Fertilizer TDS Nutrition and Watering

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gonewild

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Candace said:
Thanks for the explanation, Lance. By the looks of it, I've been underutilizing my fertilizers. If I like what I'm getting now, I'm hopeful I'll see even more growth and blooms if I up it a little. :drool: I'm going to increase it slowly and see what, if any results I see. And I'm going to use my MSU more regularly so I won't have to worry about any ph mishaps.

Using the MSU formula always will assure you are keeping the correct nutrient balance which is really very important. It really is a well formulated recipe. FYI... I use about 2/3 tbs per gallon.
 

gonewild

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Heather said:
Interesting...I need to measure my water again sometime soon and analyze all of this again, but it makes no difference now, might as well wait until the plants are moved to their new home.

You should measure it now and figure out and understand what you have been doing. That way when you start over at the new place you will know what you actually were doing in the past. You need to know and remember what you have done so you can better decide what to do.
Why waste all that knowledge?
 

NYEric

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gonewild said:
You should measure it now and figure out and understand what you have been doing. That way when you start over at the new place you will know what you actually were doing in the past. You need to know and remember what you have done so you can better decide what to do.
Why waste all that knowledge?
Correct. I am keeping track of one tray that I fertilize the old way and the new MSU weekly.
 
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IdahoOrchid

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gonewild said:
I use about 2/3 tbs per gallon.
And you ALWAYS water with the fertilizer? (what my mother in law calls "orchid water") Never a clear water flush on your media?
 

dave b

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Definitely follow the specific dosage recommended for each fertilizer, as they are not all the same. For example...Scotts website posts some data concerning the popular Peter's 20-20-20. 1 level teaspoon per gallon results in a concentration of approx 240ppm N (nitrogen). A good amount. Whereas, 1 tablespoon per gallon = 720 ppm N (way too high).

Also remember that different ions (N, P, K, Cu, Fe, Mg..etc.) in solution have different conductivities from each other. They dont all conduct the same. The 'metal' salts have higher conductivities, and would greatly affect the total tds / ppm reading of a fertilizer solution.
 
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IdahoOrchid

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I have read that one should avoid the use of ammonium nitrate (no3) as a source of nitrogen. The person discussed as the source of the information is Xavier Garreu de Loubresse. I don't know who he is. Apparently there are detrimental affects that are possible.

What are your thoughts on this?
 

dave b

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From an environmental standpoint, nitrates (NO3) can be easilly washed away from yards, golf courses, and farm fields. It ends up in our rivers, and ground water supplies which is not good. It can contribute to unnattural algae blooms, and even build to toxic levels killing fish and other organisms. Most fertilizers provide N in 3 ways. Ammonium (NH4)...its safer, because it cant wash away easier in soils, it is also converted to NO3 (second method) by bacteria. And third, urea. Some research suggests that urea bound N is not available unless in soils where beneficial bacteria / fungi can break it down to usable sources. many orchid fertilizers will state that they dont use urea based N because of this. Our orchid medias dont harbor the necessary microorganisms.

Whether i answered your question, is another story.
 

gonewild

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NYEric said:
Is that the recommended rate of application?:poke:

Actually I think it is a little less than the "recommended" rate. I started with a lower rate and worked up to this with the besseae hybrids. I think it is a safe amount and I also think it is enough. If you have light and temperature that promotes fast growth you could easily use a little more. If you have darker cooler conditions you might want to reduce it a little.

There really is not a known "best" rate for phrags. The MSU formula was found to be ideal for orchids in general at a rate of about 125 ppm of nitrogen as a constant feed.

It works well for us.
 

gonewild

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IdahoOrchid said:
And you ALWAYS water with the fertilizer? (what my mother in law calls "orchid water") Never a clear water flush on your media?

Yes. But I'm not suggesting you shouldn't occasionally water with clear water. If you are applying enough fertilizer water to keep excess salts from accumulating there is no need to use clear water. The idea is to always have the nutrients available for the plants. If you water with clear water then soon after water them with fertilizer water (same day, next day, no big deal).

Flushing with fertilizer water will flush away the salts just as well as clear water so why confuse the issue.
 

gonewild

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Heather said:
Don't forget, Lance waters a bit differently from the rest of most of us. Misting several times a day, right? Would you call that foliar feeding, Lance? Or am I mixing my metaphors here?

Yes, I guess I am a bit different! We apply fertilizer water fairly heavy in the morning, then again lightly after lunch. The fertilizer water is applied with a overhead spray. Depending on the humidity and temperature we also mist with a very fine mist nozzle several times per day, but this mist is clear RO water.

And yes, this is foliar feeding as well as root irrigation. Plants can intake a tremendous amount of nutrients through their foliage. It really gives a plant a source of nutrients easy to intake. It is especially good for small seedlings that don't have a lot of active roots yet (out of flask). It is also good for older plants that may be having root problems. AND for those stubborn plants that don't want to grow very many roots.
 

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Candace said:
Watering at least twice a day must be a real PITA, if he does it by hand.

Ah Ha! It could be a PITA but not if you enjoy watching the plants grow!

Actually I am very fortunate, my wife loves to water the seedlings and does most of it. OK all of it. :clap:

If the watering was automated they would get watered even more times per day!
 

gonewild

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dave b said:
Also remember that different ions (N, P, K, Cu, Fe, Mg..etc.) in solution have different conductivities from each other. They dont all conduct the same. The 'metal' salts have higher conductivities, and would greatly affect the total tds / ppm reading of a fertilizer solution.

That is correct and this factor has been taken into consideration with the ppm amounts I suggest.
 

gonewild

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IdahoOrchid said:
I have read that one should avoid the use of ammonium nitrate (no3) as a source of nitrogen. The person discussed as the source of the information is Xavier Garreu de Loubresse. I don't know who he is. Apparently there are detrimental affects that are possible.

What are your thoughts on this?

I've never had problems with Ammonium nitrate, when applied correctly, but I prefer Calcium nitrate and Potassium nitrate as sources for nitrogen on delicate potted plants.

Sometimes you might want to limit the potassium or calcium in your nutrient solution and Ammonium nitrate is really the other good source.

Do you know what were the specific problems he had?
 

gonewild

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dave b said:
From an environmental standpoint, nitrates (NO3) can be easilly washed away from yards, golf courses, and farm fields. It ends up in our rivers, and ground water supplies which is not good. It can contribute to unnattural algae blooms, and even build to toxic levels killing fish and other organisms. Most fertilizers provide N in 3 ways. Ammonium (NH4)...its safer, because it cant wash away easier in soils, it is also converted to NO3 (second method) by bacteria. And third, urea. Some research suggests that urea bound N is not available unless in soils where beneficial bacteria / fungi can break it down to usable sources. many orchid fertilizers will state that they dont use urea based N because of this. Our orchid medias dont harbor the necessary microorganisms.

Whether i answered your question, is another story.

I would avoid fertilizers that contain Urea for use on orchids. Urea is the cheapest source of nitrogen. The only reason to use it in a fertilizer blend is because it is cheap. When you see it on the content label that should be a signal that the manufacturer may not use the best ingredients. Choose another brand.
 
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