Aronia Planting Guide Part II – Fertilizer, Nutrients, Mulch and Compost

Fertilizer and Nutrients

Applying the right fertilizers at the right time can increase growth and yield. Professional advice should be used to determine the type and amount of fertilizer to be used.

Fertilized and watered seedlings of black aronia plants are easy to grow. A slow release fertilizer such as 0.3 lb/plant (or 3/4 cup/plant) of 1.7N-4.1P-12K or 14N-12P-14K slow release fertilizer for 5-6 months is required to ensure survival. in the long term and strong growth of the plants. Fertilize in spring when leaf breaks. A second application can be made later in the summer.

To promote root growth in the home soil, spread the fertilizer in a wide, circular band around the plant on either side of the edge of the drip line, water and mulch well. On some farms, 14-12-14 5-6 months fertilizer is used for growing plants in the field. This is a slow release granular fertilizer. Be careful when fertilizing the plants, as over-fertilizing can kill the plants.

If using a water soluble fertilizer: Mix according to container directions and when applying, wet leaves and soil wet.

Some use a fish emulsion fertilizer (5-1-1) which they spray on the leaves monthly. Another alternative is to use aerated compote tea made with worm castings. This airy compound tea is full of beneficial microorganisms that help the soil make minerals more available to the plant. The compost tea helps make the plants pest resistant and productive. In clay soils, aerated compost tea helps improve drainage and aeration and improve nutrition. Your plants also benefit from spraying the leaves. Spraying your plant leaves with compost tea will benefit your plant quickly and greatly.

A good sign of sufficient nutrients is the dark green color of the large leaves, their density on the shoots and a strong growth of the shrub.

Mulch – Use it for the following reasons.

  • It helps retain water
  • It provides food for plants
  • It moderates the soil temperature and protects the roots from high and low temperature stress
  • It protects against premature flowering (frost insurance)
  • It suppresses weeds
  • It builds up ground
  • It helps prevent erosion from rain and wind.

Newspapers make a great weed barrier to mulch over while the plant is young.

Mulch reduces evaporation and puts less stress on plants in the heat of summer. When mulching, keep the mulch about 10 cm from the stems of the plant so that rodents cannot chew the stems of the plant.

Weeds are one of the biggest problems a grower faces. Mature aronia is somewhat tolerant of weeds and is not as easily suffocated by weeds as some other plants once established. This is because it has a good taproot and a sucking tendency to produce more shoots to help it form a hedge. The taproot, once the plant has established itself in 3 or 4 years, helps it be more tolerant of summer dry conditions and able to compete with weeds for water and nutrition. It also has a sucking nature that produces new shoots and increases its growth footprint. The plants tend to grow out of a hedge over time.

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Mulch / Compost

Give crops an extra boost by adding material between rows of growing crops and plant the plants with leaves or other mulch along the aronia shrub each fall. Mulch plants grow faster than plants that have not been mulched.

A custom side discharge chopper makes a monstrous way to accomplish this task.

You may be able to get leaf mulch from your local town’s fall leaf collection

Mulching material options

  • autumn leaves
  • pine needles and straw
  • grass clippings
  • compost
  • corn feed
  • grated bark
  • wood chips (Wood mulch can starve plants due to their need for nitrogen while decomposing.)