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johnmerr

To pee or not to pee... that is the question

johnmerr
10 years ago

Since this seems to be a recurrent issue; and as there is considerable disagreement as to whether to pee on your lemons or not, I will take this opportunity to add my opinions (I hesitate to call it wisdom)

First peeing on lemons is a long held folk wisdom for making them prosper. To examine the issue scientifically, human urine contains urea (nitrogen) and is pH 6, so it tend to acidify the soil...both good for lemons; the downside is it may contain some semi-toxic salts; but assuming the lemon gets regular watering, not a real problem. Some people use a little vinegar to acidify the soil (acidifying increases the uptake of minerals); as long as the vinegar is apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or wine vinegar it basically provides acetic acid without any sugars which could enduce mold or attract ants... Note, it is the methodology of producing the above vinegars that results in zero residual sugar.

Commercially, i.e. in field crop lemons, we more commonly use phosphoric acid for several reasons... the addition of phosphorous to encourage blooms; we can put it in the drip irrigation system; and it kills the rats that chew the drip irrigation tubing looking for water.

Another factor, for me.. I don't have enough people to pee on 7,000 trees every day; but I do encourage workers to do so when they wish. As a final warning, DO NOT let your dog pee on your lemon; it will burn young trees badly; cats are less damaging, but still unwise to allow it.

And that is about all I have to say on the subject.

Comments (42)

  • greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a
    10 years ago

    In the yard, in-ground, sure...just don't urinate on the plant directly.

    In a container, the salts (which you mention) are more likely to accumulate.
    Also, urine is an unpredictable fertilizer that doesn't provide a consistent N value.

    Composting urine or applying to in-ground gardens is just fine.


    Josh

  • johnmerr
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Well, as I said, there are serious differences of opinion.
    The nice thing about this site is that the advice is free... and sometimes you get what you pay for!

    My experience includes only 50 years and 50 countries; which is why I hesitate to call it wisdom.

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  • kumquat1
    10 years ago

    Pee does wonders for my in-ground citrus. Lots of coffee, too.

  • johnmerr
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    I am a coffee fanatic...luckily, I live in Guatemala which has the finest coffee in the world. Coffee left over in your cup and coffee grounds are wonderful for a WIDE variety of plants, and since they are just throw aways anyway.. what the hey!... I once worked in an office that had one philodendron plant in a small pot, that went up to the ceiling and all the way around the office... and the ONLY thing it ever got was the coffee dregs from the workers' cups as they walked by to get a fresh cup....NO water, NO fertilizer... only coffee.

  • greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a
    10 years ago

    Differences of opinion? I hope not, since I was agreeing with you ;-)
    Coffee grounds, too. In the ground, of course...or fresh as mulch around the garden beds.
    Starbucks has large bags of coffee grounds for the taking (last time I was there),
    which is another great resource for those with a Starbucks in the area.


    Josh

  • windy3sheets
    10 years ago

    At my work we have one of the k-kup coffee makers. My colleagues tease me for rummaging through the trash periodically to steal those little cups for fertilizer. Since the coffee is blended beans from all over the world, I figure it's got all the nutrients I need. I just dump them on the top of the soil and work it in a couple of cm. Seems to work wonders combined with quarterly osmocote treatments. But that's hardly any empirical evidence, just my opinion.

  • johnmerr
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    The joke is, I come from a small town... we only had 3 Starbucks. Truth re: Starbucks and Guatemala... the house blend of Starbucks is 60% Guatemalan beans; and Starbucks buys almost 40% of the Guatemalan coffee crop annually... and how this citrus forum got onto coffee, only the gods can say.

  • greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a
    10 years ago

    Coffee and orange juice, the continental breakfast ;-)

    Windysheets, coffee grounds most certainly - empirically - do not have all the nutrients
    your plants need. Not even close.

    The Osmocote, however....now that's some reliable stuff.


    Josh

  • windy3sheets
    10 years ago

    I love me the Osmocote, but it seems to be light on the micro-nutrients which is were the coffee grounds come in. But really, I 'use' (steal them from the trash) just to look quirky and eccentric at the office.

  • greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a
    10 years ago

    Haha...!
    Osmocote Plus has Calcium, I believe, and perhaps a few other micros, as well.
    I include Osmocote when I mix the soil to have a charge of nutrients at the start...
    but I mainly fertilize with Foliage Pro, which contains all the micro-nutrients.


    Josh

  • jerry_d
    10 years ago

    Johnmerr,

    I can't imagine peeing on my two container citrus and then bringing the pots inside. It would probably cause my male dog to start marking all over my townhome.

    I know this is a citrus forum, but on another note, do you think Guatemala would be a good place to retire? My retirement savings and townhome value seem to be going down each day, and I'm thinking I may have to move out of the USA to retire. I have lived in the tropics before [two years is Ghana, West Africa and one year in Puerto Rico] and loved it. Would love to live somewhere where I could grow citrus outside the whole year around...

    Jerry

  • johnmerr
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Guatemala City and Antigua Guatemala are both known as "City of Eternal Springtime"... houses don't have heating or air conditioning; and you have to go out every morning with a big stick and beat your plants to try to keep them under control. Seriously, I have been in 48 countries and 46 of the 50 US States; Guatemala is among my top 5... and there are economic opportunities, like growing Meyer lemons, that really don't exist in many places. Check out www.larutamayaonline.com and come for a visit.

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    8 years ago

    I have a meiwa kumquat tree grown from seed obtained from a kumquat I eight. I also have poncirus trifoliata trees from seed. When I urinated on my P.T.'s the burst out in yellow growth and there tops died. Apparently P.T.'s don't take urine at all. I only have one meiwa and don't want to experiment with it. When I started urinating on my vegetable,fruit trees& fruit vines they burst out in growth. My blueberries died and the P.T.'s darn near so. Can I use urine safely on own roots kumquat and/or my sweet-lee tangerine trees from seed..

    What I have done.
    very Low salt diet
    lots of fluids for dilution
    consum greens high in the trace elements the kumquat trees need
    no junk food
    use masks when sanding old paint "lead"

    This is to insure a clean source of urine

    thanks for your help

  • greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a
    8 years ago

    Poncirus,
    never use urine directly - compost it, and dilute it with water. A lot of folks recommend a 10:1 ratio of water to urine, added once a week only.

    That said, I will not recommend urine for containers.

    Josh

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    8 years ago

    greenman28

    Thanks for the advice I'll use urine in my compost pile and use fish emulsion fertilizer for my potted plants.

    Steve

  • bamboo_rabbit
    8 years ago

    Just as an aside but adding vinegar to the irrigation water really does nothing. While the vinegar's are acidic it is a natural organic acid and as such it is readily consumed by the soil bacteria and once consumed you lose the acid effect. It is better as you suggest to use phosphoric or sulfuric acid. It is readily available as battery acid is 33% sulfuric acid. I use 93% sulfuric acid, have a 55 gallon barrel of it in fact but I have a lot of blueberries.

  • BahamaDan Zone 12b Subtropics
    6 years ago

    Do you have any before and after photos of the effects of using the sulphuric acid BR? Just curious.

  • JamesLeFin
    6 years ago

    Urine by itself is too strong and will 'burn' the citrus tree. Also, if you have some sort of bladder infection don't pee on the tree either.

    Dilute the urine. Usually 8-10 parts water per 1 part urine with 1 part wood ash mixed in. That's a good ratio once per week. Don't worry about the smell, once diluted with wood ash mixed in it's non-existent.

    Oh, and don't forget to wash your hands...

    As for coffee grounds from Starbucks, yes, that's a great place to get them. Just ask if you can take one of the trash cans full of used grinds and they'll probably give it to you for free or save it for you if you tip them well. They've had this program on the qt for some time now as it lowers their trash usage and waste costs and let's them feel good about helping gardeners.

  • greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a
    6 years ago

    Bamboo Rabbit misunderstands the application of vinegar in a container gardening context. The point is not to acidify the actual potting media, but rather to lower the pH of the fertigating solution while the plant takes up nutrients.

    Josh

  • q22skidoo
    5 years ago

    Hey, I just came here to find out if my peeing outside (which I prefer to do) could be hurting my Meyer lemon tree. Reason I ask, someone told me that citrus trees "loved it", but the native grass (I live in Northern CA) clearly doesn't. Without putting too fine a point on it, the places I've gone exhibit a clear pattern of scorched earth - dead grass that shows no sign of returning soon.

    Now, the lemon tree is producing as normal (lots of lemons) bit some of the leaves are curling and "bubbling" a little. Did I do that? Should I stop peeing near the tree? It's been raining a lot, BTW. Thoughts? Thanks,

    Otis St. Wright

  • pip313
    5 years ago

    Pee before it rains. Not when it's going to be dry out.

  • evdesert 9B Indio, CA
    5 years ago

    Drink more beer, it'll help dilute your pee.

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    5 years ago

    can rain come from a garden hose.

  • BarbJP 15-16/9B CA Bay Area
    5 years ago

    The curling and bubbling is probably from Citrus leaf miner, not your pee. (geez, boys and their toys, lol)

  • eSilviu
    5 years ago

    Pictures, please! (of curled leaves, not of peeing act)

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    5 years ago

    Barb The vast majority of us men do not consider it a toy. It is a very necessary part of us to have children with the one we hold special in our heats. It is valuable in cementing intimacy and bonding and trust with that special one. Mens urine is not special compared to womens urine so you ladies can collect urine for your own garden needs. Also I thing almost all of use men collect in 'Milk jugs' for diluting and pouring on the soil for best results.

  • greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a
    5 years ago

    Urinate in a container, dilute with water, then pour evenly around the tree. Don't do it too often.

    Josh

  • BarbJP 15-16/9B CA Bay Area
    5 years ago

    Steve, of course most men don't think so. I was making a small joke, and I'm very sorry if I offended you.

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    5 years ago

    Barb I know you were Joking I was just teasing as if I thought you were serious. No problem..Forgot the LOL in my above comment, sorry

  • myermike_1micha
    5 years ago

    I like the diluting part since I had to pee so bad the other day or couple of months ago, I thought peeing directly on my small rhododendron shrub would like it, but it has turned brown and died...Maybe mine was toxic, who knows since my meals are highly nutritious and I am not medicated..lol

  • BahamaDan Zone 12b Subtropics
    5 years ago

    Hmm, I know trials have been done in some European countries using urine as a substitute for commercial fertilizer and the crops produced decent results compared to the fertilizer, especially high nitrogen crops like cabbage and other brassicas. One should never use undiluted urine as fertilizer as it is extremely strong, lots o' salts as mentioned and should first be diluted 1:10 or so in water.


    Also want to add that just because peeing on a shrub can cause it to die, that doesn't mean urine is a bad fertilizer; dumping on a plant too high a concentration of ANY fertilizer will kill it :)

  • nathancrawfordhill
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Well these comments escalated quickly. Lol

    Going from peeing on trees, coffee, retiring in Guatemala and accidentally affending each other.

    I just came here because I wondered if having a high level of sperm in urine would improve growth or not?

    Anyone willing to talk sperm now?

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    4 years ago

    I've had a vasectomy so I guess this rule me out.

  • myermike_1micha
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Steve..hahahahahhahahahhalololol Oh my goodness...lolol

    Nathan, I'm not sure if talking about that stuff is regulated on this forum.. How old are you? lol

  • John 9a
    4 years ago

    ROFL! And I thought houzz was what had messed up GardenWeb!

    Actually it REALLY is a worthy topic and obviously men "go" when and where it's most convenient and...well, if we can cut back on the store-bought fertilizer, all the better I say.

    On the dilution topic and for those of you who have killed things...so maybe it makes you feel macho to be able to kill things like that, but I think I have a solution. You should not "go" in one spot and saturate the soil there but rather spread it around the tree. That will reduce the chance of odor and reduce the chance of shocking the roots and adding too many salts to one spot.

    johnmerr, are there regulations in the US about peeing in the field of a commercial crop? I know there are regs against #2 for obvious reasons but #1 SHOULD be almost sterile when it's "applied".

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    4 years ago

    Pee is considered NOT ORGANIC in the organic community. I probably save close to a $100 a year by using urine over store bought feed.

    6b Steve

  • LaLennoxa 6a/b Hamilton ON
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    The pee threads exist in every sub-forum on Gardenweb and are probably among the ones which bring about the most ongoing debate LOL. I pee wherever I want in my garden and everything thrives. It is my garden after all. Other peoples' pee is unwelcome and would probably be detrimental!

  • John 9a
    4 years ago

    Isn't there a song about that? It's my garden and I'll pee if I want to....

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    4 years ago

    "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to" John it sounds like you got it right word for word. Congrads

  • LaLennoxa 6a/b Hamilton ON
    4 years ago

    I think it was on youtube where I saw a video and the guy was trying to present the case for the merits of using urinating in the garden - he used the term "liquid gold". If people only knew how much "gold" they were flushing down the toilet every day...!

  • myermike_1micha
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Hey Lalennoxa. Is that pic of you or just a pic off the web ?

    I was thinking about doing the sand thing only my stomach is not as flat as that. Lol