Evergreens are supposed to be just that–all green all the time!
So, what should you do if your pine’s color is lackluster or it’s growing slower than molasses?
Well, that could be happening because your tree doesn’t have enough nutrients in its soil to thrive. If that’s the case, fertilizer could be precisely what your tree needs.
Read on to find out if that’s right for your tree and what to use.
It depends! The absolute best way to determine what fertilizer you should use is a soil test. That will confirm if your tree needs fertilizer while also detailing what nutrients the soil is lacking!
Generally speaking, a slow-release formula made for trees is best. At Davey, our arborists inject Arbor Green PRO® directly into the soil of the tree’s root zone. That evenly distributes the nutrients that trees need. Plus, it goes right to their roots so that they can better absorb the good stuff!
Also, evergreens prefer acidic soil, meaning it has a pH level below 7. So, if you have fertilizer on hand for acid-loving plants, use it. Otherwise, opt for a product with equal parts of the three macronutrients trees need: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Ideally, a 1:1:1 ratio is best. Some areas have “no phosphorus” rules in place. That means, you may not be able to find a fertilizer with phosphorus (P) in stores. If that’s the case, go for a 1:0:1 ratio.
Not as well as a product made just for trees! When you whip up a DIY remedy, it simply doesn’t have the right formulation of all the nutrients your tree needs.
For example, adding coffee grounds or organic matter around your evergreens’ soil is a good place to start if you need to increase your soil’s acidity. But it’s not a good place to end. While your tree would get a tiny dose of nitrogen, it’d miss out on its phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) that it needs.
While these are super easy, they aren’t perfect. They often deliver most of the nutrients to the roots directly around the spike. That means the rest of the root system misses out!
Granular products often do a better job of getting the nutrients to all the roots, if there’s no grass around the tree. So, you’ll see more consistent growth throughout the tree. But, if there’s grass, that will soak up most of the nutrients!
So, if there’s grass around your tree, these spikes may be a better option since they’ll deliver the product below the grass roots. That way, the nutrients should make it to your evergreens’ roots (as long as you place the spikes deep enough).
Regardless of what you’re using, follow the package instructions carefully. And if you’re using a granular product, you have to be careful not to over apply!