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strawchicago

Anyone use Rosetone, kelp meal, green sand, or sulfate of potash?

strawchicago z5
9 years ago

My soil is deficient in potassium. Earthco. that tested my soil stated that 1/3 of soil is deficient in potassium, for strong stems, fight diseases, improve color, and reduce water usage. Since potassium stay put where it's applied, rather than moving down like nitrogen - I'm checking on the best potassium to put in the planting hole, I still have 24 roses to put in the ground (they are in pots now).

I'm after strong stems for the strong wind here. I must had put at least 20 banana peels in the planting hole of Radio Times. It has huge & sturdy stems. There are other choices for potassium:

1) Rose-tone, which the instruction says to use 3 cups along with peat-moss. This sounds excessive for a 18" wide hole. I once used Acid-Tone in the planting hole of a white pine and burnt it, so I'm cautious.

2) Green sand, supplies marine potash, silica, iron oxide, magnesia, lime, phosphoric acid and 22 trace minerals. It's sold for $10 for 5 lbs., expensive for breaking up clay.

3) Kelp meal is quick-released. I don't know if this would be water-soluble enough to reach down to the root-zone if applied to the surface of established plants.

4) Sulfate of Potash - SteveinAustralia in HMF recommended this one. Same question as above. Below is a link to sources of potassium.

It would be nice for droopy Austin roses to have strong necks & healthy, less thirsty, and better color. Any info. about potassium would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Organic Sources of Potassium

Comments (13)

  • plantloverkat north Houston - 9a
    9 years ago

    Strawberryhill, my soil also tests "very low" in potassium.

    I have used greensand when I prepare new beds. Here, some stores will sell a 40 pound bag for about the same price as the tiny 5 pound bags sold elsewhere. Just recently, I saw granite dust (40 LB. bag) being sold for the very first time. It is also on your list of sources of potassium.

    I have used kelp meal also. I have just scattered it on the surface and watered it in. It does leave a lingering kelp odor for several days, but I do not mind that. I have assumed that it was somewhat water soluable (perhaps because of the odor after watering it), but I don't really know for sure.

    According to Liz Druitt's "The Organic Rose Garden", alfalfa, fish emulsion and soybean meal are also good sources of potassium. When I lived in Dallas, I faithfully sprayed fish & kelp emulsion on my garden about once a week during the growing season, and I thought it was noticeably beneficial. It is important to spray very early in the day before it gets hot. I keep thinking that I need to start doing that again here since I did notice an improvement when I did so in the past.

  • lovemysheltie
    9 years ago

    I use Rose Tone but I only use 1 cup per rose (none for newly planted). I know the directions say to use more but honestly it seems excessive to me so I err on the side of caution... Nowadays I am having trouble finding Rose Tone anywhere :( so I am making do with Holly Tone and will just have to supplement with extra Nitrogen.

  • michaelg
    9 years ago

    Fertilizer label doses are usually unnecessarily high. I wouldn't use 3 cups of Rose Tone at a time. Greensand and kelp meal are very expensive for the K they provide.

    If you use any semi-normal complete fertilizer such as Rose Tone, applied at the surface a few times a season, that should provide all the K that roses need. The K analysis (third of three numbers) should be similar to the N (first number). Roses use the major nutrients in the ratio 3-1-2.

    All sources of K except greensand have soluble K that will reach the root zone but will be retained by clay particles in the soil. Greensand has insoluble K that becomes available at a glacial rate.

  • palustris
    9 years ago

    "Rose-tone, which the instruction says to use 3 cups along with peat-moss. This sounds excessive for a 18" wide hole. I once used Acid-Tone in the planting hole of a white pine and burnt it, so I'm cautious."

    I have used Rose Tone for a couple of decades and usually put down a couple of cups for established roses; up to four cups for large shrubs and climbers. When planting a rose I usually go down at least two feet or more and put compost and a couple of cups of Rose Tone in the hole; I put another cup or two of Rose Tone around the surface, well scratched in.

    Years ago I quite purposefully over fertilized some roses with Rose Tone to see the affect. With the exception of the leaf color turning an almost deep blue/green there were no ill affects. It is important to realize that with these organic fertilizers you are much less likely to burn a plant as the nitrogen needs to be consumed by soil bacteria for the rose to be able to use it. When the soil bacteria dies, the rose takes up the N from the decomposed bodies. Chemical fertilizers are salts and these salts kill the tiny hairlike feeder roots of plants; that's why it has been used as a preservative for millenia.

  • altorama Ray
    9 years ago

    I use rose-tone, but not the full dose, and composted cow manure. But, I have never had my soil tested. The roses seem happy enough.

  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Thank you ALL for the info. on potassium. I'm on the look-out for greensand and granite dust. The 7 gallons I received from Roses Unlimited had these shiny, silvery, metallic bits mixed in the soil. I don't know if they are granite dust, please inform.

    Hi LovemySheltie: Lowe's in Chicagoland sells Rose-Tone. Walmart sells Holly-tone. I prefer Holly-tone since our soil and water is alkaline, and Holly-tone has more calcium. My neighbor grows his tomato in a big pot, he has blossom-rot problem and has to use gypsum (calcium sulfate). I grow tomatoes in the ground - zero blossom-rot, but my limestone soil is barely adequate in calcium.

    Holly-tone says to use only 1 cup with peatmoss in the planting hole. NPK is 4-3-4, the below excerpt is from the Epsoma website:

    "Holly-tone, like all Espoma Tone products, provides 12 additional trace elements and micronutrients such as iron, calcium and magnesium. Holly-tone derives its 15 nutrients from organic ingredients including dehydrated manure, animal tankage, crab meal, cocoa meal, cottonseed meal, dried blood, sunflower meal, kelp, greensand, rock phosphate and sulfate of potash."

    My Holy-tone bag also lists alfalfa meal, and 3% calcium, 1% magnesium, and 2% sulfur - perfect for alkaline clay. My soil in Chicagoland is tested high in magnesium, but barely adequate in calcium. We are right next to a limestone quarry!

  • michaelg
    9 years ago

    Shiny bits could be vermiculite.

    Back-of-the-napkin calculation, to get the equivalent of normal fertilizing, you'd need to dig in a two-inch layer of greensand, some pounds per plant. But it would be permanent. (So order a truckload or forgettaboudit.)

  • lovemysheltie
    9 years ago

    Strawberryhill, thanks for the info on Lowes. I usually just go to HD as I have a HomeDepot very close to my house and I haven't seen RoseTone there in ages. Same for a little local garden center nearby. But from your nutrient info, it appears Hollytone might work better for my roses anyway :D

  • anntn6b
    9 years ago

    Why don't you start off cheaply? With soyblean meal (which should be about $20 for 50 lbs at your local farm co-op, Southern States, etc. store.

    Let me rant at the absurdity of selling granite sand as a source of anything. Like, not in your lifetime will it break down in the climate conditions of North America. Both K and P are constituent atoms in the minerals that are in granite. Granite is an igneous rock. Even if you break it into sand size, those minerals are still solid. The reasons we have mountains are because the rocks that make up the mountains are in many places igneous rocks. You don't see huge amounts of clays (the breakdown products of those minerals) sloughing off the mountains every year. More like a bit, every millenium.

    There is nothing to stop any of us from making our own version of -Tone or any of the other organic mixes....especially if our soils need something more than they need other ingredients.

  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Thank you, anntn, for the info. on soybean meal. I checked with Colorado State University Extension and was surprised to see how LOW in potassium the ORGANIC sources are. For examples, NPK of alfalfa meal of 2-1-2, and NPK of soybean meal of 7-2-1, Kelp meal is not worth it, but even Kelp powder as a foliar spray at 1-0-4 is termed INSIGNIFICANT source of NPK.

    I put tons of alfalfa meal into the hole of William Shakespeare. His leaves still have brownish margin. Upon researching, I found that it's the first symptom of potassium deficiency. So EarthCo. is correct in my soil test's diagnose of potassium-deficiency.

    That's why I like Hollytone, it has both sulfate of potash and organic sources. Below is Colorado State University's rating of organic sources of potassium:

    Here is a link that might be useful: Organic Fertilizers rating by Colorado State

  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Wood ash is a cheap source of potassium, at NPK 0-1-6. It's 6 times more potassium than soybean meal at NPK of 7-2-1. My Mom in her acidic soil dumped lots of wood ash in her garden. Wood ash pH is 9 to 12.

    My soil is alkaline, at pH of 7.7, so I can't use wood ash. Granite dust has NPK of 0-0-5.5, and green sand has NPK of 0-1.5-7, which is 7 times more potassium than soybean meal. I don't see any granite dust nor green sand around here, so I'll look for sulfate of potash. SteveinAustralia in HMF recommended this.

  • cath41
    9 years ago

    I use green sand, Hollytone and Rosetone. I use the green sand (with bonemeal) in the bottom of the planting hole because it is slow release. It also is slightly acid, has trace elements and breaks up the clay. These are all things that my soil conditions need. When I have dug plants up after a few years the traces of green sand still kept the soil from forming the large hard clumps it otherwise would. The plants that have responded the most noticeably have been bulbs and, surprisingly - to me, ferns. I feel that the green sand is a permanent investment in the improvement of the soil in my garden. Even though the material, to be useful to the plant, is consumed. Those materials remain in my garden and when the plant, or a part of it, dies those materials are returned to the soil available to be used again. I use the Hollytone on conifers and acid loving plants which appear to benefit from it and the Rosetone on roses. I have begun using alfalfa but our beloved collie insists on eating it which gives her elimination problems. Then not quite as beloved.

    Cath

  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    I am glad to hear from you, Cath. Thank you for the info., you helped me a lot. I'm glad to hear that green sand is slightly acidic. It's low in cost considering the many minerals and potassium for the soil, 5 lbs. for $10.

    Hollytone is also cheap at $10 for 8 lbs. A 50 lb. bag of alfalfa meal from the feed store is $15, with 17% alfalfa meal, the rest is plant materials. Alfalfa meal with NPK of 2-1-2 is harder to work with, quite dusty and stinky.

    You are right, Cath, that sand stays there forever with the soil. I used coarse buider's sand as a base for my bricks. After 10 years I dug up and the sand hasn't decayed nor become smaller. It's funny how dogs like to eat stinky stuff. I smell like a barnyard after working with alfalfa meal.