The Root of the Matter: Fertilize Trees for Healthy Growth

The Root of the Matter: Fertilize Trees for Healthy Growth

Trees rise sturdy and strong from the ground, soaring to heights we can never stretch to reach on our own. In that way, they become mammoth masts and robust towers that flash their leaves from season to season, making us look up … and smile.

While we fondly gaze at the flourishing show trees put on above ground, we often don't think about the vital support happening backstage, or below ground. A tree's root system, though invisible to us, is just as important and delicate as the beauty we see above ground.

Getting down & dirty. In natural environments, trees exist without much care. But trees in urban or man-made areas grow in restricted root zones or are nestled in compacted soil or alongside pavement. That's where proper fertilization can play a role. Fertilizer can help improve tree health, enabling trees to better cope with the stresses caused by unnatural environments.

Fertilization benefits

Symptoms of nutrient-deficient trees include a slow-rate and low amount of annual growth, smaller than normal and off-color foliage, increased rates of disease and insect problems and increased amounts of dead branches, as well as tip dieback of branches.

Trees lacking nutrients usually respond to fertilization. But it's always wise to have your professionally trained arborist make sure other important elements are also in place for your trees. This includes alleviating planting problems or location complications, checking on whether the tree is receiving too much or not enough moisture, conducting proper pruning and relieving possible construction damage or girdling roots.

Predicting the severity and duration of environmental stresses that will occur each year is difficult. What's predictable is that healthy trees can often better withstand these stresses than weakened trees.

Fertilization benefits your trees. Still don't believe in the benefits of tree fertilization? Don't take our word for it.

Enjoying trees in fall
Photo: Igor Yaruta - Fotolia.com

"The willow oak Davey fertilized got a noticeable boost from fertilization," wrote Davey client Richard Randall in a thank-you letter. "I am competing with a neighbor with the same type and size tree. Since the fertilization, my oak has matched--possibly exceeded--my neighbor's tree in the degree to which it has leafed out. I attribute this to Davey's thoroughness and Davey's fertilizer."

Take a step in the right direction. Colder weather lies ahead, but your trees don't have to face the winds, rains and snowfall empty-handed. Consult one of Davey's professionally trained arborists to determine ways you can help protect your trees and condition them for a healthy growing season in the future.

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