Feed Me – Please!

Sep 5, 2015General Gardening, Tips of the Month0 comments


 

Just a little water and fertilizer – is that too much to ask for? Don’t most people know that plants need a little of both from time to time. Not everyday – like your pets or your kids – just water about once a week, and fertilizer a couple of times a year. That’s not asking a lot, is it?

Two Wodyetia bifurcata (Foxtail Palms) next door to one another. You can see the difference between the one with, and the one without, fertilizer.

Two Wodyetia bifurcata (Foxtail Palms) next door to one another. You can see the difference between the one with, and the one without, fertilizer.

Some people swear they can’t grow things. They claim they don’t have a green thumb. But in fact, they can’t get around to watering once a week, and throwing out a little fertilizer once in a while. If you just do that, you can have a garden full of healthy plants. And if you have taken the time to install an irrigation system, you won’t even have to remember to water your plants – just set the timer and adjust it occasionally for the seasons. And with slow release fertilizer, and a good top dressing of mulch, your plants will be well feed for months.

Queen Palms

Some well grown Queen Palms, and some struggling with not enough water or fertilizer.

Of course there are other garden chores, like weeding, trimming, and watching out for pests that include insects, mold/fungus, and larger animals like gophers and rabbits. But those can be done as needed, and as diligently or thoughly as desired. Fall behind on those and the garden can still grow. If you fall behind you can catch up, and the garden will not suffer badly. But fall behind on water and fertilizer and you will fail as a gardener. Your plants will have a hard time recovering, if at all, from lack of water and fertilizer. And weak plants suffer more from being over grown with weeds, or attacked by pests.

Veitchia

Two Veitchia palms across the street from one another. One has received some water and nutrients, and the other has been neglected.

These photos show the difference between healthy palms, that have received just a little water and fertilizer, and palms that have received not enough. All other variables are the same. Same location, same soil, and planted at about the same time. These were all in a industrial area in Hawaii. The only difference is that the banks or retail merchants were taking better care of their landscaping than the welders or auto repair. A conscientious home gardener should provide even better care – and the plants will respond even better to such care.

Clinostigma samoense with water and fertilizer, and one in front of a store - starving for both. The difference between beauty and unimpressive.

Clinostigma samoense with water and fertilizer, and one in front of a store – starving for both. The difference between beauty and unimpressive.

So, without water and fertilizer, nothing else really matters. And with careful monitoring of both, you can even increase growth and have some impressive specimens. And people will be commenting on green thumb.