How to fertilize around all than mulch

danell(7)March 24, 2013

I had posted this in Tip & Techniques but got no answers so thought to ask in this forum figuring if you design these awesome yards then you may know.

I had my yard professionally landscaped - it's just want I wanted. This year I added 2+ inches of red hemlock mulch and find I have to rake it back from the plants to fertilize then rake it back toward plants when I'm done. Is this how it's done or is there an easier way? Perhaps I have too much mulch?

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You don't need to rake the mulch back to fertilize. Just go right over the top of it. The fertilizer will percolate downward into and through the soil with rains and watering.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 9:02PM
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It depends on the type of fertilizer. Granular organic fertilizers do not "percolate downwards" well - they must be mixed thoroughly with the soil and its microbial life as that is how they are broken down into plant accessible nuttrients. They are not water soluble and they do not leach, hence the lack of ability to percolate. Synthetics you can maybe get by just by dusting over the top of the mulch but with 2+ inches, I'd be inclined to rake the mulch back and apply fertilizer directly to the soil if you are using a coated or timed release product.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 4:39PM
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Danell, you say you had "to rake it back from the plants to fertilize..." What makes you think you had to do this? It's an utterly impractical practice for an entire yard and I can tell you that in all the places I've lived, NO one does this. It would never be done by any commercial landscape maintenance operation and those plants are getting fertilizer. There's no limit to the extras we could do in order to make ourselves feel better about something. But plants will be happy with over-top-of-mulch fertilization.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 11:44PM
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FWIW, landscape maintenance companies are not particularly known for their horticultural skills :-) To say that "no one does this" is taking the issue a bit far. As stated, it depends a great deal on the type of fertilizer being used. Applying over the top of 2+ inches of mulch is not going to be an efficient application at all if you opt for an organic fertilizer.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 1:22PM
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I'll go with gardengal48. I use Dr. Earth Life, an organic fertilizer. Better safe than sorry even if a little more work. Thanks all.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 12:24AM
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"To say that "no one does this" is taking the issue a bit far." I'm speaking as a practical matter. If one wishes to spend much more money and expend much more labor just to get some NPK into their yard, that's their prerogative. Landscapes don't require it. The question posed was "Is there an easier way?" Yes. There is.

This post was edited by Yardvaark on Sat, Mar 30, 13 at 10:41

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 10:38AM
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