Should You Add Fertilizer?

In most cases, no; not even at planting. But there are always exceptions:

Fruit trees, veggies, and flowers

These have variable fertilizer needs depending upon what you want to produce and the timing for fruit, veggies, and annual flowers.

Sick looking plants

Sick plants can be due to unhealthy roots, poor soil conditions, or improper plant care. It is best to get a soil analysis done to get an idea of what is going on. Most soil analyses come with recommendations. (See Soils chapter – a soil test is inexpensive). Sometimes it is just a matter of having the wrong plant in the wrong place which creates a more vulnerable plant.

If you need fertilizer, “slow-release” types, especially organic fertilizers, are better for the soil and the environment. They feed the good guys in the soil, and toxic runoff is far less likely to enter our watershed (Your neighborhood!).


1. Don’t over-fertilize! – Plants will grow excessively, crave extra water, and foliage can be burned. In other words, you’ll create a monster plant.

2. If you fertilize trees, do so at the drip line area, not near the trunk.