Turf and Shrub Fertilization – Healthy turf, trees, and shrubs increase the value of your property and are more resistant to drought, disease and pests. The proper fertilizer can increase the vigor of your valuable landscape plants, but the wrong fertilizer can damage plants, encourage disease and pollute groundwater.
All plants and turf need certain nutrients to grow and thrive. There are 17 elements needed for growth. Plants acquire oxygen, carbon and hydrogen, which are found in the air, and micro- and macronutrients that are absorbed from the soil. Macronutrients, those required in larger amounts, include nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and sulfur.
Micronutrients include iron, zinc, molybdenum, manganese, boron, copper, cobalt and chlorine. Spring is the optimum time to fertilize all turf, trees and shrubs. If you are planting trees or shrubs in early spring, apply a small amount of slow-release fertilizer 6 to 8 weeks after planting. For established trees and shrubs, an early spring application of fertilizer based on your soil test is best.
If your soil is sandy, you may need to make an additional application, especially during a wet growing season. Do not fertilize during periods of drought because it will encourage water-demanding new growth.