Most people know enough about gardening to understand the importance of fertilizer. And most people who have seen Back to the Future are familiar with fertilizer (thanks, Biff!). But that might be the extent of common knowledge on this subject. You know your plants and lawn need it, but how often? And how much should you use? And where?
That’s why we’re here. To help you understand fertilization, especially of your flowerbeds. So when is it most important? When will it be most beneficial? Let’s talk about it.
Fertilization is not a continual process
Let’s be clear from the start, you should fertilize at very specific times, and sparingly. Fertilizer isn’t like water, which you can add on a regular basis. Fertilizer has active ingredients that stimulate your plant life and helps it grow. However, this stimulation could be overwhelming for weak plants or plants struggling through the middle of a 100-degree summer.
You see, the active ingredients in fertilizer contain nitrates, and those nitrates have a pretty intense effect on your plant life. When you provide too much fertilizer, you’re going to provide too much stimulus and damage the plants (this is known as “burning”).
So when should I fertilize?
Well, let’s answer the question in the headline first. It’s best to fertilize for the first time early in the spring, after the first rains have begun. If you do it before any rain, the fertilizer could end up being washed out. By fertilizing early, you’re helping the plants right before the critical growing season.
Once the season has begun, fertilize very sparingly. You may reapply some light fertilizer throughout the season, but remember that less is more. Over-fertilizing could lead to very large plants that have weak blooms and crops. You should also fertilize one last time at the end of the season, in preparation for the following year’s crop.