The Q&A Archives: Fertilizing this spring

Question: I purchase about 100 perennials last year from Home Depot for a landscaping project I did myself. How do I fertilize a variety of plants I planted last spring/summer? I prefer to use one product for all the plants - easy to use. I am an amateur gardener. My zone is 5.
Thank you.

Answer: You can safely use a general purpose fertilizer for all of your plants. General purpose fertilizers are typically balanced. They contain all three major nutrients which are present in the proportions likely to be found in a healthy soil. These general purpose fertilizers are suitable for use on lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers, even vegetable gardens where there are no special problems with the soil. They are most commonly and easily used in a granular form that can be spread uniformly with a mechanical spreader and watered in by rain or your sprinkler.

Special purpose fertilizers are typically ?unbalanced?, featuring a greater proportion of one or the other major nutrients or special trace minerals or enzymes that suit them for particular situations or plants. For instance, there are fertilizers labeled for acid-loving plants such as azaleas and holly that help provide iron in a form that these plants can use. There are bulb fertilizers that provide generous amounts of phosphorus that bulbs require. Some are labeled specifically for lawns, tomatoes or trees. As you learn more about the plants and soil in your yard these special purpose products may be useful. However, a general purpose fertilizer is adequate in most situations.

Here is a very brief listing of what distinguishes the special categories of fertilizer for home use:
? General Purpose Fertilizer - designed to provide basic nutrients for any plant, best for trees and shrubs.
? Lawn Fertilizer - Tends to have more nitrogen which turfgrass needs
? Flower Garden Fertilizer - Tends to have a bit more phosphorous which is needed to help encourage blossoms.
? Vegetable Garden Fertilizer - Higher percentage of all major nutrients since closely planted vegetables need more food.

Hope this information is helpful!

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