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Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

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  • Elaine Sedlack
    I m with Harold.  I used cottonseed meal on our Rhododendron/azalea collection in the UC Botanical Garden for about 5 years.  It was problematic for us. 
    Message 1 of 16 , Aug 1, 2012
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      I'm with Harold.  I used cottonseed meal on our Rhododendron/azalea collection in the UC Botanical Garden for about 5 years.  It was problematic for us.  First of all, it was a question of labor, which may not be an issue for a home gardener, but it was prohibitive to incorporate into the soil, or even water in given the size of the area - 3 1/2 acres.  Because of this, it mostly sat on top of the soil and got moldy.  I am sure that the nitrogen eventually broke down and became useable, but it is only 5% and the plants were declining more than growing until we switched to a 10-18-10 slow release formula. 
       
      Also, it did attract raccoons and voles, both a big nuisance.  Now I am wondering about our root weevil problem.
       
      We grow around 400 species of rhododendrons and azaleas, not cultivars, and many get homesick for the high mountains of the Himalayas when grown at our latitude.  They need extra nitrogen here.  I have heard that in the northwest less artificial fertilizer is necessary (at UBC, in particular. Of course, this is close to the climate they experience in the wild).  In southern California I expect that the number of species or cultivars which will survive the heat - aside from satsukis which love it - is relatively small.  This is not really relevant, except to  say that when a plant is growing outside its comfort zone it is important to consider its needs in this respect.
       
      Elaine  
       
       
       


      From: George Klump <mixturev@...>
      To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tue, July 31, 2012 11:57:20 PM
      Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

       

      31 July 2012

      Bill,

      My home is two blocks from the San Gabriel Mountains, a chain which runs about 150 miles west to east here in Southern California reaching altitudes in some places of 9,000 feet and even higher.  [I think Mt. Baldy is over 10,000 feet high.]  We have coyotes running around regularly during the hot summer nights.  They have a den a short distance down the street behind the check dam.  Party animals, they are!  We have deer coming down out of the mountains sometimes.  We've had a number of bears running around people's houses this spring looking for more food or whatever they can find.  We have mountain lions and an occasional bobcat roaming the mountains regularly and we have a sign posted permanently up the street from me warning about mountain lions in the vicinity regularly.  This can be real trouble for unprepared hikers.

      I've been using cottonseed meal for years on all my plants, Ericacae and otherwise, and have never had a problem of any kind.  Actually, I can truthfully tell you that the soil is healthier for it, as it tends to promote favorable microbes in the soil, microbes which spend their time converting normal soil nutrients into water soluble forms which the feeder roots of the plants can utilize.  I believe one gentleman on this line wrote a year or two ago of studies fairly recently done in Ohio, maybe the University of Cincinnati or a similar place, which showed that the use of cottonseed meal around plants tended to promote favorable mychorizza in the soil.  Maybe the university researchers got that all wrong!  

      As for rodents or deer, never!  And I have both roses and azaleas out in the front near the street where any deer who is of a mind to can feast happily to his heart's content.  This has never happened in 35 years here.  What about snails/slugs in the garden?  We noted last year that we have not had those varmints around here for probably 25 years.  Don't know why, just that it's true.  My soil tends to be fairly weed free except for two times each year, e.g. late April/May and early November, when the weeds begin to spring up again.  But, then, I'm right by the mountains with much of my soil decomposed granite.  And a good hoe usually discourages them for months at a time. 

      I can only say that I've been using cottonseed meal more or less exclusively for years and my plants love it.  I only fertilize them three times annually as I've indicated to Jean.  The plants look as healthy as any plants can ever be expected to look.  Tom Nuccio uses cottonseed meal, too, and he's got about 10 acres of camellias and azaleas [and a few other vireya types in the back].  Nuccio's Nurseries are internationally known for their camellias and azaleas.  They have a huge assortment of Satsuki's some of which they've gotten from some Japanese specialists in one case of which I'm aware from a special island which is about an hour's ride by motor launch just to get to the island.  Certain of Tom's plants grow only there and he got them courtesy of one of his Japanese botanist friends.  So far the cottonseed meal he uses keeps his plants smiling.   What can I say?

      GK 





      On 7/31/2012 9:49 PM, Harold Greer wrote:
       

      Yes, it does attract insects and who knows what else.  I remember a case where every plant with cottonseed meal was full of root weevil grubs, but there were none on the plants not fertilized by cottonseed meal.

       

      Harold Greer

       

      From: azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of William C. Miller III
      Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 7:26 PM
      To: ASA Mail List
      Subject: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

       

       

      George,

      Does cottonseed meal attract rodents or deer?

      Bill

      -- 
        
        
        


    • Tadeusz Dauksza
      Elaine--     I,ve used Cottonseed meal for my Azaleas and Rhodies (very few Rhodies)  since I joined the ARS back in 1997---  i have never ever had any
      Message 2 of 16 , Aug 1, 2012
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        Elaine-- 
         
         I,ve used Cottonseed meal for my Azaleas and Rhodies (very few Rhodies)  since I joined the ARS back in 1997---  i have never ever had any problems with any critters being attracted to the use of the Cottonseed meal--  In my garden vicinity we have possums, racoons, skunks, voles, 9 banded ground squirrels , coyotes , and numerous bird species yet I have never ever seen those critters as being "only" attracted to anything in my garden-- I do try to keep my garden as much "balanced" as I can---  I abhor the use of pesticide, insecticide, etc--  and thus Cottonseed meal will stay in my garden-- its from a "natural"  plant that we all carry on our bodies as well . 
         
        I would love to see any scientific "papers" on this subject -- no hearsay .
         
        With respect
         
        Tadeusz -ASA - LM chapter
         
         s a diver

        From: Elaine Sedlack <esedlack@...>
        To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 11:15 AM
        Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

         
        I'm with Harold.  I used cottonseed meal on our Rhododendron/azalea collection in the UC Botanical Garden for about 5 years.  It was problematic for us.  First of all, it was a question of labor, which may not be an issue for a home gardener, but it was prohibitive to incorporate into the soil, or even water in given the size of the area - 3 1/2 acres.  Because of this, it mostly sat on top of the soil and got moldy.  I am sure that the nitrogen eventually broke down and became useable, but it is only 5% and the plants were declining more than growing until we switched to a 10-18-10 slow release formula. 
         
        Also, it did attract raccoons and voles, both a big nuisance.  Now I am wondering about our root weevil problem.
         
        We grow around 400 species of rhododendrons and azaleas, not cultivars, and many get homesick for the high mountains of the Himalayas when grown at our latitude.  They need extra nitrogen here.  I have heard that in the northwest less artificial fertilizer is necessary (at UBC, in particular. Of course, this is close to the climate they experience in the wild).  In southern California I expect that the number of species or cultivars which will survive the heat - aside from satsukis which love it - is relatively small.  This is not really relevant, except to  say that when a plant is growing outside its comfort zone it is important to consider its needs in this respect.
         
        Elaine  
         
         
         

        From: George Klump <mixturev@...>
        To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Tue, July 31, 2012 11:57:20 PM
        Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

         
        31 July 2012

        Bill,

        My home is two blocks from the San Gabriel Mountains, a chain which runs about 150 miles west to east here in Southern California reaching altitudes in some places of 9,000 feet and even higher.  [I think Mt. Baldy is over 10,000 feet high.]  We have coyotes running around regularly during the hot summer nights.  They have a den a short distance down the street behind the check dam.  Party animals, they are!  We have deer coming down out of the mountains sometimes.  We've had a number of bears running around people's houses this spring looking for more food or whatever they can find.  We have mountain lions and an occasional bobcat roaming the mountains regularly and we have a sign posted permanently up the street from me warning about mountain lions in the vicinity regularly.  This can be real trouble for unprepared hikers.

        I've been using cottonseed meal for years on all my plants, Ericacae and otherwise, and have never had a problem of any kind.  Actually, I can truthfully tell you that the soil is healthier for it, as it tends to promote favorable microbes in the soil, microbes which spend their time converting normal soil nutrients into water soluble forms which the feeder roots of the plants can utilize.  I believe one gentleman on this line wrote a year or two ago of studies fairly recently done in Ohio, maybe the University of Cincinnati or a similar place, which showed that the use of cottonseed meal around plants tended to promote favorable mychorizza in the soil.  Maybe the university researchers got that all wrong!  

        As for rodents or deer, never!  And I have both roses and azaleas out in the front near the street where any deer who is of a mind to can feast happily to his heart's content.  This has never happened in 35 years here.  What about snails/slugs in the garden?  We noted last year that we have not had those varmints around here for probably 25 years.  Don't know why, just that it's true.  My soil tends to be fairly weed free except for two times each year, e.g. late April/May and early November, when the weeds begin to spring up again.  But, then, I'm right by the mountains with much of my soil decomposed granite.  And a good hoe usually discourages them for months at a time. 

        I can only say that I've been using cottonseed meal more or less exclusively for years and my plants love it.  I only fertilize them three times annually as I've indicated to Jean.  The plants look as healthy as any plants can ever be expected to look.  Tom Nuccio uses cottonseed meal, too, and he's got about 10 acres of camellias and azaleas [and a few other vireya types in the back].  Nuccio's Nurseries are internationally known for their camellias and azaleas.  They have a huge assortment of Satsuki's some of which they've gotten from some Japanese specialists in one case of which I'm aware from a special island which is about an hour's ride by motor launch just to get to the island.  Certain of Tom's plants grow only there and he got them courtesy of one of his Japanese botanist friends.  So far the cottonseed meal he uses keeps his plants smiling.   What can I say?

        GK 





        On 7/31/2012 9:49 PM, Harold Greer wrote:
         
        Yes, it does attract insects and who knows what else.  I remember a case where every plant with cottonseed meal was full of root weevil grubs, but there were none on the plants not fertilized by cottonseed meal.
         
        Harold Greer
         
        From: azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of William C. Miller III
        Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 7:26 PM
        To: ASA Mail List
        Subject: [AZ] Cottonseed meal
         
         
        George,

        Does cottonseed meal attract rodents or deer?

        Bill
        -- 
          
          
          



      • bsperling
        Hi Bill, After replies from Oregon, Chicago and Southern CA, it seems that no one has had deer problems, but whether it is helpful or not depends on your local
        Message 3 of 16 , Aug 1, 2012
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          Hi Bill,
          After replies from Oregon, Chicago and Southern CA, it seems that no
          one has had deer problems, but whether it is helpful or not depends on
          your local situation. Oregon is most like Maryland in climate and
          Chicago is most like Maryland in soil type.
          Barry

          William C. Miller III wrote:
          > George,
          >
          > Does cottonseed meal attract rodents or deer?
          >
          > Bill
        • Elaine Sedlack
          Hi Tadeusz, Scientific studies I would welcome, though unbiased research, not compromised by industry or otherwise selected for the result one wants is a
          Message 4 of 16 , Aug 1, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            Hi Tadeusz,
             
            Scientific studies I would welcome, though unbiased research, not compromised by industry or otherwise selected for the result one wants is a rarity, I think.  I have learned this working for a University! 
             
            I try to keep healthy soil, and at home especially I love adding organic ammendments, mineral and other things.  At work we do a lot of mulching.  The result of this the raccoons love - just when the soil  is teeming with worms, etc.  Now the compost tea movement has arrived -  another can of worms, you may say!  The compost tea research is controversial, and I suspect that observed benefits may really stem from adding fish emulsion to the mix.  But gardening is like cooking, just keep adding what ever you happen to have on hand in the pantry, and it probably does do something. 
             
            Curiously,
            Elaine


            From: Tadeusz Dauksza <iltkyao@...>
            To: "azaleas@yahoogroups.com" <azaleas@yahoogroups.com>
            Cc: "esedlack@..." <esedlack@...>
            Sent: Wed, August 1, 2012 10:55:27 AM
            Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

             

            Elaine-- 
             
             I,ve used Cottonseed meal for my Azaleas and Rhodies (very few Rhodies)  since I joined the ARS back in 1997---  i have never ever had any problems with any critters being attracted to the use of the Cottonseed meal--  In my garden vicinity we have possums, racoons, skunks, voles, 9 banded ground squirrels , coyotes , and numerous bird species yet I have never ever seen those critters as being "only" attracted to anything in my garden-- I do try to keep my garden as much "balanced" as I can---  I abhor the use of pesticide, insecticide, etc--  and thus Cottonseed meal will stay in my garden-- its from a "natural"  plant that we all carry on our bodies as well . 
             
            I would love to see any scientific "papers" on this subject -- no hearsay .
             
            With respect
             
            Tadeusz -ASA - LM chapter
             
             s a diver

            From: Elaine Sedlack <esedlack@...>
            To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 11:15 AM
            Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

             
            I'm with Harold.  I used cottonseed meal on our Rhododendron/azalea collection in the UC Botanical Garden for about 5 years.  It was problematic for us.  First of all, it was a question of labor, which may not be an issue for a home gardener, but it was prohibitive to incorporate into the soil, or even water in given the size of the area - 3 1/2 acres.  Because of this, it mostly sat on top of the soil and got moldy.  I am sure that the nitrogen eventually broke down and became useable, but it is only 5% and the plants were declining more than growing until we switched to a 10-18-10 slow release formula. 
             
            Also, it did attract raccoons and voles, both a big nuisance.  Now I am wondering about our root weevil problem.
             
            We grow around 400 species of rhododendrons and azaleas, not cultivars, and many get homesick for the high mountains of the Himalayas when grown at our latitude.  They need extra nitrogen here.  I have heard that in the northwest less artificial fertilizer is necessary (at UBC, in particular. Of course, this is close to the climate they experience in the wild).  In southern California I expect that the number of species or cultivars which will survive the heat - aside from satsukis which love it - is relatively small.  This is not really relevant, except to  say that when a plant is growing outside its comfort zone it is important to consider its needs in this respect.
             
            Elaine  
             
             
             

            From: George Klump <mixturev@...>
            To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Tue, July 31, 2012 11:57:20 PM
            Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

             
            31 July 2012

            Bill,

            My home is two blocks from the San Gabriel Mountains, a chain which runs about 150 miles west to east here in Southern California reaching altitudes in some places of 9,000 feet and even higher.  [I think Mt. Baldy is over 10,000 feet high.]  We have coyotes running around regularly during the hot summer nights.  They have a den a short distance down the street behind the check dam.  Party animals, they are!  We have deer coming down out of the mountains sometimes.  We've had a number of bears running around people's houses this spring looking for more food or whatever they can find.  We have mountain lions and an occasional bobcat roaming the mountains regularly and we have a sign posted permanently up the street from me warning about mountain lions in the vicinity regularly.  This can be real trouble for unprepared hikers.

            I've been using cottonseed meal for years on all my plants, Ericacae and otherwise, and have never had a problem of any kind.  Actually, I can truthfully tell you that the soil is healthier for it, as it tends to promote favorable microbes in the soil, microbes which spend their time converting normal soil nutrients into water soluble forms which the feeder roots of the plants can utilize.  I believe one gentleman on this line wrote a year or two ago of studies fairly recently done in Ohio, maybe the University of Cincinnati or a similar place, which showed that the use of cottonseed meal around plants tended to promote favorable mychorizza in the soil.  Maybe the university researchers got that all wrong!  

            As for rodents or deer, never!  And I have both roses and azaleas out in the front near the street where any deer who is of a mind to can feast happily to his heart's content.  This has never happened in 35 years here.  What about snails/slugs in the garden?  We noted last year that we have not had those varmints around here for probably 25 years.  Don't know why, just that it's true.  My soil tends to be fairly weed free except for two times each year, e.g. late April/May and early November, when the weeds begin to spring up again.  But, then, I'm right by the mountains with much of my soil decomposed granite.  And a good hoe usually discourages them for months at a time. 

            I can only say that I've been using cottonseed meal more or less exclusively for years and my plants love it.  I only fertilize them three times annually as I've indicated to Jean.  The plants look as healthy as any plants can ever be expected to look.  Tom Nuccio uses cottonseed meal, too, and he's got about 10 acres of camellias and azaleas [and a few other vireya types in the back].  Nuccio's Nurseries are internationally known for their camellias and azaleas.  They have a huge assortment of Satsuki's some of which they've gotten from some Japanese specialists in one case of which I'm aware from a special island which is about an hour's ride by motor launch just to get to the island.  Certain of Tom's plants grow only there and he got them courtesy of one of his Japanese botanist friends.  So far the cottonseed meal he uses keeps his plants smiling.   What can I say?

            GK 





            On 7/31/2012 9:49 PM, Harold Greer wrote:
             
            Yes, it does attract insects and who knows what else.  I remember a case where every plant with cottonseed meal was full of root weevil grubs, but there were none on the plants not fertilized by cottonseed meal.
             
            Harold Greer
             
            From: azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of William C. Miller III
            Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 7:26 PM
            To: ASA Mail List
            Subject: [AZ] Cottonseed meal
             
             
            George,

            Does cottonseed meal attract rodents or deer?

            Bill
            -- 
              
              
              



          • bsperling
            Hi Elaine, Just to be a bit of a pain: if the soil in your back yard is deficient in something that azaleas want then adding that will help. If the soil has
            Message 5 of 16 , Aug 1, 2012
            • 0 Attachment
              Hi Elaine,
              Just to be a bit of a pain: if the soil in your back yard is deficient
              in something that azaleas want then adding that will help. If the soil
              has too much of something and you add it you might be reaching toxicity
              levels. Basic recommendation: get a soil analysis first. And I know
              that you knew that, but I'm just mentioning it for the record.
              Good luck,
              Barry


              Elaine Sedlack wrote:
              > Hi Tadeusz,
              But gardening is like cooking, just keep adding what ever you happen
              to have on hand in the pantry, and it
              > probably does *do* something.
              > Curiously,
              > Elaine
            • Elaine Sedlack
              Not a pain, point well taken.  I don t always approach things in a methodical way. Elaine ________________________________ From: bsperling
              Message 6 of 16 , Aug 1, 2012
              • 0 Attachment
                Not a pain, point well taken.  I don't always approach things in a methodical way.
                 
                Elaine


                From: bsperling <bsperling@...>
                To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Wed, August 1, 2012 12:21:04 PM
                Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                 

                Hi Elaine,
                Just to be a bit of a pain: if the soil in your back yard is deficient
                in something that azaleas want then adding that will help. If the soil
                has too much of something and you add it you might be reaching toxicity
                levels. Basic recommendation: get a soil analysis first. And I know
                that you knew that, but I'm just mentioning it for the record.
                Good luck,
                Barry

                Elaine Sedlack wrote:

                > Hi Tadeusz,
                But gardening is like cooking, just keep adding what ever you happen
                to have on hand in the pantry, and it
                > probably does *do* something.
                > Curiously,
                > Elaine

              • John Migas
                Hi all,   Here in Michigan I have used cottenseed meal for years. Charlie Mann used it, Tony Shammarello used it, it s recommended in most of the old books,
                Message 7 of 16 , Aug 1, 2012
                • 0 Attachment
                  Hi all,
                   
                  Here in Michigan I have used cottenseed meal for years. Charlie Mann used it, Tony Shammarello used it, it's recommended in most of the old books, and it works
                  wonders. Someone did comment that today there are many more fertilizers made available for us to use, which is an excellent point.
                   
                  My experience with almost every fertilizer that I have used, whether it is organic,
                  granular, liquid, whatever it be, the results are not instant. Most fertilized plants
                  look excellent the following year. Now that's not saying that if you fertilized today,
                  and watered in in as recommended, you wouldn't see a change in a month or so.
                  Liquid fertilizer is about the quickest fix, but in the northern part of the country,
                  DON"T fertilize after the 4th of July, or should I say that if you can get a frost in September, don't fertilize late in the year.
                   
                  The question of animals and cottonseed meal was raised. Here in Michigan you can purchase cottonseed meal two ways, coated with molasses or not. This could be a great article for the Azalean on fertilizers, but the Co-op's sell cottonseed meal coated to trigger the farm animals to eat it.
                   
                  It's possible that if you have critters eating your cottonseed meal, it may be coated
                  with molasses which is not intended for plant fertilizer. Get the stuff that is not coated which is recommended for plants.
                   
                  To re-iterate what I have said, here in Michigan I use cottonseed meal along with
                  just about every possible azalea fertilizer available in Michigan and they all work.
                  I'm a bit frugal so I usually buy what is on sale. Some of my best results for my plants in containers is a combination of Ironite, Hollytone, and some sort of granular
                  azalea/rhody food, a triple play which usually covers it all.
                   
                  Please note that if you fertilize today and don't water it in till next week or water it
                  one or two times in the next few weeks or wait for it to rain, the fertilizer won't work.
                  Remember to read the label for proper use.
                   
                  Good luck and keep watering.................John Migas(western Michigan)
                   
                   

                  From: Tadeusz Dauksza <iltkyao@...>
                  To: "azaleas@yahoogroups.com" <azaleas@yahoogroups.com>
                  Cc: "esedlack@..." <esedlack@...>
                  Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 1:31 PM
                  Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                   
                  Elaine-- 
                   
                   I,ve used Cottonseed meal for my Azaleas and Rhodies (very few Rhodies)  since I joined the ARS back in 1997---  i have never ever had any problems with any critters being attracted to the use of the Cottonseed meal--  In my garden vicinity we have possums, racoons, skunks, voles, 9 banded ground squirrels , coyotes , and numerous bird species yet I have never ever seen those critters as being "only" attracted to anything in my garden-- I do try to keep my garden as much "balanced" as I can---  I abhor the use of pesticide, insecticide, etc--  and thus Cottonseed meal will stay in my garden-- its from a "natural"  plant that we all carry on our bodies as well . 
                   
                  I would love to see any scientific "papers" on this subject -- no hearsay .
                   
                  With respect
                   
                  Tadeusz -ASA - LM chapter
                   
                   s a diver

                  From: Elaine Sedlack <esedlack@...>
                  To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 11:15 AM
                  Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                   
                  I'm with Harold.  I used cottonseed meal on our Rhododendron/azalea collection in the UC Botanical Garden for about 5 years.  It was problematic for us.  First of all, it was a question of labor, which may not be an issue for a home gardener, but it was prohibitive to incorporate into the soil, or even water in given the size of the area - 3 1/2 acres.  Because of this, it mostly sat on top of the soil and got moldy.  I am sure that the nitrogen eventually broke down and became useable, but it is only 5% and the plants were declining more than growing until we switched to a 10-18-10 slow release formula. 
                   
                  Also, it did attract raccoons and voles, both a big nuisance.  Now I am wondering about our root weevil problem.
                   
                  We grow around 400 species of rhododendrons and azaleas, not cultivars, and many get homesick for the high mountains of the Himalayas when grown at our latitude.  They need extra nitrogen here.  I have heard that in the northwest less artificial fertilizer is necessary (at UBC, in particular. Of course, this is close to the climate they experience in the wild).  In southern California I expect that the number of species or cultivars which will survive the heat - aside from satsukis which love it - is relatively small.  This is not really relevant, except to  say that when a plant is growing outside its comfort zone it is important to consider its needs in this respect.
                   
                  Elaine  
                   
                   
                   

                  From: George Klump <mixturev@...>
                  To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Tue, July 31, 2012 11:57:20 PM
                  Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                   
                  31 July 2012

                  Bill,

                  My home is two blocks from the San Gabriel Mountains, a chain which runs about 150 miles west to east here in Southern California reaching altitudes in some places of 9,000 feet and even higher.  [I think Mt. Baldy is over 10,000 feet high.]  We have coyotes running around regularly during the hot summer nights.  They have a den a short distance down the street behind the check dam.  Party animals, they are!  We have deer coming down out of the mountains sometimes.  We've had a number of bears running around people's houses this spring looking for more food or whatever they can find.  We have mountain lions and an occasional bobcat roaming the mountains regularly and we have a sign posted permanently up the street from me warning about mountain lions in the vicinity regularly.  This can be real trouble for unprepared hikers.

                  I've been using cottonseed meal for years on all my plants, Ericacae and otherwise, and have never had a problem of any kind.  Actually, I can truthfully tell you that the soil is healthier for it, as it tends to promote favorable microbes in the soil, microbes which spend their time converting normal soil nutrients into water soluble forms which the feeder roots of the plants can utilize.  I believe one gentleman on this line wrote a year or two ago of studies fairly recently done in Ohio, maybe the University of Cincinnati or a similar place, which showed that the use of cottonseed meal around plants tended to promote favorable mychorizza in the soil.  Maybe the university researchers got that all wrong!  

                  As for rodents or deer, never!  And I have both roses and azaleas out in the front near the street where any deer who is of a mind to can feast happily to his heart's content.  This has never happened in 35 years here.  What about snails/slugs in the garden?  We noted last year that we have not had those varmints around here for probably 25 years.  Don't know why, just that it's true.  My soil tends to be fairly weed free except for two times each year, e.g. late April/May and early November, when the weeds begin to spring up again.  But, then, I'm right by the mountains with much of my soil decomposed granite.  And a good hoe usually discourages them for months at a time. 

                  I can only say that I've been using cottonseed meal more or less exclusively for years and my plants love it.  I only fertilize them three times annually as I've indicated to Jean.  The plants look as healthy as any plants can ever be expected to look.  Tom Nuccio uses cottonseed meal, too, and he's got about 10 acres of camellias and azaleas [and a few other vireya types in the back].  Nuccio's Nurseries are internationally known for their camellias and azaleas.  They have a huge assortment of Satsuki's some of which they've gotten from some Japanese specialists in one case of which I'm aware from a special island which is about an hour's ride by motor launch just to get to the island.  Certain of Tom's plants grow only there and he got them courtesy of one of his Japanese botanist friends.  So far the cottonseed meal he uses keeps his plants smiling.   What can I say?

                  GK 





                  On 7/31/2012 9:49 PM, Harold Greer wrote:
                   
                  Yes, it does attract insects and who knows what else.  I remember a case where every plant with cottonseed meal was full of root weevil grubs, but there were none on the plants not fertilized by cottonseed meal.
                   
                  Harold Greer
                   
                  From: azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of William C. Miller III
                  Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 7:26 PM
                  To: ASA Mail List
                  Subject: [AZ] Cottonseed meal
                   
                   
                  George,

                  Does cottonseed meal attract rodents or deer?

                  Bill
                  -- 
                    
                    
                    





                • George Klump
                  1 August2012 John, Tadeusz, Elaine, Bill et all, Holy Moley! It was hardly my intention to instigate such a conflagration over the use of cottonseed meal.
                  Message 8 of 16 , Aug 1, 2012
                  • 0 Attachment
                    1 August 2012

                    John, Tadeusz, Elaine, Bill et all,

                    Holy Moley!  It was hardly my intention to instigate such a conflagration over the use of cottonseed meal.  It's just what I happen to use because it brings about such excellent results, when used consistently.  What I wrote about my use of cottonseed meal is exactly what I do and is what I suggested to a lady who recently wrote in and lives between Houston and Galveston, Texas, an area with which I am quite familiar.  It is true, as suggested below here by John, that immediate results do not occur, but in one sense this is perfectly okay, since I'm trying to grow plants normally, not shock them artificially. 

                    Years ago I found that cottonseed meal tends to do positive things for the soil, e.g. promoting positive microbial action underground.  On the other hand chemical fertilizers tended to run microbes out of town, though they did some other things for the plants, sometimes in a big hurry.  To the impatient this was sufficient payback, though again long range effects were not always desirable, especially where the question of soil health might be involved.

                    A year or two ago it seems to me that someone back in the midwest wrote of some research which was done or being done, I thought, back in Ohio, possibly the University of Cincinnati or some other school in Ohio.  The gist of it was that they had been working with cottonseed meal in various soils [sans molasses, of course] and the results tended to indicate a measurable increase in mychorizza in the soil which in turn increased the fertility of the soil and therefore benefited the plants. 

                    Whether or not one uses a chemical fertilizer or something like cottonseed meal, varmints will attack plants regardless.  There's spider mites, snails/slugs, mealy bugs, lace bugs, and probably 10,000 other varmint variants including hungry galloping grasshoppers.  Fish meal, urea and all the rest should work just as well, though I prefer urea to be used on grass, since the urea available to me was a 45.0.0 NPK.  Fish meal works well but in the larger amounts necessary in my garden tends to come off sort of like a skunk in a perfume factory.  Therefore cottonseed meal: it's quiet and unobtrusive, the plants love it, especially the second and third time around. 

                    In my climate I recommended Easter, Fourth of July and Labor Day with reservations, i.e. if freezing temperatures are still around at any given Easter, just wait a tad till they're safely past.  If freezes tend to come in September or early October, back up the Labor Day time two weeks or so.  It's that simple.  I merely use Easter, Fourth of July and Labor Day because those dates are easy to remember and I don't have any freezes to speak of here.  As for it being labor intensive, Tom Nuccio uses it for his entire nursery, all 10+ acres of it, camellias, azaleas and some experimental plants from Asia.  We get it done here on my little plot, some 110 plants in the Ericacae category plus camellias and other innocent bystanders, e.g. hibiscus. 

                    Please note that if you fertilize today and don't water it in till next week or water it
                    one or two times in the next few weeks or wait for it to rain, the fertilizer won't work.
                    Remember to read the label for proper use.

                    Good advice, John.

                    George E. Klump
                    Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA       










                    On 8/1/2012 2:07 PM, John Migas wrote:  
                    Hi all,
                     
                    Here in Michigan I have used cottenseed meal for years. Charlie Mann used it, Tony Shammarello used it, it's recommended in most of the old books, and it works
                    wonders. Someone did comment that today there are many more fertilizers made available for us to use, which is an excellent point.
                     
                    My experience with almost every fertilizer that I have used, whether it is organic,
                    granular, liquid, whatever it be, the results are not instant. Most fertilized plants
                    look excellent the following year. Now that's not saying that if you fertilized today,
                    and watered in in as recommended, you wouldn't see a change in a month or so.
                    Liquid fertilizer is about the quickest fix, but in the northern part of the country,
                    DON"T fertilize after the 4th of July, or should I say that if you can get a frost in September, don't fertilize late in the year.
                     
                    The question of animals and cottonseed meal was raised. Here in Michigan you can purchase cottonseed meal two ways, coated with molasses or not. This could be a great article for the Azalean on fertilizers, but the Co-op's sell cottonseed meal coated to trigger the farm animals to eat it.
                     
                    It's possible that if you have critters eating your cottonseed meal, it may be coated
                    with molasses which is not intended for plant fertilizer. Get the stuff that is not coated which is recommended for plants.
                     
                    To re-iterate what I have said, here in Michigan I use cottonseed meal along with
                    just about every possible azalea fertilizer available in Michigan and they all work.
                    I'm a bit frugal so I usually buy what is on sale. Some of my best results for my plants in containers is a combination of Ironite, Hollytone, and some sort of granular
                    azalea/rhody food, a triple play which usually covers it all.
                     
                    Please note that if you fertilize today and don't water it in till next week or water it
                    one or two times in the next few weeks or wait for it to rain, the fertilizer won't work.
                    Remember to read the label for proper use.
                     
                    Good luck and keep watering.................John Migas(western Michigan)
                     
                     

                    From: Tadeusz Dauksza <iltkyao@...>
                    To: "azaleas@yahoogroups.com" <azaleas@yahoogroups.com>
                    Cc: "esedlack@..." <esedlack@...>
                    Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 1:31 PM
                    Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                     
                    Elaine-- 
                     
                     I,ve used Cottonseed meal for my Azaleas and Rhodies (very few Rhodies)  since I joined the ARS back in 1997---  i have never ever had any problems with any critters being attracted to the use of the Cottonseed meal--  In my garden vicinity we have possums, racoons, skunks, voles, 9 banded ground squirrels , coyotes , and numerous bird species yet I have never ever seen those critters as being "only" attracted to anything in my garden-- I do try to keep my garden as much "balanced" as I can---  I abhor the use of pesticide, insecticide, etc--  and thus Cottonseed meal will stay in my garden-- its from a "natural"  plant that we all carry on our bodies as well . 
                     
                    I would love to see any scientific "papers" on this subject -- no hearsay .
                     
                    With respect
                     
                    Tadeusz -ASA - LM chapter
                     
                     s a diver

                    From: Elaine Sedlack <esedlack@...>
                    To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 11:15 AM
                    Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                     
                    I'm with Harold.  I used cottonseed meal on our Rhododendron/azalea collection in the UC Botanical Garden for about 5 years.  It was problematic for us.  First of all, it was a question of labor, which may not be an issue for a home gardener, but it was prohibitive to incorporate into the soil, or even water in given the size of the area - 3 1/2 acres.  Because of this, it mostly sat on top of the soil and got moldy.  I am sure that the nitrogen eventually broke down and became useable, but it is only 5% and the plants were declining more than growing until we switched to a 10-18-10 slow release formula. 
                     
                    Also, it did attract raccoons and voles, both a big nuisance.  Now I am wondering about our root weevil problem.
                     
                    We grow around 400 species of rhododendrons and azaleas, not cultivars, and many get homesick for the high mountains of the Himalayas when grown at our latitude.  They need extra nitrogen here.  I have heard that in the northwest less artificial fertilizer is necessary (at UBC, in particular. Of course, this is close to the climate they experience in the wild).  In southern California I expect that the number of species or cultivars which will survive the heat - aside from satsukis which love it - is relatively small.  This is not really relevant, except to  say that when a plant is growing outside its comfort zone it is important to consider its needs in this respect.
                     
                    Elaine  
                     
                     
                     

                    From: George Klump <mixturev@...>
                    To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Tue, July 31, 2012 11:57:20 PM
                    Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                     
                    31 July 2012

                    Bill,

                    My home is two blocks from the San Gabriel Mountains, a chain which runs about 150 miles west to east here in Southern California reaching altitudes in some places of 9,000 feet and even higher.  [I think Mt. Baldy is over 10,000 feet high.]  We have coyotes running around regularly during the hot summer nights.  They have a den a short distance down the street behind the check dam.  Party animals, they are!  We have deer coming down out of the mountains sometimes.  We've had a number of bears running around people's houses this spring looking for more food or whatever they can find.  We have mountain lions and an occasional bobcat roaming the mountains regularly and we have a sign posted permanently up the street from me warning about mountain lions in the vicinity regularly.  This can be real trouble for unprepared hikers.

                    I've been using cottonseed meal for years on all my plants, Ericacae and otherwise, and have never had a problem of any kind.  Actually, I can truthfully tell you that the soil is healthier for it, as it tends to promote favorable microbes in the soil, microbes which spend their time converting normal soil nutrients into water soluble forms which the feeder roots of the plants can utilize.  I believe one gentleman on this line wrote a year or two ago of studies fairly recently done in Ohio, maybe the University of Cincinnati or a similar place, which showed that the use of cottonseed meal around plants tended to promote favorable mychorizza in the soil.  Maybe the university researchers got that all wrong!  

                    As for rodents or deer, never!  And I have both roses and azaleas out in the front near the street where any deer who is of a mind to can feast happily to his heart's content.  This has never happened in 35 years here.  What about snails/slugs in the garden?  We noted last year that we have not had those varmints around here for probably 25 years.  Don't know why, just that it's true.  My soil tends to be fairly weed free except for two times each year, e.g. late April/May and early November, when the weeds begin to spring up again.  But, then, I'm right by the mountains with much of my soil decomposed granite.  And a good hoe usually discourages them for months at a time. 

                    I can only say that I've been using cottonseed meal more or less exclusively for years and my plants love it.  I only fertilize them three times annually as I've indicated to Jean.  The plants look as healthy as any plants can ever be expected to look.  Tom Nuccio uses cottonseed meal, too, and he's got about 10 acres of camellias and azaleas [and a few other vireya types in the back].  Nuccio's Nurseries are internationally known for their camellias and azaleas.  They have a huge assortment of Satsuki's some of which they've gotten from some Japanese specialists in one case of which I'm aware from a special island which is about an hour's ride by motor launch just to get to the island.  Certain of Tom's plants grow only there and he got them courtesy of one of his Japanese botanist friends.  So far the cottonseed meal he uses keeps his plants smiling.   What can I say?

                    GK 





                    On 7/31/2012 9:49 PM, Harold Greer wrote:
                     
                    Yes, it does attract insects and who knows what else.  I remember a case where every plant with cottonseed meal was full of root weevil grubs, but there were none on the plants not fertilized by cottonseed meal.
                     
                    Harold Greer
                     
                    From: azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of William C. Miller III
                    Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 7:26 PM
                    To: ASA Mail List
                    Subject: [AZ] Cottonseed meal
                     
                     
                    George,

                    Does cottonseed meal attract rodents or deer?

                    Bill
                    -- 
                      
                      
                      






                  • Harold Greer
                    George and others, My comments against Cottonseed meal do not mean I think it is terrible, just that there are better, cheaper and faster ways to get the same
                    Message 9 of 16 , Aug 1, 2012
                    • 0 Attachment

                      George and others,

                       

                      My comments against Cottonseed meal do not mean I think it is terrible, just that there are better, cheaper and faster ways to get the same result.  If it is cheap,  available to you and works that is fine.  I just have not found it the best method of supplying nutrients to plants in the nearly 60 years I have been growing rhododendrons.  As I said if it works for you use it.  An example of something I use is ground up tree limbs from a local tree service.  He does not bring me chips from diseased trees, but good growing trees that he trims.  It is not as good as fir bark, but far cheaper and with just a little more nitrogen, it grows just as good of plants.

                       

                      The same goes for rooting plants.  We have different method and they may all work.  From my point of view, I want to produce a saleable plant as fast as possible, but on the other hand I want to sell a plant that grows for the customer.  I will say some production nurseries produce plants that never see a day without proper nutrient level  and have never allowed a pathogen to come close to any plant.  These plants often die when they reach the “real” world.  These plants are often sold by the “big box” stores and on tome of that often these stores sell plants not hardy to the area.  I see lots of plants sold here in Zone 8 that are really Zone 10 plants.

                       

                      So use the Cottonseed meal if it works for you.

                       

                      Harold Greer – current temperature 73°F  

                       

                      From: azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of George Klump
                      Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 8:06 PM
                      To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                      Cc: John Migas
                      Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                       

                       

                      1 August 2012

                      John, Tadeusz, Elaine, Bill et all,

                      Holy Moley!  It was hardly my intention to instigate such a conflagration over the use of cottonseed meal.  It's just what I happen to use because it brings about such excellent results, when used consistently.  What I wrote about my use of cottonseed meal is exactly what I do and is what I suggested to a lady who recently wrote in and lives between Houston and Galveston, Texas, an area with which I am quite familiar.  It is true, as suggested below here by John, that immediate results do not occur, but in one sense this is perfectly okay, since I'm trying to grow plants normally, not shock them artificially. 

                      Years ago I found that cottonseed meal tends to do positive things for the soil, e.g. promoting positive microbial action underground.  On the other hand chemical fertilizers tended to run microbes out of town, though they did some other things for the plants, sometimes in a big hurry.  To the impatient this was sufficient payback, though again long range effects were not always desirable, especially where the question of soil health might be involved.

                      A year or two ago it seems to me that someone back in the midwest wrote of some research which was done or being done, I thought, back in Ohio, possibly the University of Cincinnati or some other school in Ohio.  The gist of it was that they had been working with cottonseed meal in various soils [sans molasses, of course] and the results tended to indicate a measurable increase in mychorizza in the soil which in turn increased the fertility of the soil and therefore benefited the plants. 

                      Whether or not one uses a chemical fertilizer or something like cottonseed meal, varmints will attack plants regardless.  There's spider mites, snails/slugs, mealy bugs, lace bugs, and probably 10,000 other varmint variants including hungry galloping grasshoppers.  Fish meal, urea and all the rest should work just as well, though I prefer urea to be used on grass, since the urea available to me was a 45.0.0 NPK.  Fish meal works well but in the larger amounts necessary in my garden tends to come off sort of like a skunk in a perfume factory.  Therefore cottonseed meal: it's quiet and unobtrusive, the plants love it, especially the second and third time around. 

                      In my climate I recommended Easter, Fourth of July and Labor Day with reservations, i.e. if freezing temperatures are still around at any given Easter, just wait a tad till they're safely past.  If freezes tend to come in September or early October, back up the Labor Day time two weeks or so.  It's that simple.  I merely use Easter, Fourth of July and Labor Day because those dates are easy to remember and I don't have any freezes to speak of here.  As for it being labor intensive, Tom Nuccio uses it for his entire nursery, all 10+ acres of it, camellias, azaleas and some experimental plants from Asia.  We get it done here on my little plot, some 110 plants in the Ericacae category plus camellias and other innocent bystanders, e.g. hibiscus. 

                      Please note that if you fertilize today and don't water it in till next week or water it
                      one or two times in the next few weeks or wait for it to rain, the fertilizer won't work.
                      Remember to read the label for proper use.

                      Good advice, John.

                      George E. Klump
                      Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA       










                      On 8/1/2012 2:07 PM, John Migas wrote:

                       

                      Hi all,

                       

                      Here in Michigan I have used cottenseed meal for years. Charlie Mann used it, Tony Shammarello used it, it's recommended in most of the old books, and it works

                      wonders. Someone did comment that today there are many more fertilizers made available for us to use, which is an excellent point.

                       

                      My experience with almost every fertilizer that I have used, whether it is organic,

                      granular, liquid, whatever it be, the results are not instant. Most fertilized plants

                      look excellent the following year. Now that's not saying that if you fertilized today,

                      and watered in in as recommended, you wouldn't see a change in a month or so.

                      Liquid fertilizer is about the quickest fix, but in the northern part of the country,

                      DON"T fertilize after the 4th of July, or should I say that if you can get a frost in September, don't fertilize late in the year.

                       

                      The question of animals and cottonseed meal was raised. Here in Michigan you can purchase cottonseed meal two ways, coated with molasses or not. This could be a great article for the Azalean on fertilizers, but the Co-op's sell cottonseed meal coated to trigger the farm animals to eat it.

                       

                      It's possible that if you have critters eating your cottonseed meal, it may be coated

                      with molasses which is not intended for plant fertilizer. Get the stuff that is not coated which is recommended for plants.

                       

                      To re-iterate what I have said, here in Michigan I use cottonseed meal along with

                      just about every possible azalea fertilizer available in Michigan and they all work.

                      I'm a bit frugal so I usually buy what is on sale. Some of my best results for my plants in containers is a combination of Ironite, Hollytone, and some sort of granular

                      azalea/rhody food, a triple play which usually covers it all.

                       

                      Please note that if you fertilize today and don't water it in till next week or water it

                      one or two times in the next few weeks or wait for it to rain, the fertilizer won't work.

                      Remember to read the label for proper use.

                       

                      Good luck and keep watering.................John Migas(western Michigan)

                       

                       

                       

                      From: Tadeusz Dauksza <iltkyao@...>
                      To: "azaleas@yahoogroups.com" <azaleas@yahoogroups.com>
                      Cc: "esedlack@..." <esedlack@...>
                      Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 1:31 PM
                      Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                       

                       

                      Elaine-- 

                       

                       I,ve used Cottonseed meal for my Azaleas and Rhodies (very few Rhodies)  since I joined the ARS back in 1997---  i have never ever had any problems with any critters being attracted to the use of the Cottonseed meal--  In my garden vicinity we have possums, racoons, skunks, voles, 9 banded ground squirrels , coyotes , and numerous bird species yet I have never ever seen those critters as being "only" attracted to anything in my garden-- I do try to keep my garden as much "balanced" as I can---  I abhor the use of pesticide, insecticide, etc--  and thus Cottonseed meal will stay in my garden-- its from a "natural"  plant that we all carry on our bodies as well . 

                       

                      I would love to see any scientific "papers" on this subject -- no hearsay .

                       

                      With respect

                       

                      Tadeusz -ASA - LM chapter

                       

                       s a diver

                       

                      From: Elaine Sedlack <esedlack@...>
                      To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 11:15 AM
                      Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                       

                       

                      I'm with Harold.  I used cottonseed meal on our Rhododendron/azalea collection in the UC Botanical Garden for about 5 years.  It was problematic for us.  First of all, it was a question of labor, which may not be an issue for a home gardener, but it was prohibitive to incorporate into the soil, or even water in given the size of the area - 3 1/2 acres.  Because of this, it mostly sat on top of the soil and got moldy.  I am sure that the nitrogen eventually broke down and became useable, but it is only 5% and the plants were declining more than growing until we switched to a 10-18-10 slow release formula. 

                       

                      Also, it did attract raccoons and voles, both a big nuisance.  Now I am wondering about our root weevil problem.

                       

                      We grow around 400 species of rhododendrons and azaleas, not cultivars, and many get homesick for the high mountains of the Himalayas when grown at our latitude.  They need extra nitrogen here.  I have heard that in the northwest less artificial fertilizer is necessary (at UBC, in particular. Of course, this is close to the climate they experience in the wild).  In southern California I expect that the number of species or cultivars which will survive the heat - aside from satsukis which love it - is relatively small.  This is not really relevant, except to  say that when a plant is growing outside its comfort zone it is important to consider its needs in this respect.

                       

                      Elaine  

                       

                       

                       

                       

                      From: George Klump <mixturev@...>
                      To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Tue, July 31, 2012 11:57:20 PM
                      Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                       

                      31 July 2012

                      Bill,

                      My home is two blocks from the San Gabriel Mountains, a chain which runs about 150 miles west to east here in Southern California reaching altitudes in some places of 9,000 feet and even higher.  [I think Mt. Baldy is over 10,000 feet high.]  We have coyotes running around regularly during the hot summer nights.  They have a den a short distance down the street behind the check dam.  Party animals, they are!  We have deer coming down out of the mountains sometimes.  We've had a number of bears running around people's houses this spring looking for more food or whatever they can find.  We have mountain lions and an occasional bobcat roaming the mountains regularly and we have a sign posted permanently up the street from me warning about mountain lions in the vicinity regularly.  This can be real trouble for unprepared hikers.

                      I've been using cottonseed meal for years on all my plants, Ericacae and otherwise, and have never had a problem of any kind.  Actually, I can truthfully tell you that the soil is healthier for it, as it tends to promote favorable microbes in the soil, microbes which spend their time converting normal soil nutrients into water soluble forms which the feeder roots of the plants can utilize.  I believe one gentleman on this line wrote a year or two ago of studies fairly recently done in Ohio, maybe the University of Cincinnati or a similar place, which showed that the use of cottonseed meal around plants tended to promote favorable mychorizza in the soil.  Maybe the university researchers got that all wrong!  

                      As for rodents or deer, never!  And I have both roses and azaleas out in the front near the street where any deer who is of a mind to can feast happily to his heart's content.  This has never happened in 35 years here.  What about snails/slugs in the garden?  We noted last year that we have not had those varmints around here for probably 25 years.  Don't know why, just that it's true.  My soil tends to be fairly weed free except for two times each year, e.g. late April/May and early November, when the weeds begin to spring up again.  But, then, I'm right by the mountains with much of my soil decomposed granite.  And a good hoe usually discourages them for months at a time. 

                      I can only say that I've been using cottonseed meal more or less exclusively for years and my plants love it.  I only fertilize them three times annually as I've indicated to Jean.  The plants look as healthy as any plants can ever be expected to look.  Tom Nuccio uses cottonseed meal, too, and he's got about 10 acres of camellias and azaleas [and a few other vireya types in the back].  Nuccio's Nurseries are internationally known for their camellias and azaleas.  They have a huge assortment of Satsuki's some of which they've gotten from some Japanese specialists in one case of which I'm aware from a special island which is about an hour's ride by motor launch just to get to the island.  Certain of Tom's plants grow only there and he got them courtesy of one of his Japanese botanist friends.  So far the cottonseed meal he uses keeps his plants smiling.   What can I say?

                      GK 





                      On 7/31/2012 9:49 PM, Harold Greer wrote:

                       

                      Yes, it does attract insects and who knows what else.  I remember a case where every plant with cottonseed meal was full of root weevil grubs, but there were none on the plants not fertilized by cottonseed meal.

                       

                      Harold Greer

                       

                      From: azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of William C. Miller III
                      Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 7:26 PM
                      To: ASA Mail List
                      Subject: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                       

                       

                      George,

                      Does cottonseed meal attract rodents or deer?

                      Bill

                      -- 
                        
                        
                        

                       

                       

                       

                       

                    • Elaine Sedlack
                      Ditto to this. I have been thinking of all the variables of everyone s different microcllimates and zones, and how they add to the complexity and challenge of
                      Message 10 of 16 , Aug 2, 2012
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Ditto to this.
                         
                        I have been thinking of all the variables of everyone's different microcllimates and zones, and how they add to the complexity and challenge of scientific studies.  I don't think of our exchanges as incendiary, just experiential input, which is the benefit of this site, and then trying to extrapolate and apply what works for you in your situation.  I apologize if I have appeared to be dictating the 'right' way of doing things.  It is just my way, developed after around 30 years experience in the place where I work.  
                         
                        Where I garden, I like to mix the organic with the synthetic fertilizers. This is how they do best here, given the age of the plants (many over 80 years and in decline on clay soil), therefore I am unable to cultivate under these older plants, just to keep them mulched.  I think what we all have in common is we like to see the plants growing well. 
                         
                        Cheers!
                        Elaine 
                         
                         


                        From: Harold Greer <hgreer@...>
                        To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Wed, August 1, 2012 8:38:56 PM
                        Subject: RE: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                         

                        George and others,

                         

                        My comments against Cottonseed meal do not mean I think it is terrible, just that there are better, cheaper and faster ways to get the same result.  If it is cheap,  available to you and works that is fine.  I just have not found it the best method of supplying nutrients to plants in the nearly 60 years I have been growing rhododendrons.  As I said if it works for you use it.  An example of something I use is ground up tree limbs from a local tree service.  He does not bring me chips from diseased trees, but good growing trees that he trims.  It is not as good as fir bark, but far cheaper and with just a little more nitrogen, it grows just as good of plants.

                         

                        The same goes for rooting plants.  We have different method and they may all work.  From my point of view, I want to produce a saleable plant as fast as possible, but on the other hand I want to sell a plant that grows for the customer.  I will say some production nurseries produce plants that never see a day without proper nutrient level  and have never allowed a pathogen to come close to any plant.  These plants often die when they reach the “real” world.  These plants are often sold by the “big box” stores and on tome of that often these stores sell plants not hardy to the area.  I see lots of plants sold here in Zone 8 that are really Zone 10 plants.

                         

                        So use the Cottonseed meal if it works for you.

                         

                        Harold Greer – current temperature 73°F  

                         

                        From: azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of George Klump
                        Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 8:06 PM
                        To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                        Cc: John Migas
                        Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                         

                         

                        1 August 2012

                        John, Tadeusz, Elaine, Bill et all,

                        Holy Moley!  It was hardly my intention to instigate such a conflagration over the use of cottonseed meal.  It's just what I happen to use because it brings about such excellent results, when used consistently.  What I wrote about my use of cottonseed meal is exactly what I do and is what I suggested to a lady who recently wrote in and lives between Houston and Galveston, Texas, an area with which I am quite familiar.  It is true, as suggested below here by John, that immediate results do not occur, but in one sense this is perfectly okay, since I'm trying to grow plants normally, not shock them artificially. 

                        Years ago I found that cottonseed meal tends to do positive things for the soil, e.g. promoting positive microbial action underground.  On the other hand chemical fertilizers tended to run microbes out of town, though they did some other things for the plants, sometimes in a big hurry.  To the impatient this was sufficient payback, though again long range effects were not always desirable, especially where the question of soil health might be involved.

                        A year or two ago it seems to me that someone back in the midwest wrote of some research which was done or being done, I thought, back in Ohio, possibly the University of Cincinnati or some other school in Ohio.  The gist of it was that they had been working with cottonseed meal in various soils [sans molasses, of course] and the results tended to indicate a measurable increase in mychorizza in the soil which in turn increased the fertility of the soil and therefore benefited the plants. 

                        Whether or not one uses a chemical fertilizer or something like cottonseed meal, varmints will attack plants regardless.  There's spider mites, snails/slugs, mealy bugs, lace bugs, and probably 10,000 other varmint variants including hungry galloping grasshoppers.  Fish meal, urea and all the rest should work just as well, though I prefer urea to be used on grass, since the urea available to me was a 45.0.0 NPK.  Fish meal works well but in the larger amounts necessary in my garden tends to come off sort of like a skunk in a perfume factory.  Therefore cottonseed meal: it's quiet and unobtrusive, the plants love it, especially the second and third time around. 

                        In my climate I recommended Easter, Fourth of July and Labor Day with reservations, i.e. if freezing temperatures are still around at any given Easter, just wait a tad till they're safely past.  If freezes tend to come in September or early October, back up the Labor Day time two weeks or so.  It's that simple.  I merely use Easter, Fourth of July and Labor Day because those dates are easy to remember and I don't have any freezes to speak of here.  As for it being labor intensive, Tom Nuccio uses it for his entire nursery, all 10+ acres of it, camellias, azaleas and some experimental plants from Asia.  We get it done here on my little plot, some 110 plants in the Ericacae category plus camellias and other innocent bystanders, e.g. hibiscus. 

                        Please note that if you fertilize today and don't water it in till next week or water it
                        one or two times in the next few weeks or wait for it to rain, the fertilizer won't work.
                        Remember to read the label for proper use.

                        Good advice, John.

                        George E. Klump
                        Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA       










                        On 8/1/2012 2:07 PM, John Migas wrote:

                         

                        Hi all,

                         

                        Here in Michigan I have used cottenseed meal for years. Charlie Mann used it, Tony Shammarello used it, it's recommended in most of the old books, and it works

                        wonders. Someone did comment that today there are many more fertilizers made available for us to use, which is an excellent point.

                         

                        My experience with almost every fertilizer that I have used, whether it is organic,

                        granular, liquid, whatever it be, the results are not instant. Most fertilized plants

                        look excellent the following year. Now that's not saying that if you fertilized today,

                        and watered in in as recommended, you wouldn't see a change in a month or so.

                        Liquid fertilizer is about the quickest fix, but in the northern part of the country,

                        DON"T fertilize after the 4th of July, or should I say that if you can get a frost in September, don't fertilize late in the year.

                         

                        The question of animals and cottonseed meal was raised. Here in Michigan you can purchase cottonseed meal two ways, coated with molasses or not. This could be a great article for the Azalean on fertilizers, but the Co-op's sell cottonseed meal coated to trigger the farm animals to eat it.

                         

                        It's possible that if you have critters eating your cottonseed meal, it may be coated

                        with molasses which is not intended for plant fertilizer. Get the stuff that is not coated which is recommended for plants.

                         

                        To re-iterate what I have said, here in Michigan I use cottonseed meal along with

                        just about every possible azalea fertilizer available in Michigan and they all work.

                        I'm a bit frugal so I usually buy what is on sale. Some of my best results for my plants in containers is a combination of Ironite, Hollytone, and some sort of granular

                        azalea/rhody food, a triple play which usually covers it all.

                         

                        Please note that if you fertilize today and don't water it in till next week or water it

                        one or two times in the next few weeks or wait for it to rain, the fertilizer won't work.

                        Remember to read the label for proper use.

                         

                        Good luck and keep watering.................John Migas(western Michigan)

                         

                         

                         

                        From: Tadeusz Dauksza <iltkyao@...>
                        To: "azaleas@yahoogroups.com" <azaleas@yahoogroups.com>
                        Cc: "esedlack@..." <esedlack@...>
                        Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 1:31 PM
                        Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                         

                         

                        Elaine-- 

                         

                         I,ve used Cottonseed meal for my Azaleas and Rhodies (very few Rhodies)  since I joined the ARS back in 1997---  i have never ever had any problems with any critters being attracted to the use of the Cottonseed meal--  In my garden vicinity we have possums, racoons, skunks, voles, 9 banded ground squirrels , coyotes , and numerous bird species yet I have never ever seen those critters as being "only" attracted to anything in my garden-- I do try to keep my garden as much "balanced" as I can---  I abhor the use of pesticide, insecticide, etc--  and thus Cottonseed meal will stay in my garden-- its from a "natural"  plant that we all carry on our bodies as well . 

                         

                        I would love to see any scientific "papers" on this subject -- no hearsay .

                         

                        With respect

                         

                        Tadeusz -ASA - LM chapter

                         

                         s a diver

                         

                        From: Elaine Sedlack <esedlack@...>
                        To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 11:15 AM
                        Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                         

                         

                        I'm with Harold.  I used cottonseed meal on our Rhododendron/azalea collection in the UC Botanical Garden for about 5 years.  It was problematic for us.  First of all, it was a question of labor, which may not be an issue for a home gardener, but it was prohibitive to incorporate into the soil, or even water in given the size of the area - 3 1/2 acres.  Because of this, it mostly sat on top of the soil and got moldy.  I am sure that the nitrogen eventually broke down and became useable, but it is only 5% and the plants were declining more than growing until we switched to a 10-18-10 slow release formula. 

                         

                        Also, it did attract raccoons and voles, both a big nuisance.  Now I am wondering about our root weevil problem.

                         

                        We grow around 400 species of rhododendrons and azaleas, not cultivars, and many get homesick for the high mountains of the Himalayas when grown at our latitude.  They need extra nitrogen here.  I have heard that in the northwest less artificial fertilizer is necessary (at UBC, in particular. Of course, this is close to the climate they experience in the wild).  In southern California I expect that the number of species or cultivars which will survive the heat - aside from satsukis which love it - is relatively small.  This is not really relevant, except to  say that when a plant is growing outside its comfort zone it is important to consider its needs in this respect.

                         

                        Elaine  

                         

                         

                         

                         

                        From: George Klump <mixturev@...>
                        To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Tue, July 31, 2012 11:57:20 PM
                        Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                         

                        31 July 2012

                        Bill,

                        My home is two blocks from the San Gabriel Mountains, a chain which runs about 150 miles west to east here in Southern California reaching altitudes in some places of 9,000 feet and even higher.  [I think Mt. Baldy is over 10,000 feet high.]  We have coyotes running around regularly during the hot summer nights.  They have a den a short distance down the street behind the check dam.  Party animals, they are!  We have deer coming down out of the mountains sometimes.  We've had a number of bears running around people's houses this spring looking for more food or whatever they can find.  We have mountain lions and an occasional bobcat roaming the mountains regularly and we have a sign posted permanently up the street from me warning about mountain lions in the vicinity regularly.  This can be real trouble for unprepared hikers.

                        I've been using cottonseed meal for years on all my plants, Ericacae and otherwise, and have never had a problem of any kind.  Actually, I can truthfully tell you that the soil is healthier for it, as it tends to promote favorable microbes in the soil, microbes which spend their time converting normal soil nutrients into water soluble forms which the feeder roots of the plants can utilize.  I believe one gentleman on this line wrote a year or two ago of studies fairly recently done in Ohio, maybe the University of Cincinnati or a similar place, which showed that the use of cottonseed meal around plants tended to promote favorable mychorizza in the soil.  Maybe the university researchers got that all wrong!  

                        As for rodents or deer, never!  And I have both roses and azaleas out in the front near the street where any deer who is of a mind to can feast happily to his heart's content.  This has never happened in 35 years here.  What about snails/slugs in the garden?  We noted last year that we have not had those varmints around here for probably 25 years.  Don't know why, just that it's true.  My soil tends to be fairly weed free except for two times each year, e.g. late April/May and early November, when the weeds begin to spring up again.  But, then, I'm right by the mountains with much of my soil decomposed granite.  And a good hoe usually discourages them for months at a time. 

                        I can only say that I've been using cottonseed meal more or less exclusively for years and my plants love it.  I only fertilize them three times annually as I've indicated to Jean.  The plants look as healthy as any plants can ever be expected to look.  Tom Nuccio uses cottonseed meal, too, and he's got about 10 acres of camellias and azaleas [and a few other vireya types in the back].  Nuccio's Nurseries are internationally known for their camellias and azaleas.  They have a huge assortment of Satsuki's some of which they've gotten from some Japanese specialists in one case of which I'm aware from a special island which is about an hour's ride by motor launch just to get to the island.  Certain of Tom's plants grow only there and he got them courtesy of one of his Japanese botanist friends.  So far the cottonseed meal he uses keeps his plants smiling.   What can I say?

                        GK 





                        On 7/31/2012 9:49 PM, Harold Greer wrote:

                         

                        Yes, it does attract insects and who knows what else.  I remember a case where every plant with cottonseed meal was full of root weevil grubs, but there were none on the plants not fertilized by cottonseed meal.

                         

                        Harold Greer

                         

                        From: azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of William C. Miller III
                        Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 7:26 PM
                        To: ASA Mail List
                        Subject: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                         

                         

                        George,

                        Does cottonseed meal attract rodents or deer?

                        Bill

                        -- 
                          
                          
                          

                         

                         

                         

                         

                      • George Klump
                        ... On 8/2/2012 6:43 AM, Elaine Sedlack wrote:   Ditto to this.   I have been thinking of all the variables of everyone s different microcllimates and
                        Message 11 of 16 , Aug 2, 2012
                        • 0 Attachment
                          On 8/2/2012 6:43 AM, Elaine Sedlack wrote:  
                          Ditto to this.
                           
                          I have been thinking of all the variables of everyone's different microcllimates and zones, and how they add to the complexity and challenge of scientific studies.  I don't think of our exchanges as incendiary, just experiential input, which is the benefit of this site, and then trying to extrapolate and apply what works for you in your situation.  I apologize if I have appeared to be dictating the 'right' way of doing things.  It is just my way, developed after around 30 years experience in the place where I work.  
                           
                          Where I garden, I like to mix the organic with the synthetic fertilizers. This is how they do best here, given the age of the plants (many over 80 years and in decline on clay soil), therefore I am unable to cultivate under these older plants, just to keep them mulched.  I think what we all have in common is we like to see the plants growing well. 
                           
                          Cheers!
                          Elaine 
                           
                           


                          From: Harold Greer <hgreer@...>
                          To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                          Sent: Wed, August 1, 2012 8:38:56 PM
                          Subject: RE: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                           

                          George and others,

                           

                          My comments against Cottonseed meal do not mean I think it is terrible, just that there are better, cheaper and faster ways to get the same result.  If it is cheap,  available to you and works that is fine.  I just have not found it the best method of supplying nutrients to plants in the nearly 60 years I have been growing rhododendrons.  As I said if it works for you use it. 

                          "Yes, it does attract insects and who knows what else.  I remember a case where very plant with cottonseed meal was full of root weevil grubs, but there were none on the plants not fertilized by cottonseed meal."  It was sentences like this one which threw me.  I took it for what it said.  You meant something else? 
                          An example of something I use is ground up tree limbs from a local tree service.  He does not bring me chips from diseased trees, but good growing trees that he trims.  It is not as good as fir bark, but far cheaper and with just a little more nitrogen, it grows just as good of plants.

                           The same goes for rooting plants.  We have different method and they may all work.  From my point of view, I want to produce a saleable plant as fast as possible, but on the other hand I want to sell a plant that grows for the customer.  I will say some production nurseries produce plants that never see a day without proper nutrient level  and have never allowed a pathogen to come close to any plant.  These plants often die when they reach the “real” world.  These plants are often sold by the “big box” stores and on tome of that often these stores sell plants not hardy to the area.  I see lots of plants sold here in Zone 8 that are really Zone 10 plants.  I quite understand this, Harold, and I thought at the time you may need to push your plants a bit more because you are in the retail nursery business and, as you have noted here, have to produce a saleable plant as fast as possible.  Not a thing wrong with that.  Ground up tree limbs will work in the soil perfectly well.  My understanding of this technique is that the decomposition of the wood chips functions effectively as an anti-phytophthora mechanism, since the organism which decomposes the wood into cellulose is a predator of the phytophthora organism.  That's why I suggest shredded redwood bark in the general planting mixture we use here. 

                          It seems to me that soil conditions are about as important as anything.  Elaine is commenting on 80-year old plants in clay soil which are beginning to fade [80 years and in decline on clay soil].  That's why we recommend using gypsum [calcium sulphate] for clay soils.  Twice annually, say, spring and autumn, spread liberaly over the soil [maybe a 1/4-inch where needed] does wonders for drainage and allows air to get down to the roots so favorable microbes can proliferate.  I've found over the years that, if the soil is so tightly packed that oxygen cannot penetrate it to the root zone at least, then, gypsum will do the trick of opening that up.  Then, we add some perlite to the shredded bark and we have a winner for the plants.  The perlite is very angular and open spaces form on the edges of it and that's good for water to drain through and oxygen to penetrate.  I have one small place where some clay soil exists on my lot, where a pathway goes through to the back.  There's no grass, just dirt.  During a rain the pathway can flood easily and the water will sit there.  However, a little gypsum in that area takes care of it for a long time. . . .and gypsum is cheap. 

                          George E. Klump

                          Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA

                           

                           

                          So use the Cottonseed meal if it works for you.

                           

                          Harold Greer – current temperature 73°F  

                           

                          From: azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of George Klump
                          Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 8:06 PM
                          To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                          Cc: John Migas
                          Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                           

                           

                          1 August 2012

                          John, Tadeusz, Elaine, Bill et all,

                          Holy Moley!  It was hardly my intention to instigate such a conflagration over the use of cottonseed meal.  It's just what I happen to use because it brings about such excellent results, when used consistently.  What I wrote about my use of cottonseed meal is exactly what I do and is what I suggested to a lady who recently wrote in and lives between Houston and Galveston, Texas, an area with which I am quite familiar.  It is true, as suggested below here by John, that immediate results do not occur, but in one sense this is perfectly okay, since I'm trying to grow plants normally, not shock them artificially. 

                          Years ago I found that cottonseed meal tends to do positive things for the soil, e.g. promoting positive microbial action underground.  On the other hand chemical fertilizers tended to run microbes out of town, though they did some other things for the plants, sometimes in a big hurry.  To the impatient this was sufficient payback, though again long range effects were not always desirable, especially where the question of soil health might be involved.

                          A year or two ago it seems to me that someone back in the midwest wrote of some research which was done or being done, I thought, back in Ohio, possibly the University of Cincinnati or some other school in Ohio.  The gist of it was that they had been working with cottonseed meal in various soils [sans molasses, of course] and the results tended to indicate a measurable increase in mychorizza in the soil which in turn increased the fertility of the soil and therefore benefited the plants. 

                          Whether or not one uses a chemical fertilizer or something like cottonseed meal, varmints will attack plants regardless.  There's spider mites, snails/slugs, mealy bugs, lace bugs, and probably 10,000 other varmint variants including hungry galloping grasshoppers.  Fish meal, urea and all the rest should work just as well, though I prefer urea to be used on grass, since the urea available to me was a 45.0.0 NPK.  Fish meal works well but in the larger amounts necessary in my garden tends to come off sort of like a skunk in a perfume factory.  Therefore cottonseed meal: it's quiet and unobtrusive, the plants love it, especially the second and third time around. 

                          In my climate I recommended Easter, Fourth of July and Labor Day with reservations, i.e. if freezing temperatures are still around at any given Easter, just wait a tad till they're safely past.  If freezes tend to come in September or early October, back up the Labor Day time two weeks or so.  It's that simple.  I merely use Easter, Fourth of July and Labor Day because those dates are easy to remember and I don't have any freezes to speak of here.  As for it being labor intensive, Tom Nuccio uses it for his entire nursery, all 10+ acres of it, camellias, azaleas and some experimental plants from Asia.  We get it done here on my little plot, some 110 plants in the Ericacae category plus camellias and other innocent bystanders, e.g. hibiscus. 

                          Please note that if you fertilize today and don't water it in till next week or water it
                          one or two times in the next few weeks or wait for it to rain, the fertilizer won't work.
                          Remember to read the label for proper use.

                          Good advice, John.

                          George E. Klump
                          Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA       










                          On 8/1/2012 2:07 PM, John Migas wrote:

                           

                          Hi all,

                           

                          Here in Michigan I have used cottenseed meal for years. Charlie Mann used it, Tony Shammarello used it, it's recommended in most of the old books, and it works

                          wonders. Someone did comment that today there are many more fertilizers made available for us to use, which is an excellent point.

                           

                          My experience with almost every fertilizer that I have used, whether it is organic,

                          granular, liquid, whatever it be, the results are not instant. Most fertilized plants

                          look excellent the following year. Now that's not saying that if you fertilized today,

                          and watered in in as recommended, you wouldn't see a change in a month or so.

                          Liquid fertilizer is about the quickest fix, but in the northern part of the country,

                          DON"T fertilize after the 4th of July, or should I say that if you can get a frost in September, don't fertilize late in the year.

                           

                          The question of animals and cottonseed meal was raised. Here in Michigan you can purchase cottonseed meal two ways, coated with molasses or not. This could be a great article for the Azalean on fertilizers, but the Co-op's sell cottonseed meal coated to trigger the farm animals to eat it.

                           

                          It's possible that if you have critters eating your cottonseed meal, it may be coated

                          with molasses which is not intended for plant fertilizer. Get the stuff that is not coated which is recommended for plants.

                           

                          To re-iterate what I have said, here in Michigan I use cottonseed meal along with

                          just about every possible azalea fertilizer available in Michigan and they all work.

                          I'm a bit frugal so I usually buy what is on sale. Some of my best results for my plants in containers is a combination of Ironite, Hollytone, and some sort of granular

                          azalea/rhody food, a triple play which usually covers it all.

                           

                          Please note that if you fertilize today and don't water it in till next week or water it

                          one or two times in the next few weeks or wait for it to rain, the fertilizer won't work.

                          Remember to read the label for proper use.

                           

                          Good luck and keep watering.................John Migas(western Michigan)

                           

                           

                           

                          From: Tadeusz Dauksza <iltkyao@...>
                          To: "azaleas@yahoogroups.com" <azaleas@yahoogroups.com>
                          Cc: "esedlack@..." <esedlack@...>
                          Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 1:31 PM
                          Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                           

                           

                          Elaine-- 

                           

                           I,ve used Cottonseed meal for my Azaleas and Rhodies (very few Rhodies)  since I joined the ARS back in 1997---  i have never ever had any problems with any critters being attracted to the use of the Cottonseed meal--  In my garden vicinity we have possums, racoons, skunks, voles, 9 banded ground squirrels , coyotes , and numerous bird species yet I have never ever seen those critters as being "only" attracted to anything in my garden-- I do try to keep my garden as much "balanced" as I can---  I abhor the use of pesticide, insecticide, etc--  and thus Cottonseed meal will stay in my garden-- its from a "natural"  plant that we all carry on our bodies as well . 

                           

                          I would love to see any scientific "papers" on this subject -- no hearsay .

                           

                          With respect

                           

                          Tadeusz -ASA - LM chapter

                           


                          (Message over 64 KB, truncated)

                        • Harold Greer
                          George, I am still not an advocate of cottonseed meal, I just said my experience with it with root weevils was not good. I am sure that will not always
                          Message 12 of 16 , Aug 2, 2012
                          • 0 Attachment

                            George,

                             

                            I am still not an advocate of cottonseed meal,  I just said my experience with it with root weevils was not good.  I am sure that will not always happen.

                             

                            Your advice about gypsum is good.  I should use it more in our soil.  One word of advice though for rhododendrons, don’t use it with about 1% Boron mixed in.  Years ago, I got some that way by mistake, and put it on some rhododendrons and burned the foliage badly.  There are still pictures floating around that show some of those plants since those pictures were published in a rhododendron booklet.  Gypsum may not be available with Boron anymore, but at one time it was used on walnut trees in the west.  On the Genus Rhododendron Boron is only needed in less than 1/100 or so of one percent or maybe less.

                             

                            Harold

                             

                             

                             

                            From: azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of George Klump
                            Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2012 3:09 PM
                            To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                            Cc: Elaine Sedlack
                            Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                             

                             

                            On 8/2/2012 6:43 AM, Elaine Sedlack wrote:

                             

                            Ditto to this.

                             

                            I have been thinking of all the variables of everyone's different microcllimates and zones, and how they add to the complexity and challenge of scientific studies.  I don't think of our exchanges as incendiary, just experiential input, which is the benefit of this site, and then trying to extrapolate and apply what works for you in your situation.  I apologize if I have appeared to be dictating the 'right' way of doing things.  It is just my way, developed after around 30 years experience in the place where I work.  

                             

                            Where I garden, I like to mix the organic with the synthetic fertilizers. This is how they do best here, given the age of the plants (many over 80 years and in decline on clay soil), therefore I am unable to cultivate under these older plants, just to keep them mulched.  I think what we all have in common is we like to see the plants growing well. 

                             

                            Cheers!

                            Elaine 

                             

                             

                             


                            From: Harold Greer <hgreer@...>
                            To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Wed, August 1, 2012 8:38:56 PM
                            Subject: RE: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                             

                            George and others,

                             

                            My comments against Cottonseed meal do not mean I think it is terrible, just that there are better, cheaper and faster ways to get the same result.  If it is cheap,  available to you and works that is fine.  I just have not found it the best method of supplying nutrients to plants in the nearly 60 years I have been growing rhododendrons.  As I said if it works for you use it. 

                            "Yes, it does attract insects and who knows what else.  I remember a case where very plant with cottonseed meal was full of root weevil grubs, but there were none on the plants not fertilized by cottonseed meal."  It was sentences like this one which threw me.  I took it for what it said.  You meant something else? 

                            An example of something I use is ground up tree limbs from a local tree service.  He does not bring me chips from diseased trees, but good growing trees that he trims.  It is not as good as fir bark, but far cheaper and with just a little more nitrogen, it grows just as good of plants.

                             The same goes for rooting plants.  We have different method and they may all work.  From my point of view, I want to produce a saleable plant as fast as possible, but on the other hand I want to sell a plant that grows for the customer.  I will say some production nurseries produce plants that never see a day without proper nutrient level  and have never allowed a pathogen to come close to any plant.  These plants often die when they reach the “real” world.  These plants are often sold by the “big box” stores and on tome of that often these stores sell plants not hardy to the area.  I see lots of plants sold here in Zone 8 that are really Zone 10 plants.  I quite understand this, Harold, and I thought at the time you may need to push your plants a bit more because you are in the retail nursery business and, as you have noted here, have to produce a saleable plant as fast as possible.  Not a thing wrong with that.  Ground up tree limbs will work in the soil perfectly well.  My understanding of this technique is that the decomposition of the wood chips functions effectively as an anti-phytophthora mechanism, since the organism which decomposes the wood into cellulose is a predator of the phytophthora organism.  That's why I suggest shredded redwood bark in the general planting mixture we use here. 

                            It seems to me that soil conditions are about as important as anything.  Elaine is commenting on 80-year old plants in clay soil which are beginning to fade [80 years and in decline on clay soil].  That's why we recommend using gypsum [calcium sulphate] for clay soils.  Twice annually, say, spring and autumn, spread liberaly over the soil [maybe a 1/4-inch where needed] does wonders for drainage and allows air to get down to the roots so favorable microbes can proliferate.  I've found over the years that, if the soil is so tightly packed that oxygen cannot penetrate it to the root zone at least, then, gypsum will do the trick of opening that up.  Then, we add some perlite to the shredded bark and we have a winner for the plants.  The perlite is very angular and open spaces form on the edges of it and that's good for water to drain through and oxygen to penetrate.  I have one small place where some clay soil exists on my lot, where a pathway goes through to the back.  There's no grass, just dirt.  During a rain the pathway can flood easily and the water will sit there.  However, a little gypsum in that area takes care of it for a long time. . . .and gypsum is cheap. 

                            George E. Klump

                            Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA

                             

                             

                            So use the Cottonseed meal if it works for you.

                             

                            Harold Greer – current temperature 73°F  

                             

                            From: azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of George Klump
                            Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 8:06 PM
                            To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                            Cc: John Migas
                            Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                             

                             

                            1 August 2012

                            John, Tadeusz, Elaine, Bill et all,

                            Holy Moley!  It was hardly my intention to instigate such a conflagration over the use of cottonseed meal.  It's just what I happen to use because it brings about such excellent results, when used consistently.  What I wrote about my use of cottonseed meal is exactly what I do and is what I suggested to a lady who recently wrote in and lives between Houston and Galveston, Texas, an area with which I am quite familiar.  It is true, as suggested below here by John, that immediate results do not occur, but in one sense this is perfectly okay, since I'm trying to grow plants normally, not shock them artificially. 

                            Years ago I found that cottonseed meal tends to do positive things for the soil, e.g. promoting positive microbial action underground.  On the other hand chemical fertilizers tended to run microbes out of town, though they did some other things for the plants, sometimes in a big hurry.  To the impatient this was sufficient payback, though again long range effects were not always desirable, especially where the question of soil health might be involved.

                            A year or two ago it seems to me that someone back in the midwest wrote of some research which was done or being done, I thought, back in Ohio, possibly the University of Cincinnati or some other school in Ohio.  The gist of it was that they had been working with cottonseed meal in various soils [sans molasses, of course] and the results tended to indicate a measurable increase in mychorizza in the soil which in turn increased the fertility of the soil and therefore benefited the plants. 

                            Whether or not one uses a chemical fertilizer or something like cottonseed meal, varmints will attack plants regardless.  There's spider mites, snails/slugs, mealy bugs, lace bugs, and probably 10,000 other varmint variants including hungry galloping grasshoppers.  Fish meal, urea and all the rest should work just as well, though I prefer urea to be used on grass, since the urea available to me was a 45.0.0 NPK.  Fish meal works well but in the larger amounts necessary in my garden tends to come off sort of like a skunk in a perfume factory.  Therefore cottonseed meal: it's quiet and unobtrusive, the plants love it, especially the second and third time around. 

                            In my climate I recommended Easter, Fourth of July and Labor Day with reservations, i.e. if freezing temperatures are still around at any given Easter, just wait a tad till they're safely past.  If freezes tend to come in September or early October, back up the Labor Day time two weeks or so.  It's that simple.  I merely use Easter, Fourth of July and Labor Day because those dates are easy to remember and I don't have any freezes to speak of here.  As for it being labor intensive, Tom Nuccio uses it for his entire nursery, all 10+ acres of it, camellias, azaleas and some experimental plants from Asia.  We get it done here on my little plot, some 110 plants in the Ericacae category plus camellias and other innocent bystanders, e.g. hibiscus. 

                            Please note that if you fertilize today and don't water it in till next week or water it
                            one or two times in the next few weeks or wait for it to rain, the fertilizer won't work.
                            Remember to read the label for proper use.

                            Good advice, John.

                            George E. Klump
                            Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA       










                            On 8/1/2012 2:07 PM, John Migas wrote:

                             

                            Hi all,

                             

                            Here in Michigan I have used cottenseed meal for years. Charlie Mann used it, Tony Shammarello used it, it's recommended in most of the old books, and it works

                            wonders. Someone did comment that today there are many more fertilizers made available for us to use, which is an excellent point.

                             

                            My experience with almost every fertilizer that I have used, whether it is organic,

                            granular, liquid, whatever it be, the results are not instant. Most fertilized plants

                            look excellent the following year. Now that's not saying that if you fertilized today,

                            and watered in in as recommended, you wouldn't see a change in a month or so.

                            Liquid fertilizer is about the quickest fix, but in the northern part of the country,

                            DON"T fertilize after the 4th of July, or should I say that if you can get a frost in September, don't fertilize late in the year.

                             

                            The question of animals and cottonseed meal was raised. Here in Michigan you can purchase cottonseed meal two ways, coated with molasses or not. This could be a great article for the Azalean on fertilizers, but the Co-op's sell cottonseed meal coated to trigger the farm animals to eat it.

                             

                            It's possible that if you have critters eating your cottonseed meal, it may be coated

                            with molasses which is not intended for plant fertilizer. Get the stuff that is not coated which is recommended for plants.

                             

                            To re-iterate what I have said, here in Michigan I use cottonseed meal along with

                            just about every possible azalea fertilizer available in Michigan and they all work.

                            I'm a bit frugal so I usually buy what is on sale. Some of my best results for my plants in containers is a combination of Ironite, Hollytone, and some sort of granular

                            azalea/rhody food, a triple play which usually covers it all.

                             

                            Please note that if you fertilize today and don't water it in till next week or water it

                            one or two times in the next few weeks or wait for it to rain, the fertilizer won't work.

                            Remember to read the label for proper use.

                             

                            Good luck and keep watering.................John Migas(western Michigan)

                             

                             

                             

                            From: Tadeusz Dauksza <iltkyao@...>
                            To: "azaleas@yahoogroups.com" <azaleas@yahoogroups.com>
                            Cc: "esedlack@..." <esedlack@...>
                            Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 1:31 PM
                            Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                             

                             

                            Elaine-- 

                             

                             I,ve used Cottonseed meal for my Azaleas and Rhodies (very few Rhodies)  since I joined the ARS back in 1997---  i have never ever had any problems with any critters being attracted to the use of the Cottonseed meal--  In my garden vicinity we have possums, racoons, skunks, voles, 9 banded ground squirrels , coyotes , and numerous bird species yet I have never ever seen those critters as being "only" attracted to anything in my garden-- I do try to keep my garden as much "balanced" as I can---  I abhor the use of pesticide, insecticide, etc--  and thus Cottonseed meal will stay in my garden-- its from a "natural"  plant that we all carry on our bodies as well . 

                             

                            I would love to see any scientific "papers" on this subject -- no hearsay .

                             

                            With respect

                             

                            Tadeusz -ASA - LM chapter

                             

                             s a diver

                             

                            From: Elaine Sedlack <esedlack@...>
                            To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 11:15 AM
                            Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                             

                             

                            I'm with Harold.  I used cottonseed meal on our Rhododendron/azalea collection in the UC Botanical Garden for about 5 years.  It was problematic for us.  First of all, it was a question of labor, which may not be an issue for a home gardener, but it was prohibitive to incorporate into the soil, or even water in given the size of the area - 3 1/2 acres.  Because of this, it mostly sat on top of the soil and got moldy.  I am sure that the nitrogen eventually broke down and became useable, but it is only 5% and the plants were declining more than growing until we switched to a 10-18-10 slow release formula. 

                             

                            Also, it did attract raccoons and voles, both a big nuisance.  Now I am wondering about our root weevil problem.

                             

                            We grow around 400 species of rhododendrons and azaleas, not cultivars, and many get homesick for the high mountains of the Himalayas when grown at our latitude.  They need extra nitrogen here.  I have heard that in the northwest less artificial fertilizer is necessary (at UBC, in particular. Of course, this is close to the climate they experience in the wild).  In southern California I expect that the number of species or cultivars which will survive the heat - aside from satsukis which love it - is relatively small.  This is not really relevant, except to  say that when a plant is growing outside its comfort zone it is important to consider its needs in this respect.

                             

                            Elaine  

                             

                             

                             

                             

                            From: George Klump <mixturev@...>
                            To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Tue, July 31, 2012 11:57:20 PM
                            Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                             

                            31 July 2012

                            Bill,

                            My home is two blocks from the San Gabriel Mountains, a chain which runs about 150 miles west to east here in Southern California reaching altitudes in some places of 9,000 feet and even higher.  [I think Mt. Baldy is over 10,000 feet high.]  We have coyotes running around regularly during the hot summer nights.  They have a den a short distance down the street behind the check dam.  Party animals, they are!  We have deer coming down out of the mountains sometimes.  We've had a number of bears running around people's houses this spring looking for more food or whatever they can find.  We have mountain lions and an occasional bobcat roaming the mountains regularly and we have a sign posted permanently up the street from me warning about mountain lions in the vicinity regularly.  This can be real trouble for unprepared hikers.

                            I've been using cottonseed meal for years on all my plants, Ericacae and otherwise, and have never had a problem of any kind.  Actually, I can truthfully tell you that the soil is healthier for it, as it tends to promote favorable microbes in the soil, microbes which spend their time converting normal soil nutrients into water soluble forms which the feeder roots of the plants can utilize.  I believe one gentleman on this line wrote a year or two ago of studies fairly recently done in Ohio, maybe the University of Cincinnati or a similar place, which showed that the use of cottonseed meal around plants tended to promote favorable mychorizza in the soil.  Maybe the university researchers got that all wrong!  

                            As for rodents or deer, never!  And I have both roses and azaleas out in the front near the street where any deer who is of a mind to can feast happily to his heart's content.  This has never happened in 35 years here.  What about snails/slugs in the garden?  We noted last year that we have not had those varmints around here for probably 25 years.  Don't know why, just that it's true.  My soil tends to be fairly weed free except for two times each year, e.g. late April/May and early November, when the weeds begin to spring up again.  But, then, I'm right by the mountains with much of my soil decomposed granite.  And a good hoe usually discourages them for months at a time. 

                            I can only say that I've been using cottonseed meal more or less exclusively for years and my plants love it.  I only fertilize them three times annually as I've indicated to Jean.  The plants look as healthy as any plants can ever be expected to look.  Tom Nuccio uses cottonseed meal, too, and he's got about 10 acres of camellias and azaleas [and a few other vireya types in the back].  Nuccio's Nurseries are internationally known for their camellias and azaleas.  They have a huge assortment of Satsuki's some of which they've gotten from some Japanese specialists in one case of which I'm aware from a special island which is about an hour's ride by motor launch just to get to the island.  Certain of Tom's plants grow only there and he got them courtesy of one of his Japanese botanist friends.  So far the cottonseed meal he uses keeps his plants smiling.   What can I say?

                            GK 





                            On 7/31/2012 9:49 PM, Harold Greer wrote:

                             

                            Yes, it does attract insects and who knows what else.  I remember a case where every plant with cottonseed meal was full of root weevil grubs, but there were none on the plants not fertilized by cottonseed meal.

                             

                            Harold Greer

                             

                            From: azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of William C. Miller III
                            Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 7:26 PM
                            To: ASA Mail List
                            Subject: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                             

                             

                            George,

                            Does cottonseed meal attract rodents or deer?

                            Bill

                            -- 
                              
                              
                              

                             

                             

                             

                             

                             

                          • George Klump
                            ... On 8/2/2012 10:04 PM, Harold Greer wrote:   George,   I am still not an advocate of cottonseed meal,  I just said my experience with it with root
                            Message 13 of 16 , Aug 2, 2012
                            • 0 Attachment
                              On 8/2/2012 10:04 PM, Harold Greer wrote:  

                              George,

                               

                              I am still not an advocate of cottonseed meal,  I just said my experience with it with root weevils was not good.  I am sure that will not always happen.  Is the soil there prone to root weevils?  I would suspect that they are around here in someone's soil someplace, but they have not shown up here.  Of course, I have a 24-hour guard posted at each corner of the property. On a slightly different subject area, but the same idea, we used to have to lay down diazenon for grub worms in San Augustine grass in Texas.  The grass grew beautifully and would take traffic with no real problem.  But laying out the diazenon twice, usually once in mid-June and about six weeks later again in August could be a pain.  The moth that laid the eggs was very hard to spot.  Here San Augustine grows beautifully with no grub worms at all of which I'm aware, though most people use some form of Bermuda which I, personally, do not think looks as well as San Augustine.  Makes me think that some bugs are specific to some areas and not to others.   

                               

                              Your advice about gypsum is good.  I should use it more in our soil.  One word of advice though for rhododendrons, don’t use it with about 1% Boron mixed in.  Years ago, I got some that way by mistake, and put it on some rhododendrons and burned the foliage badly.  There are still pictures floating around that show some of those plants since those pictures were published in a rhododendron booklet.  Gypsum may not be available with Boron anymore, but at one time it was used on walnut trees in the west.  On the Genus Rhododendron Boron is only needed in less than 1/100 or so of one percent or maybe less.     To my knowledge there is no significant boron, even as an impurity, in the gypsum available here.  If there was, friends of mine in other areas of Los Angeles County who must use it would be burning plants like mad.  About three decades ago there was a real problem with boron up near Ventura to the extent that it was adversely affecting commercial orchards, particularly avocados.  That was eventually traced to a high boron content [maybe 4% or 5%, I'm not sure] in the water.  I believe it was discovered that some of that came from their own water which had been contaminated over the years by the use of too much fertilizer in some of the orchards, fertilizer which contained boron at some level.  It leached into the acquifers eventually.  Then, the Colorado River water brought in didn't help either, since it sometimes had a fair boron content and would compound the felony.  They got that problem solved years ago.  I use boric acid as powder or crystals in a foliar feeding mixture I make up.  It increases blooming about 40% to 50% and can be applied anytime to the leaves.  The boron appears to be necessary to assist in the translocation of carbohydrates from the leaves to the root zone.  Don't know what the chemical mechanism is, but it works and saves the plant the effort of expending energy in the photosynthesis process.  That energy converts itself into the production of flowers.  George   

                               

                              Harold

                               

                               

                               

                              From: azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of George Klump
                              Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2012 3:09 PM
                              To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                              Cc: Elaine Sedlack
                              Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                               

                               

                              On 8/2/2012 6:43 AM, Elaine Sedlack wrote:

                               

                              Ditto to this.

                               

                              I have been thinking of all the variables of everyone's different microcllimates and zones, and how they add to the complexity and challenge of scientific studies.  I don't think of our exchanges as incendiary, just experiential input, which is the benefit of this site, and then trying to extrapolate and apply what works for you in your situation.  I apologize if I have appeared to be dictating the 'right' way of doing things.  It is just my way, developed after around 30 years experience in the place where I work.  

                               

                              Where I garden, I like to mix the organic with the synthetic fertilizers. This is how they do best here, given the age of the plants (many over 80 years and in decline on clay soil), therefore I am unable to cultivate under these older plants, just to keep them mulched.  I think what we all have in common is we like to see the plants growing well. 

                               

                              Cheers!

                              Elaine 

                               

                               

                               


                              From: Harold Greer <hgreer@...>
                              To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Wed, August 1, 2012 8:38:56 PM
                              Subject: RE: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                               

                              George and others,

                               

                              My comments against Cottonseed meal do not mean I think it is terrible, just that there are better, cheaper and faster ways to get the same result.  If it is cheap,  available to you and works that is fine.  I just have not found it the best method of supplying nutrients to plants in the nearly 60 years I have been growing rhododendrons.  As I said if it works for you use it. 

                              "Yes, it does attract insects and who knows what else.  I remember a case where very plant with cottonseed meal was full of root weevil grubs, but there were none on the plants not fertilized by cottonseed meal."  It was sentences like this one which threw me.  I took it for what it said.  You meant something else? 

                              An example of something I use is ground up tree limbs from a local tree service.  He does not bring me chips from diseased trees, but good growing trees that he trims.  It is not as good as fir bark, but far cheaper and with just a little more nitrogen, it grows just as good of plants.

                               The same goes for rooting plants.  We have different method and they may all work.  From my point of view, I want to produce a saleable plant as fast as possible, but on the other hand I want to sell a plant that grows for the customer.  I will say some production nurseries produce plants that never see a day without proper nutrient level  and have never allowed a pathogen to come close to any plant.  These plants often die when they reach the “real” world.  These plants are often sold by the “big box” stores and on tome of that often these stores sell plants not hardy to the area.  I see lots of plants sold here in Zone 8 that are really Zone 10 plants.  I quite understand this, Harold, and I thought at the time you may need to push your plants a bit more because you are in the retail nursery business and, as you have noted here, have to produce a saleable plant as fast as possible.  Not a thing wrong with that.  Ground up tree limbs will work in the soil perfectly well.  My understanding of this technique is that the decomposition of the wood chips functions effectively as an anti-phytophthora mechanism, since the organism which decomposes the wood into cellulose is a predator of the phytophthora organism.  That's why I suggest shredded redwood bark in the general planting mixture we use here. 

                              It seems to me that soil conditions are about as important as anything.  Elaine is commenting on 80-year old plants in clay soil which are beginning to fade [80 years and in decline on clay soil].  That's why we recommend using gypsum [calcium sulphate] for clay soils.  Twice annually, say, spring and autumn, spread liberaly over the soil [maybe a 1/4-inch where needed] does wonders for drainage and allows air to get down to the roots so favorable microbes can proliferate.  I've found over the years that, if the soil is so tightly packed that oxygen cannot penetrate it to the root zone at least, then, gypsum will do the trick of opening that up.  Then, we add some perlite to the shredded bark and we have a winner for the plants.  The perlite is very angular and open spaces form on the edges of it and that's good for water to drain through and oxygen to penetrate.  I have one small place where some clay soil exists on my lot, where a pathway goes through to the back.  There's no grass, just dirt.  During a rain the pathway can flood easily and the water will sit there.  However, a little gypsum in that area takes care of it for a long time. . . .and gypsum is cheap. 

                              George E. Klump

                              Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA

                               

                               

                              So use the Cottonseed meal if it works for you.

                               

                              Harold Greer – current temperature 73°F  

                               

                              From: azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of George Klump
                              Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 8:06 PM
                              To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
                              Cc: John Migas
                              Subject: Re: [AZ] Cottonseed meal

                               

                               

                              1 August 2012

                              John, Tadeusz, Elaine, Bill et all,

                              Holy Moley!  It was hardly my intention to instigate such a conflagration over the use of cottonseed meal.  It's just what I happen to use because it brings about such excellent results, when used consistently.  What I wrote about my use of cottonseed meal is exactly what I do and is what I suggested to a lady who recently wrote in and lives between Houston and Galveston, Texas, an area with which I am quite familiar.  It is true, as suggested below here by John, that immediate results do not occur, but in one sense this is perfectly okay, since I'm trying to grow plants normally, not shock them artificially. 

                              Years ago I found that cottonseed meal tends to do positive things for the soil, e.g. promoting positive microbial action underground.  On the other hand chemical fertilizers tended to run microbes out of town, though they did some other things for the plants, sometimes in a big hurry.  To the impatient this was sufficient payback, though again long range effects were not always desirable, especially where the question of soil health might be involved.

                              A year or two ago it seems to me that someone back in the midwest wrote of some research which was done or being done, I thought, back in Ohio, possibly the University of Cincinnati or some other school in Ohio.  The gist of it was that they had been working with cottonseed meal in various soils [sans molasses, of course] and the results tended to indicate a measurable increase in mychorizza in the soil which in turn increased the fertility of the soil and therefore benefited the plants. 

                              Whether or not one uses a chemical fertilizer or something like cottonseed meal, varmints will attack plants regardless.  There's spider mites, snails/slugs, mealy bugs, lace bugs, and probably 10,000 other varmint variants including hungry galloping grasshoppers.  Fish meal, urea and all the rest should work just as well, though I prefer urea to be used on grass, since the urea available to me was a 45.0.0 NPK.  Fish meal works well but in the larger amounts necessary in my garden tends to come off sort of like a skunk in a perfume factory.  Therefore cottonseed meal: it's quiet and unobtrusive, the plants love it, especially the second and third time around. 

                              In my climate I recommended Easter, Fourth of July and Labor Day with reservations, i.e. if freezing temperatures are still around at any given Easter, just wait a tad till they're safely past.  If freezes tend to come in September or early October, back up the Labor Day time two weeks or so.  It's that simple.  I merely use Easter, Fourth of July and Labor Day because those dates are easy to remember and I don't have any freezes to speak of here.  As for it being labor intensive, Tom Nuccio uses it for his entire nursery, all 10+ acres of it, camellias, azaleas and some experimental plants from Asia.  We get it done here on my little plot, some 110 plants in the Ericacae category plus camellias and other innocent bystanders, e.g. hibiscus. 

                              Please note that if you fertilize today and don't water it in till next week or water it
                              one or two times in the next few weeks or wait for it to rain, the fertilizer won't work.
                              Remember to read the label for proper use.

                              Good advice, John.

                              George E. Klump
                              Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA       










                              On 8/1/2012 2:07 PM, John Migas wrote:

                               

                              Hi all,

                               

                              Here in Michigan I have used cottenseed meal for years. Charlie Mann used it, Tony Shammarello used it, it's recommended in most of the old books, and it works

                              wonders. Someone did comment that today there are many more fertilizers made available for us to use, which is an excellent point.

                               

                              My experience with almost every fertilizer that I have used, whether it is organic,

                              granular, liquid, whatever it be, the results are not instant. Most fertilized plants

                              look excellent the following year. Now that's not saying that if you fertilized today,

                              and watered in in as recommended, you wouldn't see a change in a month or so.

                              Liquid fertilizer is about the quickest fix, but in the northern part of the country,

                              DON"T fertilize after the 4th of July, or should I say that if you can get a frost in September, don't fertilize late in the year.

                               

                              The question of animals and cottonseed meal was raised. Here in Michigan you can purchase cottonseed meal two ways, coated with molasses or not. This could be a great article for the Azalean on fertilizers, but the Co-op's sell cottonseed meal coated to trigger the farm animals to eat it.

                               

                              It's possible that if you have critters eating your cottonseed meal, it may be coated

                              with molasses which is not intended for plant fertilizer. Get the stuff that is not coated which is recommended for plants.

                               

                              To re-iterate what I have said, here in Michigan I use cottonseed meal along with

                              just about every possible azalea fertilizer available in Michigan and they all work.

                              I'm a bit frugal so I usually buy what is on sale. Some of my best results for my plants in containers is a combination of Ironite, Hollytone, and some sort of granular

                              azalea/rhody food, a triple play which usually covers it all.

                               

                              Please note that if you fertilize today and don't water it in till next week or water it

                              one or two times in the next few weeks or wait for it to rain, the fertilizer won't work.

                              Remember to read the label for proper use.

                               

                              Good luck and keep watering.................John

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