To fertilize or not to fertilize – that is the question
You would think that with all the marketing of fertilizers in the Spring, that it is impossible to grow anything without chemical intervention. Well, just go in time before the advent of big Agriculture companies and realize that most plants survived and thrived without our chemical assistance. Many plants, shrubs, and trees are able to absorb exactly what they need from the soil, air and water and do not need additional Nitrogen, Phosphorous or Potassium. One of our major problems in our Watershed is that many of the fertilizers that are applied actually “run-off” into our water system instead of remaining in the soil for the plants to uptake. This causes issues for our water quality as the chemicals leach into the aquifers and also run into the Bay and increases algae blooms and reduces water quality.
The first step before fertilizing is to have a soil test to determine your soil quality. Once you know your soil quality and the PH of your soil, you can determine what type of fertilizers and how much should be applied onto your lawn, garden or plants. When choosing the fertilizer – try to use SLOW RELEASE, ORGANIC fertilizer. And always think about improving your soil quality by applying compost, organic matter and controlling the Ph. These actions will help your plants thrive. Please visit the Maryland Cooperative Extension’s web site at the link below for more information on fertilizing and soil testing. Also, please visit our link to the GROWING GREEN PLEDGE concerning lawn care.