Fertilizing to Improve Tree Health and Save $$$

By: Dominick Bierdek, Certified Arborist WI-0635A

Spring 2008 Newsletter in Adobe PDF format Improving vigor through fertilization is a cost saving way to keep your trees healthy in the urban invironment.

Improving vigor through fertilization is a cost saving way to keep your tree healthy in the urban environment. Our tree fertilizer prescriptions and soil applications are not the same fertilizer as used on a lawn or a farm field. We determine the correct nutrients or soil amendments needed to match the needs and circumstances of your tree(s).

A healthy tree in a natural forest environment will take care of itself with a few exceptions. Trees in the urban environment do not have the same resources as trees of the forest. Urban soil profiles usually lack in organic matter, are frequently compacted and devoid of normal forest floor debris, like leaves and twigs. Urban trees usually have less rooting area. This allows them to be out competed for resources by greedy landscape turf. Because of these conditions, urban trees often benefit from fertilization and/or soil amendments.

Fertilizer may be used to replace elements lacking in the urban soil, but a general fertilization is not always the answer. Often the elements are there, but are inaccessible to the tree because of soil conditions such as pH, moisture or lack of beneficial soil organisms. Here is where we prescribe soil treatments, to improve soil conditions and/or roots’ absorption ability. These include root bio-stimulants, iron, mycorrhizae, compost, and vertical mulching to mention a few.

If a tree’s root system is compromised and unable to function properly, trunk injections of nutrients may be needed for improved chance of survival. Annual injections should be avoided to limit the amount of trunk damage. Practices to rebuild the root system should be put into place to decrease the need for these types of injections.

A healthy, vigorous tree with proper fertilization and rooting conditions can often fend for itself. A healthy tree is able to wall off diseases and defend against pests before they become larger problems. A weakened tree actually gives off chemicals that are attractive to harmful insects that can attack it.

Keeping a tree healthy by fertilization and/or soil treatments costs less than remedial actions such as controlling disease, insect attack or, worst of all: tree removal. There are also savings in not having to replace a tree, energy saved by retaining tree canopy, plus a more valuable and comfortable treed property. Contact your Certified Arborists at Wachtel Tree Science and Service to assess your trees’ fertilizing needs.

© Copyright 2008 – Wachtel Tree Science & Service, Inc.

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