Using Cottonseed Fertilizer in Your Garden

Organic Gardening
Espoma Cottonseed Meal Fertilizer

Cottonseed fertilizer is a popular meal for plants. It comes as a by-product in the manufacturing of cotton. It is used as a slow release fertilizer for garden plants.

Cottonseed meal fertilizer is slow release and acidic. There are several commercial formulas available on the market and they vary slightly. Generally speaking, cottonseed fertilizer is made up of 7% nitrogen, 3% P2O5, and 2% K2O. It is made to provide your plants with several important elements and nutrients, above all nitrogen, potash and phosphorus. There are also other minor nutrients present in this meal. One great advantage is promotion of rapid growth of various landscape plants, vegetables and turfs. In addition to this, cottonseed fertilizer can also be used to eliminate runoff.

Safety and Advantages

One of the first things plant growers want to know is whether cottonseed fertilizer is healthy or not. The good news is that cottonseed is beneficial for many types of plants. It has a high organic content and it aerates tight, dense soil. Similarly, it can aid in retaining moisture in light, sandy soils.

Also, due to the slow release time, cottonseed meal is safe for generous use and for multiple use on the same plant. Cottonseed fertilizer is ideal for multi-use. This fertilizer can be used safely without danger of foliage burns. This way, cottonseed ensures healthy foliage on your plants. In addition to this, cottonseed fertilizer will increase crop production. Another advantage are rich flowers and fantastic blooms cottonseed fertilizer will bring.

Best for What Plants?

Cottonseed fertilizer can be used for a wide range of plants. Almost all plants can benefit from this meal fertilizer, but certain acid-loving plants are ideal for it. Cottonseed is best used for plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons or camellias as well as turf, shrubs, vegetables and roses.

Cottonseed Fertilizer for Acid Loving Plants

One of the most popular use of cottonseed fertilizer is for acid loving plants. The goal of using fertilizer for these plants is to lower the pH of the soil and also to increase availability of certain elements, such as magnesium and iron. One good sign that you should reduce pH values of the soil are yellowing leaves. If you notice yellowing leaves, consider applying cottonseed fertilizer to your plants.

It's important to remember that most acid-loving plants have shallow root systems. It's therefore good to mulch around them with 2 to 3 inches of cottonseed hulls. Another good thing you can do is to use a mixture of cottonseed, oak leaves or pine needles and peat moss. This will help retaining soil moisture and protect your plants from freezing in winter. In the summer, this mulch will keep the soil cool enough and protect the roots from heat. Also, adding a bit of cottonseed fertilizer or ammonium sulfate meal into this mulch will successfully prevent nitrogen deficiency for the plants during the breaking down of the mulch.

Cottonseed Fertilizer for Roses

You can use cottonseed fertilizer for your rose garden, but you must pay attention to several factors. Using cottonseed meal as fertilizer for your roses will slightly increase the acidity of the soil if you apply the amount of 1 cupful of cottonseed meal feed. Alternatively, you may use a combination of cottonseed meal fertilizer and bone meal. It's probably best to apply this meal again late in the summer.

Cottonseed Fertilizer for Turf

You may use cottonseed fertilizer meal to make your lawns rich and more lush. This type of fertilizer can be very helpful for water retention and improving soil density. The slow release time of this fertilizer is ideal to ensure the best turf building.

If you want to use cottonseed fertilizer for turf, make sure to apply a 1-2 inch layer over the area to be seeded. In case the soil is very bad, you should use cottonseed fertilizer in the amount of about 8-10 pounds per 100 square feet.

For the established lawns, it's best to use cottonseed as a fertilizer in the spring. You should apply cottonseed meal or alternatively, a mix of 3/4 cottonseed meal and 1/4 turf grass fertilizer. Apply it in the amount of 4-5 pounds per 100 square feet. Don't forget to reapply in mid summer. It's best to use 3 lbs. cottonseed meal or a mix of 2 lbs. cottonseed meal and 1/2 lb. turf fertilizer per 100 square feet. Finally, before the winter, reapply again, this time using 3-4 lbs. cottonseed meal per 100 square feet. You should do this in order to encourage healthy root development.

Cottonseed Fertilizer for Shrubs

If you want to use cottonseed meal fertilizer for shrubs, apply one cup of fertilizer into the soil around small shrubs and as much as 2-4 cups around the larger ones. If transplanting, you should dig a hole twice as wide as you need and backfill it with a mixture of cottonseed and soil. It's important to remember to water regularly and generously. Continue to use cottonseed fertilizer even after the shrubs are established.

In addition to this, cottonseed meal fertilizer can be mulched around the shrub. Use about 1 pound per 100 square feet. This will help keeping the moisture and control weeds. In addition to this, it will prevent nitrogen deficiency and hasten decomposition.

Cottonseed Fertilizer for Vegetables

If you want to use cottonseed fertilizer for your new vegetable garden, it's best to apply it to the soil in the amount of 4-6 lbs. cottonseed meal and 1-1 1/2 lbs. garden fertilizer to each 100 square feet. Alternatively, you may dig in about 1-2 inches of cottonseed fertilizer and mix it with grass clippings, decomposed leaves, rotted hay or another type of organic material.

For an established vegetable garden, you should apply the same amount of cottonseed meal but reduce the garden fertilizer amount by half. Don't forget to include plenty of organic material. You should mulch around the plants with 1-2 inches of cottonseed meal. Make sure to work it into the soil and don't forget to water generously.


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