It is not enough to have soil rich in organic matter (compost). Plants need regular fertilizer applications as well to get the nutrients they need. You can think of fertilizers as nutritional supplements. Like we humans often need supplements to aid the assimilation of food nutrients, plants likewise need fertilizers to grow at their best.
Fertilizer application is essential, especially in gardens that are cultivated regularly. If you have grown up and harvested plants in your garden in the past, those crops took up nutrients from the soil that should be replaced before new plants could grow there.
That is where fertilizers come in. Be it organic or processed; fertilizers replace nutrients that have been lost from the soil and ensure that these nutrients are present in the soil at acceptable percentages for healthy plant growth.
However, it is advisable to apply fertilizers with caution. The only thing worse than depriving plants of nutrients is accidentally over-fertilize them. Plants only take up the nutrients they need, and absorbing more than necessary can result in abnormal growth and several adverse effects.
Wilco Fertilizer Spreader Settings
To avoid the over-application of fertilizers, we will highlight the correct spreading settings of different fertilizer spreaders for Wilco fertilizers in this section.
Wilco 16-16-16 All-Purpose Fertilizer
Wilco 16-16-16 All-Purpose Fertilizer is specially blended to cater to all the nutrients needed for starting and maintaining plants, turf, and vegetable crop productivity. It is a great starter fertilizer for new lawns and gardens and an excellent transplanting fertilizer.
The Wilco 16-16-16 All-Purpose Fertilizer should be applied at a rate of 6lbs per 1,000 square feet per month during a growing season.
Wilco 25-0-15 Slow Release Long Green Northwest Fertilizer Blend
This is a special blend of 25% nitrogen and 15% potassium. It is great for application during spring through fall to feed turf areas with 50% slow release to prolong times between applications. Normal rates for nitrogen application on turf are 1lb of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per month.
Therefore, the use of controlled or slow release of nitrogen decreases the frequency of application and subsequently improves nitrogen use efficiency. Wilco 25-0-15 Northwest Fertilizer Blend should be applied at 4lbs per 1,000 square feet.
Wilco Spreader Settings Chart
|Product||Wilco 16-16-16||Wilco 25-0-15|
|100lb Precision Push Broadcast Spreader||19||16|
|100lb Earthway Push Broadcast Spreader||17||17|
|65lb Green Thumb Deluxe Push Broadcast Spreader||17||17|
|Scotts Edgeguard Deluxe Broadcast Spreader||9||5 ½|
|Scotts Accugreen 3000 Drop Spreader||11||7 ½|
It is common knowledge that fertilizers are used to help our plants grow better, but when is the best time to apply fertilizers? And how much of what kind of fertilizer do we apply? Find out more on this in the next section of the article.
When to Fertilize Your Garden or Lawn?
For edible crops, it is best to apply fertilizers in the spring. The fertilizer should be mixed into your soil before planting. If you have already planted your seeds, you can still gently work in your fertilizers.
However, you must only work in granular fertilizer and not liquid, as it can burn young roots around your plants. Also, you should not work your granular fertilizer too deeply into the soil. The upper 3 to 5 inches would do. Afterward, you are to water in the fertilizer.
For perennial flowering plants, you are to fertilize just before growth begins in the spring. Wait until the ground is no longer frozen and the date of the last frost is only about a week or two away. This ensures slimmer chances of the new, tender growth brought about by the fertilizer being killed immediately by frost.
How Much of What Kind of Fertilizer Should I Apply?
A fertilizer bag will be labeled with numbers such as 3-4-4, 8-24-8, or 12-12-12. These numbers refer to the three most essential nutrients that plants need: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K), respectively.
The numbers refer to the percentage weight of each nutrient contained in the bag. If you add up all the numbers, the sum is the percentage of the nutrient’s total weight. The rest of the bag weight is simply fillers to make the fertilizer easy to apply. The fertilizer bag would also tell you how much fertilizer should be applied per 1,000 square feet of your garden area.
Other nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese could also be present in the fertilizer. Phosphorus is important because it is needed for root growth and development. Potassium strengthens the plant’s ability to resist diseases, while nitrogen encourages leafy growth.
It is important to note that vegetable crops require most of their nitrogen after making considerable growth and having begun to fruit. Applying too much nitrogen before this time delays the plant’s maturity and reduces yield. Later in the season, you can apply nitrogen side dressings to your plants.
How to Apply Different Types of Fertilizers
- Granular Fertilizers
For your first fertilizer application of the season, apply granular fertilizers by broadcasting them manually or with a fertilizer spreader over an area to be treated. Suppose you have already sown your seeds, side-dress the fertilizer along your planting rows.
To help your dry fertilizer leach down towards the plant’s root zone, work them in with a how or spade after application. If your plants are already growing, you have to work your fertilizer gently not to damage any roots.
Alternatively, you can simply water your fertilizer after application. Applying granular fertilizers just before a rainfall can be great, as it helps in working your fertilizer down the soil where roots can easily access it.
During the growing season, you should make lighter applications to the top inch of your soil during the growing season in crop rows, perennial beds, and drip lines of trees and shrubs. You can read your fertilizer label to determine how often these applications should be made.
- Liquid Fertilizers
Water-soluble fertilizers are applied by dissolving the product in the water before applying it to the leaves of plants and around the soil. In no circumstance should you apply liquid fertilizer while you plant.
This is because some root hairs would break, no matter how carefully you try to remove plants from their containers and place them in the ground during transplanting. If liquid fertilizers are applied in this state, the fertilizer will reach the roots immediately and enter them through the broken points.
This will potentially lead to burning and cause your plants to further die-back. Therefore, it is recommended that you wait 2-3 weeks after transplanting before applying your liquid fertilizer. By then, your new plants should have recovered from any root damage.
It is also important to water your plants first with plain water before applying the liquid fertilizer to avoid burning the roots, especially when the soil is dry. Also, ensure that the fertilizer is diluted based on the instructions given.
If you have a water system, you can use an injection device to mix your fertilizer through the system. In the case of direct liquid sprays, it is best to apply on dry days, either in the early morning or early evening, when the leaves can properly absorb it. Avoid very hot days when the foliage is more likely to burn.