Fertilizing Trees and Shrubs

tree fertilizerWe all try to eat healthy.  Get plenty of vegetables, enough dairy, and the right amount of protein.  But what about your trees?  What kind of nutrition do they need?  Obviously, trees do not “eat;” instead, they receive nutrients from the soil.  Since the quality of the soil can vary based on location and treatment, trees often benefit from regular fertilizing.

The Advantage of Fertilizing

Trees that are planted in suburban neighborhoods are often in particular need of fertilizing.  Home builders frequently remove rich top soil at the time of building.  Further compounding the problem is our habitual practice of carefully removing all fallen leaves each autumn.  In a natural setting, fallen leaves are allowed to decompose and add nutrients back into the soil.  Since we typically do not allow this to happen in residential areas, you may want to consider fertilizing.  When you fertilize your trees and shrubs, you give them the materials they need to grow and live.  Thus, a fertilized tree will typically grow faster, look healthier, and be able to better defend against insects and diseases.

The Type of Fertilizer

The type of fertilizer you need depends on the condition of your soil.  You can perform a soil test to determine any soil deficiencies.  A complete fertilizer will contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and a soil test will show how much of each nutrient is needed.  The strength of each nutrient in the fertilizer is shown through a numeric designation for each nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, in that order.  For example, 10-10-10 would be a balanced fertilizer containing 10% of each of the nutrients.  Fertilizer can be purchased in either dry or liquid forms.

The Time for Fertilizing

The best schedule for fertilizing is to make applications in both the spring and the fall.  These are times when trees are not under the stress of extreme temperature and are ready to absorb the nutrients you are putting down.  For your fall application, early September to mid-October is ideal.  Tree roots can absorb nutrients as long as the soil temperature is above 40°F.

If you are unsure of what your trees needs or would just rather not mess with fertilizing yourself, the arborists at Ping’s can take care of it for you.  We can assess your soil condition, determine what your trees need, and fertilize your trees.  Give us a call today (317-298-8482) or schedule online to get your fertilizer treatment done while the weather is still good.