I'm going to be planting about 400 native plants (shrubs) on our land within the next couple of weeks. The ground is ready but would like to know what you all use for fertilizing at planting. Tom
I have never fertilized any Native plants. I have transplanted hundreds of them, from our Native Plant Society's sanctioned rescues & from local nursery purchases, and they thrive, as long as they receive adequate moisture until well established and have not observed the need for fertilizer.
If the plants/shrubs/ are native to your area, they should receive proper nutrients from the soil to thrive.
IMO, fertilization could possibly do more damage, than good.
If a native is planted in the type of site to which it is adapted it should not need fertilizer and might be harmed by it as razorback says. A light top dressing of compost or leaf mold would probably be o.k. Also, some mychorizal fungi might help but shouldn't be needed. If you feel the need to fertilize, go gently with something like worm castings or compost tea, etc. and not the artificial stuff which gets drawn in by plants too quickly and will feed weeds more than natives. I do confess that I have used slow release fertilizer tablets on trees and shrubs a few times. Try to plant in late afternoon so the plants have cooler temperatures for their first few hours of adjustment.
Here is a link that might be useful: Products
I would not use any fertilizer on any native plant grown in a natural setting. If you are growing native plants in a garden setting, where you pull weeds, trim them when they get too large, deadhead, etc., then you can lightly fertilize certain natives. If you are growing them in a setting like a meadow, woodland, etc. where you will not treat them as garden plants, but let them grow in a natural way, I would not fertilize. The reason I wouldn't fertilize in a natural setting is that fertilizer is likely to encourage weeds more than the natives, and for some types of native plants fertilizer may make thm grow larger but reduce their lifespan.
So, to answer your question, if you are planting shrubs in a wild or natural setting, don't fertilize, it will encourage weeds. If you are planting shrubs in a garden or yard, then i might fertilize with a balanced fertilizer (e.g. 10-10-10) as you would a fruit tree (spread a handful on the ground under the dripline of each shrub), or perhaps use compost as a mulch. I don't think fertilizer is necessary for shrubs, even in a garden setting, but it is OK to use because you'll use mulch or pull weeds that might appear.