How to fertilize over mulch

swontgirl_z5a(5a)March 31, 2010

Can anyone give me an idea if there is any point in fertilizing daylilies that are mulched? Most of my beds are mulched with composted cattle manure mixed with shavings. It is sold as mulch and is really helping to amend my soil. It is lovely stuff to work with. But I am not sure how to fertilze through it. The last couple of years I have just thrown on some bagged fertilizer that was left over from spring planting here - we have a farm. I figured it would work it's way down through the mulch when it rained. Any other suggestions?

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Ed(z7aOK)

If your plants are healthy looking and vigorous, why fertilize?
The 'mulch' sounds like it will be a good fertilizer as it composts. You might want to add a little nitrogen to help it break down. As long as the 'mulch' is porous and lets water get freely down to the soil, I wouldn't worry about it running off. If it is a big concern, cultivate the area around your plants before putting down the fertilizer.
Ed

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 11:21AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I usually fertilize the daylilies each spring. They are all very heavily muched. I just sprinkle the fertilizer over the mulch and wait for spring rains to break it down. I do the same thing for my roses, put the fertilizer down and leave it be. Once I have applied the fertilizer, I consider it done. I can't immagine doing all the work of scratching the fertilizer in. Too much work!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 3:51PM
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swontgirl_z5a(5a)

Thanks guys,
I have been worried that the mulch is maybe providing too much nitrogen and throwing things out of whack. Our soil seems to have very good fertility wherever I put a new flower bed. I was forgetting that the mulch breaking down would use nitrogen.
I bought a soil test kit last fall and am just waiting for the grass to start growing well before I use it - that is what it recommended. The granular fertilizer I have used before had to wait for rain to wash it through just like you do Rita. We have several different combinations sitting out on our wagon of fertilizer that I can use - just have to snitch some before it is all gone. We used 8-18-14 yesterday with our barley that we seeded. I just wondered if there was anything else that would work with mulched beds.
How do these alfalfa pellets work? I would assume from seeing our hay test results that they provide some other micronutrients than just NPK. They wouldn't work their way through the mulch though I think. I have read of Milorganite but I have never seen it up here. Does anyone know the NPK ratio of it? I assume it is a granular fertilizer.
I read on another post- maybe you posted it Ed- that the ratio for daylilies should be 3-1-2 of NPK. I guess if that is close to what my tests show then I won't have to add anything. I get used to throwing some fertilizer on my strawberries and raspberries every spring and just put some on my flower beds too. I figure you should replace what you are taking out and some of my daylily beds have alot of plants in them!

Debbie

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 7:47PM
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Ed(z7aOK)

It would be best to wait until you do your soil test to see what your soil needs, and then apply only what's needed.
3-1-2 is the NPK ratio recommended for daylilies. Alfalfa is an excellent source of nitrogen. It's also good rabbit, deer, and squirrel feed. Probably some birds too. I only use it by incorporating in the soil. Milorganite is Milwaukee sewer sludge, treated to be safe for use. I prefer not to use it on food crops. Its NPK ratio is 6-2-0 with 4% iron. I use lots of it in my daylily beds.
Nitrogen is most always needed, but over applying phosphorus and potassium can be toxic.
Ed

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 8:16PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I just throw the alfalfa pellets around the gardenbed and then wait for the rain to break them down. Really, making the alfalfa tea is best as you see much quicker results. But I have too many daylilies for that by now. So it's the toss em and forget em method around here.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 9:17PM
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Julia NY(6)

ED: I think you are thinking of the alfalfa pellets which is used as rabbit feed and contains salt and it should not be used. The one to use is the one for horses. No salt.

Julia

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 7:20AM
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Ed(z7aOK)

Nope Julia, you can get pure alfalfa in both pellets and blocks.
Alfalfa rabbit food does contain salt and is not the best to use, but critters like alfalfa with salt or not!
Ed

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 11:45AM
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