Posts Tagged With: gardening tools

Get a Head Start on Spring Gardening with Fertilizer

fertilize your garden this fallThe kids are headed back to school, the summer flowers are fading and – here’s the big news  it’s no longer taboo to fertilize your plants in the fall. Now that we know more about the year-round development cycle of plants, giving them a boost in the fall with fertilizer may be just what they need to survive the harsh winter.

Fertilize to protect plants from the elements

Once it was thought that fertilizing in late summer and fall would cause a plant to develop new growth that would be damaged in the first cold snap. Scientists now believe that in the fall plants store food and nutrients in their root systems to help them survive until spring. Fall fertilizing can help strengthen a plant.

A soil test shows what’s missing

Not all plants will need an extra boost of nutrients in the fall. Do a soil test to see what nutrients and minerals may be missing from the area you would like to treat. Many testing facilities will analyze the soil and give you their recommendations for the type of fertilizer to use.

More is not always better

A common mistake with fertilizing is to assume that every plant will benefit from a dose. If the soil is healthy, then the plant may not need extra nutrients. Soil testing also helps to determine if an area has been over-planted. Remember – more is not better. Just replenish what is missing from your soil. Too much fertilizer can kill your plants or grass.

It’s all in the numbers

All fertilizers have a three-numbered code or NPK code on the bag. This corresponds to the amount of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K) in the fertilizer.

  • Nitrogen promotes foliage growth
  • Phosphorous stimulates root growth
  • Potassium is important for proper cell function and overall plant health

The right mix will work wonders

In September apply a 20-8-8 mix fertilizer to your grass to help it recover from the summer heat and drought. Apply a 13-25-12 mix at the end of October to encourage root growth. For perennials, a high phosphate/low nitrogen mix will strengthen the plants and produce more blooms in the spring. Adding a phosphate mix when you plant bulbs this fall will help roots establish.

There’s a lot going on

Scientists have discovered that a garden is a year round living organism. Even though plants are dying above ground in the fall, there is a lot of activity going on beneath the soil surface. Roots continue to grow, storing nutrients from the soil. These nutrients help a plant fight off disease and strengthen the roots. When the temperatures drop to around 40 degrees, plants also release amino acids and sugars that help them withstand freezing.

2 Types of Fertilizers

Organic Fertilizers:

  • Made from natural plant and animal sources, such as manure, wood, fish and bone meal and seaweed
  • Not water soluble
  • Usually in granular form and take time to release nutrients into soil
  • Remain in the soil for an extended period
  • Stimulate beneficial microbes, which help break down the organic material and release soluble nutrients
  • Help improve the quality and structure of the soil
  • Best if applied in the fall so nutrients are released to soil over the winter months, making them available for plants in spring

Synthetic Fertilizers:

  • Manufactured chemical compounds
  • Water soluble
  • Make nutrients immediately available to plants
  • Can “burn” foliage and damage plants if too much is applied
  • Leach out of the soil quickly
  • Can contaminate ground water, streams and ponds due to runoff
  • Do not improve soil quality
  • Best when applied in the spring when ground is cold and microbes are inactive

Keep your plants happy – fertilize!

Good soil preparation, mulching and adding fertilizer where needed will keep your plants happy, healthy and thriving. Your garden feeds your body and your soul. Return the favor. Your plants will love you for it. 

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your lawn and garden projects. From a rake and a shovel to a wheel barrow and mulch, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

[Infographic] Your Guide to Lawn Aeration: The Basics

Spring, between March and May, is the perfect time to consider aerating your lawn. If your yard suffers from poor drainage, poor subsoil, or brown, worn grass, then it is definitely a good idea to consider renting an aerator for a day and giving your lawn fresh new life again. For steps on how to aerate, check out this blog post, and for other helpful tips, read What Everyone Ought to Know About Lawn Aeration. Hopefully this infographic gives you a good overview of the 101 basics involved in lawn aeration. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have other questions or would like advice on which aerator to use. We have a variety for rent here. Happy plugging away!

Lawn Aeration Basics Infographic

Categories: Featured Products, Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's, Infographics | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2 Ways to Pamper for Your Container & Houseplants This Summer

With the summer season halfway over, it’s time to think about your container and house plants. Thankfully this summer in Indiana hasn’t been overwhelmingly hot, rather cool this past week actually, which is perfect for your growing flowers and plants. That said, here are two quick tips for your mid-summer gardening regimen.

Feed Flowers in Containers

You want your annuals to stay in tip-top shape of course, so it’s essential that you feed them, which in plant form means fertilizer. You can either use a slow-release fertilizer, more granular in nature, at the start of it growing season and then again in 2 months. Or, you can use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer every two weeks i.e. Miracle-Gro.

Move Your Houseplants Outside

Houseplants love the warmth and sun summer provides, so summer is an ideal time to move your indoor tropical plants outdoors for a little extra pH. However, slowly reacclimatize them to the outdoors by first placing them in the shade, protected from our strong and gusty Indiana wind. Doing this will quickly add an abundance of new growth to your leafy friends.

These are two really easy and beneficial suggestions for you container and houseplants this summer. If you have any questions, or if you’re interested in renting a few garden tools to help you in all your green-thumbed glory, please visit our website. We hope to hear from you soon!

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