Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Do your plants have gas in their tanks ?

Do you make sure your gas tank is not on "E" before you make a trip to work, shopping, or vacation? One of the first things I do when I get into my vehicle is to make sure I have enough gas to get where I need to go. Fuel is what keeps us going on the road, if we run out of fuel we are going to be stuck.

Plants and trees are the same way, if they do not have adequate fertilizer releasing to their root zones the growth is going to get stuck and the plant is not going to grow to its potential.

Customers tell me all the time that they were told not to fertilize the first year or that they just did not realize that it was necessary. I have never understood the logic of  "do not fertilize the first year so the plants can get established" to me it is a huge mistake not to encourage as much growth the first year as possible.

The first year of planting we want to encourage as much vegetative growth as possible to establish the framework or the branching of the plant.
  • On fruit trees if we can encourage 6-7 feet of growth it allows us to choose the branches we wish to keep, develop the scaffold of the tree, and be that much closer to production.
  • On grapes it allows us to have the vine reach the top of the wire and extend down the wire and be that much closer to production.
  • On berries it allows us to push the primocanes and to be that much closer to production. The first year we can be the most aggressive because the plants are not of fruit bearing age, so all of the nutrients the plants receive will go strictly to the growth of the plant.
Recommended Fertilizer Schedule on Young Plants and Trees

Fruit Trees:
     1 lb 10-10-10 April 1st,  1 cup calcium nitrate June 1st,  1 lb 10-10-10 July 15th

Raspberry and Blackberries:
     1/4 lb 10-10-10 April 1st,  1/4 calcium nitrate June 1st, 1/4 10-10-10 July 15th

     1/4 10-10-10 April 1st, June 1st, and August 1st

Muscadines and bunch grapes:
     1/4 lb 12-10-10 or 10-10-10 April 1st, May 1st, June 1st, and July 1st
     1/4 lb Calcium Nitrate April 15, May 15th, June 15th, and July 15th

Follow these recommended guide lines to ensure your plants get where they need to go.

Greg Ison

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