If you want your garden to be in top condition for spring, now is the time to act! Although this goes against what many traditional gardeners believe, there is merit in this new course of action. Let’s take a closer look.
Traditional tree fertilization practices
When it comes to fertilization, the general rule of thumb followed by many is to fertilize trees and shrubs in your garden in early spring. In this way, the plants receive a massive boost of nutrients just before they are about to begin their annual growth spurt.
Although there is nothing wrong with doing it the traditional way, there is another school of thought.
Why fertilize trees in fall?
Over the past number of years, more and more gardeners have started to fertilize their trees and shrubs in late fall, just after the frosty period begins. It is important to wait long enough. Too early, for example, early fall, and the nutrients in the fertilizer might actually promote late growth if the weather remained unseasonably warm. This growth would easily fall prey to the first sign of cold temperatures.
As fall winds down, trees and shrubs in your garden will start to lose their leaves as their active growth slows with winter approaching.
The roots of these plants now actively look for nutrients in the soil. These nutrients are then used by the trees and shrubs in various ways, but particularly in building disease resistance as well as helping with root development, all of which means a healthier plant come spring.
Any excess nutrients are used at the beginning of spring to promote new growth in these now healthy plants.
How do you know if you should fertilize in winter?
There is a catch, however, as not all plants, trees or shrubs need to always be fertilized in this way. The best way to determine if you should fertilize is by conducting a soil test. To do this, contact the county extension office in your neighborhood and take them a sample of the soil around the areas where most of your trees and shrubs are found.
The report they generate will identify which nutrients are lacking in your soil. Many of these will be necessary for the best growth possible for your plants. Better still, the report will actually tell you in what quantities to add the nutrients to the soil to achieve this.
A word of warning, never add more nutrients than recommended as they can actually contaminate the soil in the long run.
Making a change to fall fertilization may be a little difficult at first but certainly, it can be worth it. If you have any questions regarding fall fertilization or gardening in general, contact us today!
Filed in: Lawn Care