Davey uses cookies to make your experience a great one by providing us analytics so we can offer you the most relevant content. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies. View our Privacy Policy for more information.

At Davey, we use the best fertilizer for trees - Arbor Green PRO®.

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

May 11, 2016

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 your tree when it lacks nutrients.

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

Your Tree Fertilization Guide

Look no further for everything you should know about when to fertilize a tree, why you should definitely do it, and how to select the best fertilizer.

Why Should I Fertilize My Tree?

Fertilizer helps trees stay healthy.

Trees are tough, but that doesn’t stop outside stressors from trying to shake them. Fertilization gives trees important nutrients, supports tree growth, and contributes to the overall health and vitality of a tree.

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, the grass around our trees is unnatural and often outcompetes trees for available nutrients and water. That’s why we need to fertilize our trees with a slow-release fertilizer – 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 restoring 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

If your trees are experiencing any of the above symptoms, have your local arborist inspect the tree, test the soil, and provide an official diagnosis.

When Is the Ideal Time to Fertilize Trees?

At Davey, we fertilize with Arbor Green PRO® and Arbor Green Xtra plus B

With these formulas, you don’t have to worry about “the best time to fertilize.” The fertilizers are designed to slowly release nutrients uniformly over time, regardless of when they're applied.

Still, fertilizing in certain seasons does bring benefits.

Fertilizing in fall...

  • Helps recover nutrients the soil lost during summertime.
  • Promotes root growth during the winter (as long as the soil is not frozen)

Fertilizing in spring...

  • Supports a new flush of growth during the quintessential growing season.
  • Greens up tree leaves so they stay vibrant through summer and into fall.
  • Supplies essential nutrients that keep the tree healthy and help it fight off infection.

How To Choose the Right Fertilizer For My Tree

Find a tree fertilizer with a slow (also called controlled) release and low salt index. And, look for a product that’s best suited for your region.

In the Northern and Western regions, Davey arborists use Arbor Green PRO®. It blends three key macro-nutrients, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), to mimic the natural environment and give trees the nutrients they need to thrive. Arbor Green PRO® also contains PPA, an amino acid that helps enhance nutrient availability while reducing nutrient loss from rain or watering.

Trees in the Southeast region are a little different. They can be lacking the macro-nutrients mentioned above, but they’re also often faced with a micro-nutrient deficiency, meaning essentials like potassium, magnesium, manganese or boron are in short supply. Scientists at The Davey Institute created Arbor Green Xtra plus B to address that. It combines all the nutrients—both macro and micro—that Southern trees need to look and grow their best.

Contact your local arborist to learn more about fertilizing.

Join The Discussion

Request a consultation

  • How would you like to be contacted?
*Please fill out all required fields.