Each spring I add a fresh layer of compost to my garden. This year I chose the Coast of Maine Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost. Available at select garden centers this compost is very nice mixture that will both add nutrients and also help build your beds with very rich soil. Visit www.coastofmaine.com for product information. After adding a layer of compost I spend a some time adding fertilizer to all my perennials, trees, shrubs and rose bushes. I like the Espoma brand. It is 100% organic and easy to apply. Plant-Tone, Holly-Tone and Rose-Tone is all you need! A sprinkle here and a sprinkle there and you are all set and ready to go.
Second the Lawn:
Do you want your lawn to look like Fenway Park?
Well if so it is vital that you apply the first, and most important fertilizer application by the middle of April. Either a synthetic fertilizer and pre-emergent weed control like Scott's Step 1 or and organic options like Corn Gluten.
What Does A Pre-Emergent Control Do?
Pre-emergent herbicides are chemicals that prevent the germination of weeds in your lawn. These herbicides control annual grass weeds like crab grass, chickweed and dandelions by inhibiting their cell division in the young root system. The failure of the root system to develop, results in the death of the young seedling weeds shortly after germination.
When Do I Apply Them?
Timing is very important. Pre-emergent controls must be applied before the bad “weedy” seeds are allowed to germinate. For us, here in New England, it is generally the middle of April- especially when you see those brilliant yellow flowers of the forsythia in bloom. That is my signal.
So Which Type of Fertilizer Should I Use?
Synthetic vs Organic…
We are all familiar with those television commercials for Scott’s lawn fertilizer with crabgrass control. This a great choice for a synthetic lawn fertilizer and is very effective the same year it is applied. However, with the increasing desire to use only organic products in your lawn and garden, there is now a great alternative for you to consider.
Gaining in Popularity over the past few years, corn gluten meal (CGM) is a natural substitute for synthetic pre-emergent herbicides. The use of corn gluten meal as an herbicide was actually discovered by mistake during a turfgrass disease research project conducted at Iowa State University. Since then, CGM has been proven to prevent weeds from sprouting including seeds from many weeds such as crabgrass, chickweed, and even dandelions. You should apply CGM the same time you would any other pre-emergent, then a second time around mid-August. Spread the product evenly, at a rate of twenty pounds per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Water it lightly into the soil to activate it. The CGM should remain effective for five to six weeks each time you apply it.