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Different types of diotomaceous earth  RSS feed

 
John Saltveit
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Hi Justin,
When I first saw diotomaceous earth, it was long, sharp and crystal-looking, like tiny glass needles. I just bought some for my biodynamic tree paste, and it was a powder. The dust flew everywhere. Is there an advantage to different kinds of diotomaceous earth? Is one better in biodynamic tree paste?
Thanks,
John S
PDX OR
 
Justin Wood
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John,

All the DE you buy in a bag or bottle will be the crushed powder. It is just rock dust and it is super fine.

I wish I knew more about biodynamics to better answer your question.

I am guessing you have a recipe that calls for some level of calcium and some level of silica?

Food grade calcium bentonite (CB) is a readily absorbable calcium for the human bodies. Maybe for trees? I am not sure the function of calcium in this situation. Is it to lime the tree trunk as you would the ground?

DE has high silica content so any food grade DE would work. This will also be an insect deterrent apart from the silica.

As I have mentioned in other posts, I am fascinated with micro-nutrients and trace minerals that come from DE and CB. DE has around 20, but I have read varying numbers. CB has around 80. Those trace minerals all depend on the source of the DE or CB, but it seems like easy ways to boost the health of anything.

I think it would be an interesting experiment to apply different DE and CB and observe.

Blessings.
 
Barbara Greene
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Hi Justin,

Thanks for coming to permies and thanks for giving us your time and expertise!

My question is about Azomite, I have used it in the past for myself and my cattle as a trace mineral additive and it seemed to work very well. I believe it is a clay base, as its kinda pink and a bit gritty. It was also really great to sprinkle around my fruit trees again for added minerals. I know it comes out of Utah.

Do you have any experience with this as a detoxing agent?

Thanks,

Barbara
 
John Saltveit
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Hi Justin,
Clay and fine sand are mixed with DE and organic cow manure and painted on the tree for the biodynamic tree paste. It is an insect repellent, but yes, one can put some lime in it. Many orchardists paint a lime wash on their trees to discourage sun burn and bugs and add calcium as the nutrient. This just takes it a couple of steps further. The paste is pretty thick so bugs don't recognize it as a tree, leave , and die.

Is there a benefit to the powder form of DE instead of the tiny glass-like crystal form of DE? I couldn't tell.
Thanks,
JOhn
 
Justin Wood
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Barbara Greene wrote:Hi Justin,

Thanks for coming to permies and thanks for giving us your time and expertise!

My question is about Azomite, I have used it in the past for myself and my cattle as a trace mineral additive and it seemed to work very well. I believe it is a clay base, as its kinda pink and a bit gritty. It was also really great to sprinkle around my fruit trees again for added minerals. I know it comes out of Utah.

Do you have any experience with this as a detoxing agent?

Thanks,

Barbara


Barbara,

I have no experience with Azomite, but it looks like a great product. I do see that it is 65% silica so it will behave a lot like DE (I would guess). I don't know if Azomite is "food grade". Because I don't know much about Azomite, I would go the route of calcium bentonite to do a heavy detox.

Sorry, I wish I could add more.

Blessings.
 
Justin Wood
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John Saltveit wrote:Hi Justin,
Clay and fine sand are mixed with DE and organic cow manure and painted on the tree for the biodynamic tree paste. It is an insect repellent, but yes, one can put some lime in it. Many orchardists paint a lime wash on their trees to discourage sun burn and bugs and add calcium as the nutrient. This just takes it a couple of steps further. The paste is pretty thick so bugs don't recognize it as a tree, leave , and die.

Is there a benefit to the powder form of DE instead of the tiny glass-like crystal form of DE? I couldn't tell.
Thanks,
JOhn


John,

I have only worked with the powder DE. I have never seen the crystal form you are talking about. If the powder DE was mixed with the paste and then "glued" to the tree, then I would imagine that the DE would be there for a long time. If the powder DE is applied wet, but not really glued, then I think it would wash off pretty quick.

Blessings.
 
John Saltveit
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That must be the idea. The stuff stays for a long time. MOre than a year frequently, even when applied during the rain. It is painted on the tree. Thanks,
John S
PDX OR
 
Justin Wood
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John Saltveit wrote:That must be the idea. The stuff stays for a long time. MOre than a year frequently, even when applied during the rain. It is painted on the tree. Thanks,
John S
PDX OR


John,

Does the tree have to be a certain age before it gets "painted"? Are seedlings okay?

Thanks.
 
John Saltveit
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This is my first time trying. I'm experienced with organic and permaculture, but new to biodynamic gardening. I painted some of the new seedling trees. I think the idea is to prevent them from being infected rather than to save them once they are attacked. I will have some data in one year. Sorry not too many results yet.
John S
PDX OR
 
Justin Wood
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John Saltveit wrote:This is my first time trying. I'm experienced with organic and permaculture, but new to biodynamic gardening. I painted some of the new seedling trees. I think the idea is to prevent them from being infected rather than to save them once they are attacked. I will have some data in one year. Sorry not too many results yet.
John S
PDX OR


John,

Sounds really cool. From what I have read, the concept is to treat the tree trunk as a semi-continuation of the soil, so you apply "soil like" amendments to the tree. I think this is a fascinating understanding of the interconnectedness in a very practical way. Looking forward to reading some data. Blessings.
 
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