blanditron
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Location: Arizona

Help, I'm killing my catnip!

I have a large outdoor patch of catnip for my cats. It was growing essentially fine, but I decided to "help" it by dumping a whole bag of 16-16-16 chemical fertilizer on it, figuring if some was good, more was better. It killed most of it almost instantly - some of the plants wilted within hours! (The bag said "feeds 3000 sq ft" and this was a patch probably 200-300 sq ft, so....)
Now I'm trying to save the remaining few plants any way I can. I've tried soaking the soil repeatedly, but they just keep dying. The edges of the leaves are "burned" looking and whole plants 2-3 feet tall have died.

My question is, what do I do? Scrape off the top part of the soil? Keep flooding it with water? Stop watering it? Take cuttings? (I'm afraid of killing the few remaining plants if I start taking cuttings.)

Help, ye gardening experts! Help!

blanditron
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Location: Arizona

Here is an image of the catnip...

This was last week - this plant is dead now... I'm trying to save the rest.

[img]https://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/18/img0525kb.jpg/[/img]

blanditron
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Also....

Yes, I know I'm an idiot. :(

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Kisal
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There really isn't much you could have done to correct the situation, once you had applied the fertilizer. It was a massive overdose.

If you still have any living plants in that area, you might be able to salvage them by digging them up and planting them in containers, or in an uncontaminated part of your yard. Whether they'll live, though, is iffy. They are already under severe stress, and moving them will add more stress.

I think the best solution would be to remove the dead plants and water the bed heavily every day for a week or two. That should wash most of the fertilizer salts out of the soil, at which time you could replant with either purchased starts or seeds.

Welcome to the forum! I'm glad you found us and hope to see more of your posts. I'm sorry we couldn't offer a solution for this current dilemma, but maybe we can be of help in the future. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

blanditron
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Thanks

Thanks - I will salvage what I can and start over - and stay away from chemical fertilizers.

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rainbowgardener
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Good lesson learned! :)
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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Kisal
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If we can answer any questions to help ensure success at reestablishing your catnip bed, I hope you will ask. :)

If you want to use only organic fertilizers, that is good, but the presence of the word "organic" on the label does not mean a product can be used will-nilly without care. For example, organic insecticides will kill honeybees and other "good" insects just as readily as they kill insect pests, such as aphids. Another example would be using "dish soap", which is usually a detergent, instead of a true "soap" like Castile soap, when mixing a solution to kill insect pests. For that matter, just adding too much soap, even if it's the proper kind, can kill your plants as well as any insect pests that might be present.

I guess what I'm trying to emphasize here is that it's critical that you read the product label with care, before you use the stuff on your plants, and if you aren't 100% sure that it will be safe and effective for the plant, ask here first.

Now, with all that said, your experience with the fertilizer doesn't brand you as an idiot. I'd be wealthy beyond all imagination if I had a dime for every plant I've killed. As long as you learn from such errors, you soon will join the ranks of "experienced gardeners". ;)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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