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Understanding What Makes the Best Fertilizer for Your Shrubs

Lovers of low-maintenance landscaping love shrubs because they are precisely that: low maintenance. Even so, they sometimes still need shrub fertilizer to fully reach their potential and stay as healthy as possible.

Shrubs in landscaping often grow under stressful conditions and in environments outside of one natural to them. Proper fertilization accounts for these conditions and variables and considers such things as soil fertility, sun and wind exposure, aeration of the soil, drainage and temperature. All shrubs require different nutrients for healthy growth, but knowing just what nutrients they need is important before applying any type of shrub fertilizer. Conducting a soil test provides a better idea of which nutrients your soil lacks and which might need fortification through the use of fertilizers.

What is in a Fertilizer?

For healthy growth, all plants require nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper, molybdenum, magnesium, iron, sulfur, manganese and boron, which the plant acquires from the soil or from fertilizer. Elements including boron, zinc, manganese, iron, copper and molybdenum are micronutrients because of the fact that plants require only small amounts of them. Nutrients needed in greater supply – nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium – are macronutrients. Both are extremely essential and must, therefore, be replaced by fertilizers when the soil is lacking.

Fertilizing Time

The best time for fertilizing shrubs is in the spring, when they require the most nourishment. These active periods of pushing out new growth benefit greatly from the additional nutrients provided by shrub fertilizer, and feeding flowering shrubs after they have bloomed encourages the growth of more blooms next year. Certain signs indicate the need for shrub fertilizer, so it is wise to know what those signs are before applying something they do not actually need. For instance, shrubs showing lots of new shoot growth and leaves do not require fertilizer. Those producing little new growth, with pale or yellowing leaves, do need nutrients, which makes the application of shrub fertilizer necessary. Fertilization in fall is also advisable, before winter sends the plants into dormancy.

Know Your Fertilizer

If you have a variety of shrubs on your property, you can often use all-purpose plant food or fertilizer spikes inserted into the soil beneath the shrub, once in spring and again in early fall, to release nutrients on a continual basis. The main objective of shrub fertilizer is to improve the health and appearance of shrubs, but those healthier shrubs are also generally less vulnerable to pests and plant diseases. If you have any questions about which fertilizer is best, consult a professional. They will have the knowledge needed for the correct formulas as well as the best method of application.

Organic and Inorganic

Shrub fertilizer falls into two main categories: organic and inorganic (chemical). Organic fertilizer comes from a living plant or animal source. Chemical fertilizers are either mixed or mass-produced and have the advantage of being lower in cost than their organic counterpart. Because of this, most fertilizers currently in use are inorganic.

Slow Release and Soluble

Within the categories of organic and inorganic fertilizers are slow-release fertilizers and liquid fertilizers. Slow-release fertilizers may actually be either inorganic or organic and have a slow rate of release as well as a long residual, low burn potential and low water solubility. The most common element in a slow-release fertilizer is nitrogen. Liquid, or water-soluble, fertilizers are popularly used as preventative treatments for minor nutrient deficiencies and for correcting these deficiencies when they occur. They are applied either on the foliage of the shrub or to the soil.

At Executive Landscaping, Inc., we work with clients all over the Gulf Coast and have years of experience in applying shrub fertilizer to the shrubs on their properties to ensure the best possible results. We know when the time is right and the amount needed, and we use only the best products available. Above all, our goal is creating a masterpiece for our clients, and beautiful shrubs are a part of that.

Call Executive Landscaping, Inc. to learn more about shrub fertilizer and the many outdoor services we offer today!