Roses forum: Applying organic fertilizer 6" into the soil

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Ptrs
Jun 25, 2016 7:03 AM CST
Would it be beneficial to somehow place dry organic fertilizer (Mills Magic Mix) under the mulch and directly into the soil? Rather than removing mulch applying fertilizer and then remulching.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 25, 2016 8:57 AM CST
Welcome! Ptrs ...

I am going to share my point of view which is not necessarily backed up by science of rules or anything else except my own version of common sense, which may be pure foolishness. Anyone else, please feel free to contradict me.

It would be wonderful to know where you are gardening, but in this case, I don't think it makes much difference.

What you are talking about is, in principle, the concept of a no till gardening. That's where everything is put on top and is allowed to be decomposed by the elements and worked down into the soil to the feeder roots to the plant for its use as time goes on. In nature, that's exactly how its done. No one goes out and pulls back the mulch / duff and puts down the nutrients ... unnamed ... and covers them back up for the plants. In fact, nature is rather inconsistent about providing the "proper" nutrients" for the plants in the garden we value as we look at her work.

Rule of thumb when we apply fertilizers in a no till garden is to water well before application and after applicatin. I like to apply all fertilizers during the growing season with a light hand often because the high summer temps in my climate seems to eat both mulch and fertilizers quickly. The roses seems to be happy and don't know that I haven't bothered to dig it in.

btw ... I have never used Mills Magic Mix. I may be telling you how to use it all wrong, so please use your own judgement and experience, too.

edit ... typo again ..
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
[Last edited by RoseBlush1 - Jun 26, 2016 6:29 PM (+)]
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Name: Andi
Pocono Mountains, PA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap
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GardenQuilts
Jun 25, 2016 9:42 PM CST
Some natural fertilizers draw critters like chipmunks (I have to dissolve and ferment alfalfa if I want my plants to get any nutrition, chipmunks thought I bought them organic snacks at the feed store). Watering well with the application as suggested and moving the mulch helps. The critters don't like cedar or pine mulch. I like RoseTone (I like all the tones for what it is worth). It is very stinky, fishy kind of stinky when wet.

I bought bubble gum at the dollar store for the chipmunks. They are supposed to die constipated. I don't see a decrease in population or any waddling around holding their tummies, so it may not work.

I also apply fertilizer at lower dosages, especially in the hottest weather. I like to try to fertilize before rainy days if possible. A half or quarter dose more often seems to work well for me.

I keep mulch away from the drip line of the roses. If I am really lazy or overheated, I dissolve and pour the fertilizer (typically alfalfa tea) around the unmulched areas around roses and other plants.

Mulches and fertilizer can effect pH, so it is good to test the soil from time to time. My soil is already acidic, so I don't need to add acidic fertilizer like some rose gardeners.
Name: Andi
Pocono Mountains, PA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap
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GardenQuilts
Jun 25, 2016 9:45 PM CST
I just thought of something that may be confusing to a new gardener. You want to be careful not to injure new roots.Watering in fertilizer is gentler than digging around the soil and disturbing the roots. Once the plants are planted, I don't dig around them. I top dress them with nutrients.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jun 25, 2016 10:02 PM CST
Good points, Andi.

I don't use alfalfa or some other organic fertilizers up here in the mountains simply because of the critters they tend to draw to the garden, but I do believe in feeding lightly and often to avoid fertilizer burn. Watering before feeding is the best insurance to avoid injuring delicate feeder roots.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Andi
Pocono Mountains, PA (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap
Image
GardenQuilts
Jul 3, 2016 9:56 AM CST
I saw a broken bag if alfalfa at tractor supply half price and gave it a try. I love it for amending planting holes. I think it won't burn the roots like some fertilizers or even putting medium. I like to add banana weeks, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc.when planting a rose. My grandmother used to add fish heads when planting. Don't have as many fish heads available as my grandmother.... need a live in viking, but can't find one worth the bother.

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