Why is MSU fertilizer called MSU?
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  #1  
Old 09-16-2021, 06:25 AM
karrolhk karrolhk is offline
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Why is MSU fertilizer called MSU?
Default Why is MSU fertilizer called MSU?

Several questions about MSU fertilizer:

1. Does Michigan State University (which department there?) have a study to back up the orchid fertilizer formula they create? If yes, where can I read the study? (I tried googling but with no success)

2. Is the MSU fertilizer formula considered the best for orchid nutrition? i.e. better than 20-20-20?

3. What's the relationship between rePotme and MSU fertilizer? maybe rePotme made a special deal with MSU to be abe to produce a fertilize and sell it using their formula? Are there other brands that make fertilizers using the MSU formula?

Thank you.
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2021, 06:53 AM
rbarata rbarata is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karrolhk View Post
Are there other brands that make fertilizers using the MSU formula?
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  #3  
Old 09-16-2021, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karrolhk View Post
Several questions about MSU fertilizer:

1. Does Michigan State University (which department there?) have a study to back up the orchid fertilizer formula they create? If yes, where can I read the study? (I tried googling but with no success)
MSU has a big horticulture department.

I have spoken many times to the PhD who formulated it, and as I said in my K-Lite response, he insists that “they tried it and it worked”. Their experience was documented in the American Orchid Society magazine back in 2005 (?).

To me, the most significant improvement they brought to “orchid food” was the inclusion of calcium and magnesium, which are uncommon in commercial blends.

Quote:
2. Is the MSU fertilizer formula considered the best for orchid nutrition? i.e. better than 20-20-20?
Depends upon who you ask. K-Lite is my favorite, and was derived from the MSU RO formula by that same MSU PhD.

In truth, there is no “best” formula. What we’re trying to do is supply “enough” of everything, with deficiencies in nothing, using what’s in the water in conjunction with whatever you add.

Quote:
3. What's the relationship between rePotme and MSU fertilizer? maybe rePotme made a special deal with MSU to be abe to produce a fertilize and sell it using their formula? Are there other brands that make fertilizers using the MSU formula?
There is one manufacturer of the original MSU formulas in the US (and K-Lite, as well). If I am not mistaken, RepotMe just repackages it and makes a solution of it for their liquid version.

Wayne Robert (Roberts Floral Supply) has a formulator mix him a very slightly different formula that he sells, and as rbarata mentioned, Akernes Orchids in Belgium sells their own version as “rain mix”.
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Old 09-16-2021, 09:14 AM
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Why is MSU fertilizer called MSU?
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arguably the MSU formula is the best for orchids however it was never developed for orchids, it was actually developed for other plants and then discovered that orchids do really well with it

so it was never specifically developed for rochids nor was there any studies performed to see how orchids would respond, it was made, orchid growers tried it and with the addition of enough Mg, and Ca it was a big hit compared to other fertilizers.
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Old 09-16-2021, 10:08 AM
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(Major Edit)

Apparently, my pre-caffeine rant was totally incorrect!

Please disregard the ass I showed this morning.
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  #6  
Old 09-16-2021, 10:12 AM
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Why is MSU fertilizer called MSU?
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Thank you! You mentioned that the highlight for the MSU formula is the addition of Cal Mag. Can I just use another formula (the cheapest option) which doesn't have Cal Mag and buy a separate Cal Mag and add to it when mixing up the fertilizer? Would I achieve the same results?
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Old 09-16-2021, 10:16 AM
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Actually Ray, I found an article from 2005 by Bill Argo (not AOS, but might be the one you were referring to?) and in the last paragraph he does say the following:

"It is important to note that these formulas were
not designed with orchids in mind. In fact, they were
not designed with any specific crop in mind. The
reason that they have worked well for orchids is the
same reason that they have worked well for a huge
variety of plant species grown in the research and
teaching greenhouses, the formulas complement their
specific water qualities both in pH reaction and
nutrition. "


Link to article on the website of the St Augustine Orchid Society: https://staugorchidsociety.org/PDF/IPAFinal.pdf
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Old 09-16-2021, 11:36 AM
karrolhk karrolhk is offline
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Why is MSU fertilizer called MSU?
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Thank you for the article. It says:

"Dr. John Biernbaum (from MSU), Larry Metcoff (from
GreenCare fertilizers), and I [Bill Argo] designed two fertilizer
formulas to be used with the two types of irrigation
water found at MSU research and teaching greenhouses."

So these 3 people designed the MSU formula?

---------- Post added at 11:36 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:30 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray View Post
MSU has a big horticulture department.

I have spoken many times to the PhD who formulated it, and as I said in my K-Lite response, he insists that “they tried it and it worked”. Their experience was documented in the American Orchid Society magazine back in 2005 (?).
.
Ray, who is the PhD you mentioned that formulated the MSU formula and K-lite? is that Bill Argo?
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Old 09-16-2021, 12:20 PM
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Why is MSU fertilizer called MSU?
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thank you camille. I guess that is why you get 4 likes and I get one like.

That's fine. For someone to contradict Ray to stick up for me is appreciated. We all know Ray likes to come in all guns blazing sometimes. Why?

Cleary a touchy subject! Off to practice my tip toeing around skills.
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Old 09-16-2021, 04:40 PM
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Several points:
  • I haven't seen controlled experiments reported testing MSU blends against other blends in orchids. The people who wrote the papers available on Ray's Web site just switched and decided their plants did better. This is an observation, not a study. Observations should not be used to change processes; they require careful testing to see whether the observed change was really caused by the treatment applied.
  • I used to think fertilizer use was a factor of maybe 9th or 10th importance for orchids. Now I think it may be 20th after all other factors. In other words, stop worrying about fertilizer. Improve your light, temperature, humidity and watering habits before fussing over fertilizer.
  • Commercial growers or research centers that can test fertilizers against many plants in controlled conditions would be able to do controlled studies on fertilizers. Home growers cannot do these studies because almost none of us has 100 or more identical plants to divide into test and control groups, and almost none of us has strict control of conditions in our growing space. Thus individual growers can only make observations, and these don't prove anything.

With regard to calcium and magnesium: These minerals combine with other components in fertilizers to form insoluble precipitates. It would be better to use them at a different watering than the other fertilizer.

Far easier and cheaper than buying a calcium-magnesium supplement, depending on the content of your tap water, is to mix your own tap water with more pure water. You can get a water quality report from your water utility. Most people have at least some dissolved minerals in their tap water, and this is chiefly calcium and magnesium carbonates.

If you are in this situation take the total dissolved minerals in parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter (mg/l), and dilute the tap water with pure water to get a total dissolved solids amount of about 50-100 ppm. Then add your fertilizer.

For example, if your tap water has 400 mg/l or 400 ppm of dissolved solids, dilute it so 1 volume of tap water winds up mixed to 4 times that volume - or 1 part tap water to 3 parts pure water. That should give about 100 ppm dissolved solids. If you wanted 50 ppm (400/50=8 times dilution) you would use 1 part tap water and 7 parts pure water.
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