How To Fertilize Groundcover Plants

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This article will teach you how to fertilize groundcover plants.
by Brett · All Zones · Fertilizing · 0 Comments · June 28, 2010 · 22,807 views

Just as a spectacular area rug can add life and warmth to a room, the right groundcover can do the same to complement a landscape or garden, taking it from "nice yard" to a stunning landscape. Groundcovers are used as erosion controllers on slopes and embankments, to fill the spaces between shrubs, trees and other plants in landscape beds and islands, as a low border in front of taller plantings, and sometimes as a lawn grass substitute.

What Fertilizer is Best for Groundcovers?

Most groundcovers can be fertilized with the same type of fertilizer as is typically used for shrubs and trees. Any well-balanced "nursery special" fertilizer or Shrub & Tree Food will work fine - preferably one containing a "minor element" package which includes iron, copper, manganese and more. If you want to play it on the safe side, fertilize with a non-burning natural or organic fertilizer suitable for evergreen plants. Ask your local nurseryman about organic fertilizers. Follow instructions on package label for application rates.

Some groundcovers like acidic soil, such as Pachysandra, and therefore have a tendency to develop chlorosis. If the leaves of your groundcover plants are turning light green to yellowish green, and there is not a problem with wet soil around the roots, this could be an indicator of iron deficiency. Simply apply a granular or liquid solution of iron to correct the problem. Apply as is indicated on the product label.

When To Fertilize Groundcover Plants

The general rule of thumb is to fertilize ornamental groundcover plants after new growth emerges in Spring, and again in late Summer if needed. Many groundcovers are fast growers, and therefore will benefit from two or three applications of fertilizer a year.

How To Fetilizer Groundcover Plants

When groundcover plants cover a very large area, it may be necessary to broadcast fertilizer by hand, casting it as far as is possible. For smaller beds or borders, or when the groundcover planting can be walked through, a hand-held or shoulder-type totary spreader works fine. with a shoulder-type or hand-held broadcast spreader.

After broadcasting fertilizer over your groundcovers, you should irrigate the plants to wash fertilizer from foliage and prevent any burning that may occur to new growth.

Other Important Fertilization Tips For Groundcover Plants

Be careful not to apply fertilizer too heavily. Doing so may cause the plant tissue to burn, or even result in plant death. Read product labels carefully and follow directions to avoid toxicity problems.

If over-fertlilizing your plants is too much a worry , ease your mind by using a non-burning organic fertilizer. These alternative fertilizers are usually made with natural ingredients such as composted manures and other organic matter and, as a result, are much less-likely to burn your plants.

Some groundcover plants, such as conifers and junipers, don't respond well to excessive nitrogen (the first number in fertilizer). In general, try to avoid using fertilizer that are high in nitrogen on any ornamental plants.

As a general rule, the slower the plants habit of growth, the less fertilizer it needs.

Groundcover plants that are producing an abundance of blooms, or fruit, generally need more fertilizer.

If a plant in your garden appears unhealthy or, is not actively growing, clip off a stem with some leaves attached and take it to your local nursery and garden center. An experienced nurseryman can often help to identify the problem or deficiency and point you in the right direction in regards to fertilizer and nutrients needed.

Evaluate soil conditions to determine soil pH level and to see if there are any nutrient deficiencies. Make adjustments if necessary. Most nursery and garden centers sell testing kits or you can buy a soil testing kit online here. Your Local Extension Service may provide soil testing services for free or at a very low cost.

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