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soil amendment distinctions

Posted by Fabio Chizzola 
soil amendment distinctions
February 21, 2013 10:53PM
I'm trying to order all my fertilizers from the same company (Fertrell), so I can save some money on shipping, but they have different products then I'm looking for, and they are saying these products are almost the same. If anybody knows the difference, I would really appreciate you comments.

1. I'd like to buy Azomite but they have Redmond Natural Conditioner.
2. I'd like to buy Colloidal Phosphate but they have Bone Char.
3. I'd like to buy Dry Seaweed(StressX), but they have Soluble Kelp Extract, is it as good?

Thank you for your help.

Westwind Orchard
Zone 5b in New York

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2013 01:16AM by Michael Phillips.
Re: soil amendment distinctions
March 04, 2013 12:44AM
The nuance of soil amendments comes down to nutrient balance and availability, the cost, and whether you can get things near rather than far. Purchasing a mix of products from one supplier that can fit on a single pallet and then be shipped by freight carrier is smart. A web search can reveal useful information in distinguishing one product from another if you review several sites to get a composite view. I'll do this for the trace mineral amendment and leave rock phosphate and kelp for other posts.

A to Z of Minerals Including Trace Elements. This complex silica ore was formed when the inland sea, fed by hundreds of rivers rich in minerals, covered a volcanic ash deposit rich in rare and abundant minerals itself. This clay-like amendment mined in Utah has over 66 minerals and trace elements that are important for plant nutrition and growth. It improves depleted soils. Excellent anti-caking agent and offers a large spectrum of trace minerals allowing soils to effectively re-mineralize. See Azomite Minerals.

Redmond Conditioner
Ancient salt deposit mined in Utah which contains over 50 mineral compounds in natural proportion and balance. These trace minerals are colloidal, which means they are in a condition ready for immediate utilization. Applied to soils and plants, and fed to livestock, this natural product replenishes the nutrients necessary to improve health and production. See Redmond Natural Minerals.

I use a 2-4# pounds of Azomite in every tree hole at planting. Beyond that, I dust the occasional layer in building a garden compost pile as well as "fork in" a full bag across orchard compost piles in late summer. I've also treated underperforming trees with 10-15# of Azomite to up the ante of trace minerals. Seems like the Redmond product could be used in much the same way ... noting that one might want to tone down rates to account for the salt nature of this deposit.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: soil amendment distinctions - wood ashes
September 11, 2013 05:25AM
Hello, I'm noting Michael that you've suggested saving wood ashes (hardwood) from the wood stove until spring when the trees can use the inherent nutrients for the greening up.....However, I have been so busy since the snow melted that I failed to get the whole plastic garbage pail of wood ashes into the orchard....
Is there any sense in spreading the ashes at any time this fall? Under trees susceptible to scab?
Or shall I keep them in storage until next spring?

Morninglory Farm
Zone 3b* in Ontario
Re: soil amendment distinctions
September 11, 2013 04:42PM
Robbie, spreading the ashes post leaf fall should do the same number on scab as lime application, and certainly a more sustainable alternative. I also feel the lye-frying capability of the ash will dispatch any living thing on earth, and that means fungal inoculum.

Fabio, the phosphorus is more available an mobile in the soil in the bone char option as opposed to regular bone meal. Since it requires an additional energy input to burn it, you may want to discover what fuel they use for that process if it is important to you. I assume the nitrogen in the bone is toasted away, but for P it or colloidal rock is more immediately useful than say, rock phosphate. Has a soil test or tissue analysis shown you have these deficiencies?

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard
Zone 3 in Vermont
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