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Kudzu's ammonia smell
The nitrates present in the Osmocote fertilizer are reduced in the
substrate under anaerobic conditions by bacteria to form ammonia. Other
types of bacteria also produce gaseous nitrogen from nitrates
(denitrification). It's no big deal unless you use "too much". I
recommend that when you set up a soil substrate you don't add any
nitrogen or phosphorus fertilizer until much later when the growth rates
The ratio of ammonia to nitrogen gas is mediated by the presence of
available carbon compounds (I've been told). If I recall it properly,
the carbon is necessary for denitrification so ammonia production may be
favored if the pellets are encased in clay.
Certainly you can expect a significant production of ammonia from
nitrogen fertilizer used in the substrate so use small amounts
preferably encased in clay or Jobe's sticks. You probably prefer that
your nitrate become ammonia rather than gas since that is the form which
is useable by plants.
Somebody please correct my ignorance on the subject of denitrification!