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Do my trees need fertilization? Good question and one we get often asked. Let us say that web sites out there range from saying you need to fertilize every year to saying that trees rarely need fertilization. So what is the real story? Let’s begin with what fertilization does and why it is needed. First of all, generally speaking tree fertilizer is VERY different from that put on your lawn and VERY, VERY different from what a lawn company will typically provide. Why? Three reasons. First the nutrient levels in fertilizer are made up of Nitrogen, Prosperous and Potassium. The range of nutrients and levels of each needed by a tree is very different from that of a lawn. Second, homeowners want to see results fast, therefore many lawn companies place fertilizer on the lawn that promotes fast, green tops. Not what a tree needs! Third, many lawn fertilizers are fast release, hence the fast green top and the incredibly low cost of product that the companies love. Tree fertilizer on the other hand is a very slow release fertilizer with very low salt content (fertilizer is essentially a salt). Salt in fertilizers can cause the tree to go into a stress mode, and essentially be deprived of water entering the roots (fertilizer if improperly used can cause injury to your tree by dehydrating it!). There are also multiple ways to fertilize your trees, typically by broadcast, deep root fertilization and/or vertical mulching. However, the first thing one needs to understand is tree biology, and tree needs. Which is why you need to have at minimum an ISA Certified Arborist to help you determine what the needs are. Trees can be impacted by lack of macronutrients, lack of micronutrients, too much moisture, too little moisture, incorrect soil pH, lack of beneficial fungi around root tips, soil compaction to name a few common items. To properly determine the issue an Arborist may need to take soil samples, determine pH, measure soil density, soil types, drainage, etc. Furthermore an exhaustive site analysis would be performed by the Arborist, along with a question period with the property owner. To properly care for a tree, a living organism that may be older than you or I, is not simply a matter of showing up on site and throwing a concoction in the ground. Oh we used to do that, and may still do! But frankly with the knowledge of science in aboriculture today, that is malpractice. Call us if you need help. www.simcoemuskokatreeservices.ca Simcoe Muskoka Tree Services Inc.


Do trees need fertilization?