Start in 3 weeks: All plants benefit from a good fertilization 3 weeks after planting and at least every spring after that. The nutrients help top growth, root growth, leaf color, flower production and even pest resistance!
A time to stop: From August 15th to October 15th, it's best to avoid doing things that promote fall growth. Fertilizing or pruning at that time encourages new, tender growth that may not be winter hardy.
Your Plants first fertilizer application should be applied at half of the label rate since the plant is sensitive. For example, a normal dilution of 4 oz per gallon would become 2 oz per gallon for that first application only.
Do not allow fertilizer to get in contact with the leaves or stems of your plants. It will burn them. If fertilizer accidentally gets on them, or if liquid fertilizer is applied to some leaves, immediately flush it off thoroughly with clean water.
Do not apply fertilizer within 6" of the stem.
Never use a sprayer used for weed killers for plant fertilizer or insecticides.
Use the following guide for recommendations for regular fertilization of your landscape plants. You may use liquid fertilizers for the first year, but after establishment use a dry, granular fertilizer unless otherwise recommended.
Plants Responding Slowly
Use a soluble fertilizer such as Peters or Miracle Grow, along with a root stimulant. Mix both in a large pail (2-3 gallon) and use 1 pail of the solution per inch of trunk diameter or per foot of height, pouring it on the soil.
Note: for Beech and Sugar Maple--use Milorganite, working a cup of fertilizer per caliper inch into the topsoil under the crown. Do not use any other fertilizer for these trees.
Trees, Shrubs, and Evergreens
Fertilize using a granular fertilizer such as Nursery Special or Ross Gro Stakes. Work the quantity directed on the package lightly into the soil over the root zone. Then water it in. The Ross Gro Stakes provide slow release fertilization and are extremely easy to use.
The root zone extends as far as the outermost branches. Evergreens benefit from an extra June application of Miracid Liquid Fertilizer poured over the root zone as directed on the package. Trees in lawn areas generally get enough fertilizer from lawn fertilizing.
The first year, apply a liquid fertilizer such as Miracid every 2 weeks. Miracid should be diluted at 2 teaspoons per gallon and applied with a sprinkling can or fertilizer sprayer.
Next Spring, fertilize with Bonemeal (10# per 100 sq. ft.) and Milorganite (3-5# per 100 sq. ft.) in early Spring, then 2 more applications of Miracid as above in June and July.
As always, be sure to hose the leaves off with clear water after fertilizing.
Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and Acid-Loving Plants
Fertilize monthly with a solution of Miracid (or similar product) and pour on the soil staying 1 foot away from the stem.
Should be fertilized with Miracid as directed. Use Aluminum Sulfate to ensure blue or pink blossoms. Apply early in Spring as directed.
Fertilize perennials in early spring with Osmocote, a slow-release granular fertilizer. You may also use Peters or Miracle-Gro as a foliar fertilizer. Always read the package for the recommended application instructions.