Welcome to the Saruyama Blog, intermittent and generally off topic. Occasionally you might see some trees...and weird ones at that.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Muck Spreading...

One of the things that spring requires us to consider is the fertilising of our trees. One of the most important jobs for us to do in terms of both styling and the health of the tree. We must consider many things when doing so, not only the species, but the age, stage of development and objectives for the year.

On my travels around the bonsai-sphere I hear so many tales of this super wonder fertiiser that works amazingly and all these complicated feeding regimes with a little bit of foliar feed on tuesday and then low nitrogen in any month ending in -ber... Most of this is just simply a load of nonsense to make us feel like we are in control when actually the one size scatter gun approach is completely out of control. So as this is the season, here are a few tips to help with spreading the proverbial...

Use only organic fertilisers. Healthy trees need a healthy soil biology that will be promoted by organic fertilisers and destroyed by aggressive chemical feeding.

Consider the stage of development for your trees, not all maples need fertilising early on in the season. Ramified trees will soon get out of shape if you push them with your super grow formula. That is just common sense...

Always place your fertiliser cakes on the pot starting at the back, working in a clockwise manner. This is absolutely essential unless you are left handed when it is permitted, but not advised, to go anti clockwise.

Flowering trees will often be very tired after the blossoms have finished. I always find that giving them a cup of compost tea and some cakes afterwards tends to help get over the shock.

Liquid fertiliser is best applied in the morning, unless it was applied the night before in which case either will be suitable. As long as it was done on the correct day.

Junipers and azaleas prefer their fertiliser cut up into smaller pieces for easier digestion as they have fine roots. It is also better to give them solids only after weaning them off a liquid diet early in their development.

Unfortunately I missed the best opportunity to fertilise my trees earlier in the month and must now wait for April 15th and the next full moon for maximum efficiency of fertiiser uptake. If the correct cycle is observed, then there will be an estimated efficiency improvement of approximately 43.2%*

For maximum spreading efficiency however...

*Actual results may vary, no responsibility is taken for the accuracy of the information provided here.



  1. Thanks for the excellent advice.
    I think it is very important to tell your readers to stick to the rules on the labels of only feeding trees the letters that apply. So those products rich in N and P should be used for Juniper and K is only ever used on Oak and Hemlock, simple but effective...

  2. Thanks for the explanations Peter and I have 2 questions if you don't mind: why is so important the clockwise rotation of the cakes and the moon cicle influence in nutrients absorption.

    João Santos

  3. Tees in the wild often benefit when unfortunate animals under their canopy die in their sleep. I'm sure my trees are much healthier since I replicated this by collecting roadkill, putting it in my blender, and then adding it to my feedcake recipe.

  4. Does it matter which way I wear my underpants whilst applying fertilizer at the next full moon ?