To answer some questions on Fertiliser application, we spoke to Robert Megier from Everris Australia.

Is timing of fertiliser application important?

That very much depends on the type of fertiliser used and the demands of the crop. Ideally we would match nutrient supply with plant nutrient need. In the case of turf you would typically apply more nitrogen in spring and summer, more potassium in autumn and little or no nutrient in winter depending on your climate. In the case of feeding garden beds with a controlled release fertiliser, say 5-6 month longevity, an application in early spring and again in late summer would probably suffice. It is a good idea to provide some long term nutrition to new plantings, no matter the season, in the form of either slow release or controlled release planting tablets or prills.

What do you recommend for new gardens?

For new plantings I would use either slow or controlled release fertilisers. The newly planted roots are highly susceptible to stress from too little or too much water, diseases and pests. The last thing you want to do here is add excessive levels of salts to the soil. A slow and steady release of nutrients over an extended period of time is the best.

How would you apply it?

It is advisable to follow label directions to ensure the correct rate of fertiliser is applied per plant or per square metre. For new plantings it is best to place the fertiliser as close as possible to the emerging roots in the soil profile. About 2cm away is ideal. For existing plantings it is fine to broadcast the fertiliser on the surface but try and place it close to the drip line of the plant as this should be directly above the new root growth below ground. It is advisable to apply mulch over the fertiliser as this will help in keeping the temperature and moisture content of the fertiliser and the plant roots more stable.

What would you recommend for establishing newly laid turf?

For new turf, a turf fertiliser that is high in phosphorus is recommended for root establishment. An example is Sierrablen Turf Starter:

To apply turf fertilisers it is important to use a good quality commercial spreader to ensure that the rate applied is correct and the distribution of particles is uniform. An example of a good commercial spreader is the Everris SR 2000:

What fertiliser is best for maintenance on an established landscape?

A good controlled release fertiliser such as Sierrablen Flora 8-9 month applied in spring or summer is the safest and best way to go. As long as the garden is not under stress from lack of or too much water, the plants will benefit from fertilising once or twice a year. If the plants are actively growing they need adequate water and nutrition to maintain good health. It is not necessary to make dibble holes next to each plant. Just broadcast it above the active feeding roots and mulch over if possible.

More information is available on the landscape section of the everris website