There may be nothing more confusing in the wonderful world of plants than knowing how to fertilize. With a couple of easy exceptions, most any fertilizer will feed your plantings just fine.
We use Osmocote here at Greenhaven Gardens & Nursery. Osmocote is a complete slow release fertilizer, meaning it has a good balance of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium, the three major nutrients needed for good growth and health. Its slow release means we can apply the fertilizer in the early spring and know it will work all season long without having to reapply. This makes it ideal for plantings that need a good constant supply of fertilizer all season long, such as annual plantings, container gardens, or new tree, shrub and perennial plants.
Established plantings still need a complete fertilizer, although now your focus should shift to feeding the soil instead of just the plant. Pro-Gro, a locally manufactured organic fertilizer, is an easy choice. Organic fertilizers are very slow releasing, making it hard to over fertilize. We like this for established plantings, vegetable gardens, or even trees. Use 15-20 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. for vegetable or flowerbeds. For landscape plants, use 1 cup per inch of trunk diameter spread on the ground under the canopy, or use 1 cup for every 2 feet of height or spread of shrubs. Another good choice is simply 5-10-5, a good basic fertilizer for just about everything. Use 20 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. Specialty fertilizers come in handy for those odd little occasions when nothing else will do. Blossom Booster is great for forcing or keeping plants in bloom. Liquid Seaweed is a great foliar (through the leaves) feeder of tender seedlings. For those gardeners already out watering we offer Miracle Gro, which mixes right into the water you are already using. For evergreen plants, or for other acid loving plants, such as hollies and rhododendrons, we highly recommend Holly Tone, a complete fertilizer with the added bonus of making the soil more acidic at the same time. Full instructions come right on the bag.
Fertilizing lawns can be a nearly religious argument. The choices abound with pre-emergent herbicides, post emergent, fall feeding, spring green up, and on and on. The simple answer is to use our basic Lawn Supreme in the spring, at the rate of 50 pounds per 10000 sq. ft. See us for any additional needs you may have. Lime gets confusing too. Simply put, Lime will change the soil pH to make it less acid. Certain nutrients get bound up in acid soil, and natural bacteria and microbes slow down. Normal lime takes about a year to change the soil pH, and is a powdery dust that doesn’t taste very good (trust us). We sell a pelletized limestone, as easy to spread as fertilizer. It’s finely ground, then pelletized together. Very fast acting, it’s effective in as little as 2 weeks. After testing to know how much you need to change, use these basic guidelines. To raise pH by one point, use 100 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. in sandy soil, or 200 lbs. per 1000 in clay.