8. Orchard Fertility
Nitrogen (N) and Potash (K) are what fruit and nut trees need the most of. Phosphorus (P) needs are smaller but just as necessary. Other important nutrients include calcium and magnesium in addition to manganese, zinc, boron, copper, iron, and others.
Where land has been abused, or is naturally deficient in some trace element, nutritional deficiencies in your trees may occur. These deficiencies often show in the form of fungal diseases, though they can also manifest insect damage, hail damage, etc.
If mulch is not giving your trees enough of the important nutrients, other natural, slow-release fertilizers can provide them. Rock phosphate and bone meal will supply additional phosphorus, if needed. Wood ashes are an excellent source of potash, and they also contain high amounts of calcium. Manure is good for both nitrogen and potash. Bloodmeal, cottonseed meal, and soybean meal are slow releasers of nitrogen. In situations where you need both calcium and magnesium, dolomitic limestone or oyster shells can provide them. Granite dust and greensand are very slow-release forms of potash and are more effective when used with a high content of organic matter. Compost is one of the most desirable organic fertilizers of all. It contains all the important nutrients and trace elements.
The importance of a balanced nutrient supply cannot be overemphasised. The controversial argument of organic growers, that proper organic fertilization gives plants resistance to disease and pests has been given more attention by conventional science in the last few years. There has been a steady increase in announcements by conventional science that a balanced, organic fertility program may indeed keep plants healthier and more resistant to bugs as well as promote more vigorous growth. The conclusions support the observations of organic gardeners for tens of years—organically-grown plants DO resist diseases and insect attacks better.
The English authority, E. R. Janes, in his book, The Vegetable Garden, wrote, "All gardeners should become health-minded and not worry too much about disease and pests. If it comes, act promptly and destroy the first specimen. Feed the soil so that plants are in sturdy health, because all the remedies in the world are useless if the underlying cause is repeatedly neglected."
Home > Lesson 50 - The Pluses In Orcharding: How To Get Started
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