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Water before fertilizing. Is it really necessary?

Discussion in 'Orchid Culture' started by Armando, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. Armando

    Armando Hobbyist gone wild

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  2. Mary Jane

    Mary Jane New Member

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    Yeah, I have read that before too. I still water one day and fertilize the next. Or even the same afternoon, depending on how fast everything dries out. Inside, during the winter months, they dry pretty quickly but they don't get too crunchy in a day's time.

    I'm interested to hear what others think.
     
  3. Eddie729

    Eddie729 New Member

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    I've read both ways in several places. Personally, I never bothered. I think so long as the fertilizer is not mixed too strong you shoudln't burn the roots.
     
  4. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

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    Amen, brutha.
     
  5. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My understanding of burning the roots is that it occurs after watering/fertilizing when the media is beginning to dry. As the water evaporates, the concentration of the solution at the roots increases. So watering in advance may dilute the concentration over all, but I prefer to dilute the concentration in my concentrate bucket rather than by pre-watering. I know of one grower who used to go back and water AFTER fertilizing to wash the media clean and also keep crystals from forming on the leaves. His plants were immaculate.

    I prefer to fertilize at every watering at a low concentration. Works for me.
     
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  6. Mary Jane

    Mary Jane New Member

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    So I did a little reading around the internet and I think my method is antiquated. Weakly with every watering it is for me from here on.
     
  7. Tracey

    Tracey Interloper

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    What is this 'fertilizer' you speak of :confused:
     
  8. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    The idea of watering first, then feeding, was based upon the old method of feeding very heavily, but only about monthly or less frequently. Watering first causes the velamen on the roots to become saturated, greatly limiting the amount of fertilizer they can then absorb. If they had not done that, the fertilizer might have "burned" the roots.

    I agree with Marni - a low-dose, constant supply of nutrition gives the best results. Think about it in terms you would for yourself:
    • Is it better to eat several light meals in a day, or to binge on food once every several days and starve in between?
    • Should those "meals" be high-calorie slammers (high nitrogen), or of reasonable, balanced nutritional basis?
    Plus, if you feed heavily, the plant can only absorb "so much", and the rest is retained by the medium. As it dries, the mineral concentration increases, and can get to toxic levels easily. If your standard regimen includes dilute fertilizers, the concentration cannot build as drastically.
     
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  9. emuehlbauer

    emuehlbauer New Member

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    I go in between....I fertilize weakly, weekly, with plain water in between...but according to the seasons, I may water weekly...so the fertilizer comes every other week...in summer, fertilizer every week, with a plain watering in between. "Heavy" feeders get 1tspn MSU pure water formula/gal....lighter feeders (paphs, phrags, masdevallias) get 1/2 tspn/gal. Underlights, its a different story...Watering every other day....alternating fertilizer with plain water. Overall, it works for me....as for whether the plants should be wet before fertilizing, I agree with the idea that epiphytes (with vellum) should be dry...terrestrials (without vellum) should be already damp. But it doesn't really matter...paphs and phrags should already be moist anyway....and for epiphytes, I just don't water first. Take care, Eric