend might get the grass green. But at what long term cost?

I will agree Calcium Nitrate is a very good source of N on acidic soil and helps to build strong Stems or faster Greens. But on my Calcareous sand Ammonium Sulfate is a better choice both Agronomics and Economics.

Sulfur or Sulfates of all kinds are Hard to keep in a liquid suspension. But by using more Carrier (in my case 5 Gallon per K) sulfate of potash or Potassium sulfate (which ever way you call it) will stay in suspension with good agitation. I believe those using a small amount of carrier will have a lot of trouble with any Sulfur materials. I might also remind every one Sulfur is a Macro Element not a micro.


Here is a thing I wrote about Fertilizer many years ago. It is copyright 2002 protected. I have posted it before.

What is fertilizer?

There are 17 chemical elements used by a plant as nutrients to make there own food. The roots of a plant will only up take what it needs no matter how much is there. Fertilizer burn occurs when we apply too much in an un-useable form. Fertilizer chemicals must be broken down into a useable form in the soil by microorganism. Fertilizer burn occurs when water first activates it and energy in the form of heat is given off. Salts are also given off as these compounds break down. If we apply too much fertilizer we can in fact poison the soil with salt.

The life cycle of the plant kingdom and the animal kingdom work together. We use oxygen (O2) and give off carbon dioxide (CO2). Plants use CO2 and give off O2. Plants make their own food from photosynthesis. That is the energy of the sun and the right temperature plus air and water to make carbohydrates. Therefore Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen are primary elements. Carbohydrates are the food and we can express this chemically: 6 H2O + 6 CO2 -----> C6 H12 O6 + 3O2 or simple sugar and oxygen.

Primary Elements

Carbon, C, is used in photosynthesis. Plants get carbon from both air and soil. Carbon is essential for all life forms and is the key of organic chemistry.

Hydrogen, H, is supplied by water. The logarithm of free hydrogen ions, pH, is a measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution or mixture.

Oxygen, O, is a part of water and air. Oxygen is used in respiration and transpiration by living organisms. Oxidation is a process of chemically breaking down other elements.

Nitrogen, N, causes cell elongation and division (growth). It is important for the development of all tissue in a plant, but it is most important for leaf growth Nitrogen fully translocates systemically within the plant and leaches readily from the soil. Pound for pound it is one of the cheapest fertilizer chemicals to produce and shows the greatest response (green) in plants. For this reason fertilizer manufacturers overuse this product.

Nitrogen Deficiencies, cause reduced growth rate of the entire plant, then loss of color on the older leaves. Then older leaves turn yellow and a general decline occurs on the entire plant.

Phosphorus, P, is important in root development, flowering, fruiting, and germination. Phosphorus fully translocates systemically within the plant and is subject to leaching in the soil depending on its form. The Jacksonville area of Florida. has a problem with phosphorus contamination. Our area is rich in phosphorus and it has been mined here since the 1890s to the present. Most fertilizer blends sold in our area are low in phosphorus. The need for high phosphorus blend fertilizer is new sod, sod plugs, gardenias, and bird of paradise plants.

Phosphorus Deficiencies, cause purpling of lower leaves first, then move on up the plant and reduce flower production.

Potassium, K, develops vascular flow, which is important for flowering, stem strength, vigor, disease resistance and overall hardiness. Its most important contribution is root development for drought stress resistance. Potassium fully translocates systemically in the plant. Potassium leaches readily from the soil. I personally like to use potassium on a one to one ratio with nitrogen even though it is a more expensive fertilizer.

Potassium Deficiencies, first cause yellowing between veins of older leaves, then yellow specks in the veins. Leaves finally turn brown on the outside margin.

Secondary Elements

Macro Elements

Calcium, Ca, is essential for plant strength. Calcium does not translocate within a plant, nor does it leach from the soil. Luckily our soil has more than its share of calcium. Calcium nitrite is the cure for weak flushes of growth and fruit rotting at blossom end. It helps high traffic area turf.

Calcium Deficiencies, cause weak stem growth or growth of soft leaves.

Sulfur, S. functions with nitrogen to produce growth and photosynthesis. Sulfur compounds helps to reduce pH. Acid forming fertilizers are important in our area and use sulfur or sulfur combined material. The label on fertilizer will state whether sulfur is free or combined. Sulfur does not translocate in the plant but does leach out of the soil.

Sulfur Deficiencies, first cause yellowing on new growth then the entire plants slows its growth. Finally the plant goes into decline. If you have ever put fertilizer on turf and had areas grow but turn yellow, you have seen what a sulfur deficiency can do. Sometimes if we leave these areas alone they green up. The reason is that nitrogen breaks down in the soil first and is in useable form before sulfur.

Magnesium, Mg. Commonly available as Epson's salt is more important in maintaining green on older leaves but also helps new tissue. It helps in photosynthesis and helps to green up plants. Magnesium is mobile in the plant or translocates. It also readily leaches from the soil I have personally found it to make strawberries sweeter but cannot prove that.

Magnesium Deficiencies, cause older leaves to show yellowing between the veins. It looks like yellow triangles if you step back. On palm trees older fronds will yellow or brown early. Palm trees that have long ground sweeping green fronds do not have Magnesium or Manganese deficiencies.

Micro Elements

Iron, Fe. Plays a major role in photosynthesis and helps keep our plants green. Iron does not translocate in the plant. Iron will become soil bound in high pH soils and unavailable to the plant. Iron does not leach from the soil.

Iron Deficiencies, first signs are lack of dark green color on new leaves. Lack of iron causes yellowing between veins of the newest leaves first, and the green veins appear narrow. Soils with pH of 6.5 or higher lock up iron and it is unavailable to the plant.

Manganese, Mn. is used in photosynthesis and helps to keep our plants green. It is essential for new tissue development. It does not translocate in the plant and is stable in the soil. It does not leach.

Manganese Deficiencies, also cause yellowing between the veins of new leafs. Veins appear wider than iron deficiencies. On palm trees frizzle top or yellowing on new fronds is the result of Manganese deficiencies.

Boron, B, is essential to development of new tissues. It does not translocate in the plant. and does not readily leach from the soil.

Boron Deficiencies, cause interveinal or tip and marginal yellowing on new leaves as well as distorted and brittle, small leathery leaves.

Copper, Cu. is essential to development of new tissues. It does not translocate in the plant and it does not readily leach from the soil.

Copper Deficiencies, cause young leaves to become cupped, wrinkled or roughened. New leaves yellow overall or between veins and tip burn can be present. New twigs die back.

Zinc, Zn. is essential to development of new tissue. It does not trans-locate in the plant and it does not readily leach from the soil. Yes, this is word for word the same as B Cu and Mo.

Zinc Deficiencies, cause yellowing between veins on newest leaves first. New growth is tiny pointed narrow leaves.

Molybdenum, Mo. is essential for development of new tissue. It does not translocate in the plant and it does not readily leach from the soil.

Molybdenum Deficiencies, lead to distorted new leaves and stems. B., Cu., Zn., and Mo. all show the same or similar signs of deficiencies. These elements are generally sold as a minor element package, either liquid, water soluble power or granular. It is not important to know which element is deficient. Only to, treat the signs with minor elements.

Chlorine Cl. has only recently been found to be essential for plant life. Its primary function and how it works is not known. So we do not know what the signs of a deficiency are. Chlorine is a byproduct of the chemical manufacturing of fertilizer. Too much chlorine can poison the soil and burn plants. If you ever spill swimming pool chlorine on your yard you will see this for yourself. If you do not treat this with gypsum it might be a long time before you have grass. The lower the percent of chlorine in a bag of fertilizer, the better.

Nickel Ni is another element found to be utilized by Plants. However how it is used has not yet been determined. Agronomy is the oldest science known to man yet it is one of the sciences that man knows the least about.


it is one thing to do a off label applications. It is total stupidity to post it on the world wide web and expect people to approve.

You can lead a Donkey to water but you can't make the Jackass Drink

My People Skills are Fine. It is my Idiot Tolerance Skills That needs Work.

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