[NAFEX] Tree Health and Caution about Soil Assumptions

BRosholdt rosholdt at erols.com
Thu Dec 1 19:03:20 EST 2005

 From what I read (below), the whole situation sounds very mysterious, 
and I have been reading about very peculiar eco-situations that it took 
some detective work to really find what was happening.  I am not an 
expert, but know, as most do about the use of organic matter and its 
ameliorating impact on pH.  I'm sure it has been said before, but don't 
go messing around with minerals/fertilizers/composts/soils unless you 
have some excellent advice when you start.  Naturally, soils are a 
living thing, and as such, have some eccentricities, just like most 
living things.

I found to my unpleasant surprise that our state extension office 
recommendations would have had me completely overdoing the lime thing 
(by about 3 Tons/acre!) because they are not used to recommending to 
people not involved in total chemical agriculture - that is - where you 
kill the soil, then buy the agribusiness' fertilizers and brews to grow 
plants in the remaining stuff.  I ended up having to search for soil 
analysts who were a bit more saavy (and expensive), but actually helped 
me figure out how to reclaim a bulldozed area for growing plants and 
gradually improve the soil, specifically to encourage the life that goes 
on it, especially the fungi that support trees and the microbes that 
support garden veggies.  Before we started with them, not even weeds 
would grow there. 

The point to this note about the life of the soil is that it makes a 
very big difference to the survival and health of plants growing on the 
soil whether or not there is life and available nutrients.  Nutrients 
are not necessarily available at a particular pH, we all know.  But lots 
of the basic soil/mineral rules change when compost, humic acids and 
earthworms are added to the equation.  Here is a starting point for 
getting more info on this critical topic.  http://soils.tfrec.wsu.edu/.  
Here also is a wonderful source for soil foodweb info:  

z6c/7a VA

[NAFEX] NAFEX] Rosseyanka
"kieran or donna" <redherring at tnaccess.com>
Thu, 1 Dec 2005 10:28:33 -0600

<nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>

Jerry said:
"Yes, I believe Rosseyanka
is less susceptible to KSD, especially seeing it is so winter hardy. David
heavily fertilized his was and I suspect went into the winter too tender,
damaged, ...shepherd hooked, but not killed"

I grafted Rosseyanka on native persimmon, it didn't wait till winter but
went straight into the shepherd's crook shape.  I chopped the tree to the
ground and burned it.  I kinda suspect now that manganese toxicity as
someone mentioned once might be behind it, as the tree was on very acid
clay.  Could the native trees think nothing of high Mn levels, while it
kills the kakis?  I don't have kakis to compare, as I don't like them very
much.  The tree I grafted back in east TN did fine, but the soil wasn't
nearly as acidic there.  The weird thing is that where we have limed, (ran
the garden up to about 6.4 though I'm sure it's dropping) the corn shows Mn
deficiency each and every year.  The only way I have found to deal with it
is to throw some sulfur around.  High pH, high organic matter, and high
rainfall are a recipe for low Mn uptake.  All I can control is the pH.  This
year we didn't have to worry about the high rainfall, (got 1" per mo in Sept
and Oct, hot months too, with intense sunlight beating down daily) and the
corn was still yellow striped till it got some sulfur.  Donna

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