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1. Q. I am confused about the many kinds of fertilizers which are available in the local nurseries. For instance, I have pecan and peach trees, a vegetable garden, flowers and oak trees. Do I have to buy a fertilizer for each type of plant? Please list the best fertilizer for each plant type.

A. Yours is not an uncommon question. People are confused by all of the fertilizer ratios and analyses on the bag. Folks fill the garage with pecan tree fertilizer for the pecan tree, garden fertilizer for the garden, grass fertilizer for the grass, etc. IT IS TIME TO STOP THIS INSANITY! I recommend one fertilizer FOR ALL PLANTS in the spring. The slow-release, sulfur-coated formulations will be the ideal fertilizer for ALL outdoor plants. The slow-release analyses available include 19- 5-9, 20-7-7, 21-7-14, 25-3-5 or 22-3-3, 20-5-10 and 15-5-10; choose the cheapest which will cover the greatest area. Most of these fertilizers have a ratio of 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 and are ideal for growing plants. What gives them the edge is the slow- release, constant feeding aspect of this type. The fast-release can burn plants if used in excess. Follow label instructions as to application rate or use as if it is not a slow-release formulation. For example, Extension horticulturists for years have recommended the use of ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) for side- dressing actively growing, heavily producing vegetable crops and one pound of 21-0-0 per inch diameter of tree trunk, evenly distributed around the tree's dripline, for pecan and ornamental trees. There is not a significant difference, or enough of a difference, in nutrients between ammonium sulfate and 19-5-9, 20- 7-7, 21-7-14, 22-3-3 and 20-5-10 to affect plant growth and performance. In fact, the slow-release formulations are complete (nitrogen - the first number, phosphorus - the second number, and potassium - the third number) fertilizers which are thought to be more beneficial than a one element fertilizer such as ammonium sulfate (21-0-0).

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