Tree care experts of Pennsylvania give a basic tutorial on fertilizing trees and shrubs.
Fertilizing Trees Doesn’t Have to be a Mystery
While most people who are attempting gardening or home landscaping for the first time understand that fertilizer is a good thing, they may have no idea what to choose or how to use it. Because there are so many unknowns, a person may be tempted to avoid the step entirely or just choose something blindly and hope that it works. Since neither of these options is really ideal, this article is meant to share the basics of fertilization for trees and shrubs.
Fertilizer: What Is It and What Is It Made Of?
Fertilizer is, at its simplest, nutrients for the soil. Fertilizer imitates and builds upon the natural cycle of growth, death, decay, and renewal. Leaves of deciduous trees, for example, fall off in the autumn and then decay and are absorbed back into the soil. This is how the nutrients are naturally replenished.
In residential areas, however, people tend to keep their yards neat and tidy, which is great for curb appeal, but not necessarily as good for the soil. Fertilizer is a way to simulate this natural cycle. Whether the fertilizer is chemically produced or is organic, such as mulch or manure, it has three essential elements.
- Nitrogen(N): Nitrogen is key for producing sufficient chlorophyll and makes its presence known by the deep green hue of healthy leaves. It also encourages rapid growth.
- Potassium(K): Potassium assists the tree in building strong trunk and root systems. Should be paired with nitrogen so the growth does not exceed the root strength.
- Phosphorus(P): This final element helps with flower and fruit growth. Fruit trees and flowers that have been treated with phosphorus tend to produce more flowers and larger fruits.
How Fertilizer Improves Plantlife
Because of the nature of home gardening and landscaping, trees and shrubs will thrive more readily if they have been given the extra nutrition provided by fertilizer.
Here are just a few of the many benefits plants receive from that extra nutrient boost:
- Better resistance to drought
- Hardier against disease and pests
- Stronger against heavy rain, wind, and thunderstorms
- Produce more fruit
- Appear more attractive and healthy
When Should You Use Fertilizer and Tips for Usage
While the benefits are many, a homeowner should not go spreading fertilizer at every turn. Some of the chemicals can actually harm the roots of young plants and trees. Timing is important when fertilizing by both the age of the plant and the season of the year. Late fall or early spring are good times for trees to receive a nutrient boost to assist with growth.
Also, the tree should be established for at least a year before attempting to add fertilizer. This gives the roots sufficient time to strengthen. When placing fertilizer for trees, it should be sprinkled evenly to the edge of the tree canopy in order to ensure that all the roots are reached. A slow and deep watering will be needed immediately following the placing of the fertilizer to help it reach the deepest roots.
If you are concerned about what type of fertilizer to use or what levels of N, P, and K to use, consulting a tree service company is always a good idea. Arborists are about keeping trees and plants healthy, not just about tree trimming or tree pruning.
About Greater Pitt Tree Service
Do you have concerns about your landscaping trees? Call Greater Pitt Tree Service for a free quote in the Pittsburgh, PA area. With over 27 years in the business and fully licensed and insured staff, we are the ones to call for tree service and tree risk assessment and 24/7 emergency service.