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  • "Does high phosphorus fertilizer increase flowering?" Dr. Bruce Bugbee answer.

    I recently sent an email to Dr, Bugbee, Professor of Crop Physiology, Department of Plants, Soils, and Climate, Utah State University
    asked him Does high phosphorus fertilizer increase flowering and fruit production? (Is Bloom Booster fertilizer a myth?)

    You might remember his name from a video I posted: Maximizing Yields with Dr Bruce Bugbee, Time 33:15 Watering schedule with optimal nutrient solution and fertilizer types https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwtkHxv_3pU
    This is the guy that was funded by Nasa to find out how to grow plants on Mars. Also big cannabis companies funded his research on Growing cannabis.
    He recommends 20-10-20 from beginning to end of plant growth. Any crop. I have recently switched to his recommendation. Here my email and his response.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dear Dr. Bugbee,

    I know you a busy man. I seek your advise on behalf of thousands of fig growers.

    I belong to a very large fig growing forum with thousands of very serious fig growers. (Ficus Carica) Many members grow hundreds of varieties from around the world. http://www.ourfigs.com

    There is a an ongoing debate on the effects of high phosphorous (bloom boosters) fertilizer
    on flowering and fruit production. Some members swear by it while others say it a myth perpetrated by the manufacturers of this product . The debate goes back and forth. .

    I say show me the science. If it really worked why haven't commercial growers switched to it.
    I have not found any scientific research that backs the manufactures claims of Bloom boosters.

    After watching your YouTube video on Maximizing Cannabis, I recently switched to your 20-10-20 solution method with 10% runoff and test with a EC meter. I am getting excellent results. Thank you very much for making that video. Many members have enjoyed it also.

    Figs are technically not a fruit ― they are inverted flowers. Figs take 3 months to grow and ripen.
    Like cannabis growers, we want to get as many flowers as possible in the shortest amount of time.

    Can you please share your opinion and research of this topic with the group. Or please share any research you know that touches on this subject.
    I want to thank you again for making the YouTube video because so many people including myself have benefited from it.

    We anxiously await your reply.

    Thank you,

    Sal
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Dear Sal,

    The general scientific consensus is that high P does not improve flowering. I am not aware of any evidence that it helps flowering, especially in tomatoes. I have never studied Figs, but I do not expect they would be different.

    The problem is that P is a serious environmental pollutant; so applying excess P is irresponsible. Agricultural researchers have been trying to get grower to apply less P for many decades. Responsible growers should start marketing their products as being grown without excess phosphorous.

    For most crops 15-20 ppm P is adequate. In cannabis, our studies show a potential benefit of increasing to as much as 50 ppm P during the late flowering stage.

    Dr. Bruce Bugbee

    Professor of Crop Physiology

    Department of Plants, Soils, and Climate

    Utah State University





  • #2
    All I'm saying is adding bone meal to the same fertilizing schedule ive used increased my production.

    I recommend everyone just do what works for them🤷🏾‍♂️
    NC Sandhills zone 8A. Wishlist- BNR, CDDG, and split resistant figs.

    Comment


    • TahomaGuy2
      TahomaGuy2 commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree. Some figsters swear by epsom salts (magnesium). I'll go with the 20-10-20 and not be concerned with trace elements. Increasing P 5-fold is NOT better especially with the cumulative effects of subsequent waterings.

  • #3
    The nice thing about science is that you don’t have to rely on anecdotal evidence. The reason anecdotes are so prevalent is the variety of growing conditions we all have. Pots vs in-ground, sandy soil vs clay, compost vs gritty mix, rainy climate vs dry, hot vs cold, long season vs short, sun vs shade, organic ferts vs soluble, slow release vs fast - the list really goes on and on and on.

    But at the end of the day, the best thing any grower can do is apply the science to their conditions, and the science is abundantly clear that 1) there isn’t much phosphorous in fig plant tissue, 2) most any soil or any fertilizer will have enough P that the plant will recognize that it has more than it needs to do what it wants, and 3) high P fertilizers are not necessary.

    Also, P is a major pollutant. There’s a limited supply of it, it tends not to come back after we flush it into the ocean, and it is a major cause of algal blooms.

    https://amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/617937/
    Eric - Seattle / Sunset Zone 5 - W/L: Granato - Now offering fig-pops, my rooting mix, and gritty potting mix! https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Brows...er=pacnorwreck

    Comment


    • cvarcher
      cvarcher commented
      Editing a comment
      Algae growth is more directly related to Excess Nitrogen. Anything is a pollutant when its outside its normal natural level.

    • PacNorWreck
      PacNorWreck commented
      Editing a comment
      cvarcher agree, but the article I linked to is pretty clear that P can also fuel blooms.

    • cvarcher
      cvarcher commented
      Editing a comment
      YEs ,of course,so can excess sunlight . But its not the major cause of Algae blooms. Trust me, I live in Algae bloom heaven on Long Island. The bandaid attempt right now is to grow sugar Kelp to help absorb the excesss Nitrogen from the bays while harvesting the kelp for other products afterwards.

  • #4
    Thanks for sharing inputs from a credible expert on the subject.

    I just recently watched a video made by one of the better Youtube channel gardeners on the topic of bloom booster fertilizers. He believes they work and I'm generally OK with people saying they believe something without a solid reason as long as what they do with it is relatively harmless to me and others. But I do find it annoying when they point to "proof" that is close to nonsensical and then try to promote their unfounded belief to others.
    Conrad, SoCal zone 10
    Wish List: More Land

    Comment


    • #5
      Thanks for sharing this. I already know this but it’s good to get the knowledge around.
      I usually don’t care if people do things that works for them, but phosphorus runoff is terrible for the environment. Phosphorus is also highly non-renewable. I think most of the world’s supply of rock phosphate is only in Morocco and that’s it.
      San Francisco Zone 10B.
      WL: None

      Comment


      • #6
        Originally posted by Salvatore View Post
        After watching your YouTube video on Maximizing Cannabis, I recently switched to your 20-10-20 solution method with 10% runoff and test with a EC meter.
        1. Is the video link you posted in you OP the video where you got those recommendations?

        2. What ferts are you using to achieve 20-10-20? I have been using MG 20-20-20 and haven't seen (or perhaps haven't noticed) 20-10-20.

        3. Also, what EC are you targeting for run-off? I use SIPs and used to measure my reservoirs with an EC meter, but have stopped doing it because I've been too busy.

        I previously found a good resource for this type of info from here:

        https://www.cocoforcannabis.com/toc/#fertilizers-water
        Zone 3

        Comment


        • Salvatore
          Salvatore commented
          Editing a comment
          I'm using 20-10-20 every feed with a 10% runoff at 1.3 millisiemens / centimeter EC or 910 tds. (Total Desolved Solids). I use TDS reading when making solution and testing runoff. I test about once a week. Most EC meters have a tds reading, Some meters don't have a milliSiemens per cm reading. Here's how I converted MS/cm to TDS:
          https://www.translatorscafe.com/unit...20550%20scale/

          I'm mixing a 55 gallon drum using Jack's Citrus: https://www.jrpeters.com/online-stor...-20-p184805133
          You can find it at most nurseries selling citrus plants. I mix solution till I get 800 to 900 tds. I water almost daily, My plants tell me when they need it. I put 2 gallons of solution for three, 5 gallon squat pots. Gives me a nice runoff.
          At 33.25 in the video he talks about nutrients, This is were his says 20-10-20 on wheat, corn, tomato and obviously cannabis.

          My potting mix is very close to his recommendation in the video.
          Potting Mix: 50% peat 50 Vermiculite provides silica or perlite or shredded wood (hydrofiber)
          Silica is in vermiculite
          Add Dolimatic lime =40 grams per cubic ft Provide magnesium.
          Gypsum” =calcuim pholphate + sulpher ,slow release= 10 grams per cubic ft.

          I started this over month ago and I'm testing this out thru the end on next year. I'm new to this. It's easy and he is smarter than me. I love the science.

        • FigsNorth
          FigsNorth commented
          Editing a comment
          Salvatore Thanks for the extra info, especially the EC target. My meter does do EC and that's what I use.

          I was also reading this "Bloom Booster" thread today. There seem to be dueling opinions on this issue of Phosphorus: https://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-h...er-really-work

          With SIPs I'm perhaps more limited with my potting mix to something extra light. I'm wondering if that mix, with the vermiculite, might be too retentive for my setup. However, I understand the more retentive mixes have better nutrient holding capacity. With constant fertigation, as you are doing, maybe I wouldn't need the extra nutrient hold capacity though.

          Some follow-up questions:

          1. What do you see or look for when you measure both the feed and the runoff? Are you looking for the input and output to be the same (910 ppm / 1.3 EC)? What does your runoff usually read at in terms of ppm / EC?

          I am always wondering how to best fertigate my plants since I am using SIPs, which have a water reservoir that catches the run-off, and then the plant reabsorbs it. I'm still not entirely sure what best practice is for fertigating SIPS -- that is, whether to fertigate from the top, or from the bottom (e.g. filling up the reservoir via the direct-fill pipe with the mixed solution of fertilizer and water). I have been doing both, but mostly from the top with run-off. However, the reservoirs already have plain water in them so my runoff is always diluted. Hope I explained all that in a way that made sense.

          2. What do you do with the nutrient rich run-off? Dr. Bugbee mentions nutrient pollution ask one of the key issues in reducing phosphorus. Have you figure out a good way to use this run-off elsewhere? The more run-off the better reset you give you pots to the ideal nutrient concentration, but then there is more waste of nutrient water to deal with.

      • #7
        Very interesting, subbed
        -- Zone 10a
        Documenting my fig addiction here

        Comment


        • #8
          Thanks for sharing the formula Salvatore , it's surprising simple. I like the addition of gypsum for calcium as the fertilizer he recommends lacks calcium which is a very important element and even dynagrow foliage pro can benefit from some added calcium.
          -- Zone 10a
          Documenting my fig addiction here

          Comment


          • #9
            Well. Evidence is evidence. Anecdotes are just Anecdotes. Thanks for sharing
            Ike
            bergen county NJ 6b
            Wish list: oh lets face it Ill take any variety I dont have!!

            Comment


            • #10
              Wait a minute.... am I reading that wrong or is Dr B kinda saying 2 different things and counterdicting himself?

              In the first part of his response, he clearly is against the idea. He uses the phrase "general scientific consensus" which is not the same as saying something like "the results from scientific experiments".

              Then he says "For most crops 15-20 ppm P is adequate. In cannabis, our studies show a potential benefit of increasing to as much as 50 ppm P during the late flowering stage." Isn't he laying out clear evience that supports more P??

              When you analyze his response, it almost sounds like he's against using extra P for environmental reasons rather than results (yield) based reasons.

              I'm not sure that this clears up anything yet. People are still going to debate because this isn't really a very clear cut answer when you examine it.

              Salvatore You wrote a really nice letter and did a wonderful job for the whole fig community. We need these kinda of answers. Thanks for pursuing this and trying to get answers for all of us.
              South Jersey, zone 7a- 20 mins from Philly, 30 mins from AC

              Comment


              • AscPete
                AscPete commented
                Editing a comment
                Realtorbyday ,

                15 - 20 PPM Phosphorus (P) is actually only 30% (1/3) of that used for commercial Hydroponic Tomatoes (50 PPM Phosphorus typical)...
                20-10-20 @ 1 tsp / gallon of water = ~ 68 PPM Phosphorus (P)... He is still saying 'Low amounts of Phosphorus are required', not the 600% or greater increase provided in "Bloom Boosters"...

                ... https://www.ourfigs.com/filedata/fet...3&d=1618596599
                ... https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf%5CCV%5CCV21600.pdf

                Some previous discussions;
                ... https://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-h...50#post1023450
                ... https://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-h...032#post773032

              • Realtorbyday
                Realtorbyday commented
                Editing a comment
                I understand what you guys are saying. It would be really great to have more pros join the forum. They have so much to share in the way of knowledge and experience. But what we need right now to settle this are fig trials. It's time for fig science gang! We need experiments and picures and measurements and data of our own.

              • AscPete
                AscPete commented
                Editing a comment
                Realtorbyday ,

                The Plant Science Research has been done over the past two centuries, the scientific conclusion of the past decades regarding nutrient requirements for Ficus carica L have been tested and shown to be similar to Tomato Culture... The Ficus carica L "Bloom" Fertilization requires an increase in K (Potassium), Decrease in N (Nitrogen) with maintained levels of Calcium and Magnesium and normal (Low) levels of P (Phosphorus)...

            • #11
              We're lucky to have this forum and all its members so we can share and compare notes and results in real life gardens under all different conditions.
              South Jersey, zone 7a- 20 mins from Philly, 30 mins from AC

              Comment


              • #12
                Thanks for sharing this info, this discussion has been ongoing for decades, though plant nutrient requirements have remained constant.

                https://www.houzz.com/discussions/13...ch-p-is-enough
                Al Tapla 2008,
                “We know that tissue analysis of leaves, roots, flowers - any of the live tissues of healthy plants will reveal that P is present in tissues at an average of 1/6 that of nitrogen (N) and about 1/4 that of potassium (K). Many plants even contain as much calcium as P. If we know that we cannot expect P to be found in higher concentrations in the roots and blooms than we find in foliage, how can we justify the belief that massive doses of P are important to their formation?

                It is well known among experienced growers that withholding N when all other nutrients are available at adequate levels induces bloom production, even on smaller and younger plants. Though plants USE nutrients at approximately a 3 : 0.5 : 2 ratio (note that N is 6 times the level of P, and K is 4 times the level of P), most greenhouse operations purposely fertilize with something very near a 2:1:2 ratio to limit vegetative growth so they can sell a compact plant sporting pretty blooms to tempt you.

                Simply limiting N limits vegetative growth, but it does nothing to limit photosynthesis. The plant keeps making food, but it cannot use it to grow leaves and extend stems because of the lack of N. To where should we imagine the energy goes? It goes into producing blooms and fruit."
                Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

                Comment


                • Realtorbyday
                  Realtorbyday commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Ok, so do I understand that what you are saying is that it's important but in much lower levels and in a somewhat different ratio than we've all been advertised into believing is ideal? And only if it's actually missing from the soil and it's probably not. Do I have that about right? I'm not being a smart ass, I'm trying to understand your thinking because I think you've got it right.

              • #13
                I use the KNF Korean natural farming method. Comfrey tea as a fertilizer and grow microbes in 5 gal buckets with compost and worm castings plus lactobasilis, mycorizie and other natural fermented fruit juices. Twice a month in growing season. In ground and potted plants. They need nothing else.

                Comment


              • #14
                Originally posted by Realtorbyday View Post
                Ok, so do I understand that what you are saying is that it's important but in much lower levels and in a somewhat different ratio than we've all been advertised into believing is ideal? And only if it's actually missing from the soil and it's probably not. Do I have that about right? I'm not being a smart ass, I'm trying to understand your thinking because I think you've got it right.
                Yes, Plant and Ficus carica Tissue Analysis clearly shows the relative Plant Nutrient requirements.
                • Soil Nutrient Analysis would indicate whether it needs to be added for in-ground plants.
                • For Potted Culture in 'Sterile' Potting Medium it would always be required.
                Fertigating until runoff with Water Soluble Fertilizers in potting medium is essentially Hydroponic Culture where the 'Soil Solution' (Nutrient Solution) is maintained at 'Optimal Concentrations'....
                You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 3 photos.
                Last edited by AscPete; 08-09-2021, 12:55 PM. Reason: added chart of Soil Test Analysis compared to linked researh paper... https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15538362.2020.1836706
                Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

                Comment


                • AscPete
                  AscPete commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Realtorbyday ,
                  You're welcome.

                  The objective should be to provide adequate amounts of All Essential Plant Nutrients at the same time for healthiest growth and production.
                  It doesn't have to be Water Soluble, it can be granular fertilizers, but 'Complete' Macro and Micro Nutrients are required.
                  A Fertilizer Feed Schedule can help... https://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-h...-feed-schedule

                • Realtorbyday
                  Realtorbyday commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks. I'll check that out.

                • Drfig
                  Drfig commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I feel so much better now ASCPEte!!! Its like when they flash the bat light in the sky and batman doesnt show up. I was getting nervous for a second. This is right up your alley. Having oposing views and discussion is so important and why this forum is great.

              • #15
                AscPete is there a 2-1-2 fertilizer you recommend? Or just use 3-1-2 and add some K occasionally?
                Eric - Seattle / Sunset Zone 5 - W/L: Granato - Now offering fig-pops, my rooting mix, and gritty potting mix! https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Brows...er=pacnorwreck

                Comment


                • AscPete
                  AscPete commented
                  Editing a comment
                  PacNorWreck ,
                  Many growers including myself have used the 24-8-16 (3-1-2 ratio) water soluble successfully with added Calcium, Magnesium and Sulfur (Gypsum and or Dolemite Limestone and Epsom Salt).
                  Typically I prefer combining granular fertilizers like Espoma Garden-tone supplemented with the 24-8-16 water soluble, reducing or stopping the supplement changes the NPK ratio. These fertilizers and supplements are always in my inventory.

              • #16
                What’s a guy who bought a 25# bag of Jacks Blossom Booster supposed to do with it?…asking for a friend
                South Louisiana - Wish List: CLBC, LSU varieties

                Comment


                • TheMillennialGardener
                  TheMillennialGardener commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Use it, because it works very well, especially in South Louisiana where you get a ton of rain and soil is very sandy.

                • oat
                  oat commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Phosphorus is not water-soluble so it doesn't get washed away by rain. Nitrogen does. If you have soil erosion from rain, then phosphorus can get washed away with your topsoil. That's a separate problem though and not solvable by just adding phosphorus. Adding organic materials will help improve your sandy soil to be able to hold on to nutrients. You might want to look into groundcover plants that help slow the water down.
                  Last edited by oat; 08-09-2021, 01:06 PM.

              • #17
                TheMillennialGardener Time to do a experiment next season. Two exact same cuttings from same mother tree. One fed consistent 20-20-20, the other with your variable feedings or perhaps just bloom booster and see the results.

                Or maybe 3 cuttings:

                1. 20-20-20
                2. 10-30-20
                3. Variable solutions

                And watch the results.
                Zone 10A - San Diego

                Comment


                • TheMillennialGardener
                  TheMillennialGardener commented
                  Editing a comment
                  It would be very difficult to use cuttings to run this experiment. It would take at least 6 entire plants to run the experiment, and in my experience, cuttings are too variable. Some take off immediately, while some drag their feet. Fruit trees don't make good control plants in my opinion, because their life cycle is so long. Many of them outlive human beings. In my opinion, it is better to use seedlings of fruiting annuals, like tomatoes and peppers, to run this experiment, because their lifecycle is short and there is less variation from plant to plant. You can also get results from something like a tomato in around 40 days from transplant since they flower pretty quickly. Something like a fig would have to be babied for the better part of a year to see what happens, so I will probably run an experiment next year with several control groups of either tomatoes or peppers since I can produce results quickly, and I can store them in a small space.

                  What's funny is I set some old containers of figs I was going to cull off to the side and didn't fertilize them this season. Last year, they produced many dozen figs. This year, the trees maybe had 6 figs each on them because of the lack of fertilizing, and almost no new growth.

                • fruitnut
                  fruitnut commented
                  Editing a comment
                  You'd need dozens of plants, maybe 100s over several yrs of fruit, to do this experiment correctly. I've done hundreds of such fertility experiments on various field crops over 30 yrs. To get statistically valid results that's what it takes.

                • Finodejete
                  Finodejete commented
                  Editing a comment
                  TheMillennialGardener how about running a quick experiment with radishes right now. They should bolt in maybe 30 or 40 days.

              • #18
                Originally posted by Salvatore View Post
                The problem is that P is a serious environmental pollutant; so applying excess P is irresponsible. Agricultural researchers have been trying to get grower to apply less P for many decades. Responsible growers should start marketing their products as being grown without excess phosphorous.

                For most crops 15-20 ppm P is adequate.
                And that, right there, is your answer.

                Does high phosphorous work? Yes. The problem is that it is "a serious environmental pollutant," so interests are doing whatever they can to dissuade its use. That includes designing studies to have a certain outcome. Yes, if there is phosphorous built up in soil that is in excess of what the plant needs, adding more isn't going to help. What % of backyard gardeners is that going to represent? How many of us are gardening on abused farmland?

                Almost none of us are growing in environments with excess phosphorous, so it is absolutely incorrect to make the assumption that it doesn't work because we're growing in those conditions. The actual answer is, "Yes, they work as long as you're not growing in an environment with excess phosphorous," but we can't have that answer, because that will promote the use of the product.

                It's getting harder and harder to find real science these days. Most studies are rigged to deliver a certain outcome, and that outcome is then used to drive public opinion and lead to legislation banning or funding promoting the use of certain things. It's truly awful what is going on, and it makes it impossible to trust any information out there. Grow 9 tomato plants in containers in identical mediums. Give three 24-8-16, give three 15-30-15 and give three 18-18-21. They will grow differently. I guess I'm going to have to do this next March.

                I absolutely cringe when I hear general scientific consensus. Thanks to "general scientific consensus," we would still be living in a world where the sun revolves around the Earth, it is a badge of honor to have the bloodiest, dirtiest operating rooms and dirtiest surgical instruments because it showed how popular you were, hand-washing would be ineffective at stopping disease, and there would be no reason to clean up the water supply to prevent cholera since that's not where it came from. They were all general scientific consensuses of their time.
                Zone 8A Southeast NC Coast
                Subscribe via YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheMillennialGardener
                Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NCGardening

                Comment


                • TheMillennialGardener
                  TheMillennialGardener commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Figwasp the response was a beating-around-the-bush response. There are no general consensuses in science; there is only data. What the guy is saying is due to the environmental impacts of phosphorous, we don't like recommending its use, so we are taking the stand that low amounts are enough for most people's needs. He's not actually taking a stand on whether they work, because they absolutely do based on fruit tree's fundamental need for phosphorous in the formation of fruit.

                  Give a fruit tree zero phosphorous and grow it in a container. See how well it fruits. Then, add some phosphorous. See if it fruits better. If there is any improvement at all, that means phosphorous boosts flowering. Of course it does. It is a scientific fact. Yes, it's true that dumping a ton of phosphorous onto plants that already have an abundance of phosphorous isn't going to make it magically fruit more, but nobody is going to make that point. All you're doing is wasting money and causing damage to both your plants and the soil at that point. No one is saying the threshold of phosphorous is infinity, but it's also completely wrong to say, "high P does not improve flowering." It absolutely does if the needs of the plant have not been fully met and they have room to uptake more P.

                • cjccmc
                  cjccmc commented
                  Editing a comment
                  TheMillennialGardener "Grow 9 tomato plants in containers in identical mediums. Give three 24-8-16, give three 15-30-15 and give three 18-18-21. They will grow differently. I guess I'm going to have to do this next March."
                  Please do this, it would provide some meaningful info to a lot of us hobby level gardeners who don't have the space to do it ourselves. I'd also suggest posting the experiment design here in advance to get buy in and helpful suggestions in advance.

                • Drfig
                  Drfig commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I want to say I like your videos and they are very informative
                  However i have to comment on your comment
                  "harder to find real science", the issues is not the science which simply is a description of behavior / experiment. the issue is high quality data vs garbage data . Healthy skepticism I encourage but it takes one more step, critical review of what is claimed which for most people is the extra step whcih some opt out of. Like when some one ***Cough*** like myself asks a question on this board that has been asked a million times.

                  Take ASCpete, he makes an argument with tons of data with references. That is someone confident in their argument and leaves himself open to criticism/debate whcih again is a healthy practice.
                  You are right there is a lot of rigged studies, but that doesnt mean there arent good studies being done. this took me a long time to learn in my profession as every day I am bombarded with information and most of it garbage. Some worth listnening to. the key is to differentiate between the two.

                  here is an example
                  it is not uncommon in our society today to hear for examp "I stick garlic up my nose for sinus infections because it works and I read a study on google".

                  500 people with image proven sinus infections were randomized to placebo vs garlic up the nose and the people inthe garlic arm got better 3-4 days faster on average compared to those who got placebo, then critical review of the information says, holy cow, garlic look like it works

                  if the garlic experiment was:

                  funded by the garlic farmers of america, 20 people who self reported a sinus infection who stuck garlic up their nose and "felt better" quicker then expeceted, then critical thinking would say bogus info and rigged

                  He has only what information is available. Pegging this guy as biased is a bit unfair. As i mentioned prior. Looking at his statement, the only factual data he presents is there is no evidence thus far. the rest is technically his opinion, which is perfectly fine. I think its murky water to assume a fact to the opposite of what he is saying based on his opinion. If there is evidence to the opposite whcih is what you claim it wouldnt be hard to find as most high quality research (and a lot of poor quality research) is deposited in public sources such as PUBMED for example and other free databases to find research to the contrary to prove him wrong. which again one can review and determine by themself if its high quality and worth listening to, or garbage info and depositing in the trash bin.

                  Anyway, I sound serious again and I dont like to but I felt compelled as I hear so much of this that it is really important we all are talking apples to apples.

                  I do like your videos. How the hell do you put all that landscape fabric down so neatly??

              • #19
                I actually did an informal version of the tomato test a number of years ago when I lived in the northeast. Two identical tomato plants, one fertilized with regular Miracle Gro (24-8-16) and the other with Miracle Gro for tomatoes (18-18-21). Noticeably higher fruit yield on the plant fertilized with Miracle Gro for tomatoes. Used the latter thereafter. Tomatoes were planted in ground in soil heavily amended with refined compost available from the town that I lived in.
                Also, my reaction to the professor’s response was that it was tainted by his need to be politically correct by discouraging the use of additional phosphorus.

                Comment


                • fruitnut
                  fruitnut commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Do your experiment with 10 plants in each experimental unit and at least 5 replications and you'd have some chance of getting a result that could be assigned a probability of being correct. So with just two treatments that's 2x10x5 = 100 plants. Using just two plants there is no probability of statistical significance.

              • #20
                Originally posted by TheMillennialGardener View Post

                And that, right there, is your answer.

                Does high phosphorous work? Yes. The problem is that it is "a serious environmental pollutant," so interests are doing whatever they can to dissuade its use. That includes designing studies to have a certain outcome. Yes, if there is phosphorous built up in soil that is in excess of what the plant needs, adding more isn't going to help. What % of backyard gardeners is that going to represent? How many of us are gardening on abused farmland?

                Almost none of us are growing in environments with excess phosphorous, so it is absolutely incorrect to make the assumption that it doesn't work because we're growing in those conditions. The actual answer is, "Yes, they work as long as you're not growing in an environment with excess phosphorous," but we can't have that answer, because that will promote the use of the product.

                It's getting harder and harder to find real science these days. Most studies are rigged to deliver a certain outcome, and that outcome is then used to drive public opinion and lead to legislation banning or funding promoting the use of certain things. It's truly awful what is going on, and it makes it impossible to trust any information out there. Grow 9 tomato plants in containers in identical mediums. Give three 24-8-16, give three 15-30-15 and give three 18-18-21. They will grow differently. I guess I'm going to have to do this next March.

                I absolutely cringe when I hear general scientific consensus. Thanks to "general scientific consensus," we would still be living in a world where the sun revolves around the Earth, it is a badge of honor to have the bloodiest, dirtiest operating rooms and dirtiest surgical instruments because it showed how popular you were, hand-washing would be ineffective at stopping disease, and there would be no reason to clean up the water supply to prevent cholera since that's not where it came from. They were all general scientific consensuses of their time.
                I have to point out the portion of Dr. Bugbee's answer that is missing from your quote...
                OP question;
                Does high phosphorus fertilizer increase flowering?

                Dr. Bugbee's answer;
                The general scientific consensus is that high P does not improve flowering. I am not aware of any evidence that it helps flowering, especially in tomatoes. I have never studied Figs, but I do not expect they would be different.

                Dr. Bugbee proceeds to explain that excessive amounts of Phosphorus are not required or needed, because even in his Cannabis Research an average concentration of 50 PPM Phosphorus is considered higher than normally required. This 50 PPM is noteworthy because the 20-10-20 Fertilizer has ~ 68 PPM Phosphorus at the typical 1 tsp/gallon application rate
                Its a circular argument to claim that because excessive amounts of Phosphorus "Works" its the only or even better approach when the Scientific evidence shows that there isn't even 100% Phosphorus in plant tissue relative to the other Macro-nutrients
                The Scientific and Technological Advancements over the past 200 plus years have lead us to the current understanding of our Environment, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Horticulture, etc., all due to Science and Scientific Consensus...
                Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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                • fruitnut
                  fruitnut commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I can't agree more. Now days many people don't begin to understand science. Without science we'd still be communicating via smoke signals.

                • oat
                  oat commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Bravo, I was thinking of posting something similar but I wouldn’t be able to say it better.

              • #21
                Originally posted by AscPete View Post
                Its a circular argument to claim that because excessive amounts of Phosphorus "Works" its the only or even better approach when the Scientific evidence shows that there isn't even 100% Phosphorus in plant tissue relative to the other Macro-nutrients
                The Scientific and Technological Advancements over the past 200 plus years have lead us to the current understanding of our Environment, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Horticulture, etc., all due to Science and Scientific Consensus...
                You're creating a straw man, then arguing the straw man. That is a logical fallacy. Nobody is advocating for "excessive" amounts of anything. "Excessive" by definition means that it is too much. Anything in "excess" is bad - that's what "excess" means.

                The problem is, the guy's response is just plain wrong. There are no scientific consensus, and phosphorous is absolutely necessary for flowering. You can't make your argument using the "excessive case" and claim that because when phosphorous is in overabundance, adding more won't help, so therefore phosphorous doesn't add to flowering. That is crazy. As I said in the comment above, what he's actually saying is:

                "Because phosphorous usage has contributed to a lot of environmental damage, we're trying to dissuade people from using it in their practices. We still don't know what the bare minimum amount of phosphorous required is, but most of us are blanketly telling people not to use a lot of it because we'd rather dissuade the usage overall at the expense of people's production."

                That response is agenda driven, not scientific, and it's getting harder and harder to find honest people out there willing to find the true results.

                Run the experiment yourself and you'll prove yourself wrong. I've done this many times, and I guess I'm going to have to film the next one next season. Phosphorous boosts flowering, and trying to single out an isolated case where there may be an overabundance of bioavailable P in the soil to try and blanketly discredit it is fraudulent.
                Zone 8A Southeast NC Coast
                Subscribe via YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheMillennialGardener
                Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NCGardening

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                • fruitnut
                  fruitnut commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I understand what you are saying. There is too much politics interfering with science. And obviously a plant needs some P to flower. The question is how much.

                  To do your experiment properly with figs you'd need about 5 plants per experimental unit. You'd also need a control with no added P and several rates of applied P, say four rates total: 0, 1x, 2x, and 4x. You'd also need about 5 replications of all of this. So that's 5 plants x 4 rates x 5 replications for a total of 100 plants. That's what it takes to do a fertility study that can be statistically analyzed. Repeat that for 3 yrs and you'd have something you could write about. Do it in several locations on differing soils and you could write a paper in some ag journal.

                • TheMillennialGardener
                  TheMillennialGardener commented
                  Editing a comment
                  AscPete there is no such thing as "adequately high production." That is unscientific. The question has to be settled with real numbers. The question is: "At what point does increasing phosphorous increase blooms before it becomes 'too much,' and therefore ineffective, or possibly even detrimental to overall nutrient uptake?" There are real numbers, and it's going to fluctuate based on what you're growing, your soil type, your climate and a whole host of other variables. "Adequate" is an anti-scientific amount, and you can't substantiate that statement with an appeal to your own authority. The fact is bloom boosters work because phosphorous is essential to the flowering process, and they will increase flowering until it becomes more than the plant can handle. That's when effects can turn negative, but for most backyard gardeners, they won't reach that threshold.

                • TheMillennialGardener
                  TheMillennialGardener commented
                  Editing a comment
                  fruitnut "The question is how much" is exactly the honest question we should be asking. Simply saying "adequate" in an attempt to continually move the goalposts is anti-science. The way to learn "how much" is to run your own experiments, because the correct amount will be based on your unique conditions: your soil, what you're growing, how much rain you get, etc.

                  It would be very difficult to run a backyard experiment, because those with a bias will be able to find plenty of things to pick apart. However, I'd be happy to grow 6 tomato plants next season and fertilize 2 with MG AP, 2 with MG Tomato and 2 with MG BB. It would be tricky for someone like me to manage more than that, but it will at least provide some evidence. I can't say there will be a big difference between 18-18-21 and 15-30-15, because my personal opinion at this time is there is more than enough phosphorous, particularly relative to nitrogen, to flower profusely. However, I'm almost certain the AP 24-8-16 isn't adequate based on my years of observations, or it's simply too high in nitrogen and it has adverse effects.

              • #22
                Some may find this study of interest:


                Effect of N-P-K Fertilization on the Yield and Nutrient Status of Fig (Ficus Carica L. Cv. Kalamon) Trees Grown under Mediterranean Conditions

                The results showed that N is an important nutrient for the yield of the fig tree. The highest fruit production was recorded in the trees treated with Ν1Ρ1.2Κ0.6. Interesting yields were recorded in the Ν1Ρ1.8Κ0.6 and Ν0.3Ρ1.2Κ0.6 treatments and the treatment Ν0.3Ρ1.2Κ0.6 was suggested that it requires further research as the most economical one. These treatments gave the highest yields with relatively early harvest maturity. Yield in relation to the doses of NPK nutrients can be described by a multiple secondary regression equation.

                https//www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15538362.2020.1836706
                USDA zone 4b. Ontario
                Wish list: RDB, Improved Celeste, Florea

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              • #23
                This is a very interesting post. I have a couple of questions about using soluble fertilizers that this post got me curious about:

                1) Salvatore said "I'm using 20-10-20 every feed with a 10% runoff at 1.3 millisiemens / centimeter EC or 910 tds." Why is it important to measure the runoff and its' total disolved solids?

                2) Why is it that when using liquid fertilizers what is important is the concentration of nutrients and not the total amount of nutrients given to the plant? For example, a recommendation of a 50ppm phosporus concentration during the flowering stage, for cannabis, was given. I don't understand why recommendations are given like this. If I fertilize the plants every day with this solution of 50 ppm, versus if I fertilize only twice a week with the same solution, it would seem to me that there would be a huge difference in the fertilization the plants get. There must be something I don't understand.... How does this work?

                Finally, can you guys recommend a good textbook, or source of information for a beginner who wants to understand better these things?
                Panama City, Panama (13B) and Miami, Florida (10A)
                Current wish list: Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Smith, Col de Dame Blanc, Italian I-258, Alma

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                • cjccmc
                  cjccmc commented
                  Editing a comment
                  elriba The 50 ppm P is a suitable value for hydroponic growing where roots are constantly submerged in water with dissolved nutrients. When growing in soil or container media and using a product like Miracle Gro water soluble that is suggested to use only about once every 10 days, the P concentration will be much higher (maybe 5X) in order to provide the plant with enough to sustain it until the next feeding. Water soluble fertilizer dosages are based on a desired concentration of fertilizer in the water. The total amount of fertilizer that a plant gets is based on how much water it needs. Roughly speaking a 3 gal pot will get 3x more total fertilizer than a 1 gal pot.
                  For practical use you can just follow the directions on the package in terms of amount and frequency of application.

                • elriba
                  elriba commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks!

                • NotoriousFIG
                  NotoriousFIG commented
                  Editing a comment
                  It's important to measure runoff so you can see if your plant is up taking the nutrients. For example, you pour in a nutrient solution with 750ppm, and you pour in enough to have 10% run out of the pot. Catch that runoff and measure it. If it's 500ppm, your plant is absorbing 250ppm. If it's close to 750ppm, then it's not absorbing any nutrients or very little. If the runoff is 900ppm, you are in trouble b/c there are salts built up in the pot. At least that's my understanding.

              • #24
                I am getting so tired of this argument going back and forth.

                At the end of the day, there is agreement amongst the agriculture industry (as proven by data, results, and experiments shared many times over by AscPete and who have livelihoods and literal billions of dollars vested in proper fertilization); professors of horticulture (as shown in the OP and a number of other places such as this one: https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/.../phosphate.pdf ); and nutrient analysis of the P content of fig plant tissue (thanks again to AscPete ).

                On the other hand you have one Youtuber who just so happens to sell bloom buster fertilizers through his affiliate-link amazon store, who uses ad hominem attacks against scientists and seems to think there is some environmentalist conspiracy to keep your tomatoes from blooming, whose idea of an experiment is getting literally one of the most flower-happy citrus in existence to put out 10 blooms on a 6-foot tall tree with a control group of… a completely unfertilized avocado tree next to it. Coastal NC has had ~2700 GDD50 heat units already. Of course figs do well there.

                I’m sorry. I’m just so tired of having to relitigate this every month. It’s exhausting - someone makes a post asking about fertilizer, studies and science and evidence are shared, then someone tags their favorite YouTuber and we have to do this again.

                Eric - Seattle / Sunset Zone 5 - W/L: Granato - Now offering fig-pops, my rooting mix, and gritty potting mix! https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Brows...er=pacnorwreck

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              • #25
                PacNorWreck AscPete Eric, Pete you guys are great! Thanks for keeping the forum sane.
                I have a Meyer lemon that I never fertilized with any bloom booster fertilizer. My 2 ish-year-old tree is smaller than that tree but I have 10 times the bloom on just one branch. Does my experience say that Phosphorus is not necessary? Maybe or maybe not but the point is it's not statistically significant. What I find the most cringe-worthy is when people twist science around. There are numbers, people. People have biases, that is why scientists came up with a way to measure things as unbiased as possible. Numbers are trustworthy and numbers said that bloom booster fertilizer is not necessary for high production.
                San Francisco Zone 10B.
                WL: None

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