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Hands holding rich, dark soil

Fertilizer & Soil Tips

Hands holding rich soil

Healthy Soil Key To Healthy Plants

Healthy, living soil is the key to healthy plants. There are millions of bacteria, fungi and insects which live in the soil and influence its structure, texture and fertility. What you choose to amend and fertilize with has a big impact on the health of these organisms, and therefore, the health of your plants.

Read on for tips about fertilizers, soil, and plant nutrients.

Fertilizer Tips

  • Plants need to be fertilized because most soil does not provide the essential nutrients required for optimum growth.
  • Even if you are able to start with great garden soil, as your plants grow, they absorb nutrients and leave the soil less fertile.
  • A proper balance of nutrients is crucial to plant health.
  • Organic fertilizers are always preferred—they encourage stable growth over the long term. Synthetic fertilizers cause plants to use more water by pushing a lot of immediate, water-thirsty growth.
Starter Fertilizer Collection

Soil Tips

Soil health is an important aspect of growing healthy plants. Consider the following to improve soil health:
  • Crop Rotation: Planting the same crop in the same place year after year will deplete your soil of the nutrients that plant uses most.
  • Cover Crops: Enhance soil fertility, reduce weeds, and attract beneficial insects. Also called “green manuring”. Legume cover crops can be particularly effective.
  • Adding Organic Matter: Most soils in our area are heavy clay. Amending soil with organic matter is essential to help loosen soil, conserve moisture and improve soil aeration. Organic material is beneficial for the flourishing of microorganisms. Adding organic matter also helps keep roots hydrated in the summer.
Soil Amendments Collection

Plant Nutrients

There are six primary nutrients that plants require. Plants get the first three—carbon, hydrogen and oxygen—from air and water. The other three are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
  • Nitrogen (N): Responsible for rich, lush growth and a healthy, dark green color. These characteristics are important but must be balanced with the other nutrients to achieve optimum results.
  • Phosphorus (P): Vital in many plant functions on a cellular level including energy transfer and cell division. It is important in the formation of seeds, the development of roots and it also speeds plant maturity and helps the plant resist stresses.
  • Potassium (K): Helps promote strong stems and roots and is involved in maintaining a proper water balance within the plant. It aids in disease resistance and influences most of the reactions that take place within the plant cells. Its role in root development is crucial in the fall when preparing turf for winter.
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