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Is Spring Fertilization Really Necessary?

Plants made food right up until they went dormant, and lived on that stored food all winter. Now that spring has sprung, their new leaves will again begin making food. To do that, however, they need nutrients from the soil, as well as water and sunlight.

The macronutrients plants need are nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K). They also need calcium (C) and magnesium (Mg), as well as several other trace elements or micronutrients. If any of these minerals are deficient or unavailable in your soil, then fertilization is necessary

While these minerals occur naturally in good, rich topsoil, many builders scrape away topsoil when building homes. They may, or may not, replace it. Or, they may bring in less nutrient-rich topsoil from another location.

A soil test is the best way to know whether your soil has the minerals your trees, shrubs, lawn and other plants need. Not just a pH test, but a mineral content test as well. This test will tell you whether you need to fertilize or not. Our plant health professionals can conduct these tests.

Following the standards under which professionals like us work, fertilizer should only be applied to meet a stated objective. This means that, if you had a soil test and it showed that your soil has all the necessary minerals for your lawn and landscape, you probably don’t need to fertilize this spring. If it showed a mineral deficiency, you should fertilize. Minerals are finite. If they are deficient when a soil test is taken, they will always be deficient, and the only way to replenish them is through fertilization. It can be compared to humans taking a vitamin supplement to replenish minerals deficient in our diet.

The soil test will tell you exactly what nutrients are needed. That way, you can avoid the waste and environmental effects of buying one size fits all fertilizer. When a soil test indicates special needs, we are able to formulate fertilizer just for your application, and we apply it to trees and shrubs in liquid form injected right into the root zone.

Often we also add beneficial fungi and bacteria, called mycorrhizae, to help roots find and absorb the minerals they need for good health.

Fertilization, if you need it, is part of our lawn care and Plant Health Care programs.

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