Fertilizer is necessary for all of the plants in your yard. It provides the essential nutrients they need to perform all their basic functions, from spreading roots to growing lush foliage, flowering, rooting, and absorbing moisture from the soil. If your plant is lacking those key nutrients, its growth will be slow and weak.
Give All of Your Plants the Boost They Need by Applying Fertilizer
Fertilizer isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing (however, you can buy balanced all-purpose fertilizer if you want to take the easy route). Your best option is to choose a fertilizer formulated for specific kinds of plants. This way, you can be sure that all of your different plants are getting what they need.
The three numbers on every package of fertilizer—the NPK ratio—represent the levels of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). Nitrogen affects foliage production, phosphorus affects root, flower, and fruit production, and potassium supports overall health and basic functions. So, if you give a flowering plant a high-nitrogen, low-phosphorus fertilizer, you’ll end up with a bunch of leaves and very few flowers.
Here are some recommendations on fertilizer formulas to look for when fertilizing all the plants in your yard.
Fertilizer for Shrubs and Trees
Granular fertilizer with an NPK of 19-8-10 or 12-6-6 will work perfectly for trees and shrubs. Spread it all around the base of your tree or shrub, 1.5 times the diameter of the crown of the plant, being careful not to make contact with the foliage. The amount you use depends on the total area in which you’re spreading it, so follow the calculations on the back of the package to ensure you’re measuring it correctly. After applying, water the fertilizer into the ground so it can begin to soak in and feed your plant.
A cyclone or drop-type spreader will help you spread your fertilizer evenly if you’re not feeling confident about spreading it by hand. If the soil around your trees or shrubs looks compacted and water isn’t draining well, aerate it with a spike aerator; this will loosen up the soil, introduce oxygen, and prevent moisture from pooling.
Fertilizer for Lawns
Fertilize your lawn at least twice per year—once in spring and once in summer—but don’t fertilize more often than once every six weeks. There’s no need to fertilize in late fall or winter. Look for a formula with a 15-0-15 NPK—high nitrogen is necessary for lush, green grass! You can also opt for weed and feed formulas that contain pre-emergent herbicides and other weed preventatives.
Resist the urge to over-fertilize your lawn—this will just stress out your grass and do more harm than good. Follow the instructions on the package, and if you’re worried about accidentally over-fertilizing, you can switch to an organic formula. These tend to be gentler on your plants and the soil.
Fertilizer for Vegetables
A balanced 10-10-10 granular fertilizer will work perfectly on your vegetables, so you’ll get lots of leafy greens and flowers that will eventually bear fruit. If you’re starting your vegetables from seed, water-soluble fertilizers are helpful during the early stages to give your young plants an instant nutrient fix.
It takes lots of energy to produce all those fruits, so you may need to fertilize your plants as often as once per month. Always make sure you use a fertilizer that’s safe to use on edible plants—those plants will end up in your belly, so you don’t want any harmful chemicals lingering on them.
Fertilizer for Flowers
All-purpose plant fertilizers are usually fine for your garden flowers, whether they’re annuals or perennials. Look for a 14-12-11 or 9-15-13 NPK ratio. There are some formulas available for specific kinds of flowering plants, like rhododendrons and azaleas or exotic tropicals. Begin fertilizing your plants in spring, and stop fertilizing in late Summer. Different flowers have different preferences for the frequency of fertilization, so feel free to ask any of the plant experts at Pine Hills for suggestions or pointers.
Looking for fertilizer for sale in Mississippi? Whether you want to go synthetic or organic, all-purpose or specially formulated, Pine Hills has a vast assortment of options to suit every garden. Visit us soon to stock up in time for spring!