What, When and Why: The Best Way to Fertilize Trees

What, When and Why: The Best Way to Fertilize Trees

You want your tree to be its best. To grow larger. To live longer. To look better. 

For that to happen, you need to care for it throughout the seasons. Water it during dry spells. Mulch in the spring. And, fertilize, or feed, your tree when it lacks nutrients.

When you fertilize your trees, you replace necessary minerals and nutrients that are missing from the soil.

Does my tree need to be fertilized?                               

In forests, soils have nutrients galore. In our yards, that’s not often the case.

As we sweep away leaves, twigs and fallen bark, we’re removing potential recycling of nutrients for the soil. Additionally, grass around our trees is unnatural and often outcompetes trees for available nutrients and water. That’s why we need to fertilize our trees – to mimic nature.

Look for signs that your tree is lacking nutrients in the soil.

If you see these signs, fertilization can be part of a holistic approach to restore your plant’s health. 

  • Shorter than normal annual twig growth
  • Undersized leaves that are fewer in number
  • Dead branches and branch tips
  • Leaf veins darker than leaf margins
  • Leaves any other than dark green, such as yellow or purple

Still unsure if your tree needs to be fertilized? Have your local arborist inspect your tree and test the soil.  

Should I fertilize my trees in spring?

At Davey, we fertilize with Arbor Green PRO®.

When using Arbor Green PRO® products, you can fertilize your trees at any time of the year. With traditional fertilizers, you have to carefully plan when to apply it, so you maximize the benefits. 

With Arbor Green PRO®, you don’t have to worry about “the best time to fertilize.” The product is designed to slowly release its nutrients uniformly over time, regardless of when it was applied. Our product was also designed to have the lowest possible risk for “fertilizer burn” that can be found on the market. 

If your tree appears to be lacking nutrients, it’s usually best to fertilize sooner rather than later. 

Find a tree fertilizer with a slow, controlled release and low burn potential. 

Also, look for a fertilizer with three key macro-nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). This blend, found in Davey’s Arbor Green PRO®, mimics the natural environment to give trees the nutrients they need to thrive. 

This tree fertilizer releases nutrients slowly and contains the best NPK ratio for woody plants. Arbor Green PRO® also contains PPA, an amino acid that helps enhance nutrient availability while reducing nutrient loss from rain or watering. 

Contact your local arborist with questions about the right fertilization regimen for your trees.

  • The Tree Doctor October 1, 2018 >Hi Phil, The cost of tree fertilization applications can vary. In order to get an accurate quote, one of our arborists would come out and inspect the tree and come up with a plan that meets its individual needs. The consultation is of no cost to you. You can contact your local office at (847) 596-3062. You can also fill out a consultation request form on their local web page here: http://www.davey.com/local-offices/north-shore-tree-service/. Best of luck to you, Phil.
  • Phil Bomrad October 1, 2018 >How much does tree fertilizer cost?
  • The Tree Doctor August 14, 2018 > Hi John, I forwarded this to your local Davey Tree office. They will contact you regarding setting up a free consultation to give you a quote for fertilizing those two trees. You can also call them directly at (847) 596-3062. Best of luck to you, John.
  • John Gibson August 11, 2018 >What would it cost to have 2 trees fertilize Maple in front Ash in rear. 26 N Regency Dr E, Arlington Hts IL 60004 847-255-2740
  • The Tree Doctor March 21, 2018 >Hi there, Joanne. We would be happy to provide you with a fertilization estimate. I have passed along your information to your local office, so you should be hearing from them soon. Or, if you’d prefer, you can contact them at 440-602-8733 or http://www.davey.com/local-offices/northeast-cleveland-tree-service/ Thanks Joanne!
  • Joanne Rubin March 20, 2018 >I would like to have my white birch fertilized this year
  • The Tree Doctor June 12, 2017 >Hi Judith! From the information you've shared, we believe your trees may have summer leaf drop that is caused by high temperatures and a lack of water. You can correct this issue by properly watering once or twice a week – learn the proper techniques of watering in our blog post, http://blog.davey.com/2016/07/how-much-water-does-my-tree-need-weekly/. There is also a chance this could be chlorosis, which causes the leaves to turn yellow with darkened veins. More information on chlorosis can be found here, http://blog.davey.com/2016/07/why-are-there-yellow-leaves-on-trees-in-summer/. Here if you have any other questions, Judith.
  • The Tree Doctor June 12, 2017 >Hi Linda. We'd recommend having an arborist inspect the hydrangea in person to provide an official diagnosis and create a treatment plan. I’ve passed along your request to your local office, so they should be reaching out soon to set up a free consultation. Or if you’d prefer, you can contact them at 314.732.4851 or davey.com/local-offices/st-louis-tree-service/. Either way, talk more soon, Linda.
  • Judith Hickey June 10, 2017 >Our River Birch tree always has yellow leafing when the weather heats up & no rain for several days. The leaves then fall & this continues throughout the summer. I can keep it barely under control by frequent watering. How do I know if it needs some fertilizing & what kind to use?
  • Linda Streeter June 10, 2017 >My hydrangea's are not blooming like they use to. Would fertilizer help this late in the spring? What is the cost for fertilizing a small front yard with about 2 small hydrangea threes and 4 hydrangea bushes?.
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