Look at any landscaped lawn and you'll see that it is the trees and shrubs that provide the basic foundation and create beauty by providing shade, color and overall ambiance.
A well-landscaped lawn, complete with healthy trees and shrubs, also means an increase in property value, so it pays to take good care of them.
In just a few weeks, when the area's coldest temperatures will end, it will be time to fertilize those trees and shrubs such as evergreens, hollies and rose bushes. Before doing so, be sure to select the right fertilizer and know how to apply it.
"You really need to wait until all of the cold is gone," said John Burns, a co-owner of Double B Plant Farm in Grovetown.
Fertilizing before the weather is just right can send mixed signals to plants.
"If you fertilize too early, it has a tendency to make plants start putting out new growth before they need to," said Burns, who recommends waiting until early March to pour on the fertilizer.
With all of the different types of fertilizers on the market, what should be a relatively uncomplicated practice can become very confusing. Should you use a general purpose fertilizer, pre-mixed liquid fertilizer, water-soluble crystals or slow-release formulations?
According to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Office, plants don't care what kind of fertilizer is used, so long as they receive the nutrients they need.
Burns recommends using a dry, slow-release fertilizer.
"When you put out the dry fertilizer around a plant, when it rains it takes the fertilizer all the way to the root where it dissolves," Burns said.
Liquid fertilizers are easily washed away, with the likelihood that the plant will not receive maximum benefit.
Woody ornamentals such as evergreens, hollies, azaleas and trees should be given a slow-release fertilizer.
"A fertilizer like Osmocote has a six- to eight-month formulation, which means it slowly releases the nutrients a plant needs over six to eight months," Burns said.
Plants likely will need a final sprinkling of fertilizer in late summer and again the following spring.
"You want to wait until after the last frost to fertilize," Burns said.
Withholding fertilizer from a plant during the winter signals to the plant that it is time to "rest." It is during these dormant months that the plant rests up for its appearance in the spring.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.