Even the most novice of gardeners has heard that applying fertilizer is essential to the success of any landscaping project. And yet, a lot of you are still skipping this vital step. If you’re wondering why fertilizer is so important, read on:
Just as your body needs certain nutrients and vitamins, plants have needs, too. Without enough water and proper nutrition, your health and even your physical appearance suffer. The same is true of plants. Plants need water, sunlight, and the correct balance of minerals in order to thrive. This protects your landscaping investment by keeping your plants healthy, and also ensures your plants will produce beautiful blooms or foliage year after year.
Plants draw minerals out of the soil, through their roots. Minerals such as potassium, magnesium, nitrogen, and calcium naturally exist in soil. Plants utilize these nutrients for growth, much as we utilize plants for energy. But over time, soil becomes stripped of these nutrients and unable to support healthy plant growth. Each growth cycle draws minerals from the soil, and these nutrients don’t just magically reappear for the next growing season.
In nature, dead and decaying plant or animal matter help to return minerals to the soil. This usually does not happen in our gardens, since we clean and maintain them for aesthetic purposes.
Fertilizer replaces these vital nutrients in the soil. When you fertilize your plants, you’re literally feeding them!
The right type of fertilizer is essential. A slow-release fertilizer is best, to ensure even feeding of your plants throughout the seasons. We recommend Apex brand’s 21-5-6 Iron Super Topdress. This formula contains the right mixture of trace minerals for most lawns and gardens.
You need to fertilize at the right time of year. We recommend that you fertilize your soil in March, June, and September. This provides enough food for your plants during their busiest growing season, and keeps them fed and healthy during the winter as well while minimizing losses due to frost. A temperature released fertilizer like the one listed above is very important.
Certain plants may have special needs. If you want to attempt growing exotic, high-maintenance species of plants, those varieties may have very specific fertilizer needs. Come in to see us for a consultation, and we can advise you on the best course of action to keep your plants fed and healthy.