Fall Fertilization of Ornamental Trees
Ornamental trees like maples, dogwoods and cherries are a lovely addition to any property – but they do require special care to keep their good looks. One of the best things homeowners can do to keep these trees looking their best is fertilization every fall.
Producing new growth in the spring – and for many trees – flowers in the summer takes a lot of work! Trees rely on the minerals they’ve stored the previous year to grow all those leaves and blooms, and by late summer, they’re depleted. It’s important to use a slow release fertilizer at this time, because a quick-release formula could produce new growth that could be damaged by autumn frosts. Slow release will allow nutrients and microbes to get deeper into the soil over time. Note that we generally apply a more soluble, quick-release fertilization via our Liquid Soil Drench in the spring, which is intended for flowering and foundation plants.
Trees need all kinds of nutrients to survive, and a deficiency in any one of them can result in less-than-spectacular foliage – or worse. Malnourished trees are more susceptible to fungus, disease and insects, may grow more slowly, and can live a shorter life overall than well-fed trees. There are several nutrients trees need to survive, but the most common ones are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S). We choose fertilizers that are right for your soil and your trees.
Mycorrhiza are ancient fungi that are incredibly beneficial for trees! While mycorrhizal fungi are still common in forests today, their growth is inhibited by development. That means those of us in the suburbs need to add them to the soil to make our trees as healthy as the ones that grow undisturbed in the woods.
Mycorrhizal fungus grows around the root tips of the tree. Basically, in exchange for some sugars from the tree, mycorrhiza help the tree to better absorb water and nutrients from the soil. The magic is that this fungus is so much better than the tree at pulling those key minerals from the ground, so the tree really gets all the nutrition it needs. It’s a simple symbiotic relationship, but the benefit to your trees can be dramatic – especially if your trees are dropping their leaves early. This fungus is truly the best companion nature has to offer for your trees.
How do we use it? Basically, we inoculate your soil with mycorrhiza by tank-mixing it with our fertilizer and applying to the soil around the dripline of your tree.
Do you have ornamental trees that need treatment this fall? Contact us to schedule today.