The Basics of Proper Tree Fertilization

Proper tree fertilization is a process that goes on throughout the course of the year. Properly fertilizing is the most effective way of keeping them healthy and strong. To fertilize means to add supplemental nutrients to the soil that can be absorbed into the roots and used to nourish, or feed the tree. A simple soil test can determine when and if you need to lay down fertilizer on your property. Read on to discover the basics of proper tree fertilization and apply these proper techniques to your landscape this year. 

Proper Tree Fertilization

Soil Test 

Soil tests show you the amount of a particular nutrient(s) your trees may be deficient with. Trees require a healthy balance of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K) in order to grow and develop correctly. A test displaying ratios of 18-5-9, 27-3-3, or 16-4-8 are good target ratios. Follow the test instructions for accurate results. 

Fertilize Younger Trees Early

Younger trees are best fertilized in the late spring and early summer. Consequently, you should aim for a time between late March and early June. 

Don't Over-Do It  

Laying down too much fertilizer can affect the growth of the a tree. A 10-6-4 ratio applied in a slow-release formulation is the best way to go. Be sure to use less than .20 lbs Nitrogen/100 square feet of the root zone. This will also be affected by the size and species.

Don't Dig

Proper tree fertilization does not require you to dig any holes. Simply scatter fertilizer along the grass or soil under the tree's drip zone, but be sure not to apply fertilizer directly to the trunk or roots. 

Know Your Trees

Some species of trees, like Conifers, require very little fertilization, if any at all. When your trees reach their optimal, or desired height, consider taking a year off from laying down fertilizer, or fertilize them only once a year. 

Trees in landscapes that are properly maintained very seldom need to have additional fertilizer applied. Furthermore, proper tree fertilization is most affective when trees are younger. As trees age, there is less of a need to apply fertilizer or additional nutrients. Call your local TreeSquad professionals for any questions you have regarding trees in your area, proper fertilization techniques, tree transport and removal, pruning, and more.