A Beginner’s Guide to Fertilizer: Nourishing Strong and Healthy Trees and Shrubs

California tree care experts share tips and tricks for fertilizer usage.

Should You Use Fertilizer on Your Trees and Bushes?

When it comes to landscaping and gardening, most people know that plants need sun, good soil, and water in order to thrive. Fertilizer, unfortunately, tends to be associated with antagonists in films getting their comeuppance. Fertilizer, however, is a very useful gardening tool and, if used correctly, it can make a home’s landscaping the envy of the neighborhood.

Defining Fertilizer and Its Uses

In the wilderness settings that are free of people, the cycle of life, growth, death, decay, and renewal is constantly working. Trees drop leaves and animals leave partially consumed food and droppings and decay and nourish the soil, allowing plants and trees to flourish. This cycle doesn’t happen in the more suburban and urban environments in which most people make their homes. 

Fertilizer provides a way for a home gardener to imitate this natural process of adding nutrients to the soil. Fertilizers can be either natural, such as manure or compost, or chemical as produced by laboratories. The three main nutrients in any fertilizer are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Each chemical helps plant and tree growth.

  • Nitrogen: This element promotes growth and chlorophyll production. Rich dark green leaves demonstrate a proper amount of nitrogen in your soil
  • Potassium: This is great for general plant health and makes plants hardier against drought and other hazards.
  • Phosphorus:  This is an essential element for flowering and fruiting plants and trees. It helps produce large and vibrant fruit and flowers.

Different fertilizers have different combinations of these three elements. Consult a plant health care professional to see what is best to apply and when.

Why Use Fertilizer?

As previously stated, fertilizer helps residential gardens and trees to enjoy the nutrients that they would have access to in a more wild environment.

Here are just a few of the reasons that fertilizer is needed in a home’s landscaping:

  • Promotes healthier plants
  • Protects plants against drought and disease
  • Helps plants produce more and larger fruit
  • Strengthens root growth

Methods: The Hows and Whens

In order to get the most out of fertilizer, it must be done in the proper way. This is where people tend to feel intimidated. Fertilizer is good, but how do you use it?  Let’s answer a few of the most common questions about this particular area of tree health care.

  • When is the best time to fertilize?
    • Late fall prior to the first freeze or early spring as plants start the growing season. 
  • Should you fertilize as soon as you plant a tree?
    • No, allow roots to become established (for trees at least a year) this protects the roots against damage and fast growth that might outpace the plant’s strength and do more harm than good. 
  • How do you fertilize?
    • Sprinkle the ground with the fertilizer out to the edge of where the branches reach. Roots tend to mirror branches, so this will help the nutrients reach all the tree’s roots. Then water the tree thoroughly so the nutrients soak in.

If an amateur gardener has any questions, they should feel free to contact their local tree service company and consult an arborist for a tree risk assessment and information about tree health.

About Ned Patchett Tree Care & Consulting

If you are looking for a tree pruning, tree removal, and tree trimming company that strives to keep your residential trees healthy, then look no further than Ned Patchett Tree Care & Consulting. Call today for more information about our landscaping and arboricultural consultation. 

By |2022-05-17T23:00:45+00:00May 15th, 2022|Tree Care and Related Services|