22-Mar-2018

Choosing the right fertiliser for native plants

It is generally understood that the addition of organic matter (mulch or compost) to the garden is for the improvement of soil health, which in turn improves plant health.

However, what we do for the veggie patch may not always work for Australian native plants.
Due to some natives being sensitive to phosphorous, it is recommended that many well-known soil improvers are avoidedin a native garden.

Fertilisers to avoid for natives:

  • Mushroom compost
  • Composted or raw sewage sludge
  • Poultry manure or litter (bulk or pellets)
  • Cow, horse or sheep manure
  • Compost containing food waste
  • Worm castings

Products that are low enough in phosphorous for native plants should be used instead.

Suitable fertilisers for natives:

  • Composted sawdust
  • Bark
  • Some pure green waste products

When applying these products on top of the soil, it’s important to not suffocate the natives. Avoid putting organic matter right up to the trunk of any plant thinner than 5cm in diameter. Also, aim to spread out the organic matter so it’s no thicker than 7.5cm.
Alternatively, mix your compost material into the soil around where you have planted, or prior to planting your natives.

These methods will provide favourable conditions for organisms to get to work on improving your soil and making much needed nutrients available to your native plants.

Adapted from the IndigiScapes newsletter, with permission.

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