Trees and shrubs require nutrients to live and thrive. When one or more of these nutrients are deficient in the soil, the tree or shrub will not reach its full landscape potential, will be more susceptible to disease and insect problems, and will have a shorter life than a similar, well-fertilized tree or shrub.
Both organic (naturally occurring) and inorganic (synthetic) fertilizers can be used to supply plant nutrients. Inorganic fertilizers are usually highly soluble and are more rapidly available to the plant than organic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers take time to break down and release nutrients more slowly. Organic fertilizers and inorganic fertilizers may be combined so that nutrients are available to a plant rapidly and for an extended period.
Trees and shrubs in urban and suburban environments are often under high-stress conditions due to low moisture availability, soil compaction, physical damage, nearby construction, and competition from turf and nearby trees and shrubs. Fertilizer applications may reduce, but cannot eliminate, environmental stresses such as these. It is important to keep newly planted trees watered and pruned and to keep weeds away from their bases to avoid excess stress.
A good indicator of the need for fertilization of established trees is shoot growth. If new shoot growth is more than 6 inches, then fertilization is probably unnecessary. Foliage color is another indicator of the need for fertilization. Yellow or “off-color” leaves may indicate the need for fertilization as these symptoms generally occur on trees which are not taking up enough of one or more required nutrient.
A final indicator of the need for fertilization is the history of the yard. Trees that have come under stress from factors that may not be currently visible will benefit from fertilization.
Moyer experts can assist you in determining the need for fertilization of your trees and providing the correct treatment to preserve, protect and keep your valuable trees healthy and beautiful. Contact us for an evaluation and estimate.