6 Aug 2012

Fertiliser – The Essential Elements

Posted by bcsands

When you see a healthy garden in Australia it usually means that someone has distributed fertiliser of some kind. But which are the essential elements for the different plants?

There are two main types of fertiliser

  • Organic – made from natural products. These types include compost, manure from vegetarian animals and blood and bone fertilisers. They come in granular, powdered, liquid or clump form, depending on the source.
  • Non-organic – made from an assortment of natural and chemical ingredients in factories. This type of fertiliser is often easier to distribute as it comes in convenient packaging in easy-dose form.

No matter what the source, there are definite fertilisers for different plant types, and even though it’s easy to read the packet, sometimes it’s just as easy to use the wrong fertiliser because it’s all you’ve got.  That’s why it’s a good idea to have a variety of fertiliser types in the shed or laundry cupboard and here’s what you should consider putting on your shelf:


Lawn Fertiliser

The best fertiliser for a lawn is a “weed and feed” type because, as the name suggests it promotes grass growth will suppressing unwanted growth, which means less weeding for you. Another excellent choice is a slow release type because it releases small doses of essential elements over a long period of time.

Good gardening sources advise you to avoid the “quick fix” Sulphate of Ammonia type fertiliser. It is often used to green up a lawn quickly because it is high in nitrogen, but the long term use of this product is detrimental to your lawn, and the environment due to nitrogen runoff into water courses.


Fertiliser for Roses and Citrus Trees

These two plant types require virtually the same nutrients, so you can use the same fertiliser on both. There are specialist non-organic fertilisers that are very effective and easy to use. Some people prefer to go organic, so a similar range is available using chicken or sheep manure.

When applying fertiliser to both roses and citrus trees use the same guidelines; one standard cup of fertiliser in spring and one every month during summer. None should be applied during autumn or winter.

Sprinkle the fertiliser around the root zone, away from the trunk or main stem. The approximate root zone of a fully grown citrus tree is to the edge of the leaves, also known as the drip zone.


Fertiliser for Australian Native Plants

Australian soils are naturally fairly low in nutrients, so you don’t need to apply much fertiliser to native plants, in fact if you do, you can kill them. Apply a slow release fertiliser designed for this type of plant and only do this in early spring to get the maximum out of the flowers.


Fertiliser for Pot Plants

As they are in an artificial situation, pot plants need extra attention when it comes to both watering and feeding. The best overall pot plant fertiliser is a slow release type. However, if your plants are not watered from the top, you will need to apply liquid nutrient to the saucer water.

When you apply fertiliser in the right dose at the right times, your happy, healthy plants will have all the essential elements they need to look great all year round.

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