Can You Explain The Importance Of Fertilizing Trees?

Can you explain the importance of fertilizing trees? Root development and growth can be highly encouraged using the right fertilizer. When asked to explain the importance of fertilizing trees, our panel...

When asked to explain the importance of fertilizing trees, our panel of top experts from Greenview Landscaping including Johanna who has been a landscape designer with the company since 2002, Ben who is a landscape design/build manager, and Tom who serves as the company's maintenance manager, says, "Primarily, fertilizing is for a newer tree or developing tree that has maybe only been in the ground for a few years. It's real important for root development. Fertilizing helps to establish growth on the top of the tree, which will offset any insect activity. The new growth will offset that type of thing and repair itself in the wintertime. So, in short the overall health of the tree is improved through fertilization." Offering an example of this, the experts go on to say, "If you take two trees that have been in the ground for a few years and you fertilize one, but you don't fertilize the other- The one tree that has been fertilized will probably be quite a bit larger over a number of years than the tree that has not been fertilized."

One may be tempted to wonder if there truly is a need for fertilization since when on their own out in nature trees seem to do just fine without it. One of the experts states, "I think it's important for people to realize that urban and suburban conditions can be very different from the natural growth conditions that trees are used to." For one, the earth produces natural fertilization through the "cycle of life" of animals and other vegetation. You have to also take into consideration that there is usually not as much exposure to harmful man-made chemicals outside of city limits; as the expert goes on to say, "They are already under some stress being in these 'unnatural conditions'. So, anything that you can do would help them reach their true growth...For older trees that have been in your yard for 30 to 40 years, I don't really know if fertilization is going to really help all that much." They have already adjusted to their surroundings. Though, "Maybe once in a while deep root fertilization would be beneficial" in order to keep them healthy.

When asked about what to use and the correct way to fertilize, the panel of experts replies, "Fertilizing trees is generally easy. You can use almost any generic fertilizer unless it is an acid loving tree, which might need an acid-type fertilizer. When you plant a tree, the roots have been cut and you need to get those growing again for its overall health. There are several methods for administering the fertilizer...Some people use stakes (sort of like tree stakes but made with manufactured fertilizer). You could also drill holes around the base of the tree, around the drip line of the tree and pour granular fertilizer into the holes...or you can do a liquid injection into the roots of the tree. Just trying to fertilize around the ground is probably not going to be very effective. Unless it is a brand new tree and you are doing it just under the mulch or right over the root bulb itself." If you choose this route to begin with, make sure to do a deeper fertilization once the tree "re-roots" itself, in order to keep it growing healthily.

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