How to Fertilize Plants in Spring


Most perennial flowers and woody plants will benefit from a fertilizer application in early spring as these plants break dormancy. After sleeping all winter beneath frigid soil, perennial plants and shrubs need a hearty breakfast in the same way people need food after sleeping all night. Fertilize plants in spring to help them successfully transition back into a vigorous growing cycle and produce the exceptional growth you desire and expect.

Step 1

Figure the square area of your planting spot to determine the proper fertilization application rate. Measure the length and the width and multiply these two measurements together to find the area. Fertilizer amounts recommended on the label are suggestions based on applications for a 100-square-foot area. Consult the fertilizer package for the recommended application rate and adjust the recommendation to fit the size of your growing area. For example, if your growing area is roughly 150 square feet, multiply the recommended application rate by 1.5.

Step 2

Moisten the soil with water prior to applying the fertilizer if the soil is not already wet.

Step 3

Sprinkle the granular fertilizer over the soil carefully, spreading it evenly according to the recommended application rate. Keep the fertilizer approximately 6 inches away from the stems of all plants and apply the fertilizer out approximately 1 foot for flowers, and to the drip line for bushes and shrubs.

Step 4

Work the fertilizer into the soil with the hand rake to incorporate it and help it absorb down to the plant roots.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Complete granular fertilizer (10-10-10)
  • Hand rake


  • University of Connecticut: Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory
  • Louisiana State University Ag Center: Understand Fertilizer Numbers
Keywords: fertilizer application, early spring, fertilize plants

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributor to Natural News. She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. She began writing for Internet publications in 2007. She is interested in natural health and hopes to continue her formal education in the health field (nursing) when family commitments will allow.