Sunday, May 11, 2014

Nutrient deficiencies

Sunday morning at Helen's, where Ralph makes known his pleasure at lying on grass... very little grass left at my place...

Renay, my excellent new horticultural advisor, lifter of heavy objects and chainsawist (I am still in lots of trouble with shoulders) drew attention to curious leaf colouring/discolouring on my quince tree. I responded that it seemed last year to go through a slow and curious phase of autumn colouring and very slow leaf drop.

But I did, following the instinctive 'no it's not' reaction, wonder if she was right and in the course of searching for information on somethng else came upon this excellent page of information on mineral deficiency.

Worth looking again at the quince leaves, the tree may not be really happy and feeding will help it and small plants at its base. It needs support also because it sits close to the wall at the eastern end of the house, has short day length.
I realised after reflecting on my last blog entry that there may be some general growth problems from my use of lots of mulch around growing plants, to the extent that woody mulch will tend to draw nitrogen from soil. This page has useful discussion of mulch and mentions nitrogen loss. 

For correction of any nitrogen and other deficiency problem I purchased some Dinofert Complete which is easily spread near mulched (and unmulched) plants and watered in, and should provide diverse nutritional benefit. I hope so, it contributes a lively perfume of diverse animal waste kind to the garden that has visitors checking the underside of shoes. Some conventional advisors recommend that fertilisers should be applied in spring, at the time of plant growth, but I am conscious that with the cooler weather coming worms are happier about coming near the surface and can be expected to come for the Dinofort, which will be of increased soil value when digested by worms.

I began looking at nutrition, the search resulting in the RHS link above, para 2, at Helen's place, as she was spreading a mulch of almost entirely petals from a large camellia hanging over her fence. As potassium is so important for flowers and fruit, I wondered if petals therefore would provide lots of potassium. Could not find information on that, There is in any circumstance not a lot of petal out there for use in mulch. The RHS link suggests that wood mulch provides potassium, slowly, which is good as potassium is so soluble in water and easily lost in sandy soils like mine. I still plan foliar application of dilute potassium to bananas, passionfruit, guava and tamarillos. 

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Looking forward to your thoughts, write as much as you wish, ask questions. Comments do not appear until moderated. I will try to do that quickly. Thanks for looking and thinking!!