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Manganese Fertility

Discussion in 'Plant Health' started by Jason Douglas, Oct 23, 2016.

  1. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

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    This one is a bugger.

    Here's my. rough average soil conditions, about 100 soil tests compiled. A few tissue tests were performed and confirmed the soil test data.
    pH 7.7
    CEC 18
    Ca per acre, 5000 + lbs
    Fe per acre 85 lbs
    Mn per acre 8 lbs
    Not listing all the others because the main point is that I'm dealing with alkaline calcareous soils with quite low Mn availability and antagonism due to high Fe. Problem trees are acid preferring, red maple, birch, dogwood, etc. Mn is poorly available in these soil conditions and Mn chelates have poor stability for the same reasons. Some of these jobs have come about because previous fertility work by other companies was ineffective or flat out misdiagnosed as Fe problems (common mistake around here I'm afraid).

    Expanding beds and incorporating OM is usually the best place to start but as many of you know...it can be bloody hard to convince some folks to shrink their damn lawn areas. Some folks do respond well when I explain the chemistry and biology differences between forests and grasslands however. Depends on the customer.

    Not terribly interested in foliar or trunk injected treatments if I can help it.

    So far, the best treatment Ive tried is soil injecting Brandt 13% Mn edta at about .25 lbs per 1000 ft sq ammonium sulfate at roughly 1 lb N per 1000 ft sq, a humate product at 8 oz per 1000 ft sq, and my water is acidified because it comes from our production nursery.

    Anybody else have any suggestions? I know it's not easy and there is no perfect solution but someone must know methods better than I.
     
  2. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    It really sounds like you have explored the options I know of. At some point the "patient" (homeowner) needs to choose whether to suffer or take the "doctor's" (arborist's) advice.

    I tell people the trunk injections and foliar treatments are "band-aids". Not that there is anything wrong with a band-aid --- sometimes that is what is needed to stop the bleeding. But there also has to be some long-term remediation. The problem is in the soil, so fixing the soil is where the solution lies. The way to fix the soil is to give the tree roots a covering of decomposing organic material, lower the pH, and reduce the competition from turf. If they don't like it, option B is watch the tree suffer until they decide to replace it with something that can tolerate the alkaline conditions.

    The only thing that I have been doing that you haven't listed is mixing elemental sulfur in with the mulch. It doesn't work as quickly as ammonium sulfate, but I can get 90% sulfur for about $1 per pound. That is starting the long-term process of lowering pH. Most trees dealing with this are in the +/- 6-10" range (that is because younger trees get by OK, bigger trees don't have the problem because trees don't make it to larger when they are this nutrient deficient). I mix 5# per year into the mulched area.

    Radial trenching and incorporation of organic material into those areas (along with some of the sulfur) is certainly the better option.

    Finally, if they don't like any of that, I'd offer annual foliar sprays...letting them know I don't think it is a good solution, but it will make me a lot more money. Often helps drive home the point that I am trying to help their tree the best way I know how, not the way that makes me the most money.
     
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  3. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

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    See "Is reducing soil pH possible" by F. Mancino.
    Explains how using S to acidify alkaline calcareous soils can take 50 years or so because lime has to be neutralized becore pH will budge. It's the explanation for the expression "a highly buffered" soil type.

    I really wish it would work for me though as you know how inexpensive it is.

    Im all for bed expansion and trenching but few folks bite on those treatments unless they've actually seen things like bull dozers and whatnot driving under the trees. OM is usually the best thing we can do for a tree but people and their damn lawns...
     
  4. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

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    And I will do the foliar or trunk method to get the tree through a rough stretch. I too have called it a band aid as well.

    So, best method so far: decompact, incorporate OM and topdress, soil inject Mn chelate with humate and possibly acidic N and water.
    Anything else? Spring or fall? I say spring for my soil types so there's less time for the Mn to be rendered unavailable via oxidation or other reaction. Cold wet springs certainly dont help with uptake however
     
  5. Dbodave

    Dbodave ArboristSite Lurker

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    How long did the green up last from the aluminum sulphate? I can't get brandt products from our supplier but I had very nice green up from lesco 12-0-0 with iron/ mg and sulfur. It only lasted a few months though and leaves were back to yellow by the end of summer.
    Are your soil tests available iron and mg? Or just whats present in the soil?
     
  6. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

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    Well its Mn not Mg but the lab lists it as plant available nutrient.
    Also I was using ammonium sulfate not aluminum sulfate.
    Green up lasts up to two seasons only unless a very large mulch be can also be installed
     
  7. Dbodave

    Dbodave ArboristSite Lurker

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    2 years is great. We try to be out on an annual basis to monitor health/ maintain customer relationship. Chlorosis definitely is a bugger for maples. Riiver birch and oak are easy, but still need to get in that annual fertilization app to maintain health.
     
  8. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

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    2 years is a best case scenario. Seems to really depend on how high some other nutrients are testing. High iron, possibly P, and high lime really seem to impede Mn uptake.
     
  9. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    High lime will impede it because that drives up pH...but I honestly don't know is it strictly pH or is it the calcium? My impression is that it is a pH thing. You don't have one without the other around here so it may be an academic question with little application???

    My understanding is that iron and manganese "compete" within the plant tissue (learned that years ago when a pin oak sample tested low for Mn so I did an injection...still was chlorotic the next year therefore I tested again. It was low on Fe this time. Looked back at old report, Fe was borderline...the extra Mn pushed it down. Talked to agronomist who explaimed the relationship... ). However, I am not sure they compete for uptake in the soil...otherwise Fe would always "win" in the eastern US as it is "high" almost everywhere.
     
  10. Dbodave

    Dbodave ArboristSite Lurker

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    If the iron was borderline deficient to begin with, wouldn't it gradually become worse by the following year?

    I tried using verdur manganese injections on several maples a few years ago and it had absolutely no effect on chlorosis, really disappointing. Did a bunch of free work the following year using min jet (iron+manganese and other trace minerals) worked pretty well, very underdosed though. My arborjet area tech manager told me they are coming out with a stronger formulation by 2017.
     
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  11. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Getting worse next year depends on cause of deficiency and the tree's need. Maybe more rain next year masks the problem. If it is soil pH that isn't going change much on its own from year to year.

    Did you test the trees or soil before treating? While it is generally assumed that Mn is deficient in chlorotic red maple and iron in chlorotic pin oak, that may not always be the case... That is a good thing about the combined nutrients... the address both.

    I still do soil tests because I don't think it is a good plan to inject every other year for perpetuity. I have had good results with decompaction/radial trenching/compost incorporation described above. I haven't gone back to test soil pH for healthy trees to see if I did lower pH. Oftentimes there is enough good stuff in those trenches to support significantly improved health for many years. It doesn't need everything...just a little boost.
     
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  12. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

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    You can have higher pH without higher Ca and Ca/Mg limes present in the soil though I rarely deal with them myself save for road salt affected areas. I suppose its academic but different compounds that are not plant available can form based on what is present in the soil and it what quantities and what proportions. Ionic Mn +2 can form a manganese-calcium-phosphate. Or in more anaerobic situations other oxidized Mn and Fe states can occur. The list goes on. Keeping these dudes in plant available forms is the difficult part but organically complexed ligands and chelates are usually the best options.
    Soil antagonisms are very much a problem in some areas for me as well as from an internal/physiological standpoint.
    Throw redox reactions into the mix, it can become a mess for Mn and Fe uptake.
     

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  13. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

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    Ill get away from soil chemistry in a sec...

    Here's a real life situation from a newly constructed estate here in Cbus:
    pH 7.4
    Ca at 3329 lbs per acre
    CEC of 15.2
    These conditions dont meet the criteria to be classified as an alkaline calcareous soil BUT the Neutralization Potential Test # of 43.86 meant that 629 lbs of sulfur applied per 1000 square feet would be required to lower the pH to 7... Not realistic and likely to be plant toxic. Crap. Mn and Fe shall be a bit difficult for acid lovers to get to.

    The REAL answer that ALL of us will agree upon is the addition of OM. Shift the dynamic away from grassland/meadow with more bacteria and labile OM to that of the forest soil type with more fungi and recalcitrant/complex OM. Soil pH tends to be lower in forests too. By adding a mix of wood, bark, and some leaf mold, white & brown & soft rot fungi will eventually colonize the soil profile. Mycorrhizael fungi should also findbthe area more hospitable too. We no so little about this complex ecosystem of the soil but it is thought that the bio and chemical interactions can also create naturally occuring organic ligagands/chelates that woodies can take up. Perhaps they're complexed with humic and or fulvic acids, who knows...

    A drip line mulch ring is remarkably inexpensive to install but convincing folks to do it can be a challenge for sure.

    For situations where folks refuse to lose some turf areas under say a birch or red maple, I now try to inject some of the things potentially found in forest soil. I take spent grass seed bags and fill them mostly with compost but also some organic stater ferts that have low analysis but also mycchorizae and rhizo bacteria and soak them in water for a few hours to over night. Squeeze out the bags and add to the tank at about 4gl per 100gl. I also add a humate product (humic and fulvic acids, humin) as well as a Mn chelate and sometimes the Brandt Fe EDDHA (great product) when needed. Trying to get away from high analysis NPK products but I do like the idea of having SOME N available so I go with 1/4 gl Anderson 28 0 0 thats around 72% SRN. Application rate is about .2 lbs Mn and .6 lbs N per 1000 square feet plus all the organic matter.
    Well see how these trees look next year!
     
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  14. Dbodave

    Dbodave ArboristSite Lurker

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    Hi,
    The PHC manager (of 1 employee me) has never had a policy to order soil tests. I have to pick my battles about what we should be doing, but any change is like a battle. We are experiencing more heavy rain events on a yearly basis than ever before in the twin cities and it's very likely available minerals are being leached from the soil. Entire neighborhoods of mature oaks are chlorotic and declining. In new neighborhoods the organic layer of soil has been stripped by the developer and AB maples slapped in everywhere. Some do well and some get chlorosis. I don't know if genetic variance helps some do better than others?

    The radial trenching/ soil mitigation seems like a really good long term solution.

    I don't try to sell customers on a perpetual 2 year injection plan, but do promote annual fertilization plus sulfur or minerals to maintain when needed. Also the health of the tree is determined beforehand. I don't like recommending a treatment plan if the tree is declining and the top has died back (mature oaks might be an exception). Nothing makes us look worse than when a tree we treated later dies. I've even cancelled jobs that were sold by our estimators if the tree is dying and has no chance. Seriously the estimators used to tell people fertilization can reverse tree decline and would only sell fert to the worst looking tree on a property. I've done my best to educate them about whats practical and what not. I think we have a very good phc track record and business is growing, we may need another employee next year for at least part time.
     
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  15. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Soil test plus shipping is like $30-35 (depending on lab and the test). I don't charge extra...figure I'll make the profit on treatment. I am up front with clients about that and tell them it is an important part of effective fertilization so we can make sure we are using everything we need and are not spending extra money on nutrients we don't need. Haven't had a client balk at that yet...
     
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  16. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Good stuff Jason. Thanks!
     
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  17. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

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    I would definitely start doing soil and sometimes tissues tests. To hell with the phc guy's ego...I can often times make a pretty good SWAG as far as foliar symptoms go but I tell customers we need to know WHAT ELSE is amiss. Like ATH, I don't profit from the tests but my policy is that I want actual scientific data in front of me and most customers see the logic.

    Heavy spring rains and cold soil temps absolutely impede Mn uptake and I would guess other micros as well. Can we do anything about this???
    Leaching isnt terribly likely as the micros are cations and dont leach easily unless you have soils that are very sandy, well drained, and have a low CEC.

    I do feel that genetic variation that leads to more alkaline tolerance is out there. Time for the nursery growers to start cloning those dudes and see if it's a reality. The other side of that coin is that some sites scattered around just may have slightly better soil conditions and or less compaction. Hard to say.

    Radial trenching and/or soil stirring with OM followed by mulching has been integral to what I do. Of course, we own a compressor and air spade already which are pretty big investments to make. Pays for itself eventually as we also use it for irrigation blow outs.

    I saw that you can't get Brandt products in your area. Dont sweat it. Try online or just ask sales reps for products that have Fe EDDHA (by far the best in alkaline soils) and Mn EDTA (best Ive used but still no great chelate like EDDHA). Stay away from inorganic salts like sulfates and citrates.
     
  18. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

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    And ArborJet does need to come out with injectable micros for specific use without the other other crap in it. If I need just Mn or Fe, thats what I want to purchase.
     
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  19. Dbodave

    Dbodave ArboristSite Lurker

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    Rainbow scientific sells verdur iron and verdur manganese. It's pretty overpriced though. I found FAC on ebay from chemsavers for cheap, it looked identical to whats in the verdur packets.
     
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