Autumn fertilization: Good winter hardiness thanks to potassium

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Autumn fertilizers contain nutrient mixtures with a particularly high potassium content. The nutrient accumulates in the so-called vacuoles, the central reservoirs of plant cells, and increases the salt content of the cell's juice. There is an effect known from the plant-damaging de-icing salt (sodium chloride): The higher salt concentration lowers the freezing point of the cell fluid and makes the plant cells more resistant to frost.

The nutrient potassium also has other effects on the metabolism of plants: it improves water transport and gas exchange by increasing the water pressure in the root and improving the function of the stomata in the leaves. These keep the flow of water in the plant in motion through evaporation and allow carbon dioxide to flow into the leaf tissue for photosynthesis.

Lawn autumn fertilizer

The most well-known and commonly used autumn fertilizers are so-called turf autumn fertilizers, because the green carpet can be badly affected in cold, snow-poor winters - especially if it is entered regularly. These fertilizers not only contain potassium but also other nutrients such as nitrogen, albeit at relatively low dosages. Lawn autumn fertilizers are usually applied from mid-October. But they are not only suitable for turf grass, but also for frost-sensitive ornamental grasses such as some bamboo species or the Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica). By the way: If the lawn-autumn fertilizer is applied in the spring, regardless of its name, it also makes the stalks more resistant to break-through with its high potassium content.

Autumn fertilization with patent kali

white camellia

The evergreen camellias often suffer from frost damage during cold winters

Kalimagnesia - also known under the trade name Patentkali - is a potassium fertilizer that is extracted from the natural mineral kieserite. It contains about 30 percent potassium, 10 percent magnesium and 15 percent sulfur. This fertilizer is often used in professional horticulture because, in contrast to cheaper potassium chloride, it is also suitable for salt-sensitive plants. In the utility and ornamental garden Kalimagnesia can be used for all plants. First and foremost, you should fertilize evergreen shrubs such as rhododendrons, camellias and boxwood, as well as evergreen perennials such as berries, cornflowers and house sprouts with potash magnesia. The fertilizer also covers the sulfur requirements of garden plants - a nutrient whose concentration in the soil has been steadily decreasing since the end of acid rain. Kalimagnesia can be used to increase the winter hardiness of garden plants in late summer and early fall. However, it is not a pure autumn fertilizer, but is applied in horticulture in spring at the beginning of plant growth together with nitrogen fertilizers such as calcium ammonium nitrate.

Important: Regular soil analyzes

So that you do not overfertilize your soil, you should have the nutrient content examined by a soil laboratory at least every three years. The results of the soil tests show again and again that more than half of the floors in the home and garden are over-supplied with phosphorus. But potassium is usually present in loamier garden soils in sufficient concentration, since it is hardly washed out here.

Video Board: TRG 2016: How to Use Hardwood Ash as Fertilizer: Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium.

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