Bonemeal - useless?

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wolveryeti

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Bonemeal - useless?
« on: June 10, 2021, 18:43 »
This source suggests bonemeal is useless - it is a source of phosphorous that is basically unavailable to plants except at v. low pH levels. Also that most soils don't have a phosphorous deficiency problem. Even worse it suggests that it will hinder mycorrhizal growth.

https://laidbackgardener.blog/2018/04/14/bone-meal-much-ado-about-nothing/

And yet it is sold widely  - what are your thoughts?

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Subversive_plot

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Re: Bonemeal - useless?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2021, 19:38 »
Added later: read that blog post. I thought possibly it should come from the irritable snarky gardener?

I think it's a stretch to say useless.  To become plant-available, most organic substances containing P have to be mineralized (by bacteria, etc.).  It is probably correct to say that mineralization happens faster at low pH.  But the bone meal can provide slow-release P over time.

Most plants do not need much P.  Probably P as 10 to 20% of the N and K numbers in fertilizers is enough. So, for soil under cultivation that have received fertilizer (the chemical type, or manure, compost, chicken litter, etc.), there is probably surplus P remaining in the soil.  The only way to know for sure would be a comprehensive chemical soil test of plant nutrients, but in cultivated soil, a P surplus is more likely than not.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2021, 22:47 by Subversive_plot »
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Aunt Sally

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Re: Bonemeal - useless?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2021, 18:27 »
Added later: read that blog post. I thought possibly it should come from the irritable snarky gardener?

He’s a gardening communicator, so will publish any old ‘shock, horror’ to maintain his profile and income.
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Plot 1 Problems

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Re: Bonemeal - useless?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2021, 20:19 »
It certainly reads like clickbait. It also misses that point that there are other micronutrients in bonemeal (ie calcium) that will slowly release into the soil over time.

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Subversive_plot

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Re: Bonemeal - useless?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2021, 00:13 »
It certainly reads like clickbait. It also misses that point that there are other micronutrients in bonemeal (ie calcium) that will slowly release into the soil over time.

I quite agree.
For garden amendments based on organic matter (bone meal, compost, chicken litter, manure, etc.) the nutrients release over many years. I like to think of it as a "bank" that plants can withdraw from over a long time.

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Debz

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Re: Bonemeal - useless?
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2021, 10:59 »
This is my fourth season on the plot and the first time I've bothered to scatter feeding and it's bonemeal I'm using.  My brassicas have never been so big.  I know that some of it will be the weather and so forth but I'm happy with how things are flourishing with it.

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jambop

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Re: Bonemeal - useless?
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2021, 13:38 »
The fact is that what he is saying is actually backed by the analysis of the product ie. he is telling no lies!
Gardening has been for years a pastime where some fertilising additives were by-products of some process  with no other use. However over the years, as pointed out by the blogger, many of the original constituents have been removed from the product because there are now uses for the constituents removed. Bone meal is one such product the gelatine is now almost completely removed to satisfy the sweet making industry . Of course back in the day products like bone meal, hoof and horn, fish meal etc had no product analysis the were exactly what they were ground down animal parts that had no other practical use. Now you can see what the product offers in the analysis. I totally agree with what the blogger is saying for an expensive product it offers little immediate benefits and even long term nothing much. He is in fact correct there are much, much better cost effective alternatives . There most definitely is an advantage in being able to see what you are buying and not a myth of what used to be.

Did anybody read the adjoining paper by the professor at WSU
« Last Edit: June 17, 2021, 14:04 by jambop »

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Plot 1 Problems

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Re: Bonemeal - useless?
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2021, 14:59 »

Did anybody read the adjoining paper by the professor at WSU

Yes I did, did you?

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jambop

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Re: Bonemeal - useless?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2021, 16:44 »
Yes I did... I thought it more or less reinforces what the blogger has said what is your take on it? Just clickbait?

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Subversive_plot

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Re: Bonemeal - useless?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2021, 17:16 »
My opinion is that both the blog post and the article have a point of view that they are supporting; an agenda.  There is a grain of truth here and there but there are factual errors.  For example, the attached WSU article says that "Bone meal is primarily calcium and phosphorus, two elements which are usually adequate in nonagricultural soils."   In my state, almost no nonagricultural soils have adequate calcium except in areas underlain by limestone or marble. It is probably true that some of these same nonagricultural soils are phosphorus-deficient.  Is the statement incorrect?  It is correct for some people, but incorrect for others; an over-generalization. 

The factoid about Protea is maybe slightly interesting, but of no use to anyone growing tomatoes or zinnias.

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jambop

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Re: Bonemeal - useless?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2021, 17:42 »
My opinion is that both the blog post and the article have a point of view that they are supporting; an agenda.  There is a grain of truth here and there but there are factual errors.  For example, the attached WSU article says that "Bone meal is primarily calcium and phosphorus, two elements which are usually adequate in nonagricultural soils."   In my state, almost no nonagricultural soils have adequate calcium except in areas underlain by limestone or marble. It is probably true that some of these same nonagricultural soils are phosphorus-deficient.  Is the statement incorrect?  It is correct for some people, but incorrect for others; an over-generalization. 


The factoid about Protea is maybe slightly interesting, but of no use to anyone growing tomatoes or zinnias.

That is why the paper actually states that "soils usually..."
As far as I can see these two articles are not related and I would like to know why any professor of a state University would want to be  making a point of view about bone meal as a fertiliser? It would be interesting to know the chronology of the paper and the bloggers piece. Has he used the paper to create his own point of view... his own revelation as it were?
What is clear is that the efficacy of bone meal as a fertiliser is very limited. And if your soil is calcium deficient is adding bone meal really a cost effective way of amending it? But most importantly the product bone meal is being sold primarily as a fertiliser when the chemical composition of the product clearly shows it has very limited capacity to enhance plant growth in the short or long term and is a relatively high cost item.

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New shoot

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Re: Bonemeal - useless?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2021, 20:38 »
I would like to know why any professor of a state University would want to be  making a point of view about bone meal as a fertiliser?

The professor has a whole website devoted to debunking myths.  It appears to be ‘her thing’. The bonemeal one is right at the top.

https://puyallup.wsu.edu/lcs/

Perhaps the blogger stumbled across it and is working their way down  ;)

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jambop

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Re: Bonemeal - useless?
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2021, 07:34 »
I would like to know why any professor of a state University would want to be  making a point of view about bone meal as a fertiliser?

The professor has a whole website devoted to debunking myths.  It appears to be ‘her thing’. The bonemeal one is right at the top.

https://puyallup.wsu.edu/lcs/

Perhaps the blogger stumbled across it and is working their way down  ;)

To be fair to her this is what scientists do prove or disprove theories or myths . I tend to go with her in terms of it being a poor fertiliser though. The blogger? I am not so sure he has just found her paper and used its findings as his own thoughts?



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