Peonies forum: Azomite in the Fall

Page 1 of 3 • 1 2 3
Views: 2334, Replies: 50 » Jump to the end
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Oct 29, 2016 10:12 PM CST
Worked on cleaning up my established beds today. We had a freeze a few weeks ago, dahlias were the last thing blooming but didn't survive the cold snap so EVERYTHING is brown and ugly now. Decided that I'd cut back peonies and get rid of as much dry, dead stuff as possible and fertilize! Did probably half of my beds and went through a 44 lb (almost, probably a pound or 2 left) bag of Azomite! Wasn't doing just peonies though, added it around the daylilies, roses and even several trees. THEN I came inside and read an article written by Don Hollingsworth on Facebook that says it's useless to put minerals down in the fall--that they should be only applied in the spring for best effect! Recommended an organic fertilizer both spring and fall, though. So what do you all think? I know several of you use Azomite--do you use it both fall and spring and do you think both have equal impact? I know I won't skip a spring application again, did this year and noticed a significant difference in stem resilience and strength (and not a good difference!). Ordered another bag, won't be in until Wednesday, debating on whether I want to finish out all of the beds with it or just use BulbTone and save the Azomite for spring....
LizB
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
Bulbs Region: Canadian Garden Ideas: Master Level Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
CarolineScott
Oct 30, 2016 8:06 AM CST
I think that winter rains and snow take the nutrients down to the roots.
I don't use Azomite because it is so expensive, and has other stuff such as Strontium in it. I use dolomitic lime and ordinary chalk.
But I think whatever is used should be both fall and spring so it gets down to roots.
Also some soluble powdered or granular fertilizer too for other nutrients.
[Last edited by CarolineScott - Oct 30, 2016 8:16 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1308923 (2)
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
kousa
Oct 30, 2016 8:42 AM CST
Maybe you can do an experiment, Liz. Have some peonies applied with azomite in fall and some peonies applied with it in spring and then compare the results. And then have a control group with no azomite at all to see if the group performs the same or worse. Cricket Hill Garden recommends applying azomite in fall along with other stuffs like lime, greensand, and wood ash. I am out of azomite so I can't do much at this time. But in the future, I will only apply azomite to tree peonies.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Oct 30, 2016 9:50 AM CST
Caroline?? Strontium??? REALLY!! I bought the 44# bag also and kept 10# for me and gave the rest to the botanical garden. They are really touchy about non-organic stuff (have to look up strontium - I associate it with bombs) Crying

I also spread mine in fall. Buying it locally in 5# boxes is way expensive so it is worth paying the freight (and transshipping in Portland, OR) and buy a big bag. I was surprised that it was powdered (guess it pays to read more carefully) as I was used to the granular stuff. Seems like that would last longer breaking down. And I also put it on other things after all the peonies were seen to.

Liz, how much per peony did you apply?
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
Image
Oldgardenrose
Oct 30, 2016 9:59 AM CST
I have a tendency to agree with Caroline but with no scientific proof. Most fertilizers require time to breakdown into nutrients the plants can use. Nutrients do leach down into the soil as the rains soak the soil. I think it is more important to stay away from the crown area and force the roots to seek the farther out nutrients since they do not grow any more than necessary. Compost and other organic fertilizers are already broken down to feed the plants so that would be a different story. For me, MG bloom booster with some additional epsom salt has proven to be ideal for all flowering plants. At $5 per pound though, it would be expensive on a large scale. It is the trace minerals which do the most good with plants.
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
crawgarden
Oct 30, 2016 10:29 AM CST
Just curious have there been any independent university studies on these type of fertilizers or supplements. Thanks
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
Image
Pistil
Oct 30, 2016 10:39 AM CST
Hi Liz.
I will chime in here with my thoughts. This is probably not at all useless or a waste. Azomite is just old volcanic ash that has been dug up and put in a bag. The idea is that it has a lot of different minerals in it, possibly your soil is depleted in one or more so it may be quite helpful. Soils do hold minerals, they are absorbed onto the clay particles, and the organic humus component and can be thus "saved" for later uptake by the plants. It is true that things wash through soils and are lost (this is why lawn fertilizer ends up causing algae blooms in nearby lakes) but this might not happen to you for two reasons:
1- It will freeze hard in Colorado very soon, so nothing there is leaching out (scientific term for being washed through the soil) because it is a solid block of ice.
2- Much of Colorado is very dry. I just logged into Weather Underground, it looks like you only get about 10" of precipitation a year. Hollingsworth Peonies is in Missouri where it rains a lot more (87" which is almost ten times what you get!). Colorado tends to have soils where stuff is not leached through, and Missouri has soils that developed in a leached situation. This is why lots of Colorado (and the American West) can grow such great crops when irrigated- the nutrients have built up in the top layers of soil so they are very fertile. The limiting thing has been water.
The end result of this is different farming/gardening situations are just that- different. Your technique may be great in your garden, and not a waste at all. At Hollingsworth Peonies he may have found fall application to be a waste of $, because of the high rainfall there.

As to the concern about toxic elements in the Azomite, that I am not sure of. There are measurable amounts of all kinds of elements in Azomite, like all volcanic material, I just do not know if this is a problem. Strontium is in all soils, not just volcanic soils. Certainly volcanic soils are used everywhere for agriculture. I guess I would have to do a careful web search about this, to see if any real research has been done to see if toxic amounts of Strontium or other metals could build up with regular use of Azomite. It can happen. For decades cotton fields in the south were treated with large amounts of arsenic to kill insects. Now those fields have been converted to rice paddies, and there really can be toxic levels of arsenic in the rice. The arsenic was held in the soil, and is easily released in a flooded rice paddy, to be taken up by the plants (take home point-eat California rice they never grew cotton there). But that was massive amounts of arsenic, spread on the fields for decades. A little bag of prehistoric volcanic ash seems like a trivial thing, in comparison.
Thumb of 2016-10-30/Pistil/f93721

Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
Image
Pistil
Oct 30, 2016 10:40 AM CST
Hi crawgarden-We cross-posted. I am heading off to work now, might look for this info in a few days, now I am curious!
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Oct 30, 2016 10:41 AM CST
Mary Stella, I used around 1/4-1/2 cup per plant for peonies, roses and daylilies and between 1/2 to 1 cup for the larger trees.

I can see why having Strontium as an ingredient would be a concern as it's most commonly associated with nuclear detonations and radioactivity. It is also a naturally occurring non-radioactive element that is a part of every human's bones and is used in treating osteoarthritis and is thought to possibly be a treatment to boost formation of collagen and cartilage in joints. No, I didn't know that before I looked it up a few minutes ago....!!!!

A lot of Azomite chemical testing was done here in CO so we hear a lot about it in local forums. Nothing that I've read or heard has made me have any concerns about health risks to me or to my plants (who knows what'll be publicized tomorrow though, right?) but I'm certainly open to other, more simple and less expensive means to get the same result.

Karen, I agree a test would be great! Unfortunately I've already treated my oldest beds and don't think I have any peonies that I can divide and do comparisons on. I do have a long but narrow raised bed that I could segregate plants in...maybe I'll try it with divided daylily instead of a peony. How far apart do you think they'd have to be to keep the non-treated plant from being contaminated by the other 2? Since the bed is raised I could probably put the divisions in large pots and sink them into the soil 2-3' apart, do you think that would work?
LizB
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Oct 30, 2016 10:44 AM CST
Pistil, we cross-posted as well! Very interested in any info you're able to find!

LizB
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
kousa
Oct 30, 2016 11:45 AM CST
That is great info, Mary(pistil)! Thank you! I think it is best that people garden according to what is available to them locally. If Azomite is not readily available in your area, I don't think it is a big loss to the peonies if you do not apply it. If you regularly apply compost and other organic materials to the plants with adequate watering, I think they will be pretty happy. An annual fertilizer application would certainly be helpful. This is esp true with a once blooming perennial like peonies. Though with roses, I think they definitely need at least two fertilizer applications a year for the roses to bloom well. Roses seem to me require alot of food to bloom continuously throughout the growing season.

Liz, I really can't tell you how far they have to be spaced so that the control group doesn't get some benefits from the azomite. Perhaps, if you place the control group on the higher end of the sloped bed so the azomite can't leach up? Sorry, can't offer you much help here.
[Last edited by kousa - Oct 30, 2016 8:19 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1309074 (11)
Name: Jerry
Salem, IL
Charter ATP Member
Image
Oldgardenrose
Oct 30, 2016 7:22 PM CST
I use Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster which has the basic NKP of 15-30-15 plus trace amounts of Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, and Zinc. Also, I add about two heaping tablespoons of Epsom Salt.

Sta-Green has a granular lawn fertilizer with NKP of 18-24-6 plus trace amounts of Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, and Zinc. It is much cheaper than MG but is not water soluble for sprayers. I use both at different times of the year. The granular type is better for fall applications. Many people recommend the straight 12-12-12 or other various ratios but they do not feed as well as ones with trace elements.

The important parts of both fertilizers are the trace elements. All plants need them for best growth and they can be depleted over time. I think that is a major reason why peonies and iris should not be replanted in the same soil unless it has rested for a couple of years. But, again, different areas have completely different soils and nutrients so there is no one best way to garden.
Name: Annette
Duluth, Ga (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Roses Birds Tropicals Hummingbirder Bulbs
Region: Georgia Lilies Irises Peonies Clematis Plumerias
Image
Cem9165
Oct 30, 2016 8:47 PM CST
Hi Liz,

I use Azomite with bulb food in the fall and the spring. I have noted that my newer peonies have bloomed sooner, than my older peonies that had not been given Azomite. The pips on my peonies continue to increase in size during the winter, due to our mild weather here.

Presently, I have many plants that still have green leaves, and others that are going dormant. I spent some time clipping the dormant plants back today. I'll start the fertilizing process in the next few weeks, when our weather gets cooler.
"Aspire to inspire before you expire"

author unknown
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Oct 30, 2016 9:44 PM CST
Hi Annette. I used Azomite with bulb food in the spring and fall 2 years ago and I was very happy with the size and amount of blooms. Used both that fall as well but ran out of Azomite before I did the spring application, used bulb food only. I had a lot more stem failures on plants that did well the year before. I absolutely plan to use both again this spring, just wasn't sure if it was really necessary in the fall.

Most of my peonies are dormant, more from lack of water than from cold weather, though. I filled 1 1/2 50 gallon yard bags with peony and daylily foliage as well as some late weeds yesterday. I'll work on it a bit more tomorrow but only have enough Azomite for a few plants, more coming in Tuesday. Hopefully I'll finish winterizing next weekend, ready for gardening to be DONE for a few months! Took a break from gardening to put up a few Halloween decorations, hopefully we'll have some trick or treaters tomorrow eve. Out where we are there aren't a lot of families and most of those take their kids in to some of the bigger neighborhoods....
LizB
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Oct 31, 2016 10:19 AM CST
I dug up a bunch of iris this fall and broke them up. They were blooming okay but had formed huge woody centers. I have a bed of daylilies with an iris in the middle that might benefit from splitting as the bloom count is dropping every year. Course I am terrible about fertilizing. Might be the problem. Hilarious!

It will be interesting to see how the two beds I totally dug up, rototilled (poor worms), mulched, then rototilled, and replanted. Added a number of new plants plus some from the back yard like columbine. Hoping for a different more varied look.

With our warmed up weather also hoping it washes some of the azomite down to the root areas before we freeze up again.

I seem to recall that strontium 90 is what is used to get ages on bones and such. Half-life and all that. Not a scientist, just read a lot most of which seems to fall out the other side. Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Oct 31, 2016 10:45 AM CST
I missed dividing my irises this fall, kept thinking it was going to turn really cold soon and didn't want to take the chance. I need to get it done next year, some are really getting crowded and others I just want to divide so they'll spread. Hope you get exactly the look you're wanting, Mary!

So I did find a peony to divide and experiment on. Found a NOID languishing behind a huge agastache, ready to be overtaken and consumed within the next couple of years! Dug it up, luckily it was a smaller rooted one because the soil back there is like ROCK. Even though the roots were fairly small it had probably 15 stems last year and a lot of eyes, was able to divide it into 4 pieces with 8-10 eyes each. Planted the 4 pieces in a raised bed that I created for tomatoes that has been empty of everything except weeds for the last few years. Put nothing on the piece to the far left, next one will be my fall only application, 3rd will be fall/spring and last will be spring only. 3rd and 4th are at least 5' apart so I'm hoping the last one will remain Azomite free until I deliberately apply it next spring. Was going to take pics but I ran out of Azomite before I cut back the daylilies in front of that bed, looks a mess right now. Besides there's really nothing to see at this point, just 4 watered, relatively weed free spots! I did apply BulbTone to all of them. Did all fertilizing on top rather than in the planting hole, wanted to be able to keep fall and spring application methods the same and to simulate application as it would be on established peonies. Anyway, hopefully my method was controlled enough so that we can tell if there is going to be any difference in growth and flowering.
LizB
Name: Karen
Southeast PA (Zone 6b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
kousa
Oct 31, 2016 10:58 AM CST
Please share your results Liz. It would be really interesting to find out if Azomite makes a huge difference.
Name: Liz Best
Elizabeth Colorado (Zone 4b)
Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Region: Colorado Plant and/or Seed Trader Irises
Hummingbirder Cat Lover Lilies Daylilies Dog Lover Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
LizinElizabeth
Oct 31, 2016 3:32 PM CST
I will, Karen. I do honestly believe it makes a big difference in the spring. I always have damage due to the late, big snows that we have. There are some varieties that I'll probably never be successful with no matter how much I baby them, especially early herbaceous. There were several though that made it through surprisingly well 2 springs ago that failed last spring. I applied Azomite 2 springs ago, skipped it this year. I'm sure there were other factors as well but I'm enough of a believer now that I'll never skip that spring application again, not here in CO anyway!
LizB
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Oberon46
Oct 31, 2016 3:34 PM CST
After all this talk of azomite and fertilizing I realized that it wasn't too late to put a bulb fert on the peonies. The snow has almost all melted away. Bought enough for all peonies. Going out today to spread it.

so how much of the bulb fertilizer??
Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
Image
Pistil
Nov 5, 2016 1:10 PM CST
OK I just spent a bit of time on the web, looking up Strontium (chemical symbol Sr). Here is what I found:

Strontium is a natural mineral (a metal), present in all soils and water. The natural type is not radioactive. Radioactive Strontium is produced by nuclear bombs and nuclear plants, it has a half-life of 29 years, and can be a serious problem. It has been found contaminating soils/water from Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor Meltdown, Fukushima Meltdown, even "normal" activity of nuclear reactors have contaminated nearby soils (Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant), and it is of course found near the troubled Hanford Nuclear Reservation in my own Washington State. We do not have to worry about the radioactive type in Azomite.

There is a huge variability in natural levels of Sr in soils and water. There used to be Sr mines in TX and CA, but nobody mines it in the U.S. anymore, We use a lot of it in our TV screens, to absorb and REDUCE radioactivity.

The lowest levels in our water are found in the Pacific Northwest, Northeast, and Gulf Coast (leached soils in areas of high rainfall), with the highest levels in North and West TX, and southern AZ an New Mexico (arid enviornments where there is little leaching). There are increased amounts of Strontium in soils near coal and oil burning power plants. This is not radioactive either. There are a lot of metals and other toxic elements produced by burning coal and oil, this causes pollution we worried a lot about, long before we worried about global warming, and there has been a lot of technology to try and reduce these toxic emissions, partly successful.

There are no harmful effects of stable Sr in humans at levels typical in the environment. If you ate the stuff (maybe kids who lived and played by the mines) it will cause rickets and even death.

Back to Azomite. It is ground up volcanic rock from Utah. It has been tested, and has , on average, about 380 ppm Sr (that is parts per million, which is approximately mg/kg). Worldwide, average Sr in soils is about 240 mg/kg. Some are much much much higher than this, and we eat food grown on these fertile soils.

My decision- I am not going to worry about causing Strontium toxicity by spreading a bag of Azomite in my garden.

Page 1 of 3 • 1 2 3

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Peonies forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by Marilyn and is called "Tulips"