Ask Burton: Q: When should I fertilize my landscape, and with which fertilizers?

A: It’s time to start thinking about it, and here’s what we’d most recommend:

• For a conventionally maintained landscape, start feeding with our Covington’s Tree & Shrub on all common trees, shrubs, and ground cover beds at the rate of 4 cups per 100 sq. feet (1 cup per 5′ x 5′ square). In addition, feed acid-loving shrubs with an application of soil sulfur or aluminum sulphate. For certain specialty shrubs and trees, we have specific fertilizers we recommend. For azaleas, camellias, and gardenias, use ferti-lome Azalea, Camellia, and Rhododendron food at the same rate, and fertilize palms of all sorts with Carl Pool Palm Food. Feed around the beginning of March.

For the lawn, feed toward the end of March with a high nitrogen or all nitrogen lawn fertilizer; for most of us in the area, we use our Covington’s Premium 21-7-14 fertilizer for the first feeding of the season, and switch to our own all-nitrogen lawn fertilizers for subsequent feedings in the year.

Note:  Our Covington’s brand fertilizers were specially developed for North Texas soils.

• For organically maintained landscapes, go ahead and feed right now on both the lawn and landscape. Use a high-nitrogen organic fertilizer; in organic maintenance, anything with a 5% or high nitrogen works well for the purpose. Corn gluten meal would be ideal for the lawn, as it’s very high in nitrogen and is the best organic weed preventer available. Later in the season, we like several of the quality alfalfa-based fertilizers, as they’re good nutrition without the smell of a manure-based product. Still add acidifiers like sulfur or aluminum sulphate for the plants that appreciate it.

Also, if you’d like a fertilizer program tailored to your exact needs, the Agricultural Extension Service offers soil testing services which will eliminate any guess work! Instructions and a printable form are available at The least expensive test they offer will give you a detailed breakdown on what your lawn and landscape needs, nutrition wise, to thrive. Bring your soil test results to us, and we’ll help you get from where you are to where you need to be.