Miss Kirby's KommonSenseTips
Fertilizing - Interior and Exterior
What's in the Bag?
The top of a fertilizer tag lists three numbers for the major plant nutrients:
These are also known as the N-P-K number. The most common is 6-6-6, also known as Triple 6. Underneath each element is listed where it was derived from.
The most important to watch for is where the nitrogen comes from. If it all comes from an ammonia source, the nitrogen releases immediately when it comes in contact with water. The higher the number, the hotter (i.e., more dangerous to root burning and damage), and the softer and weaker it makes the plant stem and leaves. This is the reason the most commonly suggested ratio is 6-6-6. No matter who makes it or how, it's generally pretty safe. In our sterile Florida sand N-P-K leach out at about the same time.
NITROGEN (N). The first number is the element that makes top green vegetative growth. It's also the least expensive way to make your grass and plants green. There is a downside to this. Using a fertilizer that is much above 10% also makes soft growth: the leaf that bugs just love, much easier for them to get their proboscis or teeth into. Look at grass fertilizer tags (they are usually the highest in nitrogen). The first number is usually quite high (16 to 36%). Not only do you have to cut the grass more often, but also you end up with more disease problems. In addition, water release fertilizers are the easiest to burn with, which is why inexpensive fertilizers have very low application rates. If you put much on at any one time, you will fertilizer-burn your grass or plants. An inexpensive 40-lb bag of 10-10-10 will be mostly ammoniacal nitrogen (water/fast release) with the same quality P-K, and very little if any minor elements. This type of fertilizer is better than none at all, but should be applied lightly every week to keep your plants properly fed, and will have to be supplementally fed with a separate minor element package.
PHOSPHORUS (P) . The second number is for the element that affects roots, stems, fruits and flowers. Grass fertilizers use too much nitrogen (to "keep it green") and completely ignore root system health (roots are the part of the plant that take in and process the food). The middle number in grass fertilizers is usually between 4 and at the most 6. I ask you: could you maintain a 200 lb body with the stomach of a 20 lb infant? Of course not. That's what grass fertilizers ask of grass. It is impossible!
POTASSIUM (K). The third number is for the element that promotes flowers and fruits. It also enables assimilation of Nitrogen and Phosphorous. It is used by the plant to make strong cell walls, which makes it more difficult for bugs and disease to get into the plant.
MINOR (ESSENTIAL) ELEMENTS. This section lists other elements that plants need in much smaller quantities. Manganese, magnesium, iron, etc., make your plants green with safe growth. Florida's sandy soil doesn't have many minors, so they must be added. Without them, the majors are not assimilated properly through the plant's system. You and everything that lives needs them for good health; look at your vitamin bottle.
WALPOLE WONDER and ROOT-BALL SPECIAL
Grow your own Wonder Plants with the 1FOOD4ALL plants!
In the early 1980's I was going crazy trying to feed our nursery plants and clients' plants with 15 different kinds of fertilizer. I wanted a food with which I could feed everything: plants, grass, palms, trees. Fertilizer expert Jeff Durston and plant doctor Lynn Griffith formulated WALPOLE WONDER, "One Food Feeds It All". It does just that, and also continually amends our Florida alkaline soil pH downward.
The fertilizer had no name until the late 1980's when a lawn maintenance customer came in. He had tried many types of fertilizers to green his customer's yard, had failed, tried our fertilizer and it worked! He proclaimed it WALPOLE WONDER, and the name stuck! Most people who have tried it are now using it, and most won't switch.
WALPOLE WONDER ("WW"). This high minor-element 9-9-9 (summer) and 10-10-10 (winter) formula fertilizer is made from the highest quality, longest lasting N-P-K ingredients, plus the minors are a prilled/granular form which lasts longer and releases more slowly and evenly than dust. It's designed to continually amend our sterile alkaline Florida sandy soil pH downward. Most plants prefer about 6.2 pH, while in Florida our pH us usually about 7.2.
ROOT BALL SPECIAL ("RBS"): This 4-24-4 fertilizer does just what the name implies: puts a root system on a newly installed plant, and helps an existing plant regenerate a damaged root system. Feeding RBS at time of installation gives the plant the nutrition to make the roots that take up water and food. for established plants, it is advantageous to use it once each year to rebuild damaged root systems during the summer rains or droughts. However, RBS lacks minor elements, so use to get green with normal summer groth on established plants, use it in conjunction with Ironite, Muracid or minor element supplement.
WALPOLE WONDER FERTILIZING TIPS
To maintain healthy established plants fertilize with WALPOLE WONDER in October or November, and then again in March or April. And during the summer rainy season fertilize once with ROOT BALL SPECIAL, amending with Ironite, Muracid or minor element supplement (minor elements only).
If you don't mind your plants not being the very best of green in color during the summer, you can choose not to use the minor element package. As long as you are giving at least two feedings of our WW per year, most of your healthy established plants will do just fine.
Since WALPOLE WONDER is so high in minors, it may turn some variegated varieties of plants green. If you see that happening, just mix the WW in half with the RBS.
for blue-green grass during the summer with little or no growth, fertilize with RBS and Ironite. Ironite is all minor elements and will really "green up" a plant without growth. Ironite does need the warmer days of spring through fall to break down, so don't use it in the winter. During winter planting months, use Muracid or a separate granular minor element package.
We fertilize almost everything with either WW or RBS, or we mix the two to change the formulation. for example, by mixing half-and-half the WW winter formula 10-10-10 and RBS 4-24-4, it becomes 7-17 -7 with half the minors. Applying both together creates a 14-34-14 formulation (good for installing plants that like minors and nitrogen, such as hibiscus).
Where to purchase Walpole Wonder ‘WW’©® ,
1FOOD4ALL, and Root-Ball Special ‘RBS’©
(Order 'WW' and 'RBS' Online - Coming Soon!)
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THE BUSHEL STOP
|Delray Beach, Florida
|Lake Worth, Florida
|Pembroke Pines, Florida
|* Port St Lucie, Florida
|* Pompano Beach, Florida
|* NOTE: Special arrangements are needed to pick up WW & RBS at these Florida Bushel Stops.
To arrange special pricing and direct delivery of one ton,
40 bags of 50 lbs or more contact:
Phone: (561) 346-7916
Fax: (352) 489-0993