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Re: [AZ] RE: Deciduous Azaleas on Your 5-acre plot

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  • Larry Wallace
    Aluminum sulphate is a deadly poison to rhododendrons and other ericaceous plants ... Many nurseries here sell Al2 (SO4}3-6{H2O}. The bag recommends it for
    Message 1 of 17 , Mar 10, 2013
      "Aluminum sulphate is a deadly poison to rhododendrons and other ericaceous plants ..."

      Many nurseries here sell Al2 (SO4}3-6{H2O}.  The bag recommends it for Rhododendrons and Azaleas.  How do we stop it?

      --


      Larry Wallace
      Cincinnati

    • mike_threeshot
      Educates nurserymen. A good nursery place wouldn t even offer this for sale. ... From: Larry Wallace To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com Sent:
      Message 2 of 17 , Mar 10, 2013
        Educates nurserymen.  A good nursery place wouldn't even offer this for sale.


        From: "Larry Wallace" <UUallace@...>
        To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sunday, March 10, 2013 12:20:36 PM
        Subject: Re: [AZ] RE: Deciduous Azaleas on Your 5-acre plot

         

        "Aluminum sulphate is a deadly poison to rhododendrons and other ericaceous plants ..."


        Many nurseries here sell Al2 (SO4}3-6{H2O}.  The bag recommends it for Rhododendrons and Azaleas.  How do we stop it?

        --


        Larry Wallace
        Cincinnati

      • George Klump
        10 March 2013 Dear Ron, You are quite right here, at least in my experience. That s why I suggested soil sulphur to this lady. While it is a bit slower than
        Message 3 of 17 , Mar 10, 2013
          10 March 2013

          Dear Ron,

          You are quite right here, at least in my experience.  That's why I suggested soil sulphur to this lady.  While it is a bit slower than ammonium sulphate, it lasts quite a lot longer as far as its acidifying capabilities are concerned.  However, to be safe with a soil which is apparently just over the alkaline line, I suggested the sulphur be applied twice annually.

          As far as pine needles and all of that is concerned, it may make a nice mulch, but in the long run does nothing to affect the pH of the soil.  Some years ago various nurseries out here had a humus for sale in 25 lb. and 50 lb. bags. . . .the perfect thing for one's flower bed.  What many of these nurseries probably did not know was that this humus was effectively neutral in pH in many cases and in some instances it was actually a tad alkaline.  We hit upon the chunky spaghnum peat moss, since it was acidic and would last indefinitely in our soil.  [Mine is basically decomposed granite.]  We also found that the addition of perlite tended to break up the more clay-type soils so that water could penetrate better as well as oxygen.  Then, we found that shredded redwood bark added to this mixture worked perfectly for a number of reasons, e.g. discouraging varmints from coming around eating the plants and/or attacking the roots, since redwood bark probably decomposes more slowly than any other wood of which we're aware.  And at the same time some of the enzymes it emits in the decomposition process tend to keep unwanted bugs away in droves.  So we developed our mixture on an equal parts basis, i.e. 1 - 1 - 1 by volume.  I've done this for years with all of my plants, e.g. camellias, bougainville, hibiscus, etc. and it has worked like a charm.  The hydrogen ion is therefore active in releasing whatever native nutrients are in the soil into a water soluble form the little feeder roots can use and all is well.

          Funny thing, too, about this mixture and I noted it yesterday at our meeting.  For some reason it has eliminated snails and slugs from my garden where that used to be an annual problem. 

          George E. Klump
          Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA   




          On 3/9/2013 8:19 AM, Ron Rabideau wrote:
           

          Dear azalea group,

          This has nothing to do with George's comments, but I need to make a
          heretical comment and make something clear. It is often said that pine
          needles and other acidic mulches will lower the pH of soils. There is no
          scientific evidence of this! It is another one of those gardening myths
          that is passed around and around and around without anyone actually
          looking at the scientific evidence. Here is one study for example:
          http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/publications.htm?seq_no_115=223401
          There are others if one does some research.
          I have emails in to a couple experts in this field for further info.

          There is the possibility that in extremely sandy soils that have little to
          no buffering capacity organic acidic mulches and amendments could lower
          pH, but in general, no. In fact, some studies show just the opposite, that
          over time, these mulches can slightly raise the pH.

          Now, there are many other benefits to using these mulches for our plants
          but I'm keeping this strictly to their affect on pH.

          Ron Rabideau

          On Fri, 08 Mar 2013 17:02:49 -0500, George Klump <mixturev@...>
          wrote:

            Gentlemen,

            As you both see below, a 5-acre plot of deciduous azaleas is being taken
            care of by bureaucratic fiat. I responded to a personal e-mail from

          Kimberly Knox suggesting that, according to her description of the soil

          in which these azaleas are planted [pH c.7.0 or higher] and what the
            University Extension "soil scientist" said, I would expect real
            difficulty with the surviving plants before three years are up.

            Further, I augmented what Harold said about sulphur and suggested that
            the "soil scientist" evidently had no practical background with plants
            in general, since, other than desert conditions which are special, I
            knew of no plants of any kind which would grow well at all in an
            alkaline soil. Therefore in her situation soil sulphur was absolutely
            necessary probably twice annually, if they expected to see these plants
            survive.

            George E. Klump
            Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA







            On 3/8/2013 11:33 AM, bill butts wrote:
            This is curious. Where I live a large percentage of people have wells,
            and one of the minerals in the water is sulfur. I don't see how the
            sulfur will reach the drinking water, if you are applying small
            amounts at each plant.


            ----------------------------------------------------------
            *From:* Harold Greer <hgreer@...>
            *To:* azaleas@yahoogroups.com
            *Sent:* Friday, March 8, 2013 1:56 PM
            *Subject:* RE: [AZ] RE: Deciduous Azaleas on Your 5-acre plot

            I think the extension person is wrong about not needing sulfur and it
            won’t hurt drinking water. Are you say an “order” or “odor” problem?
            *From:*azaleas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com] *On
            Behalf Of *Knox, Kimberley
            *Sent:* Friday, March 08, 2013 7:14 AM
            *To:* George Klump; azaleas@yahoogroups.com
            *Subject:* [AZ] RE: Deciduous Azaleas on Your 5-acre plot
            Thank you, Mr. Klump.
            Since sulfur provides an order problem with drinking water, we can’t
            use sulfur right next to the reservoir. I did talk with one of soil
            scientists at our University Extension service and she said that as
            long as we applied the pine needles over a couple of years, she said
            that we didn’t need sulfur.
            Thank you again for your email.
            ----------------------------------------------------------
            *From:*George Klump [mailto:mixturev@...]
            *Sent:* Thursday, March 07, 2013 1:00 PM
            *To:* Knox, Kimberley; azaleas@yahoogroups.com
            <mailto:azaleas@yahoogroups.com>
            *Subject:* Deciduous Azaleas on Your 5-acre plot
            *Importance:* Low
            7 March 2013

            Kimberly,

            I would agree with Harold. Here is what he wrote: Harold Greer wrote:
            "You still need to add some sulfur and there is no reason it should
            pollute any drinking water supply."

            Soil sulphur is not going to contaminate anything, but it will acidify
            the soil for about six months at a time, though it is a bit slower
            acting than is ammonium sulphate. However, the latter will not last

          nearly as long as the soil sulphur will.

            The issue to be faced here is simple. The soil in which these 200
            deciduous azaleas were planted is nearly basic as you have said here.
            Hi, I work for a government agency that has a five acre azalea garden.
            In the fall of 2011, we planted 200 deciduous azaleas. A number of
            the azaleas didn’t make it. When I did a soil test, the soil’s pH was
            almost basic. Since the azaleas are next to a drinking water
            reservoir, I can’t put any chemicals on the azaleas to lower the pH.
            How effective would be using pine needles for mulch?
            (We couldn’t afford pine mulch. But we have plenty of pine needles
            from trees on our landscaped areas near several of our office
            buildings.)

            So the real question here is going to be something like this: Do you
            want the flowers or not? If you do, then, this is what you must do.
            Skip the government malarky and do what needs to be done here for the
            azaleas to be successful. They work perfectly well in acidic soil
            without government interference. If the soil pH is on the order of
            7.5, you have no choice. The soil will simply have to be acidified,
            else the money for the plants has been wasted completely.

            As Harold suggested early in the game here, some soil sulphur is going
            to _have_ to be put around the plants, else you will have nothing but
            trouble with them. The soil sulphur is not going to move away from
            the plants and it certainly will not contaminate the water reservoir.
            Along with the soil sulphur you might consider using a good spaghnum
            peat moss, the chunky kind, not the finely milled kind, putting it
            over the sulphur. It can be worked gently into the soil, if you
            wish. Tadeusz gave you a good suggestion there. I would follow wht
            both have suggested: 1] soil sulphur first, with 2] a good spaghnum

           peat moss over it. Beyond that there is nothing else to do.

            Oh, if the soil is basic in effect, it may not drain very well, since
            it may be a clay type of soil. Gypsum [calcium sulphate] spread
            liberally maybe in the spring and fall each year will break up the
            soil and provide the needed water drainage for the azaleas to prevent
            root rot from getting started. It will not change the soil pH at all,
            but will affect the porosity of it favorably. Phytophthora [root rot]
            is arguably the most dangerous single plant disease worldwide. Poor
            water drainage is a major factor in getting this started where the
            rhododendron family is concerned and azaleas are a genre of that
            family. You might want to look to that aspect, too.

            George E. Klump
            Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA










          --
          Ron Rabideau
          Camden, NJ
          Zone 7b


        • Steve Henning
          It would help if we could get extension services to stop recommending aluminum sulfate on everything and even warn against it. Then we could get the
          Message 4 of 17 , Mar 11, 2013
            It would help if we could get extension services to stop recommending aluminum sulfate on everything and even warn against it.  Then we could get the manufacturers to push their other products and get nurseries to sell these and not aluminum sulfate. Here are some offending websites:


            Sadly, only a few websites are trying to preach the gospel (don't use aluminum sulfate on anything besides hydrangeas):

            ARS 

            Yes, Colorado State has one website promoting aluminum sulfate and another warning against it.  Aluminum sulphate is good for hydrangeas since they need aluminum as well as acidity to be blue, so it does have a niche but that is all it is good for.

            Steve Henning, Zone 6, Reading, PA

            --- In azaleas@yahoogroups.com, michael.campbell3@... wrote:
            >
            > Educates nurserymen. A good nursery place wouldn't even offer this for sale. 
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: "Larry Wallace" <UUallace@...> 
            > To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com 
            > Sent: Sunday, March 10, 2013 12:20:36 PM 
            > Subject: Re: [AZ] RE: Deciduous Azaleas on Your 5-acre plot 
            > "Aluminum sulphate is a deadly poison to rhododendrons and other ericaceous plants ..." 
            > Many nurseries here sell Al2 (SO4}3-6{H2O}. The bag recommends it for Rhododendrons and Azaleas. How do we stop it? 
            > -- 
            > Larry Wallace 
            > Cincinnati
            >

          • George Klump
            I have some blue hydrangeas out in my back garden. Never use aluminum sulphate on anything, certainly not the hydrangeas. Cottonseed meal works perfectly and
            Message 5 of 17 , Mar 11, 2013
              I have some blue hydrangeas out in my back garden.  Never use aluminum sulphate on anything, certainly not the hydrangeas.  Cottonseed meal works perfectly and they grow beautifully without me adding aluminum to their diet.  I don't think my hydrangeas know that they need aluminum to grow.  At least they've never mentioned it to me.

              George E. Klump
              Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA








              On 3/11/2013 11:43 AM, Steve Henning wrote:
               

              It would help if we could get extension services to stop recommending aluminum sulfate on everything and even warn against it.  Then we could get the manufacturers to push their other products and get nurseries to sell these and not aluminum sulfate. Here are some offending websites:


              Sadly, only a few websites are trying to preach the gospel (don't use aluminum sulfate on anything besides hydrangeas):

              ARS 

              Yes, Colorado State has one website promoting aluminum sulfate and another warning against it.  Aluminum sulphate is good for hydrangeas since they need aluminum as well as acidity to be blue, so it does have a niche but that is all it is good for.

              Steve Henning, Zone 6, Reading, PA

              --- In azaleas@yahoogroups.com, michael.campbell3@... wrote:
              >
              > Educates nurserymen. A good nursery place wouldn't even offer this for sale. 
              > ----- Original Message -----
              > From: "Larry Wallace" <UUallace@...> 
              > Sent: Sunday, March 10, 2013 12:20:36 PM 
              > Subject: Re: [AZ] RE: Deciduous Azaleas on Your 5-acre plot 
              > "Aluminum sulphate i! s a deadly poison to rhododendrons and other ericaceous plants ..." 
              > Many nurseries here sell Al2 (SO4}3-6{H2O}. The bag recommends it for Rhododendrons and Azaleas. How do we stop it? 
              > -- 
              > Larry Wallace 
              > Cincinnati
              >


            • Bob Kelly
              But, George, as I recall the French Hydrangea is maybe the one and only plant that needs aluminum ions to give the blue color. Usually acid soil has enough
              Message 6 of 17 , Mar 12, 2013
                But, George, as I recall the French Hydrangea is maybe  the one and only plant that needs aluminum ions to give the blue color.  Usually acid soil has enough soluble aluminum to produce the blue color, but if in soil-less mix you probably have to add the actual Al+++ ion.
                 
                Bob Kelly
                 
                 
                ----- Original Message -----
                Sent: Monday, March 11, 2013 1:57 PM
                Subject: Re: [AZ] Extension Agents Still Promote Aluminum Sulfate on Everything

                 

                I have some blue hydrangeas out in my back garden.  Never use aluminum sulphate on anything, certainly not the hydrangeas.  Cottonseed meal works perfectly and they grow beautifully without me adding aluminum to their diet.  I don't think my hydrangeas know that they need aluminum to grow.  At least they've never mentioned it to me.

                George E. Klump
                Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA








                On 3/11/2013 11:43 AM, Steve Henning wrote:
                 

                It would help if we could get extension services to stop recommending aluminum sulfate on everything and even warn against it.  Then we could get the manufacturers to push their other products and get nurseries to sell these and not aluminum sulfate. Here are some offending websites:


                Sadly, only a few websites are trying to preach the gospel (don't use aluminum sulfate on anything besides hydrangeas):

                ARS 

                Yes, Colorado State has one website promoting aluminum sulfate and another warning against it.  Aluminum sulphate is good for hydrangeas since they need aluminum as well as acidity to be blue, so it does have a niche but that is all it is good for.

                Steve Henning, Zone 6, Reading, PA

                --- In azaleas@yahoogroups.com, michael.campbell3@... wrote:
                >
                > Educates nurserymen. A good nursery place wouldn't even offer this for sale. 
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: "Larry Wallace" <UUallace@...> 
                > Sent: Sunday, March 10, 2013 12:20:36 PM 
                > Subject: Re: [AZ] RE: Deciduous Azaleas on Your 5-acre plot 
                > "Aluminum sulphate i! s a deadly poison to rhododendrons and other ericaceous plants ..." 
                > Many nurseries here sell Al2 (SO4}3-6{H2O}. The bag recommends it for Rhododendrons and Azaleas. How do we stop it? 
                > -- 
                > Larry Wallace 
                > Cincinnati
                >


              • Bob Kelly
                But evidently you already knew that... Bob Kelly ... From: Bob Kelly To: azaleas@yahoogroups.com Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 9:04 AM Subject: Re: [AZ]
                Message 7 of 17 , Mar 12, 2013
                  But evidently you already knew that...
                   
                  Bob Kelly
                   
                   
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: Bob Kelly
                  Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 9:04 AM
                  Subject: Re: [AZ] Extension Agents Still Promote Aluminum Sulfate on Everything

                   

                  But, George, as I recall the French Hydrangea is maybe  the one and only plant that needs aluminum ions to give the blue color.  Usually acid soil has enough soluble aluminum to produce the blue color, but if in soil-less mix you probably have to add the actual Al+++ ion.
                   
                  Bob Kelly
                   
                   
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Sent: Monday, March 11, 2013 1:57 PM
                  Subject: Re: [AZ] Extension Agents Still Promote Aluminum Sulfate on Everything

                   

                  I have some blue hydrangeas out in my back garden.  Never use aluminum sulphate on anything, certainly not the hydrangeas.  Cottonseed meal works perfectly and they grow beautifully without me adding aluminum to their diet.  I don't think my hydrangeas know that they need aluminum to grow.  At least they've never mentioned it to me.

                  George E. Klump
                  Southern California Chapter, ARS/ASA








                  On 3/11/2013 11:43 AM, Steve Henning wrote:
                   

                  It would help if we could get extension services to stop recommending aluminum sulfate on everything and even warn against it.  Then we could get the manufacturers to push their other products and get nurseries to sell these and not aluminum sulfate. Here are some offending websites:


                  Sadly, only a few websites are trying to preach the gospel (don't use aluminum sulfate on anything besides hydrangeas):

                  ARS 

                  Yes, Colorado State has one website promoting aluminum sulfate and another warning against it.  Aluminum sulphate is good for hydrangeas since they need aluminum as well as acidity to be blue, so it does have a niche but that is all it is good for.

                  Steve Henning, Zone 6, Reading, PA

                  --- In azaleas@yahoogroups.com, michael.campbell3@... wrote:
                  >
                  > Educates nurserymen. A good nursery place wouldn't even offer this for sale. 
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From: "Larry Wallace" <UUallace@...> 
                  > Sent: Sunday, March 10, 2013 12:20:36 PM 
                  > Subject: Re: [AZ] RE: Deciduous Azaleas on Your 5-acre plot 
                  > "Aluminum sulphate i! s a deadly poison to rhododendrons and other ericaceous plants ..." 
                  > Many nurseries here sell Al2 (SO4}3-6{H2O}. The bag recommends it for Rhododendrons and Azaleas. How do we stop it? 
                  > -- 
                  > Larry Wallace 
                  > Cincinnati
                  >


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