The right way: Fertilize plants in the spring and early summer, when plants are actively growing. Stop as fall approaches—you don't want plants headed into winter with vulnerable new growth exposed. Make sure you are matching the kind of fertilizer to the type of plant and adhere to dosage suggestions. Then apply to damp ground and follow with a good watering to get the food straight to the roots.
If you've goofed: If you've realized your mistake within a day or two, Chace suggests thoroughly watering the area to flush out fertilizer. If new buds have shown, and a frost is on the way, do your best to minimize the damage: Cover the plants with sheets or cardboard boxes overnight.
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