The Q&A Archives: Using Soil Amendments for Trace Elements

Question: My question involves organic/natural soil amendments that provide the trace elements that some plants show to require. I know and use extensively: composted manure, compost, CA+, Lime, liquid iron, fish emulsion, etc. (not at the same time in one swoop!) Many of my plants appear well but others are yellowing or failing to bloom. They look O.K. but not great but others look very well. I have a feeling I need some trace elements but want them as natural and/or organic as possible! I have veggies, roses (great plant color but stunted growth of flowers and general plant), gardenias (those are ones that really need a boost!), citrus (has fruit but very yellow). I do not want to use chemicals so what suggestions do you have? Thanks in advance! Cecilia Winter Park, FL

Answer: It could be that you need some trace elements, and a soil test will confirm that for you, but I think it has more to do with the AVAILABILITY of those nutrients. The gardenia is a plant that enjoys relatively acid soil, so pH may actually be the problem, as it affects nutrient availability. With the array of wonderful organic amendments you are using, I'd think the trace elements would be abundant. Only a test will tell. Your extension office can provide you with a test kit - call them at 407-323-2500.

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