Frequently Asked Questions

We Have the Answers

My Citrus Tree's leaves are turning yellow, what's wrong?

You could have a few things going on. If the leaves are a washed out uniform yellow color, the tree could need to be fed or you may have an issue with water.

The nitrogen in fertilizer (the first number) is used by the plant to produce the green color of the leaves. If your plant is nitrogen deficient, the leaves will begin to yellow. The solution is to feed your plant.

Citrus plants will want ample water, but will want to dry out between watering. Give them a good soak, and then let them dry out before the next application of water. You will want the soil near the roots to dry out, not just the surface of the soil. If you’re unsure, you can pick up an inexpensive water meter that has a long probe that can reach below the soil surface to tell you what’s going on near the roots. If you’re giving them too much water or water too often, the solution to the yellow leaves is to back off the water. Water them on their schedule, not yours.

If the leaves are a washed out yellow color with dark green veins, that’s usually a symptom of iron deficiency. Citrus are high iron feeders. Organic fertilizers do not contain iron. Because iron is a mineral, it’s not considered “organic”. For this reason when using organic fertilizers, we recommend a supplemental feeding of Iron. We make two products for this purpose. Our Greenall FST is a granular Iron, Sulfur, Zinc and Manganese product. You will want to apply twice a year. Once in early spring and again in the late summer or early fall. The other product is our Greenall Liquid Chelated Iron.

The liquid Chelated Iron, will work faster than the FST, but because it’s in a liquid form, will probably need to be use more often to keep the nice green color.

Our Greenall Citrus and Avocado Food, our traditional synthetic fertilizer, does contain Iron and other trace minerals, but you may still need a supplemental feeding of Iron occasionally.

I have your Citrus and Fruit Tree food, can I use it on my Orange Tree?

Yes you can. There are instructions on the back of the box for all kinds of different fruit trees, berries and grapes.

Are your poly bags recyclable?

Yes, our packaging is recyclable in areas that allow for bags to be recycled. We use #4 poly for our bags. Most recyclers who would accept it would ask that it be cleaned out of soil or other debris and turned in as reasonably clean plastic.

OMRI or CDFA?

All judgments with regard to whether a product can be used on an organic farm and approved for use on organic farms are governed by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). Farmers have Accredited Certifying Agents (ACAs) which the USDA has given authority to for determining if a crop can be Certified as organic. An ACA can independently approve a material for use on an organic farm–they don’t need OMRI to do that.

As a result of the passage of AB856, the CDFA fertilizer program was given the legal authority in the State of California to regulate organic input materials (OIM). The program is required by law to review materials to the standards of the NOP—the same guidelines and standards that OMRI uses. Any material sold for use as an organic input in California is required by law to be reviewed by and registered with the CDFA OIM program. As part of that process, CDFA must ALSO INSPECT annually, any facility in the state that produces OIM products. So, in addition to reviewing materials to the same standard as OMRI, they also inspect the facility to verify that all processes and procedures ensure that there is no possibility of contamination of an organic input. We were inspected last year, and we expect to be inspected this year. OMRI is not currently doing site inspections.

The goal of CDFA is to be equal to OMRI, but with the legal authority of the State government to prosecute offenders—OMRI is a nonprofit with no ability to seek criminal or civil prosecution. CDFA can seek criminal or civil penalties for cheaters. And they have done so. So, they review materials to the same standard as OMRI—the guidelines under the NOP regulations, they inspect facilities, and they can prosecute offenders. OMRI reviews materials, they don’t conduct inspections, and they certainly cannot prosecute anyone

Why don’t we do OMRI? OMRI is an optional review. CDFA OIM is MANDATORY. It is required by law, under penalty of criminal prosecution. As a small company we didn’t feel, since CDFA reviews to the same standard as OMRI, that we should spend that money twice. We put the money into better quality products with more nutrients at a lower price.

What is the pH of the potting soil?

We adjust the pH for our potting soils and planting mixes to be right around 6.8 pH

How many cups are in a pound of fertilizer?

Generally speaking, there are 3 cups in each pound of the E.B.Stone organic blends, and two and ¼ cups in the Greenall traditional synthetic blends.

I have a raised bed for planting my vegetables, should I use Potting Soil to fill it or something else?

You can use Potting soil, but we recommend E.B. Stone Raised Bed and Potting Mix. This mix was formulated with lots of organic nutrients for these fast growing plants.  Ready to use right out of the bag.

Don’t forget to feed your vegetables throughout the growing season. Think about it this way, we ask a lot of a vegetable plant (or annual flower, for that matter) It will start from a seed, grow to maturity, bear wonderful fruit for us to eat and die, all in one short season. It takes a lot of energy (food) to do that, so don’t forget to feed every 6 to 8 weeks during the season.

I have a raised bed filled with last year's soil, do I need to add anything to it?

Yes, you should refresh the soil each year before you plant your new vegetable or flower garden. As your plants grow, the soil will become depleted of nutrients. You will notice, as time passes, that the soil level in your raised beds will subside. That is the organic matter in the growing medium breaking down. For those reasons, you should add a soil amendment such as E.B. Stone Raised Bed and Potting Mix. Add a few bags and mix into the soil to add nutrients and organic matter. Don’t forget to use our Organic Sure Start fertilizer at planting time.  Sure Start will insure that your plants get off to a good start.

Do I really need to pull back the mulch I have around my plants and apply the fertilizer to the soil surface?

Yes, the organic fertilizer needs good contact with the soil for it to begin to break down into a usable form that the plant can absorb. It also keeps the fertilizer from being exposed to direct sunlight, which can degrade the fertilizer.

We realize that this is not always possible. If you have bark or rocks, it can be hard to do. You can apply the fertilizer over the top of some types of mulch then wash the fertilizer off the surface of the mulch and onto the soil surface with water.

Your E.B. Stone Fertilizer instructions say to scratch the fertilizer into the top layer of soil; do I really have to do that?

You should if you can. Organic fertilizer needs a variety of factors to help break them down into a usable form for plants. It takes soils microbes, moisture, and soil temperature. We want the fertilizer to have good contact with the soil so that this process can begin. Also, scratching into the soil helps to keep the fertilizer in place, so it won’t wash away with water and it makes it harder for pets to get into it.

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