fertilizing my schrubs

karen_tennessee(7a)May 4, 2012

I have just planted Frost Proof Gardenia,Clara Hawthorne, Anthony Waterer Spirea and liriope. I was wondering if I can use the Miracle Grow hose in fertilizer that I have seen on T.V. or is this just for flowers. I don't know much about fertilizing and am looking for "an easy" way to do it. Any other suggestions would be helpful. Thank you for responding.

Karen

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

NEVER feed a stressed pant..

and a newly planted plant.. is STRESSED...

put down the hose and step away .. lol.. except for water ...

if your child were stressed from the flu.. would you force feed him????

just keep in mind.. they are NOT children.. and frankly.. NEVER need to be fed ... a little of this or that wont hurt.. but simply isnt necessary ..

JUST WATER PROPERLY ...

ken

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 8:06PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Another way to say it is...don't fertilize a tree or shrub unless you have some reason to believe it needs it (most of the time, they don't) AND you know what the plant needs (don't just throw some random fertilizer at it). Fertilizer used for trees and shrubs, planted in the ground, is much more likely to benefit the pocketbook of the fertilizer manufacturer than the plant, in most cases. That's not to say that proper fertilization, when needed, isn't beneficial.

Compost and mulch (in addition to a proper watering regime) are also very wonderful things.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 10:16PM
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karen_tennessee(7a)

Since watering was mentioned, I'd love your suggestions for how much to water. I water around 10 in the morning and use an oscilating (sp?)sprinkler. One person said to only water about 20 minutes, that I did not want to water too much. Since I water so late in the morning it seems like I should water a little longer than that. I would really appreciate your opinion.
Thanks,
Karen

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 11:26PM
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cearbhaill

Plants generally need an inch a week and this is best split into two waterings, depending on rainfall.
You can't do it by "time," you need to know how much water you are putting down.

Next time you run your sprinkler set out a few empty cans or tupperwares and measure exactly how much water you are giving them. Deep, less frequent watering encourages the roots to go searching for moisture and that is a good thing as they will be stronger for it. This is good.
Frequent shallow watering teaches roots to stay at the surface and during times of stress they have no backup plan like deep roots to sustain them or find moisture. This is bad.

AND- you have to be sure water is penetrating the rootball.
Assuming you scruffed up the roots to open up the rootball and planted correctly, stick your finger down as far as you can get it and feel for moisture. If they have some they don't need more yet.

These instructions are for established plants- those that have been in the ground for at least a year. Newly planted things need more frequent watering, but only for a while. Every other day is usually enough but you need to make sure you are deep watering and not just wetting down the surface.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 6:47AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"Plants generally need an inch a week and this is best split into two waterings, depending on rainfall. You can't do it by "time," you need to know how much water you are putting down."

Basing how to water on "how much water you are putting down" is not really any better than basing your watering only on time. As has been discussed here and in the Trees Forum numerous times, it depends on the specifics at the site! The finger-into-the-soil test is probably the easiest way to get an idea of how much your tree needs at your site with the conditions found there. See section 12 in the article linked below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Planting a Tree or Shrub

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 5:10PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

what you guys are failing to include.. is how water drains from the hole dug..

in clay.. bad clay .. it can hold water forever ... so a new plant would need little or no water ...

in my sand.. it will drain away in minutes.. and can dry in days.. but for the mulch i apply ...

THE ONLY WAY FOR ANY INDIVIDUAL TO KNOW.. how that all works.. in the soil .. IN THEIR GARDEN.. is to feel it.. dig it.. etc ... which is to say.. insert finger .. and if you cant.. then you probably have the bad clay ...

watering is an ART.. not a science.. limited by minutes per period on a calender ...

ken

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 5:29PM
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karen_tennessee(7a)

Thank you for responding to my post. I received some good advice! Do I have this right? I know to finger test the soil now and I think what I've learned is to water my new scrubs sparingly at first every other day, then less often but longer after they get established; however I'm not sure how long it takes them to estabish. Except for that, I think I'm on my way.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 8:47PM
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karen_tennessee(7a)

And by the way, I probably have clay.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 10:32PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Karen, I don't think watering "sparingly" would be beneficial in any circumstance I can think of; always water deep (long time) as opposed to shallow (short time). You probably do need to water more frequently at first (until the plant has a chance to redevelop a little of its root system), but every other day may be too frequently (especially in clay soil). I'll reemphasize, it depends on YOUR conditions. Here in Knoxville, I wouldn't water a newly planted shrub or tree more than twice per week (except maybe if the weather was in the 90's). The finger test is your best bet. And, after a short time, you'll be able to predict soil moisture without getting your finger dirty.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:07AM
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karen_tennessee(7a)

Thanks for your continuing interest Brandon7. Yes, we are already in the 90s. I predict a long hot summer for us. Thanks again everybody. Have a great Summer!
Karen

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:37AM
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