Proper Application and Distribution of Soil Fertilizer for Effective Foliage Health Maintenance

Not everyone is fortunate enough to be financially able to hire a gardener or arborist to maintain the natural environment on their property. Property owners are often challenged to identify and address the needs of the natural environment they choose to keep. This often leads to erroneous or incompatible soil fertilization and watering schedules for each plant respectively. Applying the incorrect amount of fertilizer can “burn” or “starve” a tree. While applying fertilizer indirectly can lead to incomplete fertilization and starvation of a tree’s nutritional requirements.

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Although I have personal experience fertilizing crops, I am still often sloppy and incomplete in my application. I recently fertilized my palm trees in my yard and realized how indirect some of my application was. One side of the tree had the gravel pushed back and the roots were exposed to the application, whereas the opposite side did not have the rocks or debris cleared and the application was void of fertilizer.

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After a complete watering for several days, the fertilizer should now show increases in the proposed mineral composition of the”Lilly Miller” fertilizer product when sampling soil taken from beneath the surface. Although the fertilizer will have an effect on the unapplied side of the tree, the dispersion of the chemicals takes additional time and considerable soil soaking. A 15 minute daily drip watering has occurred 3 times, without a full soaking or rainfall. Watering has also been concentrated towards the cleared and fertilized side, likely enhancing the effectiveness of the concentrated application.

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The 10-5-8 reference on the packaging is intended to suggest a 10%N(Nitrogen), 5% P2O5(Phosphate), 8% K2O(Potash) composition makeup.

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Soil was sampled using a 1.5″ pvc tube hammered into the ground, sampling 3-6 inches in depth from each side of the tree.

Hypothetically, the available Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potash will show significantly higher values on the directly applied side of the tree than that of the un-applied side.

In effect, the outcome of my hypothesis requires a full soil test to determine the values and differences/similarities in the available N, P2O5 and K2O. Additional tests of various chemicals and values may reveal additional findings of interest.

These findings would be of value to gardeners or professionals interested in maintaining healthy foliage through proper fertilizer application and distribution.

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