In the Spring of each year, I put down a weed and feed product. I have
many Azalea beds. Some years they bloom well, others they don't. I try to
fertilize them separately with a product formulated for them.
It has occurred to me that when I fertilize my lawn with weed and feed, I go
up adjacent to my azalea beds. These are very old azaleas (25 years), so I
guess their roots extend out quite a bit. I wonder if the weed and feed
(Atrazine) is going to the outside roots of the azaleas, and stunting them
some ? I don't think any of the weed and feed gets closer than 3 feet from
the main trunk of the bushes, but if the feeders come out more than 3 feet
then in a way I may be giving them some weed and feed which is not my
Any comments, or thoughts ??
The nitrogen of the fertilizer and the weed killer both can be a
problem. I wouldn't use the produce within a couple yards, more if
there is a slope and you are applying uphill from the azaleas. Azaleas
have shallow roots and are very sensitive to anything on the surface or
that is washed by rain or irrigation. Atrazine remains active for up to
six months so it is a real potential problem.
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Visit my Rhododendron and Azalea web pages at:
Azalea roots are surprisingly restricted in area, but regular watering
could well cause inappropriate fertilizers to migrate into that root zone.
Why a shrub doesn't bloom well one year but superbly the year before &
after is sometimes obvious, but other times a mystery that will never be
Others who love rhodies & azaleas may disagree with me, but I believe
fertilizing these shrubs annually is too much. Sudden doses, large doses,
rich doses, or too many doses of fertilizer is more of a stress factor
than an aid. Less is more where rhodies & azaleas are concerned. They get
more benefit from a thin mulching with composted manure or even just
leaves left to go to leafmold. Rich or too regular fertilizing induces
leggy branch growth & lots of leaves, if not actual decline of the shrub's
health, but isn't apt to improve bloom.
But other factors also effect bloom, including what the buds experienced
through the winter, & what stresses the shrub experienced the whole
growing period of the previous year, or how & when a shrub was pruned or
deadheaded, or the watering schedule & rainfall it experienced while
developing buds. Some of the shrubs' experiences are not controlable by a
Timing of the rare/occasional/slight fertilizing or compost topcoating
MIGHT also be important -- given to shrubs one by one shortly after each
stops blooming, rather than an entire collection all at once without
regard for their bloom time, or at a time too close to autumn to be
-paghat the ratgirl
Get your Paghat the Ratgirl T-Shirt here:
Weed-and-feed products are a victory of marketing over common sense. A
weed-and-feed product really amounts to an indiscriminate and unnecessary
use of pesticides -- if your lawn is in such bad shape that you need to put
a weedkiller over the entire lawn maybe you should start over --
Since the atrazine also stresses your turfgrass :(especially St. Augustine),
the manufacturers make the "feed" part of it a very high nitrogen
fertilizer, to hide and counteract the effect of the nitrazine.
You wouldn't use an unbalanced fertilizer such as 29-3-3 by itself --
especially one with high amounts of soluble nitrogen, nor would you go out
and spray your turfgrass with atrazine -- but somehow the manufacturers have
sold the idea that if you put the two out together it's all right.
Weed-and-feed are significant contributors to the existence of high levels
of pesticides and nitrogen in the ground water, plus there is some evidence
that atrazine is hazardous to both dogs and cats.
You'd be better off to spot treat weeds where they exist, and use a better
fertilizer for your turfgrass, lower in nitrogen and lower in soluble
nitrogen. Plus your pets, your azaleas and your local water resources would
be better off. -- Regards --
|| I put weed and feed down to kill the weeds in my very large yard.
|| It does a good job.
|| I am happy.
|| It is not a political matter with me, and I did NOT consult Al Gore
|| on the matter.
i hope you didn't consult duh-bya. you'd only end with a retarded lawn.
It's not a political issue. I agree with World Traveler. If you're
regularly using a Weed n Feed type of product, something is very wrong.
These products are OK if you're trying to get a lawn that has
desirable grass, but is full of weeds do to lack of care, under
control. Then, they can be used appropriately a couple of times.
After that, all that should be required is a pre-emergent crabgrass
control and occasional spot weed control which uses a small amount of
herbicide compared to just throwing it all over the lawn.
A healthy properly cared for lawn is thick enough to keep most of the
weeds out to begin with. Indiscriminate and heavy application of
herbicides is both unnecessary and bad practice. And where do you
think all those chemicals eventually wind up? Apparently, James is
more worried about what they might do to some shrubs than children,
pets, wildlife, or our water supply.
Duh-Bya's answer would be to call in an expert and have them do it.
Maybe not such a bad idea, I am sure the poor azalea roots would
appreciate it. God gives us others to fix our cars, drill our teeth,
remove out gallbladders, and yes do gardening work. Let it go, it will
cost you far less in worry, plus you will be enriching the life of
another. Not to mention the azaleas.
Without too much effort, the use of one of many precise long-handled
weeders could remove the invading dandelions and crabgrass without
tearing up your lawn.
A number of these tools are identified at the World of Weeds website:
Talk about weeds: World of Weeds www.ergonica.com
The answer could be to call in an expert and have them do it. Maybe not
such a bad idea, I am sure the poor azalea roots would appreciate it.
God gives us others to fix our cars, drill our teeth, remove out
gallbladders, and yes do gardening work. Let it go, it will cost you
far less in worry, plus you will be enriching the life of another. Not
to mention the azaleas. My grounds are beautiful, I never touch it.
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