COS Does Fertilizer

Hurry! Only twenty fifteen of the 120 50-pound bags are left.

50 lb Bags of Higgins Mix (Ammonium Sulfate + micronutrients)

For Sale

After the MSU Chestnut Establishment Meeting (click here for agenda and registration) adjourns at 4:00 pm at Clarksville, COS partners will present our spring fertilizing demonstration. We will meet you in the parking lot and take you out to the chestnut plots where we will discuss fertilizers and tree vigor, both factors needed in calculating the amount of nitrogen to add to the soil around the trees. We will discuss the types of fertilizer and the ones you may want to use.

Even if you do not attend the Chestnut Establishment meeting, simply meet us in the parking lot at 4:00 and we will take you to the plots and demonstrate the calculations needed for fertilizing both young and older trees. The cost is free for clients and immediate family members, and $25 for non-members and friends of members. We will also have available 50 pound bags of Higgins mix the best fertilizer mix known for Michigan’s chestnuts.

Higgins mix was devised by a former MSU Forestry professor, Norm Higgins who grew every type of chestnut imaginable in Perry, Michigan. These were probably the best chestnuts in Michigan until our modern selections were established in orchards. Mixed together he had American, Chinese, Japanese, Europeans and all of their possible hybrids. The cultivar ‘Labor Day’ a Japanese species was selected from among his trees and grafted by MSU as a precocious pollinizer that dropped nuts in early to mid-September. Norm did everything right when growing these chestnut trees except one thing–he did not believe in pruning. So, the trees at his orchard became large and then mostly non-productive. But his fertilizer, based on ammonium sulfate (which drives down the soil pH) and a balance of important micronutrients, remains an important part of our chestnut culture in Michigan.

To read about this material, click on the 2017 Chestnut Pesticide Guide (on the right hand side panel of this website).  Inside that you will find the Michigan Chestnut Management Guide 2017. Scroll down that and you will find the Nutrient Management information section. There is information regarding the fertilizers that you can use, and why you use them. Then there are tables that tell you how much fertilizer to use per tree. It also discusses the information regarding tree vigor and age or size of tree, which are also important to know. All this will be discussed at the Fertilizer Demonstration, on Thursday starting at 4:00 pm at the Clarksville Research Center. We hope to see you there!

The Higgins mix fertilizer (ammonium sulphate 21%) that is used at the station and on some of the most productive orchards will be for sale in 50 pound bags. We have a ton available. Your cost as a client of COS is listed, below. Add $3.00 per bag for non-members.

$27 for 50lb 1-4 bags 

$25.50 for 5-10 bags

$23.50 for 10-19 bags

$21.50 for 20+ bags

In the past, this has been called the Higgins Mix it is now referred to as the ammonium sulfate (21%) in the tables found in the Michigan Chestnut Management Guide (inside the 2017 Pesticide Guide); Nutrient Management section on our website. This is the best fertilizer you can buy for your chestnuts and the environment as it does so much for the trees. To get this fertilizer mixed, it takes a 3-ton minimum order, and COS has taken care of fertilizer for you. You won’t find this mix anywhere else. If you can’t make it to the fertilization demonstration on Thursday, but want to purchase some, just email us at

How do you get these orchard chestnut trees to produce an 85 pound average within 15 years?  How do you pay back the tree for such great production?  How do you get your trees in shape for the ensuing season and the ones beyond?  Fertilization.  You can’t do it without good fertilizer and a fertilizer management plan.   Dennis Fulbright at the plot, Clarksville Research Station, where Colossal trees averaged 85 pounds per tree in 2016 (some were over 100 pounds).  15-years-old trees.

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