The Q&A Archives: Fertilizing Perennials

Question: When should I apply fertilizer and epsom salt to my perennial beds to prepare for the new season?

Answer: First let me recommend that you contact your State University Extension Service for a soil test to be sure you apply what you need in the right quantities. The U. Mass. Extension in Amherst phone number is (413)545-4800. They also have a web site at:<br><br>If the soil was prepared properly before you planted them, there are few perennials that need more than an annual topdressing of a balanced (ie. 10-10-10) slow-release fertilizer. A layer of compost mulch is always appreciated. Either should be applied in the early spring. <br><br>I'm curious why you fertilize with epsom salts to prepare for the season. Generally, epsom salts, a source of magnesium, are applied as a side-dressing or foliar spray during the growing season. Certain crops, in particular tomatoes, peppers, and roses, seeem to benefit from the additional magnesium. Has a soil test shown that your soil is deficient?

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