Be Wise When Fertilizing
Many trees and landscape plants require little or no fertilizer once they are established and mature. In fact, fertilizers can be hazardous to the health of your yard and the environment when they are misused.
When over-applied, fertilizers may aggravate insect and disease problems and force excessive growth which must be mowed or pruned. Excess fertilizers can run off yards into waterways or seep into aquifers, polluting drinking water.
The decision to fertilize should be based upon the health of the plant, the desired rate of growth, and a soil analysis. A soil analysis will tell you the soil pH and the amounts of nutrients in the soil that are available for plant growth. Soil pH affects the availability of nutrients in the soil. When you choose the fertilizer to use, it should have an analysis, which provides the nutrients that are lacking in the soil.
Be Wise When You Fertilize Action Checklist:
Walk around your yard at least weekly and observe your plants and lawn for early signs of problems (ex. poor growth, poorly colored leaves (pale green to yellow), leaf size smaller than normal, earlier than normal fall coloring and leaf drop, twig or branch dieback, or little annual twig growth).
Fertilize only as needed to maintain the health of lawns and landscape plants. If plants show signs of stress, such as yellow leaves or stunted growth, identify the problem before applying fertilizer. Always soil test to determine if fertilizer is needed and how much.
Use slow-release fertilizers. Buy fertilizers that contain 50% or more of the nitrogen in slow-release forms.
Establish a 10-30 foot “no fertilizer, no pesticide” buffer zone along your shoreline.