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Organic Gardening: Using human urine on citrus trees

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happygirl345
Pleasant Hill, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 16, 2012
6:44 AM

Post #9084420

Hi-
Does anyone have an opinion about diluting human urine to use as fertilizer for citrus trees? Thanks!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

April 16, 2012
10:46 AM

Post #9084769

This link might help you decide:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urine#Agriculture

tapla

tapla
Bay City, MI
(Zone 6a)

April 16, 2012
11:15 AM

Post #9084804

Are the trees in the ground or in containers?

Al
cr0ak
Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

April 16, 2012
4:32 PM

Post #9085217

Personally, I wouldn't use my own urine (or DH's for that matter) since both of us take prescription drugs. I'd be afraid that the drugs would be in the urine - and who knows WHAT they'd do to plants! (Especially food plants!)
happygirl345
Pleasant Hill, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 18, 2012
8:19 AM

Post #9087432

The tree is in the ground, and I've been using DH's "product" since he doesn't take any drugs... I dilute to about 1 cup per 2 gallons, but my tree isn't happy.

Thank you HoneyBee for the link -- very helpful (gotta love wiki!).

The leaves are yellow, which is bad, but it survived a couple of frosts better than in previous years, which is good.

The tree is now 5 years old and has yet to produce a lemon. If I don't get something this year, it's going to find a new home.

tapla

tapla
Bay City, MI
(Zone 6a)

April 18, 2012
6:46 PM

Post #9088216

While it may seem like a good idea, frugal, organic or green, or other adjectives, there are a few things that can't be denied. First, there is no way to tell if it would be an advantage or a limiting factor for trees in the ground w/o a soil test. Then, the likelihood that what is in it that isn't needed (already adequate amounts in the soil) will be more limiting than there is benefit in the nutrients it supplies that might be deficient, is far greater than the likelihood it will be a benefit.

When used on containerized plants, It's almost certain to be limiting if used as a sole source of nutrients or in combination with other complete fertilizers. The reason? The NPK % of urine is greatly skewed from that actually used by plants. For that reason, it will be mandatory that you fertilize with another fertilizer to make up for urine's deficiencies. When you do, you'll be duplicating some of the nutrients in urine, and the nutrients found in excess have no potential to be beneficial, only the potential to be limiting.

There is only 1 best ratio of nutrients to each other, and 1 best concentration of nutrients in the soil solution. The easiest way to get there is to use a fertilizer that supplies nutrients in the ratio at which plants actually use them and at a concentration low enough that plants can easily take up water and nutrients and high enough to prevent deficiencies. It's impossible to do that with urine alone, and trying to do it with urine + an off the shelf fertilizer is beyond the reach of nearly all hobby growers.

... and I'm not just picking on urine users - the same is true of those who think they are finding advantage in fertigating with aquarium water for the same reasons. Urine might be a little better than nothing, but it is no where near as good as a regular dose of any 3:1:2 RATIO fertilizer. (A fertilizer's ratio is different than its NPK %s. 24-8-16, 12-4-8, 9-3-6 are all 3:1:2 ratio fertilizers and supply nutrients at almost exactly the average ratio used by plants).

Al
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

April 18, 2012
6:56 PM

Post #9088230

You said you haven't had fruit in 5 yrs...have you had flowers and no fruit, or no flowers either? It can sometimes take trees a few years to really get going but after 5 yrs you should have at least seen some flowers if you've got it planted in the right amount of sun and have been watering/fertilizing appropriately.

If you've had no flowers, I'd look at how much sun it's getting and how you're watering & fertilizing. Too much shade could prevent blooms, although the leaves being yellow suggests some potential cultural issues. If the plant is stressed because of cultural issues it could prevent it from flowering.

If it's been flowering but then not producing fruit it's likely a pollination issue and you could take care of that yourself with a paintbrush if you want to (although since it's outside I'd be surprised that it's not getting pollinated naturally...I have a little Satsuma tree that I keep in my greenhouse for the winter and the bees still manage to find the flowers and I get fruit from it)
happygirl345
Pleasant Hill, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 22, 2012
12:42 PM

Post #9093008

Thanks TAPLA -- very good info!

ecrane3 - I don't have flowers even... it may get too much shade (though I'm afraid it will burn if I move it into full sun)... when, do you think, is the best time to move it?

Thanks!
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

April 22, 2012
2:39 PM

Post #9093143

How many hours of sun does it get? Since it has yellow leaves there's clearly something else stressing it which could be preventing it from blooming, so before you move it I'd first of all see if it actually does need to be moved, and secondly I'd fix whatever is causing the yellowing leaves and let it get back to being healthy before you move it (unless there's something inherent in its current location which is leading to the issues of course)

The best time to move things is in the fall (or even earlyish winter) so that the plant can take advantage of cooler temperatures and winter rain to get established before it has to deal with the stress of summer heat. Spring can be OK too but at this point it's too close to summer to be ideal. With proper care and attention things can be transplanted now but it'll be less stressful for you and the tree if you can wait until fall.
happygirl345
Pleasant Hill, CA
(Zone 9b)

April 30, 2012
5:40 PM

Post #9104595

I think the tree heard me say it was nearing eradication -- FIVE blossoms! I guess diluted urine 1x a month is helping...

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