When To Apply Fertilizers and Compost to Your Garden

When To Apply Fertilizers and Compost to Your Garden

When is the best time to apply compost and mulch to your flower garden?  Well… spring, summer and fall are all great times to give your plants a “little something” to help them be the best they can be. It all can be a little confusing, especially if you’re new to gardening, but hopefully the following will help you to understand the best times for adding these amendments to your soil.


Springtime is a great time to work in compost and about 1 cup of worm castings (see video below), around each annual or perennial that you are planting.  For any established perennials, it’s best to wait until fall to feed them any extra food.

If you plan on preparing a whole bed, simply work in as much as 1/2 inch layer of compost or 10 pounds of an organic fertilizer blend.  It’s best to wait about three weeks after planting to cultivate and mulch so that the soil will warm up.  Warm soil  helps the activity of beneficial soil micro-organisms and we certainly want their help!  Use only 3 or 4 inches of pine fines or 2 inches of rich compost like worm castings,  to mulch around your flowers.

Be sure not to use large wood chips around annuals or perennials as it is too toxic for the plants. Only use pine fines or a smaller mulch pellets for these plants.

summer annuals for mid south


Feeding the foliage on  your flowering plants at least 3 times during the season with fish and kelp extracts is a good task for the summer.  For best results, mist early in the morning being sure to cover leaves completely with spray, especially the undersides of leaves.

Summer is also a great time to test your soil pH so you’ll be ready for fall planting.  You can pick up soil testing kits from our local extension service or purchase a kit at most home garden shops or have a local landscaper to do this.

Of course be sure to keep your flowers watered well with about 2 inches of water a week.  It’s best to do this in early morning so that the sun can dry the leaves which helps keep fungus and disease from setting in due to wet foliage.  Feel free to mix in kelp, fish, or compost tea (using comfrey tea is great!)



Fall is absolutely the perfect time to fertilize most well established perennials in your flower garden. If you have mulch around them, simply pull it back and sprinkle the soil with a little fertilizer.  You don’t want to apply too much fertilizer to established perennials as they may collect too much mineral content from the soil and spread too aggressively; therefore, overgrowing it’s intended spot in your garden!  No one likes a pushy plant, right?

Fertilizing and composting your flower garden is vital to having a beautiful garden but knowing exactly how and when can be a bit overwhelming especially with the unpredictable weather here in Nashville.  If you’d like help with your garden or landscape, be sure to give us a call at Acer Landscape Services at 615-350-8030 X 17.  We can supply you with bulk worm compost which makes life soooo much easier!

Learn more about why your flowers need worm compost, also called worm castings, in our video below.

Let us know how you like the video and give us a call  at (615)-350-8030 X17 if you have any questions…we love helping our neighbors and friends to have the best garden ever!





5-Common-Landscaping-Mistakes-Homeowners-Make_-andHow-To-Prevent-Them2At Acer, we're planting the good life. For FREE estimates call 615-350-8030 x 17 or complete our short form online.

Want to be notified when we've written a new blog post? Subscribe To Our Blog and receive a copy of our new E-book!

About the Author:

Julia is the Social Media Manager for Acer Landscape Services.