Grow Massachusetts!

Fertilization

The Why

While plants will often survive on their own, most of us are not willing to settle for survive. We are looking for flourish, prosper, or thrive!

Many soils in typical residential areas are poor at best, all the good “stuff” was taken away before you moved in.

We humans are impatient beings! When a plant is provided with all the things it needs it can easily grow 50 to 100% more than if it is limited.


The What

The next big question is what on earth do I use? After all, there must easily be 1,000 different fertilizers available. You do NOT need 1000, 100, or even 10. Hollies, rhododendrons, tomatoes, fruit trees all have their own specific needs, but these needs differ only slightly. That means that one properly designed fertilizer will take care of all your plants growing in the ground. We have another fact sheet on fertilizing containers.

Plant-O-Ganic is one fertilizer that fits the bill. We have used this one in our nursery for over 30 years and are completely happy with it. Plant-O-Ganic is an 8-8-8 fertilizer which means it has Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (also called Potash). Because it has an even mix of the three major plant nutrients, it is referred to as a balanced fertilizer.

Plant-O-Ganic is a slow release fertilizer. That means three things to you.

  • You need to fertilize less frequently; once per year will work and twice per year is fantastic.
  • Your plants have nutrients available to them for a long time, so they are healthier and more vigorous.
  • You are much, much less likely to “burn” your plants using Plant-O-Ganic. Since it is slow release, the burn potential is greatly reduced.

The When

Now! There are ideal times for fertilizing. Late fall (Halloween) is a fantastic one, early spring is a second choice. But the reality is most plants are suffering from a definite shortage of nutrients.

Making the plants wait until the perfect time is like telling the person who has happened upon an oasis after being lost in the desert for two weeks that they have to wait until after they get out of the lake to eat, because your grandmother always said not to eat before you go swimming. This may be good advice, but not if you haven’t eaten in two weeks!


The How

There are a variety of approaches to applying fertilizer. The easiest method is simply to scatter fertilizer over the surface of the ground. Scatter it evenly over the whole area under the branches, and even a little beyond the tips too. Do not put it in a concentrated band. A guide to what quantity of Plant-O-Ganic to use follows.

Guide for using Plant-O-Ganic 8-8-8
Use these amounts only for Plant-O-Ganic. Amounts will vary substantially for other fertilizers

  • Perennial Beds and Groundcovers: 1 cup for each 10 foot by 1 foot area
  • Shrubs: 1 cup for each foot of height or spread. You can increase this to 1 ½ cups for vigorously growing plants
  • Trees: 1 and a half cups per inch of trunk diameter (measured across, NOT around, the trunk)

Some helpful information and conversions

  • 5 pound bag contains about 9 cups (8.75 exact)
  • 25 pound bag contains about 44 cups
  • 1 cup is a little over a half pound (0.57)
  • 3 to 6 handfuls per cup depending on hand size
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