When Should You Apply Tree And Shrub Fertilizer

The dawn of a new growing season is upon us. That means you should begin thinking about using a tree and shrub fertilizer, along with your typical lawn care to-do list. You don’t want to forget about your trees this time of the year.

Slow-release tree fertilizers replace any nutrients that are lost throughout the year. But the type of fertilizer you use is only half the battle. Applying at the right time during the spring is vital, too.

Let’s take a look at what kind of tree and shrub fertilizer you should look for and when you should apply it.

Types Of Tree And Shrub Fertilizer 

Nutrient deficiency is the number one reason you’ll need to fertilize your trees or shrubs. Research shows that nitrogen is the element that will generate the greatest growth response in trees and shrubs. That’s why high nitrogen fertilizers with N-P-K ratios of 4-1-1, 3-1-1, or 3-1-2 are generally recommended.

And about 3 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet each year is all you’ll need to keep your woody plants thriving in most landscape situations.

Factors Affecting Tree And Shrub Fertilizing

Keep in mind that many factors influence the fertilization program of trees and shrubs in your landscape. That’s because they’re typically growing under stress, which must be accounted for. 

One of the biggest stressors trees and shrubs are forced to deal with is improper planting. This could mean:

  1. Your tree is not healthy enough to survive. 
  2. Choosing a poor planting site. 
  3. You planted a tree with an inadequate root system.
  4. The hole you used for planting is too small.
  5. Planting in an area that’s not mulched.

All of these improper planting practices cause stress to your trees and shrubs. But there are also things that stress out established trees, including: 

  • Watering too much or too little
  • Compacted soil
  • Exposure to road salt and pollution
  • Construction near roots

If you’re seeing things like canopy dieback, leaf drop, or cracks in the trunk—your tree or shrub may be under stress. It’s important to pay attention to all of these factors to ensure that your fertilizer will help. You can always have a soil test performed to see if it’s time to fertilize. 

How Fertilizer Helps

Fertilizers can help your decorative trees and shrubs grow stronger. This will give your trees a much prettier appearance and increase their overall health. This is crucial because greater vigor can help your trees and shrubs fight disease and insect attacks.

When Should You Apply Fertilizer

So, when should you apply a tree or shrub fertilizer? The good news is that landscape trees and shrubs in Michigan typically don’t require extensive fertilization to maintain good growth and color. But the best time to fertilize is in early spring.

How Safari Tree Can Help

As you can see, fertilizing trees can be tricky. From applying fertilizers to deciding between slow-release fertilizers and organic fertilizers, liquid fertilizer, the soil ph, and how much you should use…there are a lot of questions to ask.

Safari Tree offers a 7-step tree healthcare program that’s perfectly designed for Michigan’s four-season climate. Our injections feed nutrients straight into the vascular system of the plant. This provides a variety of advantages over spraying or soil injection including:

  • Quick Results
  • High Efficacy
  • Environmental Sustainability at a Lower Cost

If you’d like more information, contact us today!