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Methods/How to Use Coffee Grounds to Fertilize Evergreens



Give your evergreen plants a caffeine boost! Coffee grounds can effectively enhance soil fertility, alongside a plethora of other benefits!
coffee grounds for tree

Coffee grounds are likely a valuable addition to your morning, but they can also be a healthy addition to your garden as a soil amendment or fertilizer. If your evergreen shrubs and trees are in need of a little TLC, coffee grounds are a convenient, affordable, and effective natural fertilizer. As an added bonus, there is a good chance you already have them waiting for use each and every day!

Learn all about the tools you will need, how to mix coffee grounds in with compost for extra benefits, and how to apply the product around your evergreens!
coffee grounds

To fertilize evergreens using coffee grounds, there are a few different tools you will need.

Used coffee grounds
Compost pile
Hand trowel

How to Fertilize Evergreens With Coffee Grounds

Learn the step-by-step directions to fertilize evergreens with coffee grounds.

Step 1: When to Fertilize Evergreens

Evergreens include conifers, which bear cones and needle-like foliage, such as pine, spruce, or juniper, as well as broadleaf plants such as boxwood, American holly, and rhododendron. Before you can learn how to fertilize evergreens with coffee grounds, consider when you should be applying fertilizer to the plants.

It is best to fertilize evergreen plants in early spring or late fall, while the plants are not in active growth. There are a few signs it is time to fertilize, including abnormal foliage color, a lack of flowering, and slow growth. Newly transplanted evergreens are generally slow growers, so it is always best to do a soil pH test before fertilizing.

Many conifer evergreens prefer slightly acidic soil (6.0 to 7.4), such as pine, spruce, and fir, while many broadleaf evergreens such as rhododendron, azalea, and mountain laurel prefer soil pH of 5.5 to 6.0. Evergreens that tolerate a higher pH (above 7.0) include arborvitae, black hills spruce, and mugo pine. Always research the needs of your specific plant before fertilizing.

Step 2: Gather Your Coffee Grounds
spoon in coffee grounds

Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen and carbon, which feed soil organisms, which then transform the nutrients into chemicals that help the plants grow. Fortunately, you might already have this secret weapon in your cupboards! If so, gather used coffee grounds in a bucket, ready for use in the garden, or add them straight to your compost pile. If you are not an avid coffee drinker, ask local coffee shops, friends, or family – surely someone is willing to pass their scraps along to you. As the saying goes: one person’s trash is another’s treasure!

Step 3: Add to Compost Pile
adding coffee to the compost bin

While coffee grounds make an excellent addition to your compost pile since the nitrogen helps the bacteria break down organic matter, you can also mix them with compost and apply them to your evergreens. To add grounds to your compost pile, layer one part leaves with one part fresh grass clippings with one part coffee grounds. Therefore, the mixture should be ⅓ coffee grounds. Turn it once weekly and your coffee grounds compost will be ready in three to six months.

Step 4: Application
coffee grounds

Apply the mixture of coffee grounds and compost around your evergreen plants using a hand trowel. The coffee grounds encourage microbes in the soil, which in turn break down the grinds, causing them to release nitrogen into the soil, which feeds the plants. If you are simply applying coffee grounds without compost to your soil, mix in a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to supplement since the microbes use up the nitrogen in the soil.

Like other fertilizers, coffee grounds break down in the soil, so you will need to reapply again in either the fall or spring, depending on when you last fertilized. Again, always remember to test your soil pH first.

Step 5: Mulching
Hands on a pile of mulch

Mulch helps protect young evergreen plants in winter, but it also conserves moisture, prevents soil erosion, and maintains soil temperatures. After applying fertilizer, top with a 2 to 4-inch layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips, hedge trimmings, or straw. The area of application should be at least as broad as the plant is wide, though you can extend past the plant as well.

Other Uses for Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are good for more than just fertilizing your garden! In fact, they have several different uses. If you have an excess amount of coffee grounds, you can also use them to fertilize your lawn, prevent weeds, and even repel slugs, snails, and even snakes from your yard!
Brew Can Do It!

Coffee grounds are a great natural alternative to chemical fertilizers, especially when mixed in with compost. They add nutrients to the soil and compost pile, acting as a soil amendment to feed your evergreens and other garden plants. Add coffee grounds and compost to your soil after doing a pH test, and always ensure the area around your plants is properly mulched to maintain soil temperature, moisture levels, and prevent erosion.

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