To grow the healthiest and most productive plants, trees and shrubs, it is necessary to fertilize them regularly. This is especially true for fruiting trees and shrubs, as well as garden vegetables. Always follow the application rates recommended by the fertilizer manufacturer; applying too much can kill plants.
Fertilizers in powdered or granulated form are applied by spreading them on the surface of the ground. They can be sprinkled on by hand or applied using a broadcast spreader. A broadcast spreader is a small container on wheels with holes in the bottom. Pushed across the ground, the fertilizer falls through the holes. Because the size of the holes can be adjusted, the rate of application of the fertilizer can be varied.
Recommended for use on ornamental flowering and fruit trees and shrubs, fertilizer spikes are buried in the ground near the root zone. The spikes are molded of fertilizer formulas beneficial for trees and shrubs, along with inert materials. As the inert materials break down, they release the fertilizer gradually, thus creating a "timed-release" feeding program for the entire growing season.
Water-soluble supplemental fertilizer is applied throughout the growing season. The fertilizer is mixed with water and is applied either directly to the root zone through watering or to the foliage by spraying it on. This type of fertilizer is primarily used to give the plants a dose of nitrogen for rapid growth and also if the soil was not adequately fertilized when the crop was originally planted.