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This Month in Your Garden: Fertilizing and Weed Control

| 5/21/2014 9:00:00 AM

LingonberriesThis Raintree Nursery post is by horticulturist and plant propagator Theresa Knutsen


Apply a half-strength dose of fertilizer to acid loving plants — such as blueberries, lingonberries and cranberries — as buds start to swell on the plants. Use a fertilizer that is specifically for blueberry or rhododendron. Raintree Nursery offers a great balanced organic blueberry fertilizer. Follow with a light mulch of wood chips or pine needles under the blueberries. Apply a second half dose of fertilizer when the flowers fall.

Raspberries and rhubarb appreciate a mulch of cow or steer manure applied before new growth emerges in the spring.

A one-inch layer of compost spread under the edge of the leaf canopy of most fruiting plants will help maintain fertility. If your plants seem less vigorous than they should be, a little fish fertilizer with kelp (seaweed) may be helpful.

Controlling Weeds

Keep weeds controlled around trees and shrubs, especially those that were planted within the last few years.

Be careful when working around blueberries. Their shallow roots are easily damaged by vigorous digging and weed removal. If your blueberries have a lot of weeds under them, you might try cutting the weeds to the ground, putting down a 1/2 -1" layer of peat moss, several layers of newspaper or a layer of cardboard, and then wood chips on top. Most weeds will be smothered. More persistent perennials that eventually come back through the mulch, can be repeatedly cut off (every 10-14 days) until their roots starve out.

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