Fertilizing shrubs?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Bull, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. Bull

    Bull LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Messages: 308

    What is a good general purpose fertilize for various shrubs such as azaleas, ligustrum, dwarf burfordi, etc? Should I look for something specific for each shrub species? Also wondering which is the best application method. Apply on top of mulch layer, apply under layer of mulch or insert below ground level around shrub drip line? Thanks for your help.
  2. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    I inject the fert into shrub rootzones. I use Arbor Green along with a few other additives that are lacking in soils in this area. Azaleas and other acid loving plants also get a shot of soil acidifier.
  3. PerfectEarth

    PerfectEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,734

    Typically, you can use a 14-14-14 granular ornamental fertilizer for landscape beds. Rates vary- by caliper of material or sq. footage. BUT the rates are very lax, meaning the bag might read "apply at 1.5 to 4 lbs. per trunk diameter" ..... just an example. You can also buy an acidifying granular fert. for acid-loving plants. Apply according to the bag.

    We (in Louisville) do one app in the late winter (March-ish) BEFORE we mulch- typically under the hardwood. We put down a lot of pine straw too and that wouldn't matter whether you go over or under considering the "looseness" of the material. You might also be able to do an app in the fall. Some products are labeled for twice a year apps.
  4. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    If the mulch layer is thick, 2-3", you would be better off using a root feeder. Fertilizer applied to the top of the mulch can volatilize or get tied up as it moves down through the mulch layer.
  5. Bull

    Bull LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Messages: 308

    Thanks everyone, great answers.
  6. upidstay

    upidstay LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,584

    Osmocote, Lesco 14-14-14, Bolster G (organic), holly- or plant - tone, are all good. I like lots of slow release. As far as acid loving plants, I just use some peat moss once a year. Fertilize before you mulch, if possible. The slow release ferts shouldn't volatize if left on top of mulch, they'll just take longer to get to the plant.
  7. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,406

    Best to pull the mulch back and fertilize with formulas specifically design for that category of plants, or a slow release balanced fertilizer will do. For the acid loving plants, azalea, rhododendron, hollies, Camellia, something that is made for them. Flowering shrubs or trees will benefit from micro nutrients that will aid in flower production.

    Soil injection is a great way if you are familiar with this method and the use of the specific fertilizers that are to be used in this manner. You also have the added expense of equipment to consider.


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