Daylilies forum: Alfalfa Pellets

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Name: Theresa Maris
Bowling Green,KY (Zone 6b)
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tgarden711
Oct 31, 2013 6:43 PM CST
I have read on here where someone uses alfalfa pellets when planting daylilies. What is the reason for that Confused and where do you get them Confused ? I have not seen them for sale anywhere but then again I have never really shopped for them.
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
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Natalie
Oct 31, 2013 6:57 PM CST
I've used them for years, and buy them at a feed store. They are a good fertilizer, but more than anything, I think they feed the earthworms, which makes the soil way better, in my opinion. When we moved here a few months ago, I found maybe one or two worms in the garden. When I planted all of my daylilies, I put a handful of alfalfa pellets in each hole, and then spread some around each plant. When I later planted more daylilies, I found way more worms. Thumbs up I paid less than $10 for a 50 pound bag of pellets. Make sure you get the ones for horses. I think someone said that they are cleaner than the rabbit pellets, but it may have been some other reason.

They are easy to use, smell good, and the daylilies and earthworms like them!
Natalie
Name: James
South Bend, IN (Zone 5b)
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JWWC
Oct 31, 2013 7:04 PM CST
I use them as well. I've noticed a much better response when transplanting if I add alfalfa to the mix. I pick mine up from Tractor Supply. I think they run $10-12 for a 40 or 50 lb bag. If memory serves there is something specific they add to the soil. A fatty acid the plants want/need or something. I don't have time to go digging or I would try to point you in that direction. If you search the forum I am certain there are other threads on the topic.

And yes, make sure they are horse pellets. The rabbit ones have a load of salts and minerals added to them which can wreak havoc on your soil.
Name: Gerry Donahue
Pleasant Lake, IN (Zone 5b)
Hostas Garden Ideas: Master Level
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profesora
Oct 31, 2013 7:15 PM CST
Alfalfa feeds all kinds of plants that want nitrogen. The only plant that I grow that does not do well with alfalfa is bearded irises. They die.

I first learned about alfalfa when I started growing hostas, and I was told that it feeds hostas up to four years. I was taught to use cubes that are fed to horses.

I fill about 1/3 of a 5 gallon bucket and fill the rest with water, soak it over night. I put about two cups of this mixture at the bottom of the whole and plant the hosta or daylily on top of it. It is very important to water well for the next few days since the alfalfa needs it. If you do not water well, the alfalfa will take the water from the plant. That is ugly!

Alfalfa also speeds the growth rate of hostas and stimulates mutations. Since I am new to daylilies, I do not as yet have any observations.

If a farmer in your area grows it, ask about buying some cuttings.

Happy gardenings,

Gerry




.
[Last edited by profesora - Oct 31, 2013 7:17 PM (+)]
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Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
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Natalie
Oct 31, 2013 7:43 PM CST
Gerry, I've heard lots of people say that they use it around their iris with no problems, and the plants like it. So, I used it around some of mine, and none died. I didn't notice any change in them at all though, so I'm not sure if they liked it, or didn't like it. Not sure that I'll mess with it again, since I saw nothing different about the plants.

I just moved all of my daylilies out of state to my new house, and I'm not sure if the alfalfa helped, but many of them bloomed not long after being replanted. Some had been out of the ground much longer than I would have liked, and they really bounced back well. I'll have to add some to my hosta garden!
Natalie
Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
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gardenglory
Oct 31, 2013 8:05 PM CST
Keep in mind that rats also love alfalfa pellets. Dont leave them in the garage. Whistling
Name: Betty
MN zone 4
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daylilydreams
Oct 31, 2013 8:21 PM CST
Good thing I didn't tell my TB iris about the alfalfa pellets I spread around the garden they didn't miss a beat and bloomed beautiful. Of course it could have something to do with climate. I also put them on shrubs the rabbits chewed way down over winter they grew back very well including one that never did well here. I usually spread the pellets on my daylilies in the spring for a nice boast for them.
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Name: James
South Bend, IN (Zone 5b)
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JWWC
Oct 31, 2013 8:31 PM CST
Do iris do poorly in high nitrogen soils? Perhaps putting the pellets in the ground when planting provides too much for the system to handle as opposed to putting it on top of the soil and having it slowly leech down?
[Last edited by JWWC - Nov 1, 2013 10:15 AM (+)]
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Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
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Natalie
Oct 31, 2013 8:41 PM CST
James, I put them on top of the ground, but not up against the iris. Do you think that is why I didn't have any problems? I have no idea what iris like!

I have a bunny or two in my garden where the daylilies are, and they didn't eat any of the plants. I'm thinking that maybe the alfalfa gave them something to munch on. Not that I noticed any pellets missing, but I threw so many of them in there that I'd never notice if half were missing! Another good thing I've been told is that it won't burn the plants, like regular fertilizer can. I'm always worried about too much fertilizer, so I usually don't fertilize with anything other than alfalfa pellets, and I added seaweed fertilizer this year. Between the two, I had happy daylilies!
Natalie
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
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fiwit
Nov 1, 2013 12:58 AM CST
gardenglory said:Keep in mind that rats also love alfalfa pellets. Dont leave them in the garage. Whistling


Mine live in the garage, but the bag is in a metal trash can. Rats can't get to it. Thumbs up
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
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Name: Michele
Cantonment, FL zone 8b
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tink3472
Nov 1, 2013 4:27 AM CST
Here's a link to "10 Benefits of Using Alfalfa in Your Garden" http://learningandyearning.com/10-benefits-of-using-alfalfa-... (very informational)

I LOVE LOVE LOVE alflalfa and if I could only pick one thing to use on my daylilies it would be alfalfa pellets. Besides the natural growth hormone triacontanol it contains I have a bazillion nodding gigantic earthworms in my beds; I can't dig an inch without finding worms. Of course the worm castings left behind are a great fertilizer in itself.

We have seen better branching on daylilies here and these are daylilies that are registered with less branching than we've seen plus we have higher bud count on those also. I believe it helps with plant increase as well. I have a bed that I do nothing to other than my amendments (lots of alfalfa plus a few other things) and foliar fertilize every couple of weeks and even when I cut a clump in half to give our club it seems that in a few months you can't even tell I cut it in half because it has clumped up again. I have club members that have started using alfalfa pellets and they have seen a big difference in their plants like growth, branching , and vigor.


Tractor Supply is where we buy ours now instead of the feed store we were getting it at. Tractor supply has a 40lb bag at a good price (Standlee brand) and it is sun cured and not heat cured in machines like some brands and this means it keeps nutrients and isn't cooked out. We were paying almost $20 for a 50lb bag at the feed store and it seemed to always be moldy and old looking. I know the plants probably don't care if the pellets are moldy but if I were feeding animals I wouldn't want it. The Standlee brand from Tractor Supply looks fresh and green every time and cost around $13 for 40lb here; I know some areas are as low as $10

If you don't have a Tractor Supply near you the Standlee website has a dealer locator to see if it is sold near you http://standleeforage.com/dealer-locator or you can go on the tractor supply website and input your area code after pulling up the alfalfa pellets to see if there are stores near you.
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Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Nov 1, 2013 6:35 AM CST
I use alfalfa pellets around my iris all the time and really think they encourage good growth. Also around hosta and roses. I use the rabbit pellets which I can buy here with no additives. They breakdown more quickly and can be worked into the soil. Many people I know use them and they have been discussed on the iris forum.
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Name: Theresa Maris
Bowling Green,KY (Zone 6b)
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tgarden711
Nov 1, 2013 6:36 AM CST
Thanks all of you! I tip my hat to you. I had no idea. We do have a Tractor Supply here and I think I will get some alfalfa pellets when spring comes. Our soil here is sadly lacking in everything, red clay, compacted, hardly any earthworms, PH is about 6.2 to 6.5 I need to amend it a lot. My daylilies are doing okay but I am looking for ways to make them happier.
Name: Corey
Chicago (Zone 6a)
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Ispahan
Nov 1, 2013 7:58 AM CST
I first started using alfalfa as a organic supplement for roses, but I long ago discovered that almost everything loves it. Living in Chicago, I don't have access to a Tractor Supply and often don't feel like driving far away from the city to find one, but I am lucky to have a local feed store (catering to chicken and beekeeping supplies since both are incredibly popular around these parts) that will special order alfalfa meal and alfalfa pellets whenever I need them. I don't remember the brand, but I get 50 lb bags of pure alfalfa with no additives.

Unless I am digging a new bed, I just top dress with alfalfa and then water it in well. I don't have any problems with critters eating it or being attracted by it (knock on wood). Aside from its nutritional content, I find one of the main benefits is that it attracts and encourages earthworms. Even if spread over compacted soil, there will soon be enough earthworms to loosen it nicely and they will leave castings to help the plants thrive.

I don't have many mature clumps of day lilies yet, but my huge Hemerocallis citrina Yao Ming (a form sold by Plant Delights) had scapes over 5 feet tall this summer and stayed in bloom for over two months. I only use alfalfa and very occasional doses of Neptune's harvest fish and seaweed fertilizer on all of my garden plants.
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
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fiwit
Nov 1, 2013 9:39 AM CST
tgarden711 said:Thanks all of you! I tip my hat to you. I had no idea. We do have a Tractor Supply here and I think I will get some alfalfa pellets when spring comes. Our soil here is sadly lacking in everything, red clay, compacted, hardly any earthworms, PH is about 6.2 to 6.5 I need to amend it a lot. My daylilies are doing okay but I am looking for ways to make them happier.


No need to wait for spring. Get some now, sprinkle it on top the soil, and let the winter work it in for you
Northwest Georgia Daylily Society
I'm going to retire and live off of my savings. Not sure what I'll do that second week.
My yard marches to the beat of a bohemian drummer...
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
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Natalie
Nov 1, 2013 9:41 AM CST
Michele, thanks to the link to that great article! Makes me even more convinced that it's a great thing to use!

I also use the Standlee brand of alfalfa pellets, which I'm able to get locally from the feed store. The neighboring town only has 3,100 people in it, so I think if I'm able to find that brand here, almost anyone can find it!
Natalie
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
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Natalie
Nov 1, 2013 9:43 AM CST
I agree Mary! This is a great time to add some, and then again in the Spring!
Natalie
Name: Betty
MN zone 4
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daylilydreams
Nov 1, 2013 10:10 AM CST
Thanks for the link Michele very informative. I am not sure what brand I buy but it is very fresh and clean, get it at a nearby hardware/farm supply store. I also ageer that adding in fall and spring or either one works fine.
If you want to be happy for a lifetime plant a garden!
Faith is the postage stamp on our prayers!
Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

Name: Michele
Cantonment, FL zone 8b
Seller of Garden Stuff Region: United States of America Pollen collector Dragonflies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Florida
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tink3472
Nov 1, 2013 10:53 AM CST
I usually put alfalfa down at least 3 times a year, 4 if I'm not behind and forget. There's a holiday schedule that some use but I can't remember how it goes. Since most of my beds are redone each fall I add alfalfa pellets to the beds and till in (November). It's usually a couple to a few weeks before I get to plant everything back in the beds and I will add a handful to the planting holes, backfill a little with soil, add a little more alfalfa around the plant, finish filling in and then I will go back once the bed is complete and pour alfalfa in between the rows of daylilies.
Then in February I will pour more in between the rows of plants to give them a boost since we should have blooms beginning in March (April if the weather is cooler) and then again in May I will add more to the beds. If I have time and don't forget I will add more in late August.
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Name: Gerry Donahue
Pleasant Lake, IN (Zone 5b)
Hostas Garden Ideas: Master Level
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profesora
Nov 1, 2013 5:44 PM CST
I do not use pellets because they cost more. I use cubes the way I described with newly planted hostas. Later in three years, I do a deep side dressing or transplant and follow the method for newly planted ones.

I have been doing it this way since 1994, and my hostas are gorgeous from later May until late September. My shade gardens have more than 300 hosta cultivars, and more than 2,000 plants. I sell 300+ potted hostas from late May through late June to people who stop by.

Using the same method on bearded irises causes rot because of the high nitrogen content. Even good rich soil here rots irises. Manure and compost cause the same problem here.

Here irises must also have dry feet all the time. I use bonemeal when I plant them and later when I replant.

Pellets on the ground atract animals and there are many where I live. I am not a city dueler. I live lake front of a small, 16 acre, glacier lake with only three houses on the lake shore.

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