Imagine driving through the nicest neighborhood in your city, seeing lawn after lawn of perfect grass and beautifully manicured shrubs and trees. After many beautiful homes you see one with a lawn even more pristine than any of the others. The grass is lush and freshly mowed, free of dandelions and other weeds. The landscaping beds have been redone with brand new mulch and everything is tidy and in perfect order. Everything but one.
The shrubs growing in this otherwise incredible landscaping bed are wilted and dying. The leaves are a sickly pale green color and the branches are dry and brittle. Imagine how much better you could make this house look by fixing this one simple problem!
Many people have dealt with this issue, and one of the most popular and effective fertilizers that they’ve found to fix their problem is Ironite. In this post we’ll go over what Ironite is, what it does, and how to use it effectively.
What does Ironite do to shrubs?
First of all, what is Ironite and what does it do for your shrubs? As suggested by the name, Ironite is a fertilizer with an unusually high iron content which is extremely beneficial to produce good looking plants. Iron helps boost the color of bushes and shrubs to make them a darker and richer green, which can add a lot to the look they give your yard.
In addition, Ironite contains many other nutrients that will help your plants to grow well without being too excessive. Many fertilizers will cause plants to grow too quickly, which can greatly increase how often you need to trim your shrubs and mow your lawn, but with Ironite you don’t have this problem.
When should you apply Ironite?
Now obviously if you’re going to apply Ironite to your shrubs, you have to do it right. This starts with the timing of your application. One of the best things about using Ironite as opposed to some other fertilizers and mineral treatments is that it can be applied virtually any time of the year with good results.
The best method, however, is to apply liquid Ironite spray every two weeks during your shrubs’ growing season to give them the extra boost they need to grow tall and full. The time of day you apply Ironite doesn’t particularly matter, but be sure to water your shrubs right before applying it to make for the maximum benefit.
How to apply Ironite to shrubs
Ironite comes both as a granular soil treatment and a liquid, so you have the option of mixing it in with your regular fertilizer or spraying it with a spray bottle. When applying the granular version of Ironite, it’s a good idea to mix it with a granular organic fertilizer and apply them both at the same time. By doing this you ensure your shrubs are getting all the nutrients they need without risk of being damaged.
On the other hand, liquid Ironite is helpful because it allows you to spray directly onto the leaves Using liquid Ironite avoids the chance of the Ironite granules being washed away before they even make it to the roots of the plant. Most other fertilizers aren’t able to be sprayed on and absorbed through the leaves, so take advantage of Ironite!
When using the spray on method it’s best to reduce the frequency of use a bit, so try to apply it 8-12 times a year instead of every two weeks as you would with the granular fertilizer.
Good alternatives to Ironite
All of this sounds great, however there is some controversy over the usage of Ironite as a fertilizer for shrubs and bushes, particularly among those that grow food. Some testing has found arsenic and lead in trace amounts in Ironite fertilizer, so you can see why some homeowners might not be particularly keen to use it to grow food they plan to eat.
For the vast majority of people this does not actually cause any problems, especially if you’re growing bushes that don’t produce berries or other fruit. But if you don’t want to use Ironite on your plants that’s ok! There are plenty of other options.
One of the best alternative options is simply to use compost from your fruit and vegetable scraps. Compost is one of the best ways to fertilize your shrubs. Because it’s literally just decomposed plants it’s guaranteed to not have any harmful chemicals in it.
Keep a bucket or a compost pile behind your home and dump all your plant based food scraps in it. Mix it up every so often and then apply it to your shrubs as fertilizer once it has decomposed to a dark brown color and earthy texture and smell. Scraps from foods like broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes, and dark leafy greens work especially well. Their high iron content can make up the difference that Ironite would’ve made up had you used it.
Another great option is to use an organic fertilizer on its own and just leave out the Ironite. This can still be extremely effective, and there are a huge variety of organic fertilizers on the market containing any and all of the nutrients that you need for your plants.
Soybean meal, seaweed fertilizer, and cottonseed meal are some of the most popular organic fertilizers for shrubs and bushes. Blood meal, which is essentially dried animal blood, is also a fantastic fertilizer for shrubs because it contains a huge amount of iron. It may sound gross, but it works!
Whether you apply Ironite to your shrubs or not, fertilizing your shrubs and tending to them can be a huge game changer for how good your yard looks. Ironite is a fantastic option, but there are other things out there. Just make sure you follow good safety precautions if you use anything chemical. If you time it right, know your plants and stay consistent about fertilizing, your yard and shrubs will be the envy of the neighborhood!