Kelp / Seaweed Additives

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Ray

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After learning that Rick is using a seaweed supplement, I socked away my concerns about the "snake oil" potential and started to look around. There are lots of "tidbits" of info in various threads here, but no "centralized resource" thread, so if nobody objects, i'd like to start one.

The general agreement is cold processing is preferred, to avoid breaking down the naturally-occurring auxins and cytokinins.

Interestingly enough, kelps harvested from the northern hemisphere seem to yield more cytokinins than auxins, while the reverse it true from some southern hemisphere genera. That raises the question "which do we want?".

I think the answer truly is "both", as - if I am to believe a Wikipedia post (iffy) - plant cells exposed to auxins or auxins and cytokinins combined displayed growth effects, but those exposed to cytokinins only did not. I read elsewhere that the cytokinins tend to be active primarily in the "body" of the plant, where they have a significant effect on the apical meristem, whereas auxins work throughout the structure, including roots, which would explain why the "rooting hormone" products on the market primarily contain auxins.

Based on those factors, I would tend to favor a seaweed product heavy in auxins, since they stimulate root growth and roots generate their own cytokinins as they do.

Thoughts?
 

eggshells

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How do you use this seaweed kelp extract thing. Do you mix this with normal fertilizer or is it just a supplemental nutrition for your regular feeding program. Another thing is this allowed in Canada? I take it its an organic fertilizer?
 

mormodes

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My only comments would be anectdotal. I've been adding a seaweed product to msu fertilizer. But I have no science to back up why the plants seem to do better. Doesn't the much maligned Superthrive have some trace amount of plant hormone in it? In addition to vitamin B1.
 

Ray

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Yes, it is used as an additive, as they tend to be loaded with the hormones, enzymes and trace elements, but are weak in the basic mineral ions.

Yeah, SuperThrive, Hormex, K-L-N and others all contain auxins and B1, and they DO work. I think the problem is that folks buy old stuff or store it wrong, resulting in active ingredients that are no longer active.

Kept in a refrigerator, most fresh batches are good for about a year. At room temperature, maybe 6 months, and if allowed to get warm (picture on a shelf in a greenhouse in summer) or if exposed to sunlight, much less.
 
M

Mrs. Paph

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Thanks for the storage tip Ray - I assumed K-L-N should be refrigerated, since tissue culture stocks of hormones are, but can't remember if the bottle stated that that was necessary or not. Also reminds me, planted a bunch of roses this fall and used far more than I ever have needed for the orchids, so time to order more soon lol
As for the kelp, I know it's not uncommon as an organic fertilizer/additive, but hadn't really looked into it from a plant perspective. My Samoyed dog gets a little bit of dried Kelp in his diet as a trace mineral supplement - as you said, not much if any of the major minerals, but trace amounts of a number of other things that can be lacking in cultivated soils, and therefor on up the food chain as well. I doubt dogs as carnivores would get anything out of plant hormones, if they're even preserved in a dried down state, but I'll be watching this thread for possible plant applications of products meant for that :p
 

Ray

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I spoke to the importer of Kelpak, which is one of the mostly-auxin brands out of western South Africa, and he sells a bunch to pecan growers, and uses it himself on his vinyard.
 
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mormodes

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I use Max Sea or something like that. Its a brown liquid. Whether its the same as the MaxSea dry fertilizer I have no idea. But as with any dry fertilizer why pay for water?

As far as I know these 'natural' products uptake via the roots (of course) but also via the guard cells of leaf stomata. I have never been one for foliar feeding. I just toss that out to see if anyone else has input.
 
K

keithrs

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The two major species of kelp used are Ascophyllum nodosum(Norwegian) and Macrocystis Integrifolia(British Columbia). Most of your kelp extracts are going to be Norwegian kelp. A few companies like to use B.C. kelp because it has more growth hormones in it(claim to anyway). I can't back up there claims. All I have used has been Norwegian kelp. I have noticed that you get what you pay for, pretty much.

I hear that fulvic acid and yucca are excellent to mix in when you apply kelp. Maybe alittle Urea cut in half or Cal Nitrate when you do foliar spray!
 
K

keithrs

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I have not seen or heard of Ecklonia maxima used or sold in any nutrient line yet.
 

Lanmark

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Thoughts?

"Sometimes you get out on the sea and in the middle of the night, you can't see your hand in front of your face. There's a way to navigate, though, by the stars. I never learned.

But I always loved the sea, and stuff about the sea: sea horses, sea shells, C minuses ... stuff about the sea."
- Bette Midler :wink:

I've had concerns about the "snake oil" potential of seaweed supplements as well. I'm starting to think, however, that there may be something useful in using such a product, even if it's only for the nutritional elements therein. Thanks for sharing that bit of information about the differences between kelps harvested in the northern and southern hemispheres. It's most interesting indeed!

I think the refrigerated storage of any such product is a very good idea too. I'm quite tempted to try some of this stuff on some of my Neos just to see what happens. Maybe it will just make a big smelly ol' mess, but then again, maybe the plants will love it.

Recently I repotted several prized African Violets into a blend of perliite and FoxFarm's Ocean Forest® Potting Soil and was rewarded with a billowing white "forest" of remarkably resilient mold. :eek:
 

Rick

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A friend of mine who is an AOS Judge, master Phale grower, and goes back and forth to Taiwan, says this is the primary supplement in Taiwan for those monster phals they produce in those industrial orchid warehouses over there.

I also saw a reference to its use in an interview with one of the major Taiwanese phal growers in Orchids Magazine. This is what prompted me to use it in the first place.

Used in conjunction with a fertilizer is another area altogether. As noted besides the auxins and cytokinins, there are all kinds of organic acids in these extracts which help in the transport of metals (like K, Na, Ca, Mg, and our favourite trace metals) into the plants.

Yes I keep mine in the fridge (as per bottle reccomendations).
 

Stone

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I think we need to not get too carried away with too many different types of
nutrients, concoctions, magical lotions and potions. I wonder if anyone has done a scientific trial on the real needs of low-nutrient requireing paphs.
If so, would there be a great difference in the end? Things like temperature,
light and water have hugely profound influence. Nutrients always come last
on the list.
Having said all that, when we do get the environment right, we need to do
something while we wait for the plants to grow so we experiment with whatever we can find. I bet I'm #1 experimenter.
I have gone to the trouble of making my own ''Japanese'' fertilizer by combining bone meal and soybean, letting it harden and ferment, disolving
it in water, letting it ferment and age like a fine wine again, straining, diluting and useing.
Making leafmold tea in the hope that the slippers will apreciate nutrients in the form they have evolved with, while introducing the right sort of bacteria to support the rhizosphear.
Making a ''special'' compost in the backyard for worms to eat and using their
castings as a base for liquid feeds.
I have even started the process of growing my own osmunda!
And seaweed--It has been shown to stimulate growth with its various hormones. I've seen trees on the brink of death recover almost overnight
after a strong dose of seaweed, but give it to normal plants at the peak of
health and It's hard to notice a real difference.
How do we really know if better growth in a plant is the result of one thing and not another? Maybe if we're growing a few plants under lights on a window sill we could spot little changes. But with hundreds of orchids in a large greenhouse, it took me a year to notice the difference of adding one extra fan.
Seaweed? Yes:)
 

Ray

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I have not seen or heard of Ecklonia maxima used or sold in any nutrient line yet.

Kelpak is.

I got a sample - 2.5 gallons! - and was advised to start at a 400:1 dilution, and never apply it more than every 14 days, as more often may over-stimulate the plant. Menopausal hormone rage in plants?

Oh yeah, it is said to be stable for "at least two years" at room temperature.
 

Lanmark

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Kelpak is.

I got a sample - 2.5 gallons! - and was advised to start at a 400:1 dilution, and never apply it more than every 14 days, as more often may over-stimulate the plant. Menopausal hormone rage in plants?

Oh yeah, it is said to be stable for "at least two years" at room temperature.

Let us know if you decide to sell Kelpak! :)
 
K

keithrs

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Kelpak is.

I got a sample - 2.5 gallons! - and was advised to start at a 400:1 dilution, and never apply it more than every 14 days, as more often may over-stimulate the plant. Menopausal hormone rage in plants?

Oh yeah, it is said to be stable for "at least two years" at room temperature.

Well, other than Kelpak.... I meant more like a full nutrient line like General Organics or Advanced Nutrient.

That's about what rate I apply @ with a foliar feeding once a month..... I use it more on my "garden" plants than my orchids. Works well!!!

For my garden plants, I brew cold pressed kelp with worm castings, molasses, and plant success mycorrhizal inoculants..... Works very well. I have started to use that recipe on my cymbidiums once a month... Time will tell if it will work of the long haul. Plants have shown a good respond to it so far.


You should do a study to see how different species of orchids respond to the different kelps.....
 

Ray

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I have to admit to being a slouch in the orchid care arena lately. Dealing with lymphedema, a weird fall snowstorm/power outage/week-long speaking tour has got me WAY behind on the greenhouse.

I have only used the Kelpak on indoor tropical houseplants so far, but their response is phenomenal. Plants that were more-or-less languishing in the low light conditions suddenly started growing like weeds. Interestingly enough, the aglaonemas dumped a bunch of leaves, then started to put out more than ever before.

Can't wait to try it in the greenhouse, although is winter the best time for such a trial?
 
K

keithrs

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I'm sorry to hear about your dealing!!!!!! I can only imagine!!!!

Your probably right about starting it now, But if your going to use it, minus well see if you get plants to respond to it now.... maybe you'll get a better response come spring. Active plants should respond.... one way or the other.
 

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