Is Fertilizer Important?

By Hillary HeathTips, Urban TreesComments are off

Urban Trees are often in need of fertilization because they don’t get the nutrients provided in a natural, forest environment.

Trees in Urban Areas are kept neat by raking leaves, spreading pine straw and mulch, landscaping, and ground covers. All of these techniques rob a tree of the nutrients it needs. In a forest environment, leaves fall and decompose providing natural food and nutrients to the tree.

What are the benefits?

Trees that receive proper nutrients are more likely to fight off disease and insect infestation. Diseases frequently target trees that are in stress or are beginning to decline. Insects, like Ambrosia Beetles, are known to attack trees that are in decline. Proper nutrients in your soil can help to strengthen the tree and keep it healthy.

Trees that are fertilized also grow faster and provide more foliage, making them healthier. This provides your home with more shade in the summer and a windbreak in the winter, lowering your energy costs. More foliage also increases the aesthetic of your property, trees are known to raise property values 5-20%.

Do my trees need fertilizer?

Here are few things to look for to determine if your trees need fertilizer.

  • The tree makes very little growth, even though it is established. Your trees may look a bit lackluster this year or they didn’t leaf out as much as in the past. This is a sign that your tree didn’t gather as much water and nutrients it needed during its dormant period to sustain its normal growth.
  • Are its leaves a the same color green as in the past? Are the leaves looking a bit yellow? Your tree may not have been able to gather the amount of iron it needs from the soil to create chlorophyll, the green pigment in leaves.
  • Year after year the leaves on your tree gradually get smaller. This is a clear sign that your soil does not have the proper balance needed and the tree may be in decline, which means it may not be able to sustain growth needed to remain healthy. This may eventually stress the tree, leading to a larger issue.
  • Do you spread pine straw beneath your trees? Pine straw can make your soil too acidic. Some plants, like Oak, thrive in acidic soil while others thrive in a more alkaline soil, like Willows. The proper pH balance for soil varies from tree to tree, a Certified Arborist can help.
  • Grass and landscape plants under a tree can soak up a lot of the nutrients the tree needs. In a forest, trees shade the area beneath the canopy resulting in few plants beneath the tree to share fertilizer with. In an Urban environment, a tree must share its soil and nutrients with other plants.
  • Does your tree exhibit signs of being in decline? Dead branches, insect infestation, disease, or branch die back can be signs that your tree needs fertilization. Along with treatment or pruning, fertilization can help to save a tree that has begun to decline.

If your trees could use a pick-me-up, call the Certified Arborists at Heath Tree Service to asses your needs and schedule your appointment for fertilization! 404.261.5000.