Despite the rain from two weeks ago, we are not out of this drought. Should you keep your fall feeding (otherwise known as the winterizer) on schedule? If you aren’t on irrigation restrictions, YES!!
I recommend using a winterizer with the lowest percentage of nitrogen, and the highest percentage of Potassium. Nitro-Phos Fall Special 8-12-16 is a perfect example. Nature’s Guide 3-0-5 is another true organic fall fertilizer with no phosphorous, but a good ratio of nitrogen to potassium.
Avoid high and controlled-release nitrogen fertilizers for winter feeding. Anything with a nitrogen ratio higher than 22 is considered a high-nitrogen fertilizer in the fall feeding regimen. There are 21s or 22s that are controlled-release nitrogen. However, you want a lower level of nitrogen to fertilize all at once. That’s why the 8-12-16 is best for synthetic and 3-0-5 is a perfect example of an organic. Ultimately, you don’t want nitrogen continually released into late October and early November because the temperature spread could bring us brown patch.
In addition to the aforementioned winterizers, almost any “organic” fertilizer can substitute as a winterizer this year because the numbers are so low. You can do an organic whenever. With this drought, it’s less about ratios. Anything organic is much-needed.
- Avoid weed-and-feeds, especially those with atrazine. Tree and shrub roots are desperate for nutrients, and atrazine will burn roots in no time.
- A cool front is on its way this weekend. Let it to cool down before jumping head-first into the fall feeding part of the schedule.
- If you are on watering restrictions, don’t use synthetic fertilizers and try an organic fertilizer.
- If you are limited to watering twice a week, you can still put out a winterizer.
- If you see a fertilizer for fall feeding with a number 23 or higher, avoid it. Those are designed for “northern” grasses like fescues and ryes.
- Ironically, if you’re going to put out “winter rye,” use fertilizers with a higher first number in the nitrogen ratio. You will need that food for the winter rye to stay green.
- Usually, you should have the fertilizer down before the first serious cold snap to cool the soil cool and activate the fertilizers. However, if you use an organic blend, it doesn’t matter. While the nitrogen and potassium may not activate fully, remember you’re still adding “organic” matter to the soil.
- Those on severe watering restrictions, should not fertilize at all, or at least until they lift the watering restrictions. If they are voluntary, or limited watering restrictions, that should not stop you from a fall feeding.
GardenLine Appearance – Saturday
Buchanan's Native Plants
611 East 11th St.
We couldn’t have picked a better time to visit Buchanan's in the Heights. We will be there this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and sponsored by Lady Bug Natural.
In all my GardenLine appearances, I think our last visit to Buchanan's had to be the coldest, wettest appearance ever. I've had a windier appearance, but never a cold AND rainy appearance.
The weekend’s cool front will drop temperatures, but it can't be as bad as it was last spring. Even if it rains, we all need it. However, the free goodies from Lady Bug Natural should make your visit worthwhile. The first several people to come talk to me can snag the giveaways of their choice, from Vortex Potting Soil to Expanded Shale.
Can you say "drought recovery"? Buchanan's will have fresh replacement perennials, herbs, annuals, shrubs and veggies to start transplanting. With the cool front, this will be a great time to start repairing your drought-damaged landscape.
Buchanan's also has all the Nitro-Phos products and every imaginable organic on the market you can use to start winterizing.