Fertilizing in the Extremes of Summer!

Summer has finally arrived! For most people this is the time of year for vacations, family picnics and lots of back yard activity! For gardeners, we look forward to being outside tending to our gardens. The daily routine of placing new plants, weeding, picking the flowers or vegetables and occasionally watering the plants allows us to fully enjoy this great passion called horticulture!

Tips for Fertilizing When it’s too Wet!
Rain, rain and more rain! There can be too much of a good thing and too much water can be damaging to your hanging baskets, container and bedding plants. Heavy rainfall can physically damage your plant by removing leaves and flowers as well as over-saturating the soil or container media. Several rainy days with limited sunlight will wash away (leach) almost all the stored up nutrients in the root zone and slow your plants’ uptake of water and nutrients. This can leave your plants looking hungry. The most common nutrient deficiencies encountered under these conditions are of nitrogen and potassium. Deficiencies of these very important nutrients can result in slow growing, stunted plants with paler green or yellow leaves.
A good way to make sure your plants are still receiving the nutrients they need to grow is to use a balanced time release fertilizer. Jack’s ClassiCote with CrystalGreen 15-8-23 is specifically designed to gradually release into the root zone. The recommended rates of application are:
For hanging baskets and containers: 1 Tablespoon per 10 inch basket
For bedding plants, vegetables, trees and shrubs: 1 Tablespoon per sq. foot of planting bed
For new plants: 1 teaspoon per sq. foot of planting bed
Each application of  will last for up to 4 months at 70°F; however, you may need to make a repeat application as soon as 2 months later in a hot and rainy season.
After a heavy rainfall check your baskets and containers to see if your time release fertilizer has been washed out. Re-apply if necessary. Once clear weather returns, it may be necessary to follow up with an application of Jack’s Classic water soluble fertilizer, either General Purpose 20-20-20 or Blossom Booster 10-3-20 or a combination of the two, at a rate of 1Tablespoon per gallon of water.

Tips for Fertilizing when it’s too Dry!
A long spell of hot weather without any rain can lead to temporary drought conditions. Certain annuals and perennials are more drought tolerant than others and are the best choices if you live in an area that is often plagued by summer droughts. These plants employ characteristics that help the plant conserve water such as a long tap root and hairy or fuzzy leaves.
Plants grown in containers, whether considered drought tolerant or not, will require regular watering and routine fertilization to provide the plant with the daily water and nutrients it needs for healthy growth. Plants grown in the soil tend to tolerate drought conditions slightly better due to the increased moisture and nutrient holding capacity of the soil.
To conserve water, you can use a small child’s plastic pool, for several potted plants or any old water-tight container to collect the run off water. This water can be easily “recycled” into watering another set of plants.
A couple easy ways to water your plants with “grey” or recycled water:
1. Instead of emptying your pet’s water dish in the sink, pour it into a potted plant.
2. Rinse vegetables in a large bowl instead of under running water. The water from the vegetables can be used to water plants.
3. Collect rain water. If using this method, make sure you place a tight fitting lid on the collection container to keep out any mosquitoes.

Many beginner or “weekend gardeners” incorrectly assume that once a flower is planted in the ground it will grow into a healthy plant. After all, the plant is in the earth, what more does it need? This is almost a guarantee that the plant will fail!
What more does a plant need? Macro and secondary nutrients, in the form of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N-P-K); also calcium (Ca), magnesium and sulfur (S). It doesn’t stop there; if it did, almost any fertilizer would do. The plant also requires trace elements or micronutrients (nutrients that are essential to plant growth, but required in smaller amounts). Micronutrients include: iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), boron (B), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn) and molybdenum (Mo). All of these nutrients are taken up or absorbed by the plant’s roots and used by the plant to maintain healthy growth. Most, if not all standard potting mixes, are lacking these vital nutrients, so it is up to YOU to supply them using soluble or time released fertilizers!

A healthy plant will outlast and out perform every time. In times of extreme weather additional steps may be necessary to help your plant maintain a favorable environment however your extra attention will be rewarded with a healthy beautiful plant!

Dianthus_JoltPinkF1-AAS2015-Landscape-crop

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: