10 Tips For Effective Fertilizing
March 23, 2012 by yardloverblog
Using fertilizer correctly grows healthier plants, saves money, and is environmentally responsible. Follow these 10 tips for success:
- Apply water soluble fertilizers only when plants are actively growing. Nutrients must be taken up quickly by plant roots or they will simply be washed away.
- Slow-release fertilizers and compost can be applied any time, since nutrients remain in the soil and are available to plants over a long period of time as needed.
- Avoid excessive feeding; this can lead to rapid over-growth that attracts pests, but doesn’t help the plant’s health or appearance. Also, excess fertilizer ends up in streams and lakes where it will pollute the water.
- Mix as directed on the package. Too strong a solution can “burn” plant roots, and also end up washing away into waterways.
- Do not use lawn fertilizer on flowers; the high nitrogen content may encourage the growth of foliage at the expense of blooms.
- Don’t feed trees, shrubs, and perennials with a fast-acting fertilizer in autumn. Plants are preparing to go dormant for winter, and should not be encouraged to put out new growth.
- Have your soil tested every few years. You can use a home Soil Test Kit or send a soil sample to a testing lab. Your local cooperative extension office can recommend a lab.
- Make sure the soil pH is appropriate for the plants you are growing. Most plants prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH of around 6.8. The soil’s pH affects how available the nutrients in a fertilizer are to plants.
- Avoid fertilizing lawns during very hot weather, when they are essentially dormant.
- Remember that with fertilizer, more isn’t necessarily better.