Liquid vs Granular Fertilizer for Annual Flowers

on Jul 05 in Summer Lawn Care, Yard News

Green Flower Blossom Just Opening

Anyone who has visited a garden center or plant nursery looking for a fertilizer to give their summer annuals a nutritional boost has probably had the daunting task of wading through product after product to find just the right blend. It can be quite the educational experience as well as a frustrating one.

Here, we will add a few more pieces to the puzzle of understanding the processes that summer annuals go through and what exactly they are looking for in a food source. Annual flowers, like people, require a regular intake of nutrition to maintain their overall health and productivity.

The two most common application types of fertilizer for annuals are liquid forms and granular forms. Both can be very efficient when used correctly, but understanding how they perform separately is the key to successful use.

Granular fertilizers are a popular choice due to their ease of application. They come ready to use and are truly as simple to apply as thoroughly mixing them into the top 8” of soil at the time of planting. After planting and watering in, the new flowers will be ready to take on the weather for the next 4-6 weeks.

One application, however, is not enough to keep flowers healthy and producing all season long. Eventually they will use up that initial food source and another application will be required. At that time applying a dusting of the same fertilizer over the top of the soil is the best way to utilize granular fertilizers after the initial application.

However, using granular fertilizer this way has one physical downside; the roots of the plants are not at the surface of the soil. This means in order for the fertilizer to reach down to the roots requires another method of transportation in the form of water. Often times when using a granular fertilizer I highly recommend watering the plants immediately in order to help facilitate the movement of the newly applied nutrients downward toward the roots.

Applying granular fertilizer just before a good rain is another way to help ensure your fertilizer isn’t simply sitting on top of the soil doing nothing. Still, the greatest risk to applying granular to the surface is the high probability of runoff. Granular fertilizers on the soil surface are often carried away with water with much of the fertilizer never making it to the roots of the plants.

Liquid fertilizers tend to be a more efficient form of delivering nutrients directly to the roots of the intended plants and they are Yard-Nique’s preferred method of application for flower beds. They start in a powdered form that is easily dissolved in water, which allows us to control the ratio of fertilizer to water when being mixed. When we apply liquid fertilizers to our flower beds the nutrients are immediately delivered to the roots of the plants and become instantly available for the plants to use. Because liquids allow us to control the rate of use it is easier to ensure over fertilization does not take place, which is common in granular forms. Being a liquid however, the fertilizer moves through the soil faster and tends to break down at a quicker rate than granular fertilizers. Therefore, it is important to apply liquid fertilizers about every 4 weeks to help promote healthy plants and consistent blooms.

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