How do I fertilize a mulched garden?
I planted a shade garden last summer and applied mulch around the plants to increase water retention and inhibit weed growth. I am wondering what the best way is to fertilize my plants. Should I brush the mulch away from the base of the plants and apply fertilizer to the exposed dirt? Or can I apply the fertilizer onto the mulch, which is no more than one-half inch to one inch deep?
Hennepin County Minnesota
Use a slow-release fertilizer. Brush the mulch away from the crowns, and apply the fertilizer to the root zone. Then replace the mulch, and water well. When you replace the mulch, bear in mind that it's best to keep the mulch a few inches away from the perennials' crowns during the growing season.
For helpful information about maintaining a perennial bed, including recommendations for the use of mulch and fertilizer, see the following website: Frequently Asked Perennial Questions.