I have 24-8-16 miracle gro fertilizer that I apply with a hose end applicator. Would this be ok to fertilize an eight year old hedge which is doing ok but I thought this might perk it up a little?
All fertilizers use a three number rating N-P-K system, like 24-8-16. The first number represents Nitrogen, the second is Phosphorous, the third is Potassium (or Potash). These numbers are percentages of the total ingredients in the bag.
Any complete fertilizer that is high in nitrogen and potassium but low in phosphorus is fine for trees, even we often see fertilizer 30-10-10 for evergreen hedges.
Fertilizers are concentrated salts, and can damage plant roots if applied on dry soil. First slow-soak the soil around your cedars’ roots with water, before applying the fertilized solution, to make the soil absorbent. Then, prepare a bucket full of 24-8-16 nitrogen-rich solution exactly as directed, and apply. Lastly, be sure to water thoroughly with an equal amount, after applying the fertilizer, but slowly, and gently, so as not to wash the nutrients away.
Early spring, when things start to bloom, is the perfect time to fertilize. Refrain from fertilizing the hedge in late summer, as the hedge will require rest for dormancy during the winter.
Now would also be a good time to top-dress around the base of the hedge with a good compost or well rotted sheep manure. This will help the soil structure, add slow release nutrients and help retain moisture. You do not need to dig it in, just spread it over the soil surface, the worms and soil microorganisms will take care of distributing it through your soil & getting the nutrients to the roots.
On top of this top-dressing, you could also add an inch or two of mulch which will also help with keeping any weeds under control.