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The Effect of Different

Fertilizers on Plant Growth

By Sharon Sweeny; Updated September 21, 2017

Fertilizers come in different forms but they all essentially do the same thing: feed
your plants. Growing plants need supplemental fertilizer to produce the most
flowers, fruits and vegetables that they can. Use a combination of different fertilizer
types for a complete fertilization program and vigorous, robust plants.

Water-Soluble Fertilizer Mixed with Water

This type of fertilizer is mixed with water to apply. It is sprayed on the leaves and/or
watered into the soil. This fertilizer provides a quick, short-lived burst of energy. You
should immediately notice succulent leaf growth. Use this type of fertilizer in
conjunction with slower releasing types for optimal plant health.

Water Soluble Granular Fertilizer

Water soluble granular fertilizer is applied directly to the soil beneath the mulch. This
gives plants a dose of food for a four- to six-week period. It will help plants grow
strong root systems, produce flowers and set fruit. Re-apply this type of fertilizer
every four to six weeks during the growing season.

Slow-Release Granular Fertilizer

This type of fertilizer is spread on the ground around the plants' root systems after
removing any mulch. Slow-release granular fertilizer has a special coating that breaks
down slowly, releasing nutrients gradually over time. This is a complete fertilizer and
will provide your plants all of the nutrients they need to grow healthy roots, leaves,
flowers and fruit. Apply slow-release granulated fertilizer twice during the growing
season--once in early spring and again six to eight weeks later.
Fertilizer Spikes
Fertilizer spikes are compressed powdered and granulated fertilizer shaped into
spikes about the size of a banana and are primarily used on fruit trees. Drive them
directly into the ground beneath the canopy of leaves in the tree's root zone. They
will provide fruit trees with a balanced amount of nutrients to help them grow
healthy roots, branches, leaves, flowers and help them set fruit. Fruit trees should be
fertilized using fertilizer spikes once a year in early spring.

Fertilizer from Organic Soil Amendments

Organic materials like compost and manure improve the structure of the soil while
slowing releasing a small amount of nutrients. Dig them into the growing bed prior
to planting your crops. Layer on top of the soil during the growing season for
an extra boost of nutrients. Although compost and manure contain all of the
essential nutrients that plants need to grow and produce crops, a large amount of
them are needed to provide enough of the nutrients plants need to grow healthy.
Supplement them by using another type of commercially manufactured fertilizer
mentioned above.