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Re: fertilizing hostas // soil testing

Something everybody knows to do yet few do it.

Get your garden soil tested. Your soil's pH is very important. Too low
and nutrients can be in the soil but still be unavailable to plants. Too
high a pH can cause the same problem. Too much phosphorus can cause
toxicity problems and make other nutrients unavailable.

Our native soil here is southern Delaware runs about 5.0. Some of our
fellow hosta gardeners have a native soil with an alkaline pH(above 7).
Eighty percent of Sussex County soils test high for phosphorus and need
no amending.

Lawn companies test the soil pH to grow good lawn. Aren't our hostas
much more important than turf?

Aim for a pH of 6.5 for hostas. I think the jury may still be out on the
perfect pH for hostas and it may even vary among species and cultivars.

Nutrient management is a hot topic these days. In Delaware we are going
to have to get a license to apply fertilizers soon and have a written
nutrient management plan submitted to the state. This applies to
container nurseries, greenhouses and anyone earning over $1,500 per year
that uses fertilizers!

This will soon be nation wide and is mandated by the EPA as part of the
Clean Water Act that was passed in the 70's.

Homeowners and gardeners are frequent abusers and are being looked at
closely. New rules are soon to follow courtesy of the state.

Dan Nelson
Bridgeville DE
zone 7

----- Original Message -----
From: Hank Zumach <zumach@execpc.com>
To: hostapix <hostapix@onelist.com>; Hosta Open
<hosta-open@mallorn.com>; hosta list
Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2000 10:10 PM
Subject: fertilizing hostas

Thanks to all who responded to my query about fertilizing. In my first
posting I used the word "encapsulated."
 I thought that is the generic word for "slow release".  Is that wrong?
The bag ( 50 lbs @ $48.00) uses the phrase "polymer encapsulated" and
describes the "slow release" rates of the various fertilizers.  I
believe it is essentially the same product as Osmocote which I thought
was a "slow release" fertilizer.  It is my understanding that a major
advantage of that type of fertilizer is that it only requires one
application per year and that there is a gradual, continuing release for
the entire growing season.  Is that wrong?  If it is true, why is there
a need to wait until 70 degree temps to apply?

Ken,  I thought your posting was full of valuable information AND good
for some laughs beside.  Thanks for taking the time to pass on all that
information.  My soil is sandy and drains very well.

Hank Zumach
Stoddard, WI
zone 4B

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