Knowledge Builders

when should you fertilize a new tree

by Miguel Prohaska Published 11 months ago Updated 2 months ago

Do newly planted trees and shrubs need fertilizer?

  • In most landscapes, healthy trees and shrubs do not require fertilizers, especially when they reach their mature size.
  • It is not recommended to fertilize at planting time. ...
  • Trees and shrubs absorb nutrients applied to adjacent turfgrass.
  • Fertilizer is not a remedy for landscape problems. ...

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Avoid fertilizing newly planted trees with a high rate of nitrogen fertilizer. This may stimulate excessive leaf growth at the expense of root growth, leaving the new tree susceptible to drought stress. Usually a light surface application of nitrogen fertilizer one month after planting will promote establishment.

Full Answer

How often should I fertilize my Trees?

Ideally, growing trees should be fertilized throughout the year but a bit differently as trees age. A tree needs larger amounts of nitrogen (N) based fertilizer during the growing season. Nitrogen-based solutions should be applied during the early spring and summer months.

What is the best time of year to fertilize?

Time your application to coincide with active root growth and adequate soil moisture. Trees and shrubs should be fertilized in early spring, and a light fertilizer application can be made in early summer if conditions are conducive to plant growth (that is, reasonable temperatures and soil moisture).

When should I fertilize my maple tree?

Maple trees usually tell you if they need to be fertilized. The rule of thumb is that if they grow about 6 inches in a year, the soil is good, but if the growth is less than 2 inches, it’s time to fertilize. Maple trees tend to respond best to slow release nitrogen fertilizers. Spike fertilizers are especially effective for fertilizing maple trees.

Should I fertilize my tree stems?

Again, read the label. Keep solid or concentrated fertilizer off stems and leaves and adequately water the fertilizer into the soil as that prevents fertilizer burn injury to roots. Stick with the higher ratio nitrogen fertilizers unless your tree is determined to be deficient in potassium or phosphorus (soil test).


When should a newly planted tree be fertilized?

Should a newly planted tree be fertilized? It is generally not necessary to fertilize newly planted trees. Most Iowa soils can supply sufficient amounts of nutrients during establishment. If the tree is growing poorly two to three years after planting, fertilization may be beneficial.

Is it OK to fertilize a newly planted tree?

Answer: Regarding fertilization of newly planted trees -- don't! For at least the first year, their nutrient needs will be minimal. During this time they are establishing their root systems, and fertilizer (especially nitrogen which stimulates stems and leaves) will not be appropriate.

What is a good fertilizer for newly planted trees?

A complete fertilizer, such as 16-4-8, 12-6-6 or 12-4-8, is generally recommended, unless the soil test reveals that phosphorus and potassium are adequate. Two kinds of fertilizers are available: fast-release and slow-release.

Is Miracle Grow good for newly planted trees?

Ensure that the fertilizer has at least 50% slow release Nitrogen. Spread fertilizer around tree at the drip line or at the outer edge of the root ball. Fertilize in early April - June. You can also use a liquid fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro and Mir-Acid for evergreens.

What to do after planting a new tree?

Here are a few key points to remember:Keep the root ball moist, but not soaked. ... Apply the water over the root ball and the planting area, not on the trunk. ... Use an open-ended garden hose or tree watering bag (such as Treegator).Water every 2-3 days and give each plant at least 10-15 gallons of water per week.More items...

How long does it take for a newly planted tree to take root?

Experts agree that a newly planted tree typically needs one year for each inch in diameter of the trunk to regain a normal root system. For example, a three-inch diameter newly planted tree will need at least three years in the ground to become fully established.

Can you overwater a newly planted tree?

Once planted, a tree needs the right amount of water to establish its roots and begin a long and healthy life. Too little water and the tree will wilt and die, but too much water can drown the roots and kill the tree just as easily.

Why is fertilizing fruit trees important?

Producing the fruit requires a lot of energy. Since even a small soil imbalance alters the nutritional content of the fruit, it’s very important to have a soil test conducted before fertilizing the fruit trees.

When is the best time to plant deciduous trees?

Although there’s nothing essentially wrong with this, many experts are now suggesting that late fall, about a month after the first killing frost, is a better time. This makes sense when you consider that deciduous trees have lost all their leaves by that time, and active growth is beginning to slow.

Why are my ornamental trees' leaves yellow?

If your ornamental trees have yellowish leaves, they could have a condition called Chlorosis, which usually indicates that the soil around the tree doesn’t have a sufficient amount of magnesium and zinc.

Do evergreens need fertilizer?

Evergreen trees, especially ones that have been recently transplanted don’t grow very quickly. The best way to determine if evergreens need a dose of fertilizer is if the tree doesn’t flower or the needles aren’t a vibrant color.

Do ornamental trees need fertilizer?

Ornamental trees that have healthy looking leaves and showed a great deal of twig growth throughout the year normally don’t need fertilizer , but if they’re aren’t growing as well as they did the previous year, it’s time to provide them with some nitrogen fertilizer.

Do trees take nutrients from the soil?

Instead of growing new foliage, trees take nutrients from the soil and apply them to vital health-enhancing functions such as disease resistance and root development. Any excess nutrients are stored in a tree’s root system and are available when needed for early spring growth.

Why do trees need fall fertilizer?

Fall fertilization helps your tree last through the winter. It also recovers nutrients that your soil lost during the summer. As a tree gets older, it needs less and less fertilizer to stay healthy. They will still need a bit of fertilizer throughout the year.

Why fertilize in spring?

Fertilizing in these spring months helps them grow. It will also make your leaves greener. Spring fertilization helps fight off infection and keeps your tree healthy. There are also benefits to fertilization in the fall. Fall fertilization helps your tree last through the winter.

What nutrients are needed for fruit trees?

Potassium regulates water pressure and also helps with strong roots. These three nutrients are found in most fertilizers and help your fruit tree stay healthy. Undoubtedly, your trees need fertilizers, but if you need professional help in this matter, we are always ready to help you.

What are the chemicals in fertilizer?

Most fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These chemicals are most often found missing in soils. It’s important to understand how to fertilize trees before you undertake the task. Fertilizer is not a guarantee that your tree will be healthy. With or without fertilizer, the proper steps still need to be taken to keep your tree ...

What is slow release fertilizer?

Consider using a slow release fertilizer on your young trees. Slow release fertilizers are often organic fertilizers. They come from plant and animal sources. Organic fertilizers are often more expensive than inorganic fertilizers.

Do mature trees need fertilizer?

Mature Trees: As briefly covered above, mature trees need very little fertilizer, if any. You don’t want your trees to overproduce. Mature trees will pick up fertilization from the lawn and from minerals in the soil.

Is fertilizer good for trees?

Fertilizer is not a guarantee that your tree will be healthy. With or without fertilizer, the proper steps still need to be taken to keep your tree healthy. If you’re having problems with drought or pests, fertilizer won’t help. With that said, fertilizer can still be very useful to your tree health.

How often should I fertilize my trees?

Finally, if your trees are mature than they’ll only need tree fertilizer every 2-3 years in order to maintain strength and exceptional foliage color.

How deep is tree fertilizer?

Deep tree fertilization is done through a pipe that’s placed under the soil about 8-12 inches under the ground. It’s believed that since tree roots lie deep into the ground than fertilizer would need to comply with this and be released deeper in the ground.

Do you need deep root fertilization?

However, the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) counts this as a simple gardening myth as you don’t need deep root fertilization since most of a tree’s fibrous and absorbing roots are in the top 2-8 inches of the soil where water and oxygen are most present.

Can fertilizer cause damage to trees?

Studies show that there is little difference in fertilizer application methods and that any fertilizer placed below this range can actually cause environmental damages. If you’re having storm damage with your home consider help with qualified roofing contractors so your trees and landscape won’t be compromised.

What is the best time to fertilize trees?

When Is the Ideal Time to Fertilize Trees? 1 Helps recover nutrients the soil lost during summertime. 2 Promotes root growth during the winter (as long as the soil is not frozen)

Why fertilize a tree?

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.

Why fertilize trees with slow release fertilizer?

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.

How do I care for a tree?

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 ...

How to fertilize trees and shrubs?

Direct Fertilization: The cheapest and most effective method of directly fertilizing trees and shrubs is broadcasting. Using a cyclone or drop-type spreader, scatter a prescribed amount of fertilizer over the entire root zone area. To obtain the best coverage, split the total amount of fertilizer to be applied in half.

When fertilizing trees and shrubs, what are the two things to keep in mind?

When fertilizing trees and shrubs, keep these two points in mind: (1) Fertilizer is beneficial when it is needed; but (2) Use it in the right amount, at the right time and in the right place.

Why not fertilize a lawn when water is unavailable?

If water is unavailable, do not fertilize at all because plants will be unable to absorb the nutrients. For shrubs and trees in lawns, apply the fertilizer at the appropriate time and rate for the turfgrass. Always be sure that adequate moisture (supplied by either rainfall or irrigation) is available.

What are the disadvantages of natural fertilizers?

A disadvantage of natural fertilizers is that usually the concentration of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are lower. Therefore, a greater amount of a natural fertilizer must be applied to provide the same amount of nutrients that can be obtained with a lesser quantity from a synthetic nutrient source.

What is the difference between slow release and fast release fertilizer?

Two kinds of fertilizers are available: fast-release and slow-release. Fast-release or water-soluble fertilizers are less expensive than slow-release products, which release nitrogen over an extended period; however, the nutrients in a fast-release fertilizer may leach quickly through the soil.

How to tell if a tree is growing poorly?

Growth: Look at shrubs and trees for signs of poor growth: poorly colored leaves (pale green to yellow); leaf size smaller than normal; earlier than normal fall coloring and leaf drop; little annual twig growth; or twig or branch dieback.

What is the root zone of a tree?

The root zone area is rough ly a circular area with the tree in the center. The root zone area extends beyond the drip line or outermost branches of the tree with the roots extending 1½ times the distance from the trunk to the drip line or outermost branches (see Figure 1).

Why is phosphorus important for plants?

Phosphorus is needed for good plant health and energy in the plant. It stimulates flowering and fruit development, not your main purpose in growing pines, juniper, and spruce. The potassium is needed for good root development and plant health.

Is mulch good for trees?

The use of mulch is also a good idea, especially when starting trees as it not only reduces evaporation of water from the soil, it keeps grass from competing with the developing root system of the trees, and it keeps lawn mowers and weed whackers away from the tender bark of the young trees.

Can fertilizer burn a tree?

When applying the fertilizer around the tree, don' t put it too close to the trunk and be certain not to put it all in one spot - it can burn the tree if too much salt is absorbed by the roots. General purpose fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and in some cases trace nutrients.

Can I use fertilizer on trees?

The type of fertilizer is not especially critical. You can purchase fertilizers which are specially formulated for trees, or you can use a general purpose fertilizer. Just be certain that the fertilizer is not a "weed-and-feed" product containing a postemergence herbicide which could harm the trees.

Do newly planted trees need fertilizer?

Answer: Regarding fertilization of newly planted trees -- don't! For at least the first year, their nutrient needs will be minimal. During this time they are establishing their root systems, and fertilizer (especially nitrogen which stimulates stems and leaves) will not be appropriate.

How to prepare a tree for planting?

When preparing any hole for planting, make it two to three times wider than the current root mass but never deeper than the plant was growing in its previous environment. With trees, an even better guide is to look for the flare of the trunknear the soil level.

How long does it take to water a tree after planting?

The most important job you will have after planting is to keep plants and trees well-watered until established. This can take weeks to months to even a year ! Since installing over 200 trees and shrubs in my landscape this fall, I’ve watered every plant every day (here in Atlanta) for about the first two weeks.

How many steps are needed to plant a tree?

The Right Way to Plant Trees and Shrubs - Seven Steps to Ensure Success. In my experience, there are seven key steps to ensure full establishment of newly planted trees and shrubs. And fall is the absolute very best time to get them in the ground. Simply stated, if you want to give your plants the best chance of establishing in ...

Do plants shift energy into root development?

Without the need to allocate resources into foliage, plants now shift their energy into root development and storing nutrients and resources for the cool months ahead. While conditions are most favorable now, that is not to say you just plant it and forget it.

Is it necessary to water plants in winter?

Finally, winter conditions can be very dry. Occasional watering throughout the season may be necessary to prevent plants from becoming too dry. Roots are still growing and soil moisture is essential for proper establishment. And don’t assume that once spring arrives, your supplemental irrigation duties are behind you.

When should I water evergreen trees?

There is usually no need to water evergreen trees from at least December 1st – March 1st. Let me know if you have any more questions! see more.

Why do new trees need water?

Newly planted trees are under stress due to their new environment, so they’ll need extra love and care! Proper watering is essential to bringing moisture and oxygen to your trees’ roots .

How much water should I use for 30 trees?

Properly watered with at least an inch-equivalent in a three-foot radius every week for nine months for all 30 trees is about 20,000 gallons of water per year. Multiply that by the local rate for water usage to find a price. Then, add the cost of gator bags for each tree (usually $20-$35 per bag).

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